HIT THE GROUND RUNNING: A journey of snow, dog snuggles and sleep

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Snow, ice, sleet, more ice, wind, and super cold temps … .

Yes, that’s what Old Man Winter dealt to our area last week. 

To be honest, there is nothing motivating when you open the weather app on your phone first thing in the morning and see that the “Real Feel” is -5 degrees–NEGATIVE 5. My brain told me it was too cold to run.

My body agreed. 

I crawled back into bed because yep, it was Saturday morning; I didn’t have anywhere to be and the electric blanket was still keeping my bed toasty.

I slept like there was no tomorrow. 

I slept for at least two more hours, snuggling with our Boston Terrier, Lola, and ignoring the images of my planned running route that kept trying to find their way into my sleepy visions.

When I finally woke up mid-morning, it was still freezing outside, so I did what most people would do – I continued to avoid my run.

To be fair, this wasn’t just any run – it was my scheduled, tempo, long run for the week: 10 miles with more than five of them at faster paces to help train my legs for the half marathon I have chosen to run in May.

Not only was I trying to motivate myself out the door, but I was also trying to motivate myself to run for nearly an hour and a half, pushing myself outside of my “easy run” comfort zone. 

While this is normally something I can overcome once I wake up, on this particular Saturday, I just said, “Nope”.

A warm cup of coffee and the book I am currently reading sounded better. 

Lola agreed as she crawled up beside me on the couch. 

I allowed myself to avoid my run for most of the morning. 

Since I have a Run Streak going, I knew I would eventually get some miles in (a Run Streak involves running at least one mile every day). 

Saturday was Day 590 of my streak – I was not going to allow a cold (FREEZING) day break my consecutive days of running. 

Despite the knowledge that I would in fact go for a run, I still could not wrap my mind around running those 10 miles. 

I knew it was going to be cold.

I knew my hands would hurt with numbness. 

I knew my eyelashes would get icy and my lungs would let me know several times that they like summer running much better.

By the time I headed out the door, the temps had risen to 20 with a Real Feel of 9. 

Not awful, but not perfect.

I made the executive decision to run 4 miles and call it a day, pushing my long run to Sunday (maybe).

The rest of the day was busy with other commitments, but when I went to bed that night I still planned on doing the 10-mile run in the morning.

Oftentimes a delay in doing the long run works and I can push my dip in motivation to the wayside.

Not this time though.

Sunday morning ended up looking a lot like Saturday morning on my end, even though Mother Nature had set the thermostat a little higher. 

I waited until the last possible minute to head out and allowed myself some grace with a shortened run all at an easy pace. 

I listened to my favorite podcast.

I enjoyed the smell of winter and the beauty of days-old snow.

I started to remember that any run is better than no run.

Grace: don’t we all need it once in a while? 

At the beginning of 2022 I made some goals for myself in regards to nutrition, running, and life.

And yes, those goals are still a priority as we head into February.

But my mental well-being and overall health are priorities as well.

There have been quite a number of things in the past few weeks I didn’t know were coming when I made those goals such as COVID in our household, new stresses at work, and friends and family members who I wanted to support due to unexpected things in their lives. 

Each one of these things has required (and continues to require) my full attention. Like many women, I balance a whole host of responsibilities and duties – being a mom, a wife, a teacher, a runner, a writer, and many other roles allows me various opportunities to do things I love – but there are only so many hours in the day. 

There are times when the balance between each of these isn’t always equal. 

There are times when I can forge ahead and come out on the other side.

There are times when I need to take a minute and regroup. 

There are times when I have to give myself grace and forgiveness because I can’t manage it all perfectly.

Giving myself grace and forgiveness allows me to continue to strive for and work on these goals instead of throwing my hands up in the air and leaving them for a different year.

There is no deadline to meet. 

There is no competition to finish first. 

In fact, many times the journey is just as important, if not more important than the end.

So I’ll continue to work on progress and consistency, knowing that these goals can grow with me, instead of dictating me. They will also allow me to live my life and fulfill each one of my duties the best way I can, without making them feel like chores or obligations. 

Emily Dickey is a Waynesboro native who run for fun and always looks for an opportunity to spread the sunshine.