Sunday, December 30, 2012

Embrace The Suck: You Might Just Learn to Love What You Hate

We are officially into winter and I have to say, so far, I can't really complain.  For those of you that believe the stereotype of Canada as a frigid snow covered wasteland, I'll have you know that last year we had an incredibly mild winter, and a near record low of snowfall in Toronto.   The year before was somewhat similar, albeit with a bit more snow.  Needless to say, we've been fairly spoiled weather wise, so much so that I've pretty much forgotten what it's like to have to run in the snow.  I always remember hating running in the snow.  And when I say hate, I mean HATE.  I'll never forget the year we were training for our second Ironman.  Toronto got hammered with snow on a regular basis that year.  I couldn't bring myself to go inside and run on the treadmill for 2.5 hours.  I just couldn't do it.  Begrudgingly I would drag my cranky self outside to navigate the snow covered roads.  It was misery. 

Up until Boxing Day we had no snow.  None.  And it never really got below zero.  I was crossing my fingers for another winter of snow free bliss.  But Mother Nature had other plans.  Boxing Day evening brought the first big dumping of snow to Toronto.  It's ok, I thought, it will be gone by the weekend.  Things looked hopeful.  Until I woke up yesterday morning to the ominous glow of fresh powder.  UGH.  What a way to start off my Boston training.  I had a 21km run scheduled and it was supposed to be at a pace of 4:43/km's.  I knew if I ran outside that definitely wasn't going to happen.  I contemplated taking it inside and doing it on the dreadmill.  In fact, the dreadmill almost won out.  But at the last minute I thought, so what if I don't make my goal pace for today?  I decided to Embrace the Suck and do something that I don't like for a change.  Training can't always be sunshine and rainbows.  It was high time I took a negative and turned it into a positive.  You know, turn that frown upside down and all that.  The more I thought about the benefits of running outside, the more pumped I got about heading out.

1.  The Caloric Burn:  I'd probably burn more calories running outside in the cold and on an uneven surface than I would running faster on a hamster wheel inside.

2.  The Extra Leg Workout:  I'd engage more muscles by running on a somewhat slick and uneven surface.  This would give my smaller, and fairly underused stabilizing muscles a good workout.

3.  The Fresh Air:  I'd be outside in the fresh air instead of in a stinky gym breathing in someones B.O.

4.  The Scenery:  Let's be honest, a fresh blanket of snow is a beautiful sight.  Much better than the sweaty guy with a hairy back on the treadmill in front of you.

5.  The Defrost:  There is one thing I absolutely love about running in the winter and that is coming in from the cold, sitting in front of the fire and stretching.  Absolute heaven.

You know what?  I ended up having a great run.  It was beautiful out and, amazingly, a large part of the Martin Goodman trail was actually plowed.   I'm chalking that up to a late Christmas Miracle because that never happens.   Since the trail was actually plowed, I managed to push the pace.  While I didn't manage to maintain my goal pace for any significant length of time, I did manage to move a lot quicker than I actually thought I would and that's a plus in my books.  It probably helped that I had my trusty Yak Trax on. 

A must for anyone who lives anywhere snowy
Sure it was a bit of a slog but there was never really any moment where I hated it and just wanted to be done.  Ok, that's not really true; with a little over 1km left, I was starving and really just wanted to be done.  But I don't really count that.

I'm glad I opted to take it outside today.  If I didn't I would have missed this, and it's a much nicer view than some hairy guys back.

Follow the white toboggan path

Yeah that white stuff flying around is blowing snow.

Do you have an aversion to running in the snow?  
How bad does it have to be before you head indoors?

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