My journey as a long distance runner who started the sport later in life.
I really can’t imagine what it must be like to stick with an outdoor running program through the wintery conditions I’ve been hearing about on the news. The pictures I see of snow in places like Boston defy belief, yet I know that they are true. I have lived in Monterrey, Mexico long enough to know that when it seems painfully damp and cold here, it is beyond tolerance back home in Ontario.
I have found the winter here to be longer and more miserable than usual: days on end of 5 C, low, thick, grey clouds, and fine mist or cold, relentless rain. The clouds settle into the valley like a thick mucous, and they are as hard to shake. The cement houses without central heating become like tombs, and the daily grind becomes just that. You are never warm, and you can never get used to it.
Just as the folks up north are desperate for a reprieve, so too are we, the people of northern Mexico. For the first time in a long time, longer than I can remember, I have skipped running twice this week just because I couldn’t bring my mind around to another run in the windy, cold, wet weather. Lady Gaga sang, “Hot like Mexico, rejoice,” so she clearly never spent winter in Monterrey.
I had almost resigned myself to three days in a row of no running, feeling guilty, but not quite guilty enough to do anything about it. The trouble is, I arrived home to the delicious smell of huevos con chorizo and homemade flour tortillas. I dove in and ate two tacos right away because lunch had been only a lettuce salad, which had left me wanting for sustenance. I remembered that a friend was bringing a pizza from Costco for dinner later and that I would eventually be eating that too. That’s when I realized that, nasty weather or not, I could no longer hide from going outside for a run.
I laced up and went 5K and it felt great, I felt great, and I was happy to be out there, happy to be able to run. I got very warm in spite of the cold rain, probably the warmest I have been other than when I am sleeping under a fleece blanket. It never ceases to amaze me what a powerful influence the brain has over the decision to exercise. I had to make myself go even though in the end I really enjoyed it. Why is it so hard to start? It’s just a little cold rain. Anyone who is able to get out there and run in the deep freeze and deep snow of northeastern North America has true grit!