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?


Kathee said...

I love running in the snow, but I need to get my yak tracks out. I'd rather I be snowing then just cold icy wind.

Phaedra Kennedy said...

The Yak Trax saved the day for me yesterday. If I didn't have them on I'm sure it would have been ugly. I don't mind the icy cold wind, as long as I'm dressed for it. Heck, I'll take -20 and sunny vs. snowing and grey. :D

Kate said...

I love this post, and the idea that training can't always be wonderful (oh how my other half would laugh if I said that to him). Good on you for getting out there and getting it done. It's always so much more rewarding when you know that you very nearly didn't do it (or in your case, the dreadmill instead).

Phaedra Kennedy said...

Ha ha ha...I know, the non runners always wonder why we do it if it's not perfect all the time! But that's part of what keeps me going back. If it's not perfect this time, maybe it will be close the next time. Know what I mean?

Jenn Halter said...

Love this post!!! You are right, training can't always be sunshine and rainbows (at least, not in the Canadian winter!) and we need to embrace that! Good luck on your Boston training! I look forward to more inspiring posts ! :)

Phaedra Kennedy said...

Thanks Jenn! Yeah, I have to remind myself to suck it up sometimes. :D