I don’t want to be a hoosier (long-term resident of Indiana) right now. Those of you who know me will understand that I’m not talking about the regional identifier so much as I’m talking about the attitude of a Hoosier during these less than pleasant winter months. Let me clarify. “Hoosiers” seem to be reborn with every winter weather event. No matter that we live in a bio region which experiences the full gamut of seasons, it still seems like every single winter “hoosiers” live it for the first time. They complain about the cold when it’s 30 degrees. They complain about 1/2 an inch of snow that disappears by mid-afternoon. They complain about single digit wind chills and storm the grocery store shelves whenever a newscaster even mentions the possibility of flurries. THOSE Hoosiers I can’t stand. Spineless wimps that spend maybe a cumulative 5 minutes a day out in any sort of adverse weather condition. The way they complain though, you’d think they were homeless and lived outdoors, chopping their own wood and catching mice and moles for sustenance. So yeah, I don’t want to be one of THOSE Hoosiers. THOSE aren’t the Hoosiers of Hickory High and John Mellencamp. Those are the Hoosiers of Dan Quayle and Jim Jones. Spineless wimps.
So yeah, forgive me for saying this and don’t revoke my mid-west status, but DAMN THIS WEATHER. I’m almost broken. I’m sure it has something to do with going out to run a minimum of 10 miles in it everyday, some days kicking down 20 miles and others knocking out some serious speed workouts on snow and ice. The sort of mental effort it takes to not only get out in the stuff, but to also perform in can really wear on a person, ya know? Personally, I love adverse weather. I love being active in it no matter the conditions, even if it’s just to spite those that cower under overcast skies. I make the most of any situation, no matter how “bad” it may be perceived. I’m in it to win it, no matter what. But hey, I’m only human. I have my breaking points. And I’m starting to hit mine.
Maybe it was the relatively warm few days we had a couple weeks ago where I could go out in shorts for a few days straight or maybe it’s just the latest dumping of snow, slush, ice and cold winds that is really cutting through my thick outer shell, quite literally. But damn, when I have to get up at 6 in the morning, when it’s nearly pitch dark, and put down 20 miles, 15 of them sequentially faster than the last, and have to do it in wind chill temperatures of 1 degree….well, that just gets old. The mind starts playing tricks on you. Hell, just the other day I entertained the idea of finding a treadmill to do my speed workout on. Can you believe that? A treadmill?!! What’s happening to me!?
And here we are in February, pretty much still the beginning of February, which means a full month of potentially bitterly cold winds, snow and ice. We are certainly not out of the worst of it yet. Add to this mental weight that one must overcome to run in these conditions, my daily 8 hour job which currently has me fighting a continuous freeze/thaw/freeze/thaw cycle that seems to be tearing our building apart at the seams….of which it is my responsibility to keep the whole thing together, and I’m basically DONE with winter. Really, I’m ready for it to be over. I want one full blast of sun to evaporate any residual ice and temperatures that hover in the 30’s. That’s it, for the entire rest of this month, that’s all I want.
Although it’s difficult, I still try to look on the bright side of this overcast scenario. I really have no choice. It’s not like I’m going to stop running, so SOMETHING has to get me through. For instance, the single digit temperatures really put the 30 degree temperatures in perspective and when you couple that with sunny skies, it feels damn near like spring. I don’t even hesitate to throw on the most revealing of running shorts when temperatures soar into the balmy 30’s. And when that happens, your legs feel loose and free and you can seemingly run for days. It’s really wonderful and gives a small taste of what is to come around the corner.
And what is to come around the corner are those days where I can come home shirtless and absolutely dripping with sweat, leaving butt marks on the dry porch cement. God I love those days. I’ll take sweltering, breath-sucking humidity over bitter, finger breaking cold any day. I’ll find the joy in both of them, yes, but if given the choice I’ll take the former without hesitation.
Then there is that necessary egotistical component. I know it’s too early to post what has become something of a blogging tradition for me…but it’s fitting. And be sure, I’ll post this again next month. This, my friends, is the winning haiku from the Runners World haiku contest from a couple years back. I’ve never forgotten it, and it still gets me through some painfully cold winter runs.
Emerge like they own the place
I ran all winter
See you out there not so bright and early tomorrow. It’s gonna be cold and we’re gonna be running fast.