Running in Fargo

I had to slow down every 10 minutes during today’s run in order to break the ice from my eyelashes. The temperature at 6 a.m. here in Fargo was a balmy 4 degrees, close to a record low for March 8. This is warm compared to some of the past Saturdays when it was -15 and my training group and I, my mutt included, still ran outside. We did decide to cancel a few weeks ago when it was -25 with a -45 wind chill. I mean, we aren’t crazy.

When I tell people I’m training for a marathon, they don’t really say anything. My friends and family are used to hearing me say that. I prepared for the Fargo marathon last year, only to over train, pull my hamstrings and injure my knees bad enough to prevent me from registering for even the 5K. Five months later I ended my next training program early and failed to arrive at the Twin Cities marathon, my knees the problem again.

But I’m training a third time and just finished a 12-mile run. Now I’m sitting here on my couch, icing my left shin with a bag of frozen vegetables and thinking, I still have a long way to go in the next two months.

It’s just that I seek competition. I was always involved in swimming and rugby in school, and I competed in band and piano as well. Without competition, I am lacking something. I still work out every day, walk my dog every day, but I’m not motivated to push myself much further unless I have a goal in mind.

Here’s how I motivate myself to train: Register for a race and pay immediately. Then tell everyone about it.

So that’s what I’m doing here, announcing that I am signing up for the Fargo marathon. Again.

But, I need more motivation other than knowing I threw down an $80 registration fee. I really don’t like running all that much, to be honest. At least not enough to get out of bed at 6 in the morning on a Saturday.

Instead, I’m addicted to the side effects, like being alone on a sunny morning in a cave of frosty trees, the first to crunch the snow and leave tracks. I like watching my dog zig zag, smelling traces of animals and whatever else I can’t sense. And there’s something about coming back from a midmorning run, hoping to catch my boyfriend still asleep.

Running has become a part of me, whether I like it or not. It is a necessary time in my day to reflect on my life and those in it, a time for just me, my dog and the outdoors.