Springtime Fresh

As the seasons transition, I’m reminded of the importance of getting acclimated. Granted, Monday’s run was a mite chilly…but I believe that after so many years on the job Mother Nature is entitled to a few forgetful days. “Is it winter, or spring? Hmm…let’s go with 50 degrees and sunny but throw in a wind with a cold bite just to be on the safe side.”

As March comes to a close, however, we’re going to be seeing more warm days and less cold days. Before we know it, we’ll be back in a South Carolina summer with its accompanying hot ‘n  humid glory. This is where I’m hoping to notice a difference between this year and last year. Last year, I started running in the middle of June. There are probably arguments for starting (or not starting) running at any time of the year, but I probably caused myself some extra grief by jumping into the fire at a time when the pavement seems to boil and the air feels about like not-quite-dry towels that you’ve taken damply steamy straight from the dryer and wrapped around your face. Steamy…and heavy. Yuck. I don’t know why anyone would do that, but it seems like an apt comparison. And okokok, that’s probably an exaggeration. I’m prone to it, and to a little whining as well. I’m sure if I would have tried to start training in December, I’d be complaining about that cold sweat smell, or numb fingers, or something.

All whining aside, a body needs time to get used to extremes in weather. That’s what acclimation is all about. It’s hard enough to run in 90+ degree heat without getting overheated or dehydrated. A gradual transition can make all the difference. Which is why I’m so very pleased to have nearly a full year of (mostly) consistent running under my belt as the seasons make a change for the warmer. Summer, here I come!

But first, the usually enjoyable experience of running when it’s “springtime fresh.” My very favorite time to run is late fall (I’m a big fan of the “brisk” mornings and green to redorangeyellow leave changings!), but spring is always a nice wake-up call after the dullness of winter. On a gorgeous morning last week, I actually felt like I was having to acclimate my eyes! Suddenly, everything was colorful. Full sun against a bright, bright blue sky instead of dreary gray. Trees in full flower instead of bare brown branches. Daffodils, tulips, and a whole lot of other flowers I can’t name but definitely noticed as they showed off white, yellow, pink, or purple flowers. Thank goodness the grass hasn’t turned green yet…I’m not sure my eyes could take it. Sensory overload! It almost reminds me of a dryer sheet commercial. Ahhhh…springtime fresh!

I say “usually” enjoyable, because spring is probably the most unpredictable season. It’s typically the most windy time of year, and the one most prone to strong thunderstorms. Running teaches you, however, that the body can get used to almost anything if you give it a chance. Neither wind, nor rain, nor blazing hot sun shall stop the dedicated (and acclimated)runner! Just, you know, an ankle-twisting icy road or lightning. Safety first. 🙂 And if a workout can’t wait until after the lightning has passed, there’s always my favorite form of cross training: DDR.

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