Is It Worth It?
Out of the thousands of runs I’ve done in my life, some have stuck with me for one reason or another. Runs that were unique, inspiring, terrible, and some that just seemed plain old ordinary have been imprinted in my precious bank of running memories since I began lifting my feet off the ground. When it snows out, as it has been recently, I tend to go back to one of those memories.
One winter break, right before Christmas, I woke up to a blanket of heavy wet snow over a foot deep. Most of the time this isn’t a problem, because snow more than a couple inches doesn’t happen much here, and when it does, the snow plows and salt trucks usually have it under control. So, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of my run, I kind of like snow at the appropriate time of year. This day was not a usual snow day though because of the substantial amount, and with the university and county schools being closed for winter break there were no plows or salt trucks to be seen.
No worries! In inclement weather, I am alright with hoping on a treadmill, listening to some good tunes, and accidentally playing bloody knuckles with the control panel when I get a bit aggressive on the pace. However, the snow on this day was not going to let me get out of the driveway and to the gym, either.
I was slipping around in my regular training shoes, and not owning a pair of trail shoes at the time, what else was I to do but pull on the shoes I owned with the most traction- my snow boots- and go Rocky style on this run? I ventured out into the bright white and falling flakes to high knee it down the middle of the empty streets that blended in with the rest of the landscape. It was an adventure making my way through the quiet winter wonderland-like neighborhoods. I waved to kids building snowmen and men shoveling their driveways, while they exclaimed that they could use my energy to shovel. I rounded a particularly deep snowdrift near the Sheetz station where I crossed paths with a group of college boys on foot and on their way to the oasis of snacks and drinks inside the building.
Perhaps I looked ridiculous enough, but one of the students turned around to shout my way, “Is it really worth it??” At that moment, all I could responded with was a,”Yes!” but a few minutes later I was thinking about it and why it was worth it.
I knew I wasn’t out there because I felt it was going to get me in better shape. It wasn’t that I couldn’t handle a day off. I like to work hard, but am one of the more laid back competitive runners you might meet when it comes to being adaptable to situations.
It was worth it to me for the principle of daily dedication and commitment (since I was healthy.) It was worth it to me for the enjoyment and adventure. It was worth it because running has helped me in so many ways and brought me so many opportunities. It was worth it just to go for a run, work up a sweat, and have a story to tell.
So, when I’m out on a run on cold and snowy days, I sometimes recall this memory and ask myself the same question that boy asked me a few years ago. Is it really worth it? My answer is still “yes.” It is worth every step!