Confession: I did not miss Saturday alarms. But alas, all good things must come to an end, and this past-Saturday, my mornings of alarm-free wake ups ended.
Set to jolt me out of bed at 7:25 AM, my alarm buzzed for the first Saturday in more than two months. Despite being set for an hour later than for my summer SLRs, I still scoffed at knowing that I had to uncover the sheets be out the door before 8 AM.
Yet, the alarm signaled a revival and reunion. A revival of my training, my re-commitment to running and my reunion with the Fleet Feet running crew. Decked out in my MCM gear and pumped by a Taylor Swift-dominated playlist, I ran the 1.5 mile route to the running store to launch into the first workout in training for the D.C. Rock N’ Roll half marathon.
In spite of the cold and the rain, several members from last season’s crew made the return to Adams Morgan. Whereas months ago we showed off our toned runnings legs and sun-kissed arms, the change in season meant showing up to run in more layers than an onion. Fortunately, with only a half marathon to prep for, the SLR miles are fewer in number, but the company remains just as good.
Despite my half marathon PRs last spring, my training leading up to the races was far from rigid and organized. Though a friend and I had set ourselves up to do our long runs together every Saturday mornings, late Friday nights turned into late Saturday mornings, polar vortex conditions and ice rink-like conditions on the running paths made it easy for us to make excuses. While we typically had the best of intentions of making up for our missed runs the following day, more late nights or less than ideal weather forecasts made weekend long runs less than a regular occurrence.
Still, when I managed to refuse evening libations, listen to my alarms, and notice that the weather was actually half-decent, I laced up my sneakers and hit the pavement. Even when my nose became numb after only a few minutes, or the feelings in my hands disappeared because the air temperature was less than that of my frozen water bottle, my body came to enjoy the winter training. Perhaps it is that there are fewer people on the trails or the site of D.C. monuments frozen in time, but there is a sense of tranquility and calm that comes with running in the season of freezing temps.
It is a very different change of pace than running in the summer. Unfortunately, as last year taught me, the colder conditions make it easier for me to make excuses and blow off runs. Rather than repeating that again, I chose to rejoin Fleet Feet, thereby agreeing to run every Saturday and even return to the track for weekday workouts. This training season is all about commitment and pushing myself to the limits, even if the temperatures attempt to discourage me. While the idea of running tomorrow’s 400s in 20-degree conditions is frightening, I remind myself that if I can run 26.2 miles, then anything less than that should be a piece of a cake.