Ice pelting my face and body as if I was trapped in a ravaging sand storm. I could not see the path ahead, only the ice beneath, directed my feet. I crossed treacherous ravines soaked from head to toe, only to be frozen like the mammoths of the past. My water drenched gloves, froze, entombing my hands in a slab of ice. I battled my demons, thrashed to the core, and emerged victorious with the glory of sound mind.
The writing above is based on my experience of going for a 13.5 mile run in an ice storm. I like to run in Vibram toe shoes, which don’t protect an individual's feet from the elements too much—just the soles from getting cut by glass,rocks, and etc. This ice storm came after an all day rain, which melted all the snow from the last snow storm causing enormous puddles—some to my knees—to form, some were 20 feet in length. I was soaked, from repeatedly running through these puddles on a 2.6 mile loop. I couldn’t avoid being soaked in water, which froze into ice. I started the run in about 38 degrees and it was raining, which isn’t so bad, but I knew it turned for the worst when that rain turned into ice, and this was still early in my run. The whole experience was a little bit over 2 hours. At the end, the temperature was 20 degrees, the ground was covered in ice, I could barely take off my gloves and have the dexterity to open my car.
(My shoes and shorts drying after the run)
I wanted to share this with you because with every step in this run I wanted to quit. That inner voice—you know what I’m talking about—was saying, “It’s okay to quit. Look at the weather, nobody will blame you.” Every time in the loop I passed the starting point I said to myself, “ Okay this is it, I’m done. My feet are solid ice and the tips of my fingers hurt so bad. 5 miles is good enough…8 miles is good enough…and etc.” To get through this, I had to think to myself that people have gone through much worse in the past and I’m far from death and probably frostbite. Once darkness hit and the ground was completely covered in ice, I felt at 13 miles a sense of accomplishment and a spiritual connection with what my body is capable of doing. If it wasn’t for the darkness, I think I would’ve done another loop.
The reason I write about this is that doing things like this really helps to silence that inner voice that always wants to take the easy way out. Forcing yourself to do hard things makes you a stronger person and translates to other things. Other difficult tasks aren’t so difficult anymore because you’ve forced yourself to experience harder things. Also, doing things like this gives a feeling of accomplishment, and that’s addicting—as humans we love that feeling of satisfaction. It may be a paradox, but doing hard things purposely reduces that feeling of anxiety and depression. Maybe it’s an inborn evolutionary quality that we need in our lives in order to live a good quality life. Being surrounded constantly by the comforts of modern life makes us weak, depressed, and riddled with anxiety.