The good news is that school’s out for winter break, so I can run during the day instead of trying to fit something in after work, in the dark. The bad news is Austin’s weather is pretty unpleasant at the moment, so running during the day is only a marginal improvement.

At least I have warm running clothes now, because when I walked outside this afternoon, cold drizzle hit me in the face. Oh yay. But my next race is just over two weeks(!) away so no wimping out. Even though I hate the cold. And all my Facebook friends kept posting about staying in their jammies all day. And I hate the cold.

But I am nothing if not stubborn.

I ran the same route I’d gone on Christmas, but because a lot of people are back at work, I had to deal with a lot more traffic. I also chose to skip the podcasts this time. I had my music, but I turned it down really low and decided to work on managing the voices in my head instead of distracting them. Honestly, this is way easier said than done–my brain really doesn’t like this running gig and spends a lot of time trying to convince me that I can’t do it.

Lovely day

Lovely day

The first mile or so, I felt pretty good. But then the drizzle picked up and I began to regret choosing THIS run to squelch the voices who sounded like six-year olds on a road trip. “When are we going to get there? Are we there yet? How much longer?” Gah. It was cold and rainy and I wanted to quit. And the voices wanted me to quit. But then I remembered overhearing someone at training a week or so ago. Almost everyone had finished their eight laps but a few of us had one or two to go. I don’t know if she was talking about me or not, but as I passed, she said to the coach, “She just doesn’t have any give up in her.” And I decided that today, I wouldn’t have any give up in me either.

No one thing worked to silence those voices. I mentally chastised drivers for speeding through stop signs or stopping where there’s no stop sign (minivans were the worst offenders, if anyone’s wondering). I reminded myself I’m supposed to run twice this distance on Saturday and almost three times the distance in just over two weeks, and I’d never turn in a respectable time if I jacked around today. I focused on my stride, landing gently instead of slapping my feet down on each step. I thought about building a fire in the fireplace after I got home.

Peacocks on the roof

Peacocks on the roof

And I looked for weird stuff. The sharp teeth still visible in the skull of an opossum carcass that’s been decomposing on the sidewalk for weeks now. The peacocks on the roof of someone’s house.

For about half a mile, I played Tortoise-and-Hare with a UPS truck. The driver stopped at a house as I passed, made his delivery, and drove a few houses down the street, stopping long enough for me to pass him again. I finally lost him after catching him three or four times, when he turned onto a side street. I had visions of his delivering something to my house later, after I’d returned home, thereby completing the Tortoise Wins! scenario.

Instead, today’s run qualifies as a win not because the Tortoise beat the Hare, or because I won a game only I was playing. Nor was it an impressive distance or pace. No, it’s a win because I beat back the voices who wanted me to quit. I stuck it out in the cold and the drizzle. It was tough. But today, I was tougher.