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Monday, December 22, 2014

The Lighter Side of Running, Part 1

Posted by William on September 10, 2012

The end of March is almost here, so it is safe once more to think of spring without becoming so incredibly depressed and banging one’s head into the cold, hard walls of one’s house.

If you’re anything like me, you are already trying to make out a training schedule that will accommodate warmer temperatures, longer days and the welcome absence of ice on the roads (as I have taken an inordinate number of pratfalls on icy roads this winter). In fact, with the official start of spring, it is vitally important to start thinking about these things lest one be caught with their spring gear unpacked from its winter slumber and be forced to run in an all-black outfit on the first 65-degree day of the year and as a result, being the first human being to transmutate into perspiration.

With the onset of longer days comes the potential for those like me who have to hang around the office until after 4 p.m. to include more long training runs into their otherwise full schedule. Now, because I spent the entire winter running in the post-twilight 5 p.m. hour, this is a refreshing change for me to be able to run in the sunny hours of the day again, particularly as the semi-eternal darkness of winter in the Great White North can be so incredibly demotivating. I never liked training runs at night, and this is because I like to wear dark colors and then nobody can see me at night, increasing the chances that I could experience my last moments staring into the headlights of some old truck barreling down one of the many rural roads in my neck of the woods, just like a mesmerized deer. I suppose I could wear white in the winter, but that doesn’t work where I live because when I disappear behind a drift or run into a snow squall, then I increase the chances of being mistaken for a large, yet well-dressed, flake as opposed to the slightly-built and somewhat pathetic flake that I am normally mistaken for. That’s a different story, of course.

I also take on a more generous workout schedule and by this I mean that I do much more stretching and weight training once spring begins. That is also pure motivation, and the fact that the racing season begins in March, so if I don’t resume a tough exercise schedule, then I risk being lapped by the “60 and over” group at races, which would probably cause me to retire from the local racing scene and spend the remainder of my running days trying to beat squirrels up various trees in the nearby woods.

There simply isn’t as much need to do all the pre-training formalities in the winter because nobody holds a race in the winter around here unless they have an extremely graphic and perverse death wish; it’s just that cold for most of the season.

With the return of life to Michigan comes the return of my competitive spirit, however, so I am then compelled to look my absolute best so that I may once again finish midfield among hundreds of my fellow townspeople and forever be seen as “average,” which would be a great comedown for an intrepid runner.

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