First run of 2014: Late afternoon, 15 degrees, snowing, and four inches already on the ground. But my training goes year-round, and running on New Year’s Day is one of my personal traditions, so I layered up, strapped on my new headlamp, and went out for 4 miles and change.
Most non-runners I know are pretty amazed that I run in these conditions. But it can be very pleasant. After the first mile or so, I usually feel really energized. Two layers plus a jacket kept my core warm, and my new Hoka One Ones got me through the drifts and kept me from slipping. I’m really liking these shoes. Cold fingers, and snowflakes blowing into my eyes, were only minor annoyances.
Running in gently falling snow also gives me a sense of peace and serenity which allows my mind to unwind and defocus a bit. I can detach my thoughts from everyday stuff and just be in the moment, aware and grateful that I am healthy and fit enough to be out there.
It’s good for mental discipline, too. My Aikido instructors teach that the brain gives up before the body gives out (generally just before they announce some killer breakfall sets) and as I’ve written before, running long or hard (or both) involves getting the brain out of the way. I had a splendid example of both success and failure at this just a couple of weeks ago at the Saturday morning PR Fitness run.
I’d planned on running my assigned 13 miles at a slow, steady pace, but I started out with the faster group and decided as a personal challenge to keep up with them. It wasn’t easy but I got into the flow, and my mind was occupied with staying upright on slippery roads rather than how hard my body was working. And then, 9 miles in, I suddenly realized I hadn’t eaten any breakfast.
I’ve run up to 12 miles without eating before, but not at this pace. Conventional wisdom says I should have been fatigued and hungry, while I’d been cruising right along, feeling fine. But once I began thinking that I should be tired and hungry, I became so, and my last four miles were a struggle. I just couldn’t silence the mental reminders. So I’ve got more work to do there.
Happy New Year, everyone! Thanks for reading!