I'm trying. I really am.
Trying to be patient. Trying to embrace the winter wonderland and how beautiful the snow-covered landscape is. Trying to remember that I love cooking fun stuff on chilly winter days (yesterday was beef stew and apple pie - mmmmmm!). Trying to be creative and keep the kids occupied with fun projects and crafts on the days when we're stuck indoors due to snow and/or ridiculously cold temperatures.
But it's really getting difficult. Some days I'm brimming with good ideas, and we're energized and we get out and about and keep ourselves busy at home, too.
Other days I let the boys watch too much TV and play too many video games, figuring that both the TV and the Wii see very little action during the spring and summer months, so it all balances out somehow - right????
It snowed again last night, and I'm now watching the wind gusts blow the newly fallen snow all over the driveway that I just shoveled. Those same wind gusts, combined with temperatures in the teens, mean no outside time today.
We're pretty hardy folks when it comes to playing outside in all types of weather (I bundled them up and brought them to the park a few weeks ago when it was barely 20 degrees, and they had a blast!), but we have our limits.
We did get out yesterday, though - I made sure of it, since I knew today would be an indoor kind of day, and yesterday wasn't too bad, in relative terms.
There were some light snow showers, and it was chilly, but not frigid, so we bundled up and headed to the beach, where the boys spent nearly an hour throwing rocks. The tide was low, so they couldn't get them into the water, but I showed them that they could bounce their rocks off the other piles of rocks and send them flying down the beach, and that was all the encouragement they needed.
And after doing that for a while, they each filled their pockets with smaller rocks and we walked along the wall to a point where they could drop them over and watch them splash into the water.
The simplest things are sometimes the most fun. And even I have to admit that it was kind of nice being out there with the snow swirling all around us. The beach is such an amazing, uplifting place to be, even in cold weather.
That's why so many of my runs find me at the ocean, too. And I was there again Saturday morning.
After skipping my long run two weeks in a row (one week for a race, and last week due to the blizzard), I was anxious to get back out there and log some miles.
And judging by how well things went, my mind and my body both appreciated the break. I was scheduled to run 18 miles at an 8:30 pace, and I was a little nervous about sustaining that pace for that length of time, but it proved to not be an issue at all. In fact, I frequently found myself having to remember to slow down, and finished the run with an average 8:23 pace - and it felt great!
It was just one of those runs where everything went right. The weather wasn't ideal (gray and cloudy and on the chilly side), but it wasn't awful, either - and I was dressed perfectly, so I was comfortable the entire time.
My fueling was spot-on, and I had watered-down Gatorade in my handheld bottle, and sipped it throughout the run, and it didn't bother my stomach at all.
I had a few negative thoughts when I first started out - feeling suddenly overwhelmed, at mile 1, with the prospect of running 17 more miles. But I got past those within the first few miles, and it felt like before I knew it, I was at 12 miles, eating my second Gu, and almost in the home stretch.
My cranky piriformis/glute was definitely aching for the last few miles, but everything else felt awesome, and the final couple of miles were my fastest of the whole run.
It was also extremely satisfying to finish that run yesterday, because it allowed me to cross off the final workout of week 8 of my training plan, and literally turn the page to begin the second half of training.
Halfway is such a conflicted place to be. It's so awesome to be HALFWAY THERE!!! WOOHOO!!!!
But at the same time, it's so discouraging to be only halfway there, and to know you have 8 more weeks of this.
Kind of the same way I feel about the weather right now. Only 4 more weeks 'til the first day of spring. But then again, FOUR MORE weeks 'til the first day of spring.... : (
But when I start thinking this way about the training, I start reasoning with myself - yes, there's 8 weeks left, but the last 2 weeks are taper, which, after everything you've done up to that point, feels like a vacation!
And even the final week before taper is a bit easier than the previous weeks have been - 13 miles seems like a short run when it follows a 20-miler.
So really, it's only 5 more weeks of intense training - 5 more weeks of serious speedwork and seriously long long runs.
And when the countdown is over and all the workouts are completed and checked off, it'll be spring, and I'll be at the starting line in Hopkinton, ready to run my fourth 26.2 - in BOSTON!
And I'll be so, so glad I stuck with it.
And in the meantime, as I ran yesterday, I was feeling so happy and upbeat, I created a litttle list in my head of all the things that I like about running in the winter. I was surprised I was able to come up with 10, but I guess that's another good indicator of what a great run it was : )