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If you can fill the unforgiving minute ... with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run ... Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.
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Monthly Archives: July 2011
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven ...
Today's run was not particularly good. I woke up to dark skies that threatened rain; it was 78 degrees with a dew point of 75 and mind you the sun wasn't up (and would not make an appearance due to the heavy bank of clouds). In a word: Disgusting. Plus, my right eye was throbbing. You put those two things together and you don't exactly have the makings of a good run.
When running gets hard, you usually have two choices. 1. Associate and embrace the pain. Or, 2. Try to disassociate and distract yourself. Today I chose option two. Which led to this post on the pros and cons of each season.
Living in Cleveland, we do get to experience the four seasons, although sometimes it feels like 2 or maybe 3 (spring doesn't tend to be very good in Cleveland; we tend to skip right over it and go from winter to summer in about a week's period of time). I don't think I would like living somewhere that didn't have four seasons, although winter is way too long here. Anyway, here is what I came up with for the pros and cons of each season. As a bonus, I even illustrated the post.
Summer: June, July, and August
Pros: Long hours of daylight for running -- very little running in the dark. Being able to roll out of bed and go running -- no need to even put on the headlamp. No freezing fingers -- no freezing anything. That something satisfying about breaking a solid good sweat. No issues with what to wear -- just wear as little as possible. The water fountains are turned on in the park. It feels good when it rains (although it seems to be rare to get to run in the rain in the summer versus other seasons).
Cons: It's hot. It's humid. Running is much more of a struggle; long runs are tougher, easy runs can feel like tempo runs. There are bugs. The air quality can be poor.
Verdict: The pros outweigh the cons. I like summer running, all things considered. It is the extra daylight and not having to run in the dark that redeems summer despite the heat, humidity, and bugs.
Autumn: September, October, November
Pros: The most beautiful time of year. Gorgeous fall foliage. Beautiful long shadows and light from the unique angle of the sun. Indian summer. Cool nights, warm days: perfect running weather. Lots of races to pick from. Suddenly running faster simply due to cooler weather. No ice or snow to worry about (although November can be dicey...). The first frost. The smell of leaves. Crunching through the leaves. The feeling of needing to enjoy every last moment, to make it last ...
Cons: The days are becoming very short; some of the darkest days are in the fall due to daylight savings time. Running before work = not getting to enjoy all that much of the fall foliage. Occasional November snows, although they don't tend to last very long. Occasional bouts of cold rain. Occasional bouts of strong winds. But worst of all: the prospect of winter.
Verdict: All and all, autumn is still my favorite time to be a runner. While we don't get much of a spring, fall tends to be spectacular. Now if only we could do something about moving daylight savings time ...
Winter: December, January, February (and into March and sometimes April)
Pros: Snow and ice can be beautiful. Cold weather is better for running than hot weather. The rare sunrise you actually get to see can be breathtakingly beautiful; I think all and all winter has the best rises and sets.
Cons: Snow and ice can be deadly. Limited options as far as routes go due to snow. Freezing rain. Glare ice. Attacks of Raynaud's Phenomenon. Dry cold air that sets off asthma attacks. Not being able to wear shorts. Having to put on tons of gear. Dark, dark, dark. And when the dark seems ready to end? Yeah, that darned daylight savings time. But maybe the worst thing about winter is it's nasty tendency to bleed over into the other seasons. Winter encroaches a bit into fall (Thanksgiving Day snowstorms anyone) but it steals from spring in particular.
Verdict: I don't like winter. The cons definitely outweigh the pros. It's the most dangerous season to be a runner here. I would be happy if winter were two months long; that would be plenty to get my fill of the beautiful snow and ice.
Spring: March (haha yeah right), April, and May
Pros: Lengthening days, although daylight savings time stinks coming too early. Wildflowers. Watching everything slowly come alive and gradually turn green. Pretty good running weather all things considered, although the occasional too hot or too cold day. The return of the songbirds. The occasional baby animal sighting.
Cons: Winter bleeds over into spring; snowstorms into April are not at all uncommon. Snowstorms after tax day aren't unheard of. Spring can also suddenly turn too warm too fast. It tends to be really windy. Melting snow refreezes over night into ice. Confusion over what to wear.
Verdict: All and all a good season, as long as winter does not bleed over into it too much. Improvement in daylight is definitely a plus.
So there you have it, my review of the seasons or at least the seasons from a Cleveland runner's perspective. If you read this far, you must have been really bored!
I did not plan to go back and run it again in 2012. But the race is like a siren song ... Come run me again ... You know you want to ...
So far I've resisted the urge to sign up for the 2012 edition. I mean, didn't I swear I would never train for another spring marathon? Didn't I get my belly full of running through snow, dodging cars, and putting in 20-milers during blizzard-like conditions on the treadmill?
But then I go back and look at my photos and remember how beautiful the course was ... And right now when every run it's 80 degrees even though it's 6:30 in the morning and the humidity is so thick you could slice it with a knife those winter runs don't sound quite so bad ...
And I have to admit ... It would be a damn cool way to celebrate five years since being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease ....