Happy first day of Spring. Ugh. It blizzarded yesterday, and here we are, completely snowed on March 20.
I am practicing my deep breathing, but the air is so cold, I sputter, find the couch, and go back to distractions like public radio, Popeapalooza, and the Modern Love column in the New York Times. I need Spring. The winterizing of my soul is getting old, and everything in life feels like two steps forward, one step back. Which I guess is better than one step forward, two steps back. That said, I don’t think that simple, humble forward progress is really asking all that much.
Obviously, the seasons are a good example, and they seem to set the stage for everything else that happens. Two weeks ago, I ran the slowest 22 miles of my life, which was horrendous and demoralizing, but it was winter, so I shrugged it off as a seasonally affected long run. That run was what it must feel like to run on legs suffering from a major depressive episode. But it was winter then.
Then we had a touch of Spring. I saw a crocus. My garden Buddha finally poked his head above the snow. Things were looking so good. It was a New Englandy sort of Spring, but it felt Springy nonetheless. One day, I wore a skirt without tights, the pores on my white, ashy legs taking big gulps of unconstricted air. Last weekend, I ran 20 miles at a pace that was a minute per mile faster than the 22-miler, on the Boston course, on an out-and-back through the Newton hills. It was St. Patrick’s Day. I wore green, the color of Spring to those of us who aren’t Irish (Irish Spring soap notwithstanding). Two steps forward. Happy, content, optimistic, even.
Yesterday, the sky dumped another too many inches of sleety, icy, nasty snow. And just like that: winter. Skin back under under fleece, and my spirit again hibernating beneath every defense mechanism I can find. Agonizing, slow 10k run on the mill yesterday, looking out a window onto snow banks higher than my child. Today, digging out and finding my soul back in protective mode to get me through Ides. One step back.
I have one more very long run planned for this weekend, 20-22 miles. I don’t know if it will be Winter or Spring, and that’s a weird, uncomfortable place to be. It’s like a bipolar disorder of climate. What’s a runner to do? Pack some Gu and run far far far–thinking of the good season, which will come again, as it always does.