The nation is shivering amid a bone-chilling cold spell, and you’re stuck in the middle of it. You dread going out into the arctic abyss, but you’re a runner. That’s what you do.
Pulling into the track parking lot, your worst fears are confirmed. 73 degrees, the point where a smurf toy turns into an ice cube if you douse it in water and leave it in the freezer overnight. (kids, don’t try this at home.)
You’re wearing all the warm clothes you own — a tech shirt, a fleece jacket and some flimsy New Balance shorts — but the cold is icy, like the look Nancy Pelosi gives you if you’re not invited to the House chambers to deliver the State of the Union address but you show up anyhow.
So you dive into your laps immediately to get the damn thing over with. The track appears to be ice-free, but you run gingerly just in case, although you have no idea what ginger running might be and now you’re hungry. And of course thinking about Ginger conjures up the Gilligan’s Island theme song and a 3-mile reflection on why exactly would you pack a leopardskin evening gown for a three-hour tour. At least it always seemed warm on that island.
The usual 11-minute first mile and then hang on for the other two. Fingers numb from the unimaginable cold. Eyelashes frozen, or possibly just some stray slobber from an unfortunate spitting accident in the far turn. Nobody said running was easy.
And then 5,000 Baconator meters later, it’s finally over. A rush back to the car to escape the ravages of Mother Nature’s Ice Box.
Looking at the forecast while futilely trying to warm up in the car, you call up the forecast. Your worst fears are confirmed: low 70s all damn week.
You go home, climb under the blankies and dream of a faraway summer when the temps will finally climb past 115 again.
Winter sucks. But you’ll be out there again tomorrow.
Because you’re a runner. That’s what you do.