When I open the door on a frigid February morning to check the running weather, I immediately close it again.
“Oh, way too cold this morning,” I think to myself. “I’ll run tomorrow morning. It’s supposed to be a lot warmer.”
Then I putter around the house doing the usual trivial chores that seem to repeat themselves each day. I find myself glancing through the window to see just exactly how much the wind is blowing against the trees. Doesn’t seem to be quite as bad as I thought. Maybe if I just laced up and did a quick couple of kilometres it wouldn’t be that cold. 15, 20 minutes tops.
Without hesitation, I scramble to find my Garmin, running hat, two pairs of gloves, winter hoodie, thermal running pants, and reflective running coat. Lace up the sneakers and away I go.
The first part of my run is always the hardest. The stiffness of overnight and middle age has presented themselves well this morning. I continue my usual route knowing exactly where the inclines and slight grades are. Once I get past these, the negative thoughts start to leave my head. I think to myself that it’s not as bad as I imagined. Maybe five kilometres might be doable.
My run brings me to the usual thoughts, schedules, and yes even prayers that keep me company each time. There is always someone on the list. Occasionally I even pray for myself.
This is a time I also like to give thanks. Thanks for the strength to be able to run at my age, thanks for the good life I have and thanks for great family and friends.
By the time I reach what had planned to be my return, I have worked up a good sweat. The morning sun has broken through the horizon and the dogs are starting their usual good morning song. I check the watch and realize that I have time to push through another couple of kilometres. I need that bit of hill training anyway.
Once I crest the hill, it’s smooth sailing from here on in. The two kilometres I intended will magically turn into eight. Time to turn around.
The route back to the beginning is always glorious. You know that in 20 to 25 minutes, you will feel the exhilaration of your run. A quick shower, a sip of water and off to work for another day.
Running has been a major part of my life for years. It helps me think. It is where I do my best planning. It is my time to be alone. A time to give thanks, and reflect. It is my time to cry and my time to laugh. It is my time to plead. It is the place I go to rid myself from anger. It is the place I go to rid myself of anxiety.
All these emotions have accompanied me on the cold and brisk mornings as well as the hot and humid mornings. Life takes you on many paths. Running also has taken me on many paths. The friends I have made and the experiences I have had will stay in my heart hopefully until I finish the race.
— Peggy Doyle writes from Gull Island