Sub-freezing temperatures, dark mornings with reluctant dawns, warm pillows that are so much more inviting than icy sidewalks and windblown river paths. All the familiar signs of the Boston Marathon training season are here again.
My teammate Jack calls this the “character development phase” of the season. Phil talks about the mental toughness we’ll gain by running in the cold. Typically I find this mindset inspiring; one of the things I love most about running is the very real concept that pain and endurance can produce unimaginable rewards.
This month, however, regularly running in the cold and snow has been difficult for me. I ran the Boston Marathon last year, so perhaps this is my “sophomore slump.” I know I need to regain my ability to determinedly grit my teeth and stick to my training plan no matter what. That’s what it means to be disciplined and committed; that’s what it means to be a marathoner.
But sometimes you just have to admit you’re exhausted, and the “grit your teeth” approach isn’t going to work right now.
And then you find a new way to get yourself out for your morning runs. Because, no matter how exhausted and unmotivated you are, giving up isn’t an option.
So I convinced a bunch of people on the team to go for our Tuesday morning run in Santa hats and jingle bells. I knew dragging myself out of bed when the temperature was in the single digits was going to be difficult, so I decided to make it fun. And just as important, I decided to make sure people on my team would give me a hard time if I didn’t show up. Once I’d promised to bring Santa hats from the Dollar Store, there was no backing out.
It was about 7 degrees outside, but we had one of our largest groups of runners this season – all of whom were good sports and decked themselves in boughs of holly.
Happy holidays from the Running for Rare Diseases team!