Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Running in a Blizzard

Disclaimer:  You should not run in a blizzard.  I did because 1.  I'm an idiot. and 2. I had the stuff and experience to do it safely.  Don't try this at home.

There's a blizzard going through Central Illinois at the moment.  Big snow, big wind, big cold.  My day started pretty normally.  I woke up, ate some breakfast, donned the spandex, and got on the bike.  After that, shower and off to work.  About an hour in it became very clear that we were about to get a big big snow.  A few hours later we were sent home.  So, I did what any runner would do...I went to the gym to try to get my run in before it closed.  Alas, I was too late.  The gym was closed as well. 

At first I was bummed.  I really hate missing workouts.  Then my mind wandered to some people I was helping a few days ago, and some of the word on this blog.  And then the endurance athlete started bargaining with the sensible part of me.  "Well, the snow isn't that deep, and you're just supposed to run 5k easy anyway..."  "Besides, you just told all those people to do whatever it takes, and to suck it up buttercup."  Yeah, I did say that.  And then my mood changed.  How many people go running in a blizzard?  This is going to be fun!  Apparently, my inner athlete had thought I was suddenly getting off too easy.  "And oh, BTW, these easy tuesday runs are always form work...so you're running in your vibrams (aka almost barefoot), but hey, that's not totally barefoot, so no whining."

So off I went.  It was 16 degrees out, with 25 mph winds gusting up to 55 mph, and a wind chill of -1.  There was, at the time, about 4 inches of snow on the road.  At first it wasn't so bad.  I was working hard to run my easy pace, since I'd probably added about 20 pounds of clothing.  The snow wasn't so bad at all.  The cold was bad.  It cut right through both pairs of gloves and my hands stopped hurting less than a mile in.  In the cold, the absence of pain is concerning.

The hardest part was the wind and blowing freezing snow/ice.  It really hurt.  My eyes stung to the point that I kept them closed as much as I possibly could.  It was in the worst of this that I started to wonder "why on earth am I doing this?"  It was for me, in my quest to be better than my previous self, sure.  But more than that, it was for the people I've met since my escape from obesity.  I know the fight.  It's every day, it's exhausting, it hurts.  It's not even a fight that can be won, but rather it's a fight you take on for the rest of your life.  I ran in the middle of a blizzard so that I could say "suck it up buttercup" and not be just another fake with a weight loss book talking about the latest gimmick. It was because, for at least today, I'm fighting and I'm winning.

It continued to snow, and after I had been out there around 20 minutes traffic was having a real difficult time making it down the smaller streets.  They certainly had strange looks to share with me however! 

After returning home I stood with my face over a sink of steaming hot water, melting the ice covering my eyes, and grinning like a dumb ass. That was a huge challenge, and also possibly the most fun I've ever had running.

So suck it up buttercup, what's your excuse, a blizzard?


  1. LOL SUCK IT BUTTERCUP!!! you SCHOOLED me on how it should be DONE!!! hahahaha that will be a run for you to remember! :)

  2. I used to use that line on myself all the time when I was suffering Laura. I'm on a new "no negative talk" kick though, so I've retired it. I might take it back out someday though...some days I need the carrot, some the stick.

    The best part about that run was changing things up. It wasn't 'the routine.' Breaking out of the routine really helped a ton.

  3. Heh I almost went yesterday myself. I thought it would be to dangerous but the more I think though no one was really on the road. Probably safer than normal. Congrats!!

  4. Great job on your run!! You are braver than me :) Walking to my car from work was bad enough... ice snow hurts!!!

  5. "Suck it up!" I needed to hear that this week. Also I linked to this post in my blog....hope you don't mind, but if you do just let me know and i'll remove it:)