14 of 52: Frozen with Friends

Just for the record – the cold has *always* bothered me.

And this Saturday was no exception. When I showed up to Dan’s at 7:20 it was 16 degrees with a real feel of “more than one”. I was wearing 2 pair of socks, 2 pair of gloves, lined cycling tights under running pants (in addition to a third base layer), a long sleeved lined mock turtle base layer, a second long sleeved heavy running shirt, a third (but looser fitting) long sleeved shirt (which is usually my last layer), and finally a light weight running jacket. Oh – and a balaclava covered by a windproof hat.

I hate the cold and today it was 16 degrees with a real feel of “more than one”.

I really don’t like leaving the warmth of my bed to go out into the cold – but once I get to running (especially if I’m properly dressed) I prefer it to running in the heat. I also take the cold weather as seriously as I take the heat in terms of potential for danger.

Everyone has their own threshold for comfort. Dan and Kari I think prefer to get by with fewer layers – even in this weather. Dan’s head ‘is a volcano’ – so – no need for a hat there. I heard once that if you’re too cold to run then you just aren’t dressed properly. (or something like that). I think that’s true and I also think “properly” is different for everyone.

The Run

The only plan was this – run so that we arrived at the Pip Moyer Rec Center at precisely 9AM. We arrived at 8:59:29. I’m not sure how we worked that out. Our actual pace was not what we used when considering different plans. We just sort of set out on our way, checking in with the time of day every few miles and adjusting our course to suit. It was a really nice low stress run and I was really glad we made it right on time.

We meandered our way around the Naval Academy Stadium, through West Annapolis and headed downtown where we took a second to admire the frozen water. As I looked across the water I could see the radio towers on Greenbury point – where I ran the Eternal Winter 6 hour run the week before. I love looking out at a place, seeing the size of it all at once and thinking “I ran there. I was there with my feet on the ground moving through it. I saw the whole place under my own power.”

We were soon underway and I was really struck by the unique sound of our feet crunching in the snow on the wooden dock. It was an amazing resonant variation of just – feet crunching in the snow. It sounds silly to read that back but really – it’s recognizing and enjoying that type of little detail that reminds me how much there is to enjoy and discover in life.

Kari – “I’m no good at selfies.” Also Kari: Nails it.

Dan just had the time of day goal – to meet his family for a morning activity, Kari did not have a mileage goal – just looking for some base miles with friends and I – well you know what I’m up to. So when Kari and I left Dan at the rec center we had run just about 9 miles. Since we had both parked at Dan’s we decided to run back to his place and then see where we stood. Where we stood was just about 10 miles. 3.1 to go for me.

Fortunately for me, Kari was in the mood to tag along for the last 3.1. Though I had met Kari volunteering at the Sailors Tri and also volunteering at the Iron Man Maryland water stop – I knew I was in good company even though I didn’t know her well. (Volunteers are the best people.) Plus running is one of the best ways I know of to get to know people.

We improvised a short loop back out to West Street, back towards DTA (Downtown Annapolis) and then back to Dan’s. Luck was with us again as we arrived at exactly 13.1 miles.

Not the Run

Sometimes I have to remind myself that a thing isn’t nearly as bad as my mind is telling me it is. I have to practice separating the memory of a thing from the objective facts that surround it.

My Mind: “I hate running in the cold”
The Truth: “I was warm after the first mile and had a really good time”.

In my case we’re just talking about being uncomfortable in the cold. Or we’re talking about job uncertainty. Or we’re talking about losing a loved one. Or finding out you have cancer. (Or finding out you don’t anymore). Or that your relationship with someone is changing. Or ending. Or – just name it. I forget to practice taking account of all of the thing’s I’ve experienced and realizing that that experience is valuable to me moving forward.

And sometimes the truth of an experience is worse than what your mind tells you. I don’t know how it works, if the mind tries to protect us from pain or what, but I do know that recognizing your truth (while a lot like staring into the sun) can be very powerful indeed. This practice helps when it comes time to understand that just because someone else’s truth doesn’t line up with yours doesn’t make either of you a bad person – or wrong.

I was telling Kari that one aspiration I had as a kid was to score movies. Did I go to school in LA? Where they make movies? Where I would meet people who would know people who knew a person who’s cousins uncles brothers mother also – wrote music for movies? No I did not.

I didn’t even apply to any schools in California. “I was such a dumbass.”

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile – or at least since I started that last paragraph – and it occurs to me I did not apply for two reasons:

  1. I didn’t understand the impact that my surroundings outside of school would have on my experiences and on the path I would take in my career.
  2. I had already been to California.

Now – I know that second one sounds silly but really. Here’s the truth about me: I have and always will be in search of something new. Some new place or experience. Something that makes me understand what it is to be a living learning loving human being. It doesn’t have to be dramatic or tragic or life changing. We can see those things as sure as they will come to us wether we want them to or not. It’s the little things that add up for me, that life offers in abundance.

The feel of my keyboard, or the design of my laptop. A long moment of silence with my daughter in the car – I look over and see her struggle and my heart breaks and overflows all at the same time. The way a soccer ball feels coming off of my foot – decades after ever kicking one. Watching a plane take off – or land. Hearing the wind in the trees. Watching two people talk. I could go on probably all day and I bet so could you. It only takes a second to see something beautiful or hear something new. Like a new sound. Like the sound of crunching snow on a dock.

I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.

Alan Ball – American Beauty

Next Week: Running on a Sunday Evening

5 Comments

  1. Great post. I never minded the cold (because I sweat like a pig no matter what) BUT I used to never run in the rain and in the past couple of years I’ve come around to it. I just changed my mindset after doing it enough times. Whereas I used to think “I hate running in the rain / I hate wet shoes” now I am just like “the wetness is just a temporary state” and stopped assigning a FEELING to it – it’s just a thing that IS. And now I don’t mind it! I even enjoy it.

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  2. Glad you didn’t let the cold keep you inside cozy in your bed (like it did me)! Lol No, but seriously I think I ran on the treadmill that day because unlike you I didn’t have any one to run and suffer the cold with (misery loves company). You have a rare ability to notice and appreciate the most simple things in life that so many take for granted. Great job so far on your streak and I pray you continue to stay healthy past the end.

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