Perfect running weather. Stinging needles of wind-driven snow pelted us. I squinted through frozen eyelashes, but couldn’t avoid the tiny flakes splatting into my eyes. Soon I was coated, turning into a snow-woman. Chunks of snow fell off me as I jogged.
The last Wednesday in March, I joined 14 other women on the Women’s FIT team for our midweek training. Attendance is fifty to seventy five women, on a good day. We were obviously the contingent of the crazy.
I joined the women’s running team with my step-daughter, at the urging of my daughter. We all wanted to get in shape, and I craved running again after a several year break. The FIT team provides camaraderie, motivation, and professional coaching.
My Rock Shop Mystery series features a middle-aged woman who takes up walking and running in response to midlife changes. Characters and plots do not form out of thin air. I have to admit this had a bit of an autobiographical basis, although I was briefly on a college track team. A few years ago, I trained aggressively to run a marathon. I am not new to running.
This is a new chapter, however, with a different attitude. Fitness for life and health, not training for competition.
Wednesday, week 5 of our training program, I struggled against the wind for a mile and a half, alternating walking and running. Admittedly, it was painful, and I began to doubt my judgement. Then something wonderful happened. I turned into the park and enjoyed the protection from the wind offered by ancient cottonwood trees and younger pines. I relaxed into my run.
The park was silent. The few runners and dog-walkers faded from view. I felt warmer, from the exercise and the sheltering trees. Not exactly a runner’s high, but a profound sense of peace and well-being enveloped me.
I run for those moments.
Soon we will enjoy more reliably nice weather. When we’re running in May, I am certain my team members will revel in the heat and sunshine. I will remember the solitude of our snow run. Robert Frost said it better than I in his poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.