Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Paddle furiously

The weather's alternately blowing hot and cold. Some parts of the river are still iced over, in the shallows and patches where the undercurrent drags the heat away. The other day I saw a gull walking on water, like an avian miracle, its knobbly knees poking up above the waterline. Then it stepped off the veneer of ice and looked really surprised, like it was thinking, Wait, I have to swim?

I feel like that as a runner. This mild winter has been terrific for running. I'll look at my Garmin and think, surely you're broken, timekeeper, because the numbers on the screen would have been plain old unimaginable in a former life of mine. Easy 4-milers at 9 minutes a mile. Long runs at 9:13. Too easy. It makes me suspicious.

All good things must surely come to an end. The winter spree is over, the cold-weather discount removed from the sticker price. I know full well I'm no fitter than I was before. I don't trust anything, not even myself. I don't dare to hope, knowing how hope is nothing to build a base on.

And so I judge not by the numbers but by the feel of my breath as it rushes through my lungs, the relentless drumming of my heart as I charge over a bridge or up a hill. The ache of my feet afterwards. The heat of blood returning to my numb fingers. Now I have to put in the work I've been putting off these lazy easy months. Now I have to swim.  


  1. Totally know the "cold weather discount"!! I haven't been out there as much as I'd like, but soon, hopefully!

  2. Is it a cold weather discount or a warm weather surcharge. I'm thinking the latter. All the work I do in summer will soon be paying off. I hope.

  3. Cold weather discount - ha! It must be so surreal to go from one extreme to another (Singapore to Boston).

  4. Enjoy it, I say! Whatever feels good for you right now!