After weeks of slogging through miles (and not many of them either), this morning finally felt good. Not easy, but not unpleasant. And I spent much more time ignoring my watch than cursing it. Allergy season always seems to sneak up on me right when I think my running should be improving with the nicer weather. All told, this winter wasn’t especially trying, and I spent a lot less time fighting the elements than wishing for more of them (yes, I realize I may be in the minority here, but damn it, I wanted to play with my winter toys!). While a year ago I eventually caved and joined a gym because there were too many days that it was too dark and the streets were too icy to get out there, this winter I’m not sure I ever skipped a run simply because of the outdoor conditions.
So when spring rolled around early, so did the pollen. The weird part is that I tend to feel allergy season in my chest before I start itching and sneezing, so there are always a few runs that leave me wondering if I’ve somehow contracted mono or walking pneumonia or spontaneous pneumothorax or some other lung-busting energy sucker, or if I’ve just simply managed to lose an exponential amount of fitness seemingly overnight.
But today! Today finally doesn’t have a pollen warning on the weather alerts, and rather than let myself play the “I’ll run later – no really, I swear I will” game that I always seem to lose, I got myself out the door and into the cool air and threw down 9 of the best miles I’ve run in weeks. The lakes were pretty (though a bit low – come on, rain!), the trees are all in bloom (how is it that every year I manage to forget how incredibly beautiful flowers are?), and it felt good to be moving. I am hoping I’ll find a similar sweet spot in working on my thesis….
It feels, in a sense, sacrilegious to complain about perfect running weather during a time of year typically noted for its abundance of doom and gloom. But even though the warm sun on my shoulders adds a noticeable lightness to my attitude and bounce to my step, I continue to struggle mightily with the fact that this is, quite simply, not “right.” And then (of course) I feel sorry for looking the gift horse in the mouth (48 degrees and sunny does indeed feel good after all), but truth be told, the pleasure this weather brings feels equivalent to the satisfaction of having impulsively stolen something desired but not strictly needed.* Which is to say that there’s perhaps a slight illicit thrill, but any enjoyment is so strongly tempered by the guilt of having acquired something this way that it is, in fact, nearly impossible to truly enjoy it at all.
And so it goes, and so I cannot help but feel frustrated at the expressed appreciations of this supposed anomaly. Because this weather, it’s not deserved. We haven’t made it through a long cold winter. We’ve stolen it by playing dirty (quite literally, if you want to talk emissions), and it’s time to give it back. At this point, while clearly some damage has already been done, maybe there’s still time to avoid the direst of consequences by coming clean.
But in the spirit of Alexander, I still think I’ll move to Alaska.
*These, admittedly, are hypothesized emotions as I have never actually stolen something, impulsively or otherwise. But again, admittedly, I have thought about it and this imagined sense of ensuing guilt is what has stopped me every time.
Winter, welcome! Finally, weather to be braved as much as embraced!
However, though I am quite glad to see you (I feared slightly that you were gone forever), the fact remains that you can’t fuck around with windchills of -10. It took a good 20 minutes of standing by the heater upon return to feel sufficiently thawed to get in the shower.
And as I stood by the heater, I looked down at purple-patched legs and for the second time this morning had the debate: badass or dumbass?
For today, I choose badass.
This morning was bone-cold, bitter-cold, utter cold, frigid, frosty, frozen. Beyond crisp, beyond brisk – crunchy, crackly, creaky cold. So cold that there was a sense of traction on the icy ground, yesterday’s slickness (which culminated in an unanticipated and even more poorly executed surfing maneuver on a downhill patch of snow-covered ice, nearing a full split with arms outstretched in an attempt to maintain some semblance of upright posture which was ultimately successful though also successful in reminding me that I’m not getting any younger when I woke up with the sore legs to prove it) evaporated into the arid air.
Pale pink is the predominant color of winter morning skies, stark. Winter mornings make me think of crows, all cawing and inky and bleak. But too in the bleakness, winter mornings hold a sense of peace, of calm, of unending possibility. I’m always slightly disappointed when the harsh sun and blue sky reality break through, wishing for just a few more moments to revel in the magic of the in-between.
Really, I’m trying to enjoy you. After all, you make it easier to concurrently ride my bike and maintain feeling in both my hands and feet, and for that I shouldn’t complain. But I can’t shake the feeling that this is not the new normal I want to get used to, at least not yet, and not here where temperatures (rather, lack thereof) are a point of stubborn pride for the seemingly relatively mundane accomplishment of enduring them. Though to be fair, there is nothing mundane about enduring double-digit below zero wind blasts to the face (or any other part of the body for that matter). And 48 degrees, while you are not that physically difficult to endure (and oh! perhaps if running unfettered were a possible plausibility, pasty legs be damned, perchance I would have more room for forgiveness in my grinchy soul; a sucker for the freedom of shorts, bare skin mingling with the breeze I have never professed not to be), you are showing up both a little too late and a little too soon for my liking, as my ankle hasn’t healed and my skis and skates are gathering dust, as neither are designed for water, and acid rain is all you seem to be promising this week. Yet I will still attempt to enjoy your thunder. Because if it’s going to rain, it might as well pour, and if it’s not going to snow, I might as well sit back and try to enjoy the storm.
Best served with dark chocolate and coffee.
refuse -> have to
not going -> leaving
the executive decision not to -> some days, the only reliable way out the door