Here I am, all bundled up, after a run this morning in the frigid air (it was only 9 degrees F when I started) running around my beloved Lake Harriet. I am standing on the finally frozen lake which I love to snow-shoe across during the winter.
You may think I’m crazy but I absolutely adore running in the winter. It is actually my favorite time of year to run in. When other Minnesotans are all bundled up and hibernating inside, I lace up my shoes, throw on a pair of wool socks, layers of dry-fit clothing, long Johns and my paper-thin running coat (which actually goes to extreme temperatures such as 10 below zero F…yes, I have been crazy enough to even test it in this weather!) and go for a run.
There is something spectacular and invigorating about running in extreme temperatures. First of all, there is hardly anyone there. Unlike the summer months, where you have to zigzag through the herds of seasonal runners, the winter months remain only for the hearty, daring souls. I find a certain kind of solace and peace in running through the cold, icy air and fighting the bone-chilling, penetrating winds. For some reason, it pushes me to run even faster and test my ability and defy my age. For a moment I feel like I’m twenty again….at least until I get that next leg cramp.
Second of all, it forces me to go outside and be at one with nature. I get my vitamin D, my nature fix and feel more connected to the environment I live in. I detest gyms and machines. I want to do something more natural and be outdoors, no matter what the mercury reads on my frozen thermometer.
Third of all, I like how I feel when I’m there. I enjoy the solace of it. The peace. The challenge and the exhilaration. I do some of my best thinking while I’m on a run. Most of the time, I use outdoor running to reflect on my life, look to the future and also compose new blog posts such as this one. Life is way too busy in today’s world and there hardly ever seems time to even have a moment to think. Running forces me to do it. I leave the music at home. I let my brain do the thinking while my legs do the work.
You may still not completely understand why I chose to torture myself and run, rain, snow, or shine, but that is what makes me tick. It’s what keeps me whole. And keeps me sane.
What do you do to maintain your sanity and to think?