But I have a confession to make.
Since our move to the suburbs almost two months ago, my usual delight in my morning runs has been elusive. I am still running of course, but I haven't been loving it nearly as much as I normally do. It is a combination of things, I think. I am not totally comfortable on the streets of my new neighborhood yet, so I am still carrying my phone for the GPS so I can find my way around, which makes zoning out while I run practically impossible. The weather seems to be sticking in the high 40s/low 50s range, which is my least favorite weather to run in. And most of all, I think, I really miss Central Park. For two years The Park was the only place I ran, and that six mile loop was my second home. Leaving it, and learning to run somewhere else, has been harder than I imagined.
But starting with yesterday's run, I think I'm finally getting my running mojo back.
When I got up, I did my habitual weather check so I would know what to wear, and the temperature was in the low 30s. Perfect. I love running in the freezing cold weather. I love my running tights, and my pink fleece-lined running jacket. I love running gloves, and my dry-fit headband. I love feeling the frigid air in my lungs, and I love seeing my breath as I huff and puff my way through the miles. Running in the freezing cold makes me feel fierce. It makes me feel alive.
|Finally time for running tights and my pink fleece-lined jacket. Loving it.|
|My cold and empty winter streets.|
The arrival of winter also means the arrival of training season. Lots of people run their longest races in the fall, and train throughout the spring and summer. And while one of my life goals is to run the New York City Marathon on the first Sunday in November, I prefer to schedule my longest races in the spring and summer and pack my miles into the winter months.
Like a lot of people, I do my best running when I have a goal. Having a race looming in the distance is incentive for me to get out of bed at ungodly hours of the morning before work to get my miles in, rather than re-setting my alarm to get that extra hour of sleep. Marking off training runs on a calendar in anticipation of a race is exciting, and keeps me motivated through the short, dark days of winter.
Knowing these things about myself, I registered for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon (or, possibly, the full if I can get my act together in time) in May, and the Pittsburgh Rock n' Roll Half Marathon in August. And while I am not wild about running those huge distances in the heat of the summer, the fact that I can train all the way through the winter makes those sweaty race miles worth it. And with my first race eighteen weeks away, I have declared my training season officially open.
So, winter is finally here, the cold air has arrived, and I feel like I am finally getting into a groove in my new neighborhood. It is, indeed, the most wonderful (running) time of the year.