Occasional sidetracks.

A few brief paragraphs about some of a runner’s least favourite things: winter, colds, and injuries.

Winter is bearable, at least with the right clothing. Sometimes it can be cold when you start out: it seems crazy to be out there in a thin jacket and long pants when everyone around you is bundling up in heavy winter coats. Thankfully, you get warmer after you run for a bit, even in cold weather. (They don’t call it “warming up” for nothing, you know.) Sometimes, the hard part is ensuring that you don’t wear too much. After a while, I’ve gotten better at determining exactly what to wear in what conditions: so much so that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to run outside in just shorts and a shirt. During the middle of winter, and into April, I wonder: will I ever do that again? Will it ever be spring, or has winter established firm control of the world forever?

One of the many things that winter brings is cold and flu season. It’s virtually impossible to get through the entire winter without picking up a bug or two, especially if you’re like me and travel to work on the Yonge subway (the best way to meet many thousands of your closest friends up close and personal, not to mention breathe in all of their germs).

This winter, I caught two colds. One was minor enough that I could just power my way through it. But the other knocked me flat for most of a week. I had to go nearly a week without running. What do I do? How does this affect my training? I was in the middle of my 5K-to-10K training program when it happened (more on this in a later post), so I decided to just drop my training program back two weeks – I wasn’t in a rush, so I could move up gradually. It worked.

As for injuries: so far, I’ve been lucky – I haven’t sustained any major injuries that have prevented me from running (except for my broken toe, and that was unrelated). However, I am not a young person by any measurement. At some point, I’m likely to tweak something, if not snap something. Will I be able to cope without being able to run, after having invested so much time in it and having built my fitness up? Will I be able to handle the impending disappointment?

The only real answer is philosophical, I guess. We all basically live on borrowed time, and there’s no guarantee that tomorrow will be better or even that tomorrow will exist. I can only control the present, and do what I can at this moment. The rest is out of my control.

That’s probably enough depressing pseudo-profundity for now – back to more stuff about running. Next up: taking the big step, and trying to become a 10K runner (I’m in the middle of this one, so we’re almost up to the present time).

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