The end of summer is always so bitter for me. I thought to write that it was “bittersweet” because that’s what you say at the end of something really wonderful–like a youthful love affair–but there’s nothing sweet about the end of summer for me. Oh, there’s the turning of the leaves and the gorgeous reds and golds of fall; and there’s the mysterious morning fog that inspires the writing of angsty poetry. Nonetheless, the end of summer is the beginning of a very long winter in my part of the world, and winter is hard for me every year.
I’m giving some serious thought about how to navigate the dark days and still keep my energy up. Running is a part of that, of course. When I first started running several years ago, I wasn’t a naturally outdoorsy person by any stretch. I’ve always been a sit-inside-with-a-book-on-a-rainy-day kind of person. But when I started training for marathons, I made a commitment to myself that I was going to run come snow or fog, rain or shine, hell or high-water. I’ve kept that promise.
This morning we have the first hard rain we’ve had in several weeks. I’m up early to walk the Bellingham Bay Marathon 5K with my friend, Colleen Haggerty. Yes, I want to support the cause of the Prosthetic Outreach Foundation. And yes, I want to enjoy the energy always present at the start of a marathon (particularly one in which I know so many runners). But getting out in the rain to move my body when my heart wants to be inside with coffee and a book is medicine for my winter-resistant soul.
What do you do to get through the winter?
I hope the rain didn’t deter your walking of the Bellingham 5k the other day! As far as secrets to my success during the winter months, I am not sure I have any that would be helpful. First the fall and winter months is when I personally fell in love with this crazy sport of ours. Running cross country in high school then turning that over into the winter is where I found my success. I love running year round, but what I miss dearly when I have left for school the past few years is the turning of those leaves in Western Washington. I miss the POURING rain that comes to that side of the state. Sure we get drizzled days here, but nothing like the “real” rain of the West Side. I love waking up early (which can often be tough after long days at school the day before) for a run. My long runs though on Saturday give me a time to be completely alone with the small college town I live in. Saturday mornings here in Cheney somewhere between 6-7 in the morning are dead. I pass often no cars at all, and if I do they are very few. I get to run with a world that I personally believe was created by God for us to enjoy. I am also a solitary person. I get joy out of being with other people, I fully believe that we need other people to interact with in our world. My job though back home is house sitting. I spend a lot of time alone. I am used to being alone, especially in my running, and especially here in Cheney is that true. I have many runner friends here in Cheney. Most are on the cross team so have scheduled practice that I do not interfere with. Others have been in my Bloomsday classes, which I have always been faster than and I often face at that point people who don’t like running with me for fear of “holding” me back. Slowly I have convinced a few of these to run with me solely for the sake of running with me. However back to those long runs I do on the weekend. None here but my cross country friends are typically able to go as long as I am going to go, so my pleas for running partners are often left untouched by friends. So I go on my own. So solidarity is a part of my life. Although, again, it is something that I have not minded. So maybe none of this helped in answering the question of “what do you do to get through the winter?” but maybe it was at least a good comment to read for you!
You’re a true Northwesterner if you miss the rain from this corner of the world. I have a feeling you’ll be back for good after college.
And on running partners: I ran for years before my pal, Julie, came along. I undertand the fear of holding someone back, but when I met Julie and she was genuinely running at my pace, I was so grateful. Sometimes it takes a long time to find the right “one.” Hugs. I love your comments.
I’m glad you enjoy them! I enjoy writing them! This is down the line a little, but I am thinking about coming up for the New Years Eve Marathon up in Bellingham! The Last Chance I believe it is called. Definitely want to do the half, and think I could make my way through a full at that time. Definitely figure it out in the coming months.
I do fully believe after college that I will be back for good. I love the area far too much the rain is easily just a perk in my eyes. There is much more about that area that I love.
Something that you would find quite interesting is a map I recently bought! I bought a map of the United States and have started to plan out my marathons via pins in it on a cork board. It’s hanging in our living room now! I have six that are “planned” and two obviously that I have run. The planned ones are simply just where I want to run a marathon, so Boston, New York, Coeur D’Alene, Eugene and Missoula have yellow pins on it. I just added one in Arizona for the Mt. Lemmon Marathon the other day. Red pins being located in Skagit and San Francisco. I will probably keep track of all my marathons on it, using blue pins for multiple runs within a state, so obviously Washington will get full by the time I’m getting old.
I get to come home tonight! So look for a post on Monday or Tuesday about one of my favorite weekends of the year, Tomahawk Twilight Weekend!