Invincible Summer

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says, that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there is something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
-Albert Camus

The above quote came into my head while I was running yesterday. It has meaning to me on several levels right now.  But if there is anything running this past year has taught me, it’s that there is something stronger and better within, pushing right back. And life is not merely a series of hardships and struggles; it’s a challenge. I may not win, but I’m going to have as much fun as I can trying.

On  a running level, it’s been hard to motivate myself in this cold weather. I normally wouldn’t try to motivate myself too hard “in the midst of winter”, as I firmly believe there is a cycle to our lives that follow the seasons; winter is a time to slow down, rest, and regroup. I guess in the Midwest you kind of have to embrace that way of thinking. However, I signed up for a half-marathon in June and I need to get off the couch and step away from the knitting needles or I will be crawling across the finish line.

Apparently all I needed was a plan to get motivated. I signed up for a couple of races this spring, planned out my training on my calendar, and suddenly it didn’t seem so cold outside and the wind didn’t seem quite so daunting. I found my invincible summer to push back against the cold weather and negative thoughts.

icy trail

I ran once on icy trails this week. I thought I was going to have to cut this run short when I encountered this icy hill about a half mile into my run. There was enough snow on the edges to keep my footing though, so I just slowed down and carried on. I’m glad I toughed it out for that first hill. The rest of the trail was clear and beautiful.

Spring House

The geese are starting to migrate back here and a red-tail hawk flew overhead at one point. I enjoyed watching the geese do whatever geese do this time of year. I don’t know why, but just watching them paddle around the lake always makes me smile. I startled a couple. I think I was too close to their nesting site and they let me know. I moved on quickly. I know that geese can get quite mean and protective. Or maybe they were just trying to motivate me to get back to the task at hand.

geese on the lake

Since the kids have a holiday weekend, I ended up running laps around the neighborhood for my last two runs this week so I wasn’t too far from home. Not too exciting, but I got the miles in.

Yesterday was cold: 20 degrees F (6 with the windchill) and 15 mph winds from the NW. I’m starting to not mind the cold runs, but I’m still looking forward to warmer months ahead! I heard a chickadee singing outside my window while I drank my morning coffee. It gave me hope that spring is coming soon.

June Hymn by the Decemberists played at the end of my last run and made me wish for warm weather even more. The song normally puts a spring in my step; yesterday it helped me conjure up the feeling of the warm sun.

I ended this week with a total of 13 miles. I feel great. No unusual aches or pains, lots of energy, and I’m ready to go. Hopefully the weeks ahead will follow suit. It’s good to be back in a routine again.

On a personal level, it’s been a challenging few months here. Life seems to be throwing us lots of curve balls lately. Some are easy to hit out of the ballpark, but some sneak up on you. I know shit just happens. It’s a fact of life. And the older we get, the more life seems to throw at us. It finally ended with some good news of sorts for us, and I’m glad I kept my head through it all. It would have been easy to wallow and whine and do all the “worst-case first” thinking, but what does that really accomplish? Running has taught me to break each challenge down into manageable parts and I was able to apply that to my real life. It was such a more positive and productive way to face the challenge.

And my husband took note. He came home from his last doctor’s appointment with a brand new pair of Asics. He said I’ve inspired him to start running again, so on his way home he stopped by the shoe store. It made me smile. We’re both so competitive though – this could either be really good for our marriage, or…. I actually think it will be good. Our competitiveness will be a good motivator. And we can each learn how to face life’s challenges in more positive and productive fashion.

****

Week one of training:

  • Sunday: easy 2.58 miles, light yoga session
  • Monday: rest
  • Tuesday: easy 3.5 miles, light yoga session
  • Wednesday: strength training
  • Thursday: easy 3.4 miles, light yoga session
  • Friday: strength training
  • Saturday: easy 3.5 miles, light yoga
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