I have a confession: I can be a whiny wimp about running in poor weather conditions. Temps in the 90s, plus humidity? I’ll probably whine about it. Wind, with or without precipitation? I will most likely shed actual tears. Oh, and hail? I will shout curse words at the sky. So, there was really no hope for me today. I had a tough 20-miler on tap - one continuous run with the first 5 miles easy, then 10 miles at marathon pace, and the last 5 miles easy. I was prepared for the intensity that comes with a hard mental and physical effort. But add gusty 20mph+ winds, plummeting temperature, and snow to the mix, and you can be sure my whiny wimp came out in full force. What really brought it to the surface was the classic frustration that comes with thinking there’s a headwind in the first half of an out-and-back run, only to discover upon turning around that the wind is blowing in basically all directions. Thanks, Mother Nature. At the start of mile 11, I definitely yelled some curse words, and I’m pretty sure I whined a bit. Then it occurred to me how ridiculous it is to blame the weather for my frustration at how hard it was to hold a 6:30 pace. I can’t say what has kept me from realizing that earlier in my running life… maybe just an attempt to place the blame anywhere but on myself. Regardless, after the curse words and whining, I gave myself this sort of harsh but obvious and necessary pep talk:
You chose this.
You chose to be a runner. You chose to train for a marathon. In fact, you chose a marathon in the early spring, which requires long training runs in the dead of winter. You chose the effort and mileage for this training cycle, fully aware that it would demand serious workouts (again, in the dead of winter). You chose the timing of this run today, when the wind gusts are stronger. You chose to run outside instead of on a treadmill.
No one is forcing you to do this. You chose this. Honor your choice.
Did the run get physically easier after my pep talk? Of course not. But at least my mind was in the right place, and the importance of that should not be discounted. I was out there in the wind and cold and snow, doing what I love and feeling my heart, lungs, and legs respond to the effort. I chose it, and I am stronger in mind and body because of it.