Winter as a Runner

It is currently 63 degrees and sunny. I am sitting outside wearing shorts while writing this. This may sound highly unremarkable. If you live in Florida, perhaps this temperature makes you want to put on a parka. If you’re in Texas, the temperature is merely tepid.

Yet after the winter that I’ve dealt with in Des Moines, IA, it feels like I should be swimming (and instantly getting a sunburn). After all, my skin has not seen sunlight in what feels like a long, long, hundred or so days.

I’ve always enjoyed the winter. I think snow is special, and sometimes spectacular. I love looking outside and seeing a sea of wintery white. I love the idea of a hot chocolate by the fire side, and colorful, perfectly wrapped presents stacked underneath a tree (Unless they are from me, as I am incapable of wrapping presents and instead often just leave them in the shopping bag…trust me; this is the preferred alternative to me actually wrapping it).

I look forward to all of these things until December 26th, when the snow should leave kindly, along with Christmas lights on top of people’s houses. Leaving Christmas lights up is a cruel joke, as it momentarily makes me think that the holidays are still upon us. Lights outside after Christmas do not put me in the holiday spirit; they make me feel like I’ve suddenly been transported into the movie Groundhog Day.

Come March, I’m more than ready to get rid of snow. This year has been particularly long. I have continued to run outside throughout the long months, which included a small bout of frostbite in your ear (there is a reason why you shouldn’t run in negative temperatures…especially when you decide that a headband is unimportant), a million “near slips” on the ice, and several actual ones. I am pretty certain that you could fit a piece of paper beneath my vertical, and my horizontal jumping skills are just as horrendous. I’ve suffered from hundreds of wet socks, and several glares from passerby’s of “What in the world are you doing?”

I have always been a clumsy runner. In college, I had to sit out for Cross-Country for a week because I accidentally ran into a flower pot downtown. I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed than when I had to report to the trainer and my coach that I literally could hardly walk as a result of a few flowers.

Yesterday, I ran outside for the first fun time in forever, and. at first, I felt fantastic. It has not been warm for long, so there were not any frightening flowers in sight. I truly felt on top of the world while replacing my winter warpaint with shorts. I also had company, and didn’t feel crazy. I no longer felt like someone’s weird Grandma Betty, who everyone kindly waves to, while also whispering about her behind her back “That lady is so strange. Are you sure, she’s you know, ok?” I ran longer than I have in awhile, and felt like I could continue forever.

Until I got cocky.

I saw a huge puddle, and did not feel the need to show off my spectacular long jumping skills. I ran straight through, without even missing a beat. I think the “We are the Champions” that had just been playing had gotten to my head.

The lyrics did end up to be quite fitting. I had mud on my face, and was a big disgrace.

The puddle was in fact ice, and I fell backward HARD, hitting my head on the concrete. Fortunately, I was fine, besides the bump on my head and the bruise on my ego.

After my fall, I became that girl once more. I had a mile left of my run, and finished it off with my shirt completely soaked, my hair looking as if I had just placed my hand in a light socket.


At this moment, I wished for the winter.