I like to run. I've learned that it really isn't about where you're going, it's about the getting there - the how, the why, the who with. This blog is just a little repository for my thoughts along the way; the setbacks, the lessons learned, and the occasional triumph.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Is It Over Yet?

…and by “it” I mean the bitter winter, and by “over” I mean the end of damp, 20 degree days with a 15 mph headwind.

I think I am, officially, completely demoralized by the winter weather. It just isn’t fun. I have survived previous winters. I remember last year wasn’t great, but this year has been downright unpleasant.

I went out late this afternoon to go for a 16-miler. Not many places to go for a full 16 here in the city, so I headed to the lakefront. I got out of the car and regretted it. The flags nearby were starched, being blown by a constant, driving wind. They didn’t droop at all, just rippled and shuddered, perpendicular to their poles.

So, which way to run? I was at the north end of the trail already. I’d planned to do 8 miles south, but that would send me back into the teeth of the wind for the second half. Could have maybe driven to the south end to do the reverse, but that would’ve taken me 20 or 30 minutes to drive down and try to find somewhere to park. I might have driven inland to the North Branch River Trail, but that, too, would’ve required a block of travel time, and that trail wouldn’t be lit after the sun went down in 45 minutes.

I was screwed.

I went back to the car, pulled on my balaclava, and seriously debated whether or not I was gonna make this run. Eventually, I allowed my hatred for the weather to be outweighed by my fear of becoming someone who ditches on their runs like a wimp – but I grabbed a twenty from my wallet so I could pay to get myself home a different way, if necessary.

I did okay the first 6 miles, but it was astonishing how slowly the time went by. It got worse when it got dark. Then I made the regrettable discovery that several long sections of the path were so iced over and torn up that they were basically unrunnable. The piece around the Drake Hotel Curve often falls victim to ice and snow because the lake washes up on the cement there so easily, but the section that runs a full mile north of the curve, all the way up to the little Chess Players Pavilion, was also coated in a thick sheet of ice. Everywhere, large chunks of pavement had been blown loose and strewn about. It kind of looked like the planet Hoth after the Empire had made its way into town. I've never seen it that bad through there before.

Then I got down to the Museum/Soldier Field Campus only to discover that a large section of the path is still closed for the repairs and construction that have been going on for months and months already. That was kind of the last straw. I was tired of the cold. I was tired of the wind. I was tired of the ice. I was tired of the detours. I’d done 8 miles and it felt like I’d been out there for 2 hours.

I walked over to the Field Museum, hailed a taxi and had him deliver me back to my car. I was a little annoyed that the trip cost me my whole $20 (with the tip), but at least it was all over.

I think I could handle the cold air if it wasn’t accompanied so often this season by the brutal, constant winds. And the ice – well, I want to be Brian Sell, not Brian Boitano.

I know I'm venting, but I think I’m ready for the real, actual Spring to arrive, now. Please?

Post Script:
It's now the morning following this post, and Old Man Winter has responded with 22 degrees, 17 mph wind gusts and an inch of fresh lake-effect snow blowing in from the Northeast. Ugh. Right back attcha, big guy! The forecast does promise temps in the 50s by Friday.

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