I appreciate the solitary nature of running—the way you can just get up and go without needing to form a team. In the same breath, I also know that I would be out jogging far too infrequently, through the winter, without running buddies. If nobody rang at my door, or sent encouraging emails inquiring about my training status, I would certainly put-off lacing up until heeding the Rare Disease Day call to action at the end of February. The darker days offer an easy excuse for staying in, curled up on the couch with a running magazine and warm cup of coffee.
January training is far less appealing than the scenic snow spreads that advertise winter running gear. Any city I’ve lived in gets only sporadic sprinklings of the white stuff. The novelty of snow is quickly trampled away into a salty slushy mess that either turns the path into a skating rink or a murky pond. Despite what my training plan suggests, I feel ridiculous attempting to practice running at race pace in these slippery conditions. Cadence falls to the wayside when you’re desperately just trying to prevent gliding onto your backside.
To be able to move through the door, I must tell myself that my waiting friend is counting on my company to keep her training motivation. Warmed and with rosy cheeks when I get back home, I no longer recall what was holding me back before. I never have regrets about a completed run—always feeling better for having done it—yet the radiating satisfaction can quickly melt away without keeping a light on the path.
The new headlamp that recently arrived, thoughtfully stuffed into my Christmas stocking, will certainly aid my running safely through the darkness. The complete safety net, that keeps me equipped to fight away the dampening winter blues, comes from being part of the Running for Rare Diseases Team. Registering for a spring marathon is not enough to stir me out of hibernation. I’m pushing forward because I know that in less than 100 days I’ll get the chance to run the Paris Marathon with Andrew Scholte. Last season, as Andrew’s patient partner, I tracked many virtual kilometers running to keep up and support Andrew’s training efforts. My goal in 2015 is to cross the finish line with Andrew. Seeing this path, not the icy obstacles, will get me to the Eiffel Tower.