Sunday, December 5, 2010

Braving the weather

Running during the winter season can be a challenge for people who live in Chicago. With the mix of snow, wind, and often times the icy sidewalks and roads, the safety of a runner can often times be jeopardized. Most runners in Chicago retire indoors to other activities during these brutal winter months.

I like to think of the winter as a challenge. Not only is it a time to try out new things as my training has slowed, but it is also a time to challenge myself to learn to run in extreme winter conditions. Often times as I venture out for a long run on a cold January Saturday morning where the winds are coming off of the lake and the lakefront path has thick sporadic ice patches, I can generally count the runners I see on one hand(not that there is anything wrong with taking training indoors during the harsh weather). I wouldn't say that I particularly enjoy ice pelting my face, or when the winds are so strong that I seem to be running in place, or even when the snow melts into gray mushy puddles that make my feet wet and numb.

The best part of those seemingly crazy runs is the feeling thereafter. When my building comes into sight and my run suddenly comes to a close, thinking about the brutality that I just overcame which brings a warmth to my soul that I wouldn't be able to achieve on a treadmill.

Allowing oneself to be challenged on a daily basis is what keeps the mind sharp, the frigid air seeping into your body and awakening it is just an added bonus. In my mind every day that I go out for a run, no matter how long or short it may be, brings me one millimeter closer to my goals and makes me just that much stronger for whatever the future may hold.

Tomorrow morning when the projected high is a brisk 22 degrees, I will be out for a nice 10 miler. Maybe the part of me that loves the feeling of being uncaged and free blocks the brutality of the weather, but I can honestly say that I look forward to my afternoon date with my city lakefront path and my running shoes.

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