Monday, December 15, 2008

Running in the Interior

Last weekend I was itching to do a long run, I felt it was a necessity and not an option. Faced with the dilema of winters water fountainlessness, and as of yet unwillinging to break out my water holder I decided to do loops of Riverview Park. Riverview has one of the only outdoor year-round water fountains, a cold weather runners wet dream (literally).

The park's loop is 2.3 miles, so I settled in to do 4 loops. It was a cold day but there wasn't any ice on the ground, so I was able to bundle up and run just fine. I enjoyed the camaraderie of the other runners and walkers who ventured out, there is nothing like a shared experience of pain to make folks just that much friendlier.

Running a loop can be monotonous, but sometimes I find the monotony comforting -- tracing my footfalls, anticipating the hills, the curves in the road, the way the landscape changes very slightly each time around. I broke out in one lap and followed an off road trail, a diversion that was rewarded with a bright red Cardinal sighting.

Running in circles. It's an expression of frustration, futility. Sometimes, though, it's exactly what I need to connect with my interior.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dashing through the Snow

Luckily, there hasn't been much of the white stuff yet in the 'burgh, but over my birthday weekend I was treated to an unprecedented snow drop. Snow towards the end of November is not necessarily a rarity in these parts, but inches upon inches along with icy streets and sidewalks is not the norm.

I did manage to get a run in the night before the big day, running circles in the cul-de-sac on which my bed and breakfast was situated. The snow fell lightly, so I was able to maintain traction and trace patterns with my footfalls. One of the beautiful things about snow is the way it quiets the landscape, blanketing and comforting the starkness of winter, reflecting back precious sunshine.

For all of this, the practical inconveniences and dangers of snow and ice engender a great deal of anxiety for this runner. I dread it's arrival every year and am lifted when the season ends -- yet its presence is a fact of life in this region, so I try my best to welcome and consider its beauty, the quiet moments of grace.

I started this entry wanting to write about all the reflection I've been doing -- plans for the future, the neatness and not so neatness of my recent training. The Turkey Trot. And I find myself thinking and writing about snow. Snow. Maybe it's best just left at that, the metaphor for the unpredictable, dangerous beauty that is upon us, upon me. Sometimes you have no choice but to relax into the conditions around you, focus, and adapt.