Halftime Leisure

How to Appreciate Brisk Winter Runs

November 21, 2014

The lower the temperature drops, the harder I find it to convince myself to get out of bed when my 8:21am alarm goes off. I don’t know how some students can get up at 9am for class when I’m barely able to crawl out of my bed for one of the things I love most in life: running.

I love everything about running, not just the post run glow or the pride that comes from wearing trendy athletic clothing around campus. I love the nitty-gritty: the sweat, the messy hair, the heavy and uneven breathing, and even pushing through the hardest moments. But most of all, I love being able to temporarily escape from campus every morning and appreciate the beauty of the world around me.

There is no better season to run in than the fall. The weather is cool, the humidity is light, and the views are indescribably beautiful. The sun seems to always hit the reddening leaves at such an angle that the branches look as though they have been set stagnantly aflame. All of the world’s colors are in such intense and vivid contrast that it becomes impossible for me to stay inside.

One thing about running everyday, however, is that you become quite perceptive of subtle changes in the world as they occur. I am currently struggling to come to terms with the new dullness and lifelessness of my surroundings that will inevitably come with the falling leaves and temperatures.

It’s usually around this time in late November that I decide to resign from running. I take a several month long hiatus, trading my running shoes for slippers and half-marathons for Netflix marathons.

This winter, however, I’m determined to push through the cold. Maybe my 30-35 mile weeks will become 10-15 mile weeks and I’ll have to motivate myself with the promise of post-run Saxby’s runs, but I will do the previously unthinkable, I will keep running in winter.

When I rolled out of bed this morning, the sun streaming through my upturned blinds seemed promising, but according to my iPhone, it was 39 degrees. I slightly begrudgingly got ready—putting on leggings and a thick shirt, with long sleeves that come up past the thumbs. I tucked five dollars behind my phone in my running band, promised myself a flavored coffee when I finished, and set out into the cold.

By the time I was three blocks away from my Henle, I was ready to turn around and call it quits. I should have worn two shirts … and gloves … and one of those cool headbands that cover your ears, I think. But, I calmly remind myself that the first few minutes of running are always the hardest and find the strength to keep going.

When I reach the Key Bridge, the sun is hitting my skin directly. It’s cold, but I try to appreciate the sharpness of the air against my lungs. It feels kind of nice. My skin feels tight against my bones and my muscles feel slightly stiffer than usual, but I feel uninhibited. I feel like I’m accomplishing something important.

I sprint the last two blocks of my run and turn directly into Saxby’s. My hands and forearms are tingling, my ears sting, and my cheeks feel raw, but I’m ready to do it all again.

Bring it on winter.

Photo: Pivot

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