I have not been a cold weather runner since high school. Even back then I don’t think I truly enjoyed it but seemed to at least tolerate it. Maybe it was because I was young. Maybe it was having friends on my team to distract me. Maybe it was because I didn’t get a say if the team was going outside or not; if we were then I just went.
The older I get the more I hate winter. So much in fact I was inspired to write a poem last year about it – The Cold. I would gladly sweat my butt off in 90 degree temps than freeze it off running in sub 40 degree temps.
To date my hatred of winter weather has always ruled out the possibility of running the York Winter Series. Whenever I was asked if I was going to run it, my response was “What part of getting up early on a cold winter morning to go run long, hard races sounds appealing?”
I had attended quite a few of the races years ago to watch my dad compete. I would bundle up and see him off at the start and promptly return back to the vehicle to keep warm until the runners began returning. The cold wasn’t the only deterrent in joining my dad; when I saw portions of the courses as well as heard their descriptions my immediate thought was “No way.”
These races are loaded with hills. One in particular, Spring Valley, begins with runners exiting a parking lot and immediately turning left to run up an incredibly steep hill. That race finishes with runners climbing the other side of the hill.
So what exactly possessed me to be crazy enough to sign up for the series this year? A few things actually. The first would be that I’m still riding the high of breaking 2 hours in the Blue-Gray Half Marathon. I had felt so strong during my training for it and even stronger during the actual race that I want to keep that momentum going. The next would be the belief that I can actually do it. Years ago my mileage and consistency of running would tend to drop off by October so I never felt in shape enough by the first race in November to even attempt it. I’ve overcome the knee issues I’ve had in the past, so they are no longer a barrier to cold weather running. I am slightly fearful of making my chilblains flare up worse, but after last year’s awful bout even during a warmer than usual February I don’t consider the condition a good enough excuse to not try. Finally there’s good old peer pressure. My dad has been after me for years to do the series. Knowing that he as well as several of my other running buddies are doing it makes me not want to miss out. When I asked my husband his opinion on if I should sign up he said yes – that extra boost of confidence sealed the deal. Besides it’s 8 races for only $40 – where else can you race so cheaply?
First up is the Dover 10 miler this Sunday. I have only ever ran the Rail Trail 10 miler as far as 10 milers go. Dover promises to be colder and hillier than the Rail Trail. I’m fortunate in that it’s an afternoon race so I won’t have to be up early in the cold at least. I haven’t set any goals for the race as I plan to play a “wait and see” game on how I feel then decide during the race if I’m going to treat it as a workout and just get the miles in or actually race it. History leans toward me racing it by the end.
I have conquered distance goals and surpassed time goals. Now it’s time to conquer the cold!