Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sadie Hawkins and Lima Beans

Thanks to that precocious minx Sadie Hawkins today is the day on which we officially push the needle past the halfway point of February. Just one more reason to celebrate Leap Year - an additional day of Winter. The calendar equivalent of receiving an extra helping of lima beans or liver.

Thus far - and I know that I run the risk of incurring the wrath of Meteorologus, the God of Weather simply by saying this - Winter 2012 has been survivable. My running partner Gidg and I are in the throes of training for our second go-round at the New Jersey Marathon (she is back for more because she enjoyed the first attempt while I am back because....because sad to say that I am in fact much dumber than I look). At this point last winter I think I had been able to run once outside. So far this winter, the long, weekend training runs have all been logged in the fresh air.

That might seem like a little thing - or perhaps nothing at all - to you but as a runner one's mental health is as important as one's physical well-being. If/when I am required to spend too many miles on a treadmill at one time, I begin to feel as if I am running towards a big piece of cheese, which is forever dangling just ahead of me and out of my reach. It makes me even surlier and less user-friendly than I otherwise am.

It was cold 'NTSG this past weekend. Gidg and I participated in a 5K run on Saturday morning as light snow fell around those of us running in New Brunswick's Buccleuch Park. Although it was a little bit uncomfortable Saturday morning, it was significantly colder and windier on Sunday morning. The elements initially forced me inside as I ran the first half of my scheduled eight-mile run on the treadmill. However, by Mile 4 I wanted to hang myself with the laces on my running shoes. So I threw on a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and my trust knit cap and ran the final four miles in the great outdoors. Fresh air is good. Freezing cold air being inhaled into your lungs is less so.

The calendar's relentless advance towards Marathon Sunday is both good and bad. It is good in that it contains but two more February weekends and I presume - based upon a lifetime's worth of experience living here in the State of Concrete Gardens - that March (and April after it) shall bring weather that is more suitable for running outside than normally is found in January and February. It is bad in that as those last couple of February weekends are peeled off of the calendar, I am reminded that the gap between me and Marathon Sunday gets smaller and smaller every day. Once Ms. Hawkins packs her "Happy Quadrennial!" gown away, Marathon Month will be but sixty-one days away.

Perhaps just this one time, Ms. Hawkins can be persuaded to stick around longer than just one day. After all, liver is good for you. Lima beans too.... least that is what Mom always told me to make me eat them.


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