This good-for-something winter

I have never liked winter. I spend December through March counting the days until temperatures should consistently start with at least a 5, and are not just 5 degrees. Training for the Boston Marathon is really just a way to countdown to better weather and keep me from hibernating until spring.

But this winter. Ugh. This winter.

I’ve stood on freezing platforms waiting for a train, and then waiting for one with space for new passengers. I have woken up at 4:30 to get to the gym to fit in a run before work. I’ve slept without heat and replaced parts on our boiler. I have shoveled. And I have shoveled. And I know I am fortunate, as many have had it much worse.

I was starting to get pissy when I would hear people say that dealing with the challenges of this winter “makes you stronger”. This winter has made me tired. It has made me cranky, grumpy and it has often made me late. But except for the extra shoveling, I didn’t feel particularly stronger.

Then last Saturday I ran 20 miles. It was not just 20 miles, but rather 20 miles along the same boring route where I had run 19 the week before, and where 16 miles were made up of running back and forth on the same stretch of road. It could have been mind numbing , but with the help of some good company, the run actually felt really good. Thanks to my running buddy’s calm and positive demeanor, I may have finished that run a little less angry at the world too.

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This week I was motivated to stick with my training schedule, even if it meant 4:45 alarms and more treadmill runs. I did it. And sleeping in on my rest day on Friday felt amazing.

This morning, our Run to End Alzheimer’s team bussed out to Hopkinton to run from the marathon starting line into Newton. A change in route and a lot of bare pavement was encouraging, but 22 miles felt a little daunting at 7am. I’d have to run past my car at mile 17 and I debated through the first half of my run, cutting back the distance. But at a water stop about 12 miles in, I knew I had it in me to finish 10 more.

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There are still a lot of weeks left before the marathon and training is not at all done. But in the last week I have been given some reassurance that the time and miles have been worth it, even if I haven’t run them where I would have liked. If I struggle on marathon day, I now have a bunch of new experiences to relate to, knowing I can push through.

Maybe I am willing to admit this winter has made me stronger after all (but enough with the snow, ok?).

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