Friday, January 25, 2013

Cold and Contentment

Sitting in Starbucks this morning waiting for my friend and partner in running this morning to show up, I was reminded of just how normal I think I am - and how the rest of the world may not have the same view.

Sitting there in my two layers of running tights, Smartwool shirt, short-sleeved technical shirt, running jacket, hat, scarf, and mitts - and running shoes of course, watching the snow gently fall outside, and trying to shake the chill I had gotten running from my car to the coffee shop, I was asked not by one, nor two, but three different people if I were actually going running outside.  The short answer: but, of course.

Being a runner and living in the north, where snow and cold are common in the winter months, and being part of a larger running community, I find it completely normal to run outside all year.  (After all, doesn't everyone do it?)  I don't even think about it too much.  In fact, beyond contemplating how the weather impacts my wardrobe, I don't really think about it too much at all.

Of course, there are exceptions.  For example, when the temps dipped to around zero degrees this past week and the windchill was in the negative 20s, I did opt for the treadmill and the track.  However, if I were feeling a bit more spritely and not in that post-marathon (love how I can work that into every post?) lull, I probably still would have gone outside.

To the greater world around me, though, I imagine it must look a bit odd - running in this weather.  Most people are cursing the cold and wind, and here we are embracing it.

Sure, the conditions weren't the best.  The footing was awful, and the wind was biting at times, but is there any better time to feel alive than in the cold winter air, when you can see your breath in the cold, and your fingers and toes tingle from the frosty air?  I don't think so.  I love winter running.  In fact, I love it so much that when I am asked if I am running outside in the cold, I think about the question in about the same way the inquirer thinks about the activity I am undertaking.  How odd!  Why are you asking?

Today's questions, however, didn't make me feel odd at all.  In fact, rather, they made me feel more like a rockstar. Maybe it was the snowfall or the caffeine, but I think everyone there was in a jovial and magnanimous mood.  I felt I was in a small way a source of wonderment for those curious few, and apparently I looked approachable enough to ask - not a given from this Detroit-raised gal.  Who knows.  Maybe I inspired someone to lace up their shoes, bundle up in layers and give it a try himself one day.

As to the run, it was great fun kicking through the snow.  Three friends showed up instead of the one I was expecting, which of course triples the fun.  Additionally, I saw two other people who I happen to know just hanging out.

There are days when things just come together and I feel at peace.  This was one of those days.  I love the feeling that I am part of a community, and it's great to have a day when you have the peace of mind to slow down and realize that despite the wind, snow, and cold and a gloomy sky, things are good.  Running does that for me.  It really helps me tap into that peace-of-mind part of me and helps me see the good in things.  Hopefully it does for you, too.
Happy Running!

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