Friday, February 26, 2010

Running in the Snow

As I mentioned earlier, the idea of running outside in February, during the winter of snowpocalypse, was probably my one true anxiety of this whole training process. Sure, the whole program is new to me, but pushing myself physically was not necessarily scary. The idea of learning two new sports (swimming and cycling) was so exciting it pretty much overshadowed any apprehensions I had about them. No one can get left behind in a pool or on a stationary bike but outside winter running, on the other hand, has its fair share of issues and I just didn’t know how I would handle them. First, the obvious, is it is 6:30am in February! This little Florida girl has worked really REALLY hard getting used to dealing with 8am winter weather just to get to work and she will even wear the ever embarrassing parka without a seconds hesitation if it means she stays toasty warm. Long story short: Cold and I do not get along. Second, running, out of the three sports, is the only one I’ve ever attempted and have never had any success in. I had to run in the off season (soccer) and I was never very good at speed and I was always the one holding up the 14 girls running around the soccer complex. In addition, with soccer, you never do true long distance running but focus more on sprints, conditioning drills and transitions. So, because I’ve never ran more than 2 or maybe 2 ½ miles at a time, when they said we’d be STARTING with 4… I freaked.

So, as mentioned in my previous post, I did what anyone would do to prepare… I went shopping. Then, the week before we began, I went to the gym and declared I would not leave until I suffered through my first 4 miles, because suffering alone through the first time might be slightly more dignified. I did it! Granted, I didn’t run the entire time, but the few number of walking breaks did surprise me and gave me the confidence I needed to actually show up on Day One of running. Yes, I ran on a treadmill, inside, during mid-afternoon, so there were still many obstacles to overcome, but how was I going to find out unless I just showed up bearing a slightly crooked smile.

The day came, I arrived… and I survived! We were told we were doing 3.6 miles: down to and around the Monument and then back up to the gym. First and foremost, I did not turn into a popsicle… and near the end I even took off my gloves! It was a shaky start considering it was actually snowing when we set off. In my head all I could think about was that I was now that person I used to see running by my bus stop in the morning and at whom I used to silently scream “Freak! Have you never heard of a gym?”. Second, I was not the slowest! Surprisingly, it had never crossed my mind that any of the other “newbies” weren’t marathon runners either. There still was ample ice patches everywhere and as we cautiously ran over them (which looked more like a fast paced tip-toe) I couldn’t help but hear my mother say “stop running like a girl!”… a phrase I often heard growing up. After making my way back to the gym, I stood in the shower grinning ear to ear. I did it! and did it without looking like a complete idiot. Now, I just had to overcome my fear of falling asleep exhausted on my keyboard that afternoon.

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