Or is it discipline I’m trying to get back? I’m not sure. (Warning: I’m feeling a little undecided about things right now.)

Up until last August, if I had a run planned, I did it. Or, I felt extremely guilty about not doing it.  But last fall, with my library’s reorg, and a completely crazy workload, I kind of fell off of the discipline wagon.  And then became more “flexible” or at least that’s what I told myself it was.  But really, it was a way that I could rationalize taking some days off.  Which makes it sound like a bad thing, but in some ways, I feel like it was good for me.

My running may have suffered from this more flexible attitude, but I feel like it was needed for the rest of my life.  This year, I’m going to see if I can add back in some more of my mental discipline but try to keep it in check, and not let running become an obsession so that the rest of my life is out of balance.    That means no running out there with a ski mask on, and when it’s so cold that I literally have water freezing on my eyelashes.  When I think back to those runs, and the fact that I did them in the dark mornings (with my head lamp on, of course), my god, I was like a woman obsessed.  This year, if it gets that cold again, I’m either going to take the day off or do some cross training, or something inside (maybe attempt yoga) but running in cold weather like that, well, it was not good for my lungs.  (I believe those were runs that had wind chills in the negative digits.)

This year, the weather has just been so cold.  And I think part of what’s making it feel even worse is the wind.  Yesterday, for some unknown reason, I had this number “7” in my mind as the number of miles I wanted to do. I’m not training for a long race right now, so it’s not really necessary, but I figured if I want to do better with 5Ks and 10Ks this spring, in addition to the track workouts, I should try to run further than that distance on the weekend.

I ended up running 7.26 miles.  My average was 9:47 pace, but I do have to acknowledge turning off the Garmin a few times when I ate some of my sports beans.  (Try running and opening up a ziploc baggie with bag gloves on in the cold. Go on, try it. Not so easy, is it?!)

Good things to report. No one beeped at me to remind me that I am just a small human, and they are driving a large vehicle weighing at least 20x as much as me. No drunks or people high on whatever running out and trying to get into a fight with me.  HOWEVER, I did get a driver who slowed down, caught my eye and then gave me a big thumbs-up, and affirming nod.  That definitely helped me to pick up my step! 🙂 

Then, a few miles later,  I think I may have run past Dan Vassallo, the local running phenom I was blogging about recently.  The maybe-Dan had on an orange hat like he did, and where I passed him, it definitely would have made sense for him to run, as we live in neighboring towns and we were not too far from the town line. Well, for someone like him, anyway.   He had on the same kind of orange knit hat I saw him in a week ago, and he was running super-fast.  Of course, I could be completely wrong, but for now, I’m going to go with “that was him!” as my memory from yesterday.  Whoever he was, he acknowledged me with another nod, and said something but I didn’t hear it – was listening to my headphones and we were on opposite sides of the street. Also, my legs didn’t feel like lead when I finished – yay! 

Oh, yesterday’s run began around 9:20 a.m., with temps in the teens, and wind chills somewhere in the single digits. I think. Today’s weather was forecast to be even colder.

So, I planned to do cross-training at the gym.  I used the rowing machine for the first time in months.  I was frustrated with myself yesterday for having back pain on my run, and also that my arms felt tired from carrying a water bottle.  Can we say, I NEED STRENGTH WORKOUTS AGAIN?  Yes!!   So, today’s workout was a combo of rowing, weights, and escalator-to-nowhere.  No bike riding, but the variety felt great.

And the mental workout consisted of me thinking about which races I want to run this year.  I may add a page to the blog with the list once I’ve decided, and if I’ve run them last year, put down my times. That way I can stay accountable, and actually go through with all of them.

If you’ve made it this far thru this post, wow, you’ve got stamina.  I leave you below with a picture of the sunrise from a few months ago (when it was warmer, sigh).  It’s a big part of why I prefer to work out in the mornings and helps me to get out of bed in the pitch black darkness of night.

Sunrise - why I get up when I do