Running through falling snow has a way of making you feel giddy like a child. It’s an uninhibited joy when you choose to embrace and enjoy God’s creation. I’m by no means a huge fan of winter. In fact, I usually state that I HATE winter. But hate is such a strong word and I’m sure God doesn’t appreciate my strong disdain for His seasons. All season serve a purpose. And snow is cleansing…
So today’s run started out a wee bit warmer like 22* instead of -9* warmer. Hey, I’ll take it. We were practically in a heat wave today! I had 18 miles on the schedule today and with CamelBak in tow, two ClifBar gels, and my trusty pepper spray I felt ready. Nervous though because the last time I ran any distance over 14 miles was way back in August. However, my body felt great. No known issues. No terrible aches or pains. All systems go. Two miles in I met up with the BRF and ran a few miles with her. She had an event to be at later that morning so unfortunately I was again on my own for another 14 miles. I had a lot on my mind that morning…so a good 14 miles with Pandora radio and just my thoughts may have been what the doctor ordered.
It was definitely cold out but manageable. The wind didn’t pick up too terribly with the exception of a few miles. On account of the black ice and un-scraped sidewalks I was forced to hit the road for a good portion of the run. Which I don’t mind but cars and big suvs apparently do. I almost died a few times. Between mean traffic and slick sidewalks I believe I lost about 10 years of my life today in fear. o.O
So were the 18 miles worth it?
Without a shadow of a doubt, YES.
Because as difficult as today’s run was today I proved that I had it in me. I have the guts to stick anything out. I know as most of you are runners yourselves you’ve heard a bazillion times how great running is at bringing out the best in you. Today, I felt this real life parallel strongly. This run was a strong mental will battle.
So fast forward to mile nine after two near slips on ice and one vanilla ClifBar gel I seriously began to question my sanity. I kept battling inside my head and started bartering with myself:
“Okay Jess, you got this. Maybe just make it at least 15 miles. That’s only like 6 left. Man, it’s really cold out here. Like frigidly freaking cold. Is this even safe? Of course it’s safe. You’ve run in colder. Suck it up! Yeah but not like, 18 miles in this colder coldness…okay, make it to mile 15…”
Well by the time I hit mile 12 the ClifBar had hit my system and I began to feel a little better. And began a new bartering system with myself:
“Giiiiirl, you made it this far. Wait, is that SNOW? It’s definitely snowing. It’s so cold…so cold…so… pretty…so soothing…So you had 16 miles scheduled last weekend but you only raced 10, so maybe you can make it to at least 16. Yeah. You can do that.”
I hit mile 14…time for my other ClifBar.
“Oooh, this one has one shot of caffeine in it. Yes! This is really cool, this whole running while it’s snowing thing. I feel like a total rockstar. I’m a running beast! Only two miles till mile 16. Thank you God! Hmmm…I’m hungry.”
Mile 15, Caffeine kicks in.
“I’m on top of the world! I think I’ve caught my second wind. Either that or it’s the caffeine talking …. either way I’m gooood. I scheduled 18 miles today… I simply can not quit now. I only have like two miles after this mile left. I totally got this. Okay..time to stop thinking and just run. Animal mode on.”
“I freaking did it!! Praise God! That wasn’t so bad…”
If it wasn’t for seeing this post this morning I would’ve probably given up on today’s run. But I’m too
stubborn strong willed and determined to throw in the towel…I kept thinking on these words:
The lesson I took from this run was that victory isn’t always easy, clean, and tidy. It gets icy, sweaty, and messy but if you push through the “I just want to quit and die” thoughts, victory is just on the other side. You have to fight those negative thoughts with all your heart sometimes. And you know what?
It feels amazing.
If it wasn’t for the ClifBar my physical body probably would have bonked. But I also truly believe that because I run for a higher cause the Lord carried me through much of it. Well, truth be told, He carries me through all of it. Through all my fears, insecurities, failures, and victories. Running has that profound affect on the soul. Clears the soul of toxic waste, frees your mind of garbled clutter, and allows your spirit to breathe freely. Even if it is labored breathes due to freezing temps…. you catch my drift…
I also run for my buddy who can not run himself. I run for those who struggle physically and mentally. When I think of cold I go back to the movie Unbroken.
We are all “broken” to a degree in some fashion. But I believe when we do not allow our brokenness to stop us, we become undeniably unshaken. It’s hard to keep a good woman (man) down. I run for all those broken pieces. I run to unleash my heart…to allow my thoughts the freedom to think that anything is possible. I run because someday, I want to change the world. To leave a strong and positive mark on this world…
And with this, I’ll leave you with a few of my personal tips that help carry me through tough runs…
Here’s a few “get you through” tips should you chose to run in the great frosty outdoors:
- Play mind games with yourself, like okay, we will only run this far today… but you usually end up going the full distance 😉
- Promise yourself treats i..e ClifBar snacks at mile(s) xyz
- Layer up. Bundle up. Be prepared for the elements.
- Do not forget the sunscreen. Prevent windburn.
- Stop thinking and turn on animal mode.
- Don’t forget to stay hydrated.