Friday, December 9, 2011

Small triumphs

Reader, it's cold outside...and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that my running has taken a hit/fallen into a rut with this cold snap.  I left for a run on Tuesday evening and traveled, like, 300 yards before I quit and finished the workout inside on the treadmill.  (I had forgotten my facemask.)  

Today is the last real day of the cold snap, and I loaded up a tote bag with all of my outdoor gear in hopes of squeezing in a run at lunch.  When I left, it was 15 degrees, with a windchill of 7 degrees.  I was bundled up for the first time this season in my full winter running gear.  I ended up being just a little overdressed on top and just a little underdressed in the pants category, so I deem it a success.  

What about my face, you ask?  Well, in the winter, I vascillate between three alluring, fabulous styles, starting with Really Really Cold:

Followed by Pretty Cold:

Ending with Still Really Cold But I'd Like To Breathe:

The first half of the run was wholeheartedly mundane.  There is just less going on when it's this cold.  The outside world freezes up and slows down, even in the middle of the day.  I worried that the most interesting highlights to report were going to be a very cute junior-sized squirrel I spotted (junior squirrel, not junior human) and the largely pristine sidewalks. (Runners will appreciate that, but everyone else would be bored.)  Then I got to the Mississippi River, which is in the process of freezing over for the winter.  I hadn't seen it since the ice started forming!

It was so pretty that I probably added mileage from veering off the path toward the overlooks in spots that provided a better view.

On one such veer, I noticed something I found both peculiar and familiar.  

Whoa ho ho! Obviously, this is where the reindeer all live!  It's pretty far from my home, where I last saw evidence of them.  Interesting.

I scurried along the rest of the route and decided to drop into Whole Foods for a cup of hot soup to eat at my desk later.  As I was paying for a bowl of chicken tortilla soup, the cashier reached for a paper bag and asked if I wanted one.  

"Actually, could you wrap it in a little plastic bag?" I asked.

"Are you going to run with it?" she said.

"Yes," I said.  "I actually ran with a cup of coffee a few weeks ago, and it wasn't too bad."  (This is true, but I neglected to mention that I also had a full Sunday newspaper in my other hand that time, at the end of a run in Josh's hometown.  I looked like a Grade A goofball, but I obviously didn't learn my lesson.)

"Well," she said. "I believe in you."

A total stranger, casting a vote of confidence.  I like that a lot.

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