I’ve been watching the weather for a week and know that the mercury won’t exceed 32 degrees anytime during my business trip to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Since I refuse to be sequestered in a hotel room by cold weather, I scour the blogosphere for cold weather running tips. The good advice is complicated by my lack of “proper” running gear. The best I have is running tights. But, I improvise and pack several layers selected from cycling clothing collection.
Today is the day — I am committed and motivated. I finish work, head up to my hotel room and anxiously put on my cold weather gear. Three layers on top, gloves, hat, and, of course, my running tights. Every part of my body is covered except my face.
Even with so much clothing, I feel naked walking through the hotel lobby to the front door where I meet a man wearing a thick coat and knit hat. I smile and ask, “Am I crazy?” He returns my smile and says, “Go for it! Do what we all wish we were man enough to do.” And with his blessing, I head out into the cold air and empty streets.
The first deep breath feels like a sucker punch in the gut. Maybe I am crazy. Maybe the treadmill isn’t all that bad. But, I feel obligated to try for a little while. I run two blocks and down a ramp to the Susquehanna River. The path is long and straight with an amazing view of ice blocks slowly tumbling with the current down the river.
Within minutes, I am warmed up and don’t feel cold. Instead, I can’t stop smiling. I’m doing it. I’m running in 28 degree weather.
I feel invincible as the cold air helplessly bounces off my well insulated body. Bounding along, I am awed by the beauty of ice, snow, and winter. The ice blocks make an odd swishing/scraping sound as they tumble downstream. Bits of snow pile along the river edge where frozen plants hold icicles. I can almost hear Elsa singing “the cold never bothered me anyway”.
As much as I think I’m awesome, I am quickly humbled as I finish my run. Off in the distance is another runner who is crazier than me. He’s approaching fast. He’s not wearing a hat. And, he’s in running shorts.
As running shorts man zips by me, my air of invincibility falls away. I realize that I’m not awesome. I’m just a runner who is motivated to run, prepares for the weather, and executes the plan. After all, only those who are fully prepared can be ready to execute the when called upon.
2 Timothy 2:21