I’m feeling very sad today. Not depressed sad, but more nostalgic thinking about this past summer and all the awesome races I got to run. I trained so hard and spent so much time out on the trails early in the summer mornings watching the sun come up. It was so rewarding and fulfilling because it was all so much bigger than I was. I think that’s what draws me to races. There’s something magical about putting on the bib and planning out GU times, pace times and start times. You’re part of this huge, giant race – you’re a piece of the bigger picture. Racing and actually competing is one of the most exciting parts about being a runner. On the other hand, I also like the nice relaxed runs. The runs where you enjoy every moment and you’re reminded why you love this sport. Being a runner is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done in my life. And now, as November rolls around in Northeast Ohio, I am filled with dread as all of these rewards and feelings will now be confined to a small, crowded gym for the next six months.
It’s enough to make me cry really. What I wouldn’t give to wake up early on a warm summer morning and hit the trails early before work. Now it’s cold and dark outside as I’m dragging myself out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to get to the gym. Worse – sometimes I have to go to the gym after work when it’s filled with high school meat heads who take up the entire weight area and high school girls who are just there to socialize with one another.
I’m missing my long weekend runs too. Some weeks I dreaded them, while other times I looked forward to them, but I always felt amazing afterwards. I knew I could officially enjoy the weekend after a long early Saturday run. Now I’m stuck running five miles on a treadmill in a stuffy gym with people running directly next to me, stomping away on their own squeaky treadmills. Even worse, sometimes you get kicked off after an hour. I’m sorry, but how am I supposed to get in 13 miles if I have to get off the treadmill every hour and wait for another one to open up? It’s awful and I’m critically depressed and it’s only the beginning of November.
How does anyone do it?! How do runners stay motivated and on their A game during the long, cold winter months? How do you train hard all winter? I am tossing around the idea of running the full Cleveland Marathon near the end of May, but giant red flags are waving in my head. I HATE INDOOR RUNNING. Why would I put myself through that awful training during the coldest part of the year? Why Cassandra why?! …..…and then right as I am about to make up my mind that I won’t do it, I hear that I quietly answer myself…because I am missing marathon training more then I ever could imagine. Because I know that if I sign up for that race I will feel like I did this past summer. I will have that feeling that I am a part of something bigger than myself and all these past’s winters I didn’t know what that was like, and now I do…