Albuquerque had its first snowfall on Friday night. The overcast pall and the steadily dropping temperatures made it seem like a sure bet, but still, when I peered outside and saw the white stuff on Saturday morning, I got excited. Snow! Hot chocolate! Bundling up for runs and coming back red-faced and smelling like the wind! The HOLIDAYS!
I had to experience this first-of-the-season winter wonderland for myself, so I pulled on my layers and headed out the door for a leisurely weekend morning run. I eagerly anticipated cold air, a few flurries in my face, and my feet padding over snow or maybe, if the air was warm enough, benign levels of slush. You know, one of those Norman Rockwell running scenes.
I got a slap in the face instead.
Soft snow? Benign slush? Try black ice and large puddles. A few flurries in the face? Try wind gusts of – conservative estimate here, and living in Albuquerque for nearly seven years, I know my wind – 35 mph, pelting me with stinging little granules of snow from seemingly every direction. It snatched my breath away, leaving me gasping, and reduced me to walking more than once. During one such moment, squinting against the granules, leaning at a slightly unnatural angle, it occurred to me that really, I didn’t have much control here. Apparently, God thought I needed a little batting around by the elements.
After I finished the run and was stretching on the leeward side of a convenient wall, I realized that maybe this was just what I needed. I feel like my life is already a blur, and with the holiday season officially here now? Yikes! That run gave me a jolt, in the best sense of the word. It opened my eyes to my own stamina – hey, I didn’t give up and turn around after the first block! – and reminded me to keep a sense of humor about my running (I wish I had been able to see the facial expressions of the drivers passing me!). Most of all, though, as frequently happens during or immediately after runs like these, it made me thankful.
I’m thankful for running, even when the weather is cruddy. Because if I’m out in those conditions, it means that I can run, and that’s a blessing.
I’m thankful for my family, who loves and supports me no matter how many miles separate us.
I’m thankful for my friends, who are also my family, just with different last names. They are always there when I need them, whether in person or in spirit. And if they move away, it just gives me new places to visit.
I’m thankful for the man I love, who has changed my life in too many ways to count. The most recent? Taking me on my first trip to Fort Worth, Texas to share Thanksgiving with his family. As you read this, that’s where we’ll be – here’s hoping that my efforts to help in the kitchen won’t burn the house down!
And I’m thankful for all of you Running Sunflower followers, and the blogosphere in general. You inspire, encourage and enlighten me. You’re better than an aid station at Mile 23 of a marathon, and I look forward to sharing many more miles and stories with you.