Tuesday, November 18, 2008

3:30am Part 2: Mental Warfare

3:25am? Why did I set it for that? Oh yea, a winter snow warning last night. A few minutes ahead to get me on the road a few minutes early to work. I've gotta make that 7am appointment or the whole day will be in shambles! Same 'ol routine: brew the espresso, make the lunch, check the e-mail. Nothing new this morning. Oh, wait a minute: "What is that I see?" A quick turn on of the back patio light reveals large flakes of white matter falling from the sky and about 2" of it on the patio table. The snowflakes are falling straight down...not a hint of wind. "I wonder how cold it is....YES! It's 28 degrees." A PERFECT day to try on my new running "equipment." Shiny silver with accents of blue, they are. They arrived yesterday in a beat-up Brooks' box: my new TOP SECRET pair of Brooks wear-tester shoes. I applied about a year ago and my profile finally matched up with a current shoe they are testing. I agreed to confidentiality but I will say that they're perfect for a neutral, high mileage runner like myself. I'd post a pic but that's a big no-no.
So, 28F and snow-packed roads await. Ahhhh, and look up there...there's Mr. Moon once again shining bright to light the way. "You mean to tell me that just as I step outside the house, the clouds part, the flakes cease, and under moonlight I stand?" A week ago I ran 7.2 miles under moonlight so let's try a repeat, but this time, pay attention and run 7.0 miles! I head out and the sound of crunching snow is music to my ears. I don't really love the cold or winter-time for that matter. However, I do love running in the winter and in fresh-fallen snow. The fresh snow and bright moon created an easy path to follow without the LED light of my headlamp. Out I go towards my quiet nook of roller-coaster hills, hiding wildlife, and little or no traffic. It is amazing how such a familiar course is so very different just 7 days later. The trucks haven't plowed yet so my tracks are the first. So far, so good for my Brooks. They feel absolutely perfect. Nothing feels out of place at all. I can tell now that it'll be hard to send them back in February. I just hope they make it to Vertical Runner's shelves soon thereafter. I'm already sold on them.

I get out to where I found the poor 'ol opposum on the bridge around 3 miles last week and sure enough, he lays packed in snow right where I last saw him. I start to wonder if Cigarette Man will be out this morning getting his paper. I'm guessing I won't see him and I'm right. Not a soul to be seen anywhere. I get to the 3.5 mile turnaround and wow, I've been clocking 8:07 miles and it's felt easy. I turn around with the goal to get back home with overall average pace under 8 min/mi. Time to pick it up on this slush/snow/ice mixture and see what these gorgeous Brooks' shoes are made of. I get back to my roller-coaster hills and cruise smoothly over all of them. Luckily, no Honda Odyssey this week going airborne over them. Mr. Moon still shines bright over my head, casting a shadow at my feet. Not quite full, but full of light. There isn't a cloud nearby this time so no need to sprint home. It does, however, look like I've really sped up...kinda feelin' like around 7:30-7:40 pace...a good thing...and it feels great! The cold air does wonders this time of year.

As I approach civilization again, I once again glance at my shadow and feel incredibly thankful for health, my family, my very good friends who I share with, run with, joke with, and cross the finish line with, and lastly...for every step forward. Each one truly is a blessing and I pray I never take it for granted. As I take the step into my driveway at home, I glance down at a very good thing: 7 miles, 2nd half average pace of 7:39/mi, overall pace at 7:53, and 1071 calories burned. Sweet!

So what about "Mental Warfare," the sub-title of today's post? I've heard a lot of talk about this time of year about not being able to just "get out the door" to go run. Let me encourage you to mentally defeat all the urges to stay in...all nice and cozy...and sedentary. You'll be warmed up soon enough and you'll be thankful you got out there. Don't have the correct clothes? Need I refer yet another person to Vertical Runner?!?!? The panels on their walls are nearly falling down due to the weight of so much winter gear. Plus, there are lots of specials going on right now. Just do yourself a favor, don't delay in getting out there....just do it and go...you'll be so thankful you did.

Happy Trails, friends!

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