Before I made the decision to run the Gateway Trail in January to raise money for lung cancer research, I was not really an outdoor winter runner. I would occasionally run a few times each winter just to say I did, but this winter has been very different. I committed to running in any temperature and on any kind of surface, frozen or not, and the results have been fun to see!
Training for something got me training for something. I haven’t trained for anything meaningful since I ran Grandma’s Marathon in 2002. Running for a Cure in the New Year got me out on that trails in a focused way and that focus has remained. I just need a new goal!
No test of endurance scares me…I think. I’m sure some should, but right now I feel like I could tackle some pretty crazy things. -14 below? No problem. Breaking trail through the snow? Child’s play! Ok, I did just hear about a 300 mile race through the Yukon. Only one guy finished the race this year out of about 20. The temps rarely rose above -40. That one scares me. (There is a slippery slope of craziness that I am on. I’m at the top and at the bottom is Nutsville-aka 300 solo miles through the Yukon)
Running in winter is unique. There are certain things you can experience in winter that you can’t any other time of the year. Sure, your nostrils can freeze together when you sniff, which is really fun, but I am talking more about those special moments like what I wrote about in The White Silence. There is also the starkness of winter that forces a certain type of introspection that I have enjoyed more this year than in the past. Check this out from this morning’s run at 6:00 am. Being wrapped in cold and darkness can bring you face to face with your innermost thoughts.
Why do we live here? Usually around the middle of January every year I start looking at real estate listings in Orlando. About that time Kathryn and I ask each other “why do we live here?” I think this is the first year since we’ve been married that we haven’t asked that question. Running outside in -14 weather has cured me of Degree Deficit Disorder. I’m free from the pain of looking at pictures of white sandy beaches when I know my driveway is covered in oil stained, dirty snow. Bring on the cold! Bring on the snow!
So, I know I said there were 3 reasons winter doesn’t suck anymore, but I gave you a bonus reason! Who doesn’t like bonus reasons for living in Minnesota year-round? (Hint: everyone that doesn’t live in Minnesota year-round. I’m looking at you snow birds).
I’m honored to have completed Running for a Cure in the New Year and very pleased with the lasting side-effects it has caused. On to the next challenge.