Friday, February 1, 2008

Of Prophetic Rodents and Running

I usually don't throw in with religious holidays, but I make an exception for Groundhog Day, in which a deified overlarge rat's willingness to look past its own blubber folds and gaze upon its own portly shadow is seen, quite sensibly by the standards of prophecy, as a portent of the next few months' weather.

It should go without saying (shouldn't it?) that my training plan for these next few months hinges on the proceedings. I say that because -- note the doubtful implication that this next statement flows logically from what I've said before -- this is not a happy time of year to be running. It's cold, wet, windy, and dark out there; the event calendar is all but empty, so there's little motivation to be had from preparing for actual races; and much worse -- I think I might have already mentioned this -- it's cold, wet, windy, and especially dark out there right now.

The conditions aren't just annoying for the obvious reasons (the wetness, the coldness, nipple chafing, cocky groundhogs). Cold and wet conditions require more and bulkier clothing, which means more to lug to and from the locker room, and more clothes to dig through to press just exactly the right tiny button to skip to the next track on the iPod. That always involves several rounds of pressing the pause button, the previous song button, the volume up button, the volume down button, the off switch, and the shuffle-to-the-next-shitty-song button.

The consolations of self-directed happy-talk ("the rain is only water," "only n more miles to go," "I have not tripped over a single frozen dead runner this whole time, it must be safe!") are pretty thin gruel. Mmmm gruel.

May the bloated rat smile on us all.

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