As I watch the sun melted snow (also known affectionally as water) I think about the possibility of going out for a afternoon run. Running outdoors is something I haven't done since christmas day, and something I haven't enjoyed since way before Thanksgiving. I can tolerate anything above 40 degrees, I don't mind anything around 60 degrees but I really love good 75 degree afternoon. Clearly that is not in the cards for me between December and April since I live in PA. Damn.
It is not that I am afraid to run in the snow, Ok maybe I am a little afraid. But more so I think it is just a big misunderstanding. I don't understand the snow, how am I supposed to run in it? Running to me means going fast, how can I go fast with 20+ inches of this fluffy white stuff at my feet? It feels awkward and cautious and while I am watching where my feet go every five seconds I am not letting my mind fly free as I would usually do on a run. This does not mean that it is impossible to run in snow, or that I should not run in snow, but it is this misunderstanding that keeps me from running out doors in the winter.
Of course I have been known to make a few exceptions. And wouldn't you know it's when Larry is involved. Somehow that kid has a way of making me feel like I can push myself twice as hard. Now that he is out of my life I find that some of my newfound running twitter tweeps have that same motivational effect.
It was a February evening in 2008. I had been keeping in shape at the gym and once a week Larry and I would meet after work for a long run through fairmount park. On this night in particular the weather was beyond awful. It was about 32 degrees outside, and a sloppy mixture of freezing rain was coming down from the clouds. This of course did not stop either of us. Something in me wanted to prove I could brave the elements and finish this five mile run. So I layered up in under armor long pants (probably one of the only times I will wear long pants to run) a few different running tops and my Disneyland Half Marathon windbreaker. Topped it off with a winter hat and gloves and we were ready to go. Of course I don't remember much about the run that night, the course and the conversation were probably pretty ordinary. But I will never forget the feeling of finishing the run despite the weather. When we got back all our clothes were covered in chunks of ice. The freezing rain had landed on us and frozen into solid mases. Even my hair was frozen solid. I of course changed into warm clothes right away, and when I was done I found Larry in his room already reading about running.
"Now I feel like a legit runner" I said to him as I leaned on the door frame to his tiny room.
"You finished a marathon, you were already a legit runner" He says to me.
And for a moment, I am as proud as I have ever been. Because it's not often that Larry recognizes ordinary people as legit runners.