Smashing The Excuse Demon

Every now and then when I am training, this small imaginary guy pops up on my shoulder and whispers, “You don’t have time for that…” or “Oh man, you have tons of time before your next race, take a day off..” Today he was whispering, “It is way to freaking cold to go for a run.”

I had to admit, this little dude had a point. This morning when I got up, my thermometer read -10 and the wind was howling. Welcome to winter training in Caratunk, Maine. It isn’t the coldest I have trained in by any means (last year we had 2 weeks of between -30 and -40), but last week I was running in shorts, so this change was a little shocking to say the least. Since I was working at home, I moved my morning run to my lunch hour, hoping the temperature would creep up to at least zero.

As noon approached, the excuses creeped into my head. “You have too much work to do, you really don’t have time…” and “Run tomorrow (which then turns into run tomorrow…then run tomorrow…),” and “Did you see it was -5 IN THE SUN you moron?”

That excuse demon was trying to work his way into my head, and he isn’t easy to ignore when he speaks what is logic to most people.

As I was starting to give in to the reasons why I shouldn’t run, I reviewed my goals for 2010. Granted, this one 5-mile run won’t make or break my 2010 season, but whether or not I do it does set a precedent for my off season training. I want a solid base going into 2010, with a spring marathon and a late summer half iron man planned as key races, and this is just a piece of the foundation. I do not need the excuse demon to squeeze into any part of my training; I want him to be a spectator who eventually fades into the crowd.

So I bundled up, laced up my sneakers, and stepped outside. My nostrils froze instantly, and the thought slipped through my head, “Most people don’t even ski in this weather, no wonder your neighbors think you are a freak.”

Shrugging off the easy out, the excuse that would send me running back inside diving under a blanket with a big cup of hot cocoa and a good book, I pulled my scarf up over my face, put my head down into the wind, and started running. After 5 minutes, I was comfortable. After the first mile, I was warm and enjoying the view of the icy Kennebec River flowing by, not imagining being anywhere else but right where I was, running in the freezing cold with a big smile on my face. ?

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