Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Thrill of Terrible Conditions/Training the Mind to Run Right Through the Winter

The New York Times on Wednesday came out with the following article on training during the winter "Train the Mind to Run Right Through the Winter": It's about how people taper off running during the winter because of the lousy weather and so they lose motivation to work out. Coming from Rochester NY, I can understand this. The weather does get cold and inclement at times. It sometimes is hard to motivate myself to trudge in 10 degree weather and snow. The study the NY Times conducted shows that the motivation is more likely to decrease in new runners than seasoned runners. Seasoned runners, they claim, "attest that there is a certain thrill that can come from terrible conditions."
I think they are right on the mark with this. A succesful run through the snow, rain, or wind can cause a great feeling of excitement. Today's run is a perfect example. It was 40, raining hard, and 25mph winds. But I suited up (having good running gear helps) and headed out. My time was hardly affected by these conditions; I think I ran my 6 miles about a minute slower than usual, if that. At first my hands were cold - my one mistake was not wearing gloves, but I've learned my lesson. However, within a mile, I had warmed up and was actually hot! It was pretty gross out, but it's fun to run through the puddles as I'm charging up hills and be out when everyone else is inside. Plus, the pink jacket repels water and my tights are pretty good too, so it's not like I could even feel the pouring rain. There is a big hill between miles 4-5, and the last 300 feet of that was hard. The rain was pounding and it seem as if the hill would not end. But reciting lines of the "Don't Quit" poem (see bottom of entry) helped to propel me up. Once I got to the top, I was totally psyched! So much adrenaline was going at that point, and I felt invincible. So I charged through the rest of the run, feeling strong and able to conquer anything. I do think part of it was the bad weather that made me feel better - which is bizarre - dreary days can often be tough. But going out and facing the tumultous weather was a good thing. So bring on the winter - I'm suited up and ready to go!

About "Don't Quit" (author unknown): My friend Jenny, who was the director of my camp this summer, shared this poem with us at the beginning of our program. I think it's very motivational during challenging times, and I've reread it a lot in recent months. There are also a few good lines that I've memorized and often recite to myself during hard runs (and during the marathon too).

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

1 comment:

  1. But how were you not completely swept away by those 25m.p.h. winds?
    Looking forward to running with you soon. Love the post! Love the poem! Thanks for sharing!