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January 22, 2010 / elodie kaye

Skin and Bone

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.  Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. -Andrew Wyeth

Yesterday’s run was representative of what my running usually is in January.  It wasn’t bad, but seemed more oppressive because of the lack of anything better on the horizon.  The temperature was in the 20s, so two layers top and bottom, and about 2 miles to warm up fully.  I was a little stiff at first, but once I was warm all the little aches and twinges were gone.  I ran about 5.6 miles with 4 quick strides — exactly what I’d planned, no more no less.  What I dislike the most about winter running is the lack of sensation in my legs.  It’s as though they’ve gone deaf.  Running hard makes me breathless, but it’s not fast enough to make my legs burn like they do in the summer.  It’s not only that the cold has made them numb.  The brain tells the legs that we remember what 5K speed feels like, but through layers of fleece and polyester, they don’t hear.

With only two gears to choose from, my running becomes bland, as the grey landscape seamlessly becomes the sky.  It’s not really awful, and running is always, always much better than the alternative, but it seems to shine only when you have stopped and thought of how bad it could have been.

Running then becomes an exercise of working and waiting towards the hope of something unseen, and uncertain.  Yet there is no choice but this.  To not run is to sacrifice hope.

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