It’s Going to Be a LONG Winter

It isn’t even the official start of Winter yet, and I am already feeling its nastiness, demotivation, and tiredness of all the weather woes that go along with it — In January, not December 10th.
Bennie’s second walk this morning
As my Great Grandmother Bertha used to say, “Every year I get older, the less I enjoy this time of year.”
The last few years, I have come to agree with her sentiments even more. 
The other part is that I added a little more stress into my running by setting an “A” goal race for March 19th, which would have been my Dad’s 82nd birthday. As a result, I joined an online RunClub with the intent of training through the Winter for my half-marathon. 
It seemed like a good idea at the time. 

This morning

As I look out the window it is 11 degrees Fahrenheit (ca. -12 °C) (up from the 7F it was earlier), it has been snowing lightly since I got out of bed. We will most likely end up with about an inch of partly cloudy we weren’t supposed to get. The roads on Bennie’s first walk were nasty enough with the white stuff barely coming down. Frozen slush on the sides, with frozen puddles to go around — tough to walk, not too bad to drive on, but crappy to run on. Now all that slush and ice are snow-covered and slippery = not runnable for me. 
Another day when running is not happening as planned.
Which means change 2 to the change for a long run, that I already made in expectation of the ice storm that is forecast for tomorrow. 

Frustrated

Okay, I am frustrated, tired of attempting to run hard for too long in temps that are well below freezing or in road conditions that are not conducive to remaining upright all too often. When you add in the fact that I don’t bounce as well as I used to and all that running faster workouts in cold weather is leading to more niggles than I expected. Makes me believe that if I continue to do those faster-paced workouts, they will lead to some kind of injury sooner than later. 
I know from experience that to train for a race successfully during Winter, that you need to be flexible, a little crazy, and have access to a good treadmill for those really nasty days where running outside just doesn’t happen. 
Preferably, a combination of the three works best. 
This year, though, I can only claim to have the first two.
Unfortunately, for all of us, COVID-19’s effects are real and will continue to affect us all for the foreseeable future. That is just the way it is, especially, as up heah in Maine we are hitting record numbers of cases, hospitalizations, ICU patients, and deaths. It doesn’t make it so that I am overly motivated to go back to a gym — just to run on a treadmill. 
However, when you are attempting to follow a training plan to prep for a half-marathon in March and don’t have access to said good treadmill, what do you do?
Suck it up, buttercup, and do the best you can for the conditions.
Or…
Change the goal, which will change the plan.

Reality Hits Home

Let’s face it, I am an old fart who has bitten off more than I can chew and need to back off this training plan. Especially, if I want to stay injury-free this winter and beyond. 
It isn’t like I haven’t run or trained in Winter before. So, the Winter weather isn’t unexpected and not prepared for.
Knowing that the worst of Winter is yet to come, and if I am already having issues with doing the work necessary to be successful with this plan due to the weather already. It means that something has to give.  
In this case, continuing to attempt to prep for a half-marathon “A” race during a Maine Winter without access to a treadmill would be a lot like pounding my head against a brick wall at this point in my in life.

Looking forward

Based on this long-winded whine, which I needed to do to get all the wonderful negative thoughts out of my head. Writing out what you are thinking, forces you to look at your motives, what is actually going on, the pros and cons of various choices and makes the decision making process a bit more logic based. Versus choosing to do something based completely on how I am feeling in the moment. Based on doing a lot of thinking and yes, how I am feeling as well the choices were pretty obvious.
  • It’s time to change the goal and the plan to something more base mileage or maintenance based.
  • I will still plan to run the half-marathon on March 19th, but with a different set of goals and mindset. 
One thing I am finally learning as I get older is that I have a firmer grip on what I can do as a runner and am finally starting to accept that my age does change a few things. This acknowledgment of getting older doesn’t mean that I am going to go quietly into that good night. However, it does mean that what I always used to do, will not be the way I always do things in the future.
However, the biggest thing that will happen that will be a positive result of this change is that I won’t stress out as much about sticking to the plan. I will be able to give myself more slack regarding whether I choose to get outside for a run or hop on the elliptical for a good workout.
At some point in January 2022, I foresee me rejoining the gym and getting back on a more regular training regimen. But for now, I need to be patient and back off from a plan that was not going in the same direction I seem to be going.
After all, for many years Winter training was more a time to let the mind and body heal for a while, regain your enthusiasm for running and building a strong base for when you do start training for your “A” races. 
I guess in our current 24/7 mentality about most things in the world today has also become the way it is in the running world as well. I got caught up in the gotta do it all and be ready to race by staying in reasonable shape both aerobically and anaerobically year-round. That was a mistake on my part and I forgot the words of wisdom from Turn Turn Turn by the Byrds. 

Yeah, Harold slow down a bit, you’re not giving the seasons their due. Let others have the fast-lane, focus on enjoying what you can do and do it at your pace and based on how you are feeling.
No, I didn’t run today, but I have had lots to think about. 

Come with me now — the best is yet to be.

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