Posted by: Sue D. Gelber | January 9, 2011

You might be a crazy runner if….

So here’s the deal: You’re a runner but not a crazy runner. You like running. Sometimes you love it, but you don’t get carried away.

You love the endorphins, of course. You love being outside in the fresh air. You love the feel of your feet striking the pavement (even if you know it might be bad for your knees). You love the sweat. You do not like the laundry your running habit generates, but you put up with it. You appreciate the energy you get from a run. You love the way it makes you feel calmer and more relaxed for the rest of the day.

But it only goes so far.  You are not one of those fanatics who runs every day, come hell or high water. Some days you bike. Some days you do yoga (even though you are not very good at it). Some days you do absolutely nothing, and you are not embarrassed to say so. You most assuredly do not get up at 4:45 AM to run. You are a fair weather runner. 95 degrees and humid will find you sitting on the deck with an iced drink in hand. 15 degrees with a sub-zero wind chill will find you sitting on the couch in front of a fire reading a book. All day. You like to run, but you are not a crazy runner.

Unfortunately, you know people who are crazy runners. And some of them (they know who they are) talked you into doing a half marathon in January. In Chicago. Along the lakefront. You hate cold, and that race is guaranteed to be cold. Brutally cold. Frighteningly cold. Might-just-end-up-with-frostbite cold. That means it is firmly outside your comfort zone. So why the heck are you doing it?

It didn’t seem like such a bad idea back in November, when “cold” meant 30s. “I can run in the cold,” you bravely told yourself, as you clicked on the ‘Register Now!’ button. But then this arctic blast known as winter came to visit and decided to stay a while. Normally, you would retreat to the comfort of your couch and not venture outside until, oh, maybe April. But there it was, that little half marathon you signed up for, looming over you. You couldn’t just sit on the couch because you still had a race to do. The realization made you cry a little.

So, when you popped your head out the door this morning, you nearly sobbed when the cold air hit you. The thermometer read 12. To make things worse, it was windy. You desperately wanted to sit down with a cup of coffee, read the paper, and be lazy. Or better yet, just go back to bed completely. But no. You needed to get a decent run in. All because of that stupid race and those crazy runners.

So, you put on countless layers, including every accessory you could find: hat, neck warmer, ear warmer, gloves and more gloves. You headed out to meet your friend Dan (one of those aforementioned crazy runners) to do some hill repeats. You hate hill repeats. Almost as much as you hate running in the cold.

You found Dan and fellow runner Kim and you tried to muster a smile. The first few steps of the run were painful, as if all the muscles and joints in your body were saying “Are you kidding me? We want to go back to that warm bed where we were just a few moments ago!” But, as you moved along, you warmed up. The sun, rising into a deep azure blue sky, gained strength and started to radiate warmth. The wind calmed down and decided to take the day off. Soon, you became warm enough to shed a layer. As you stood on the top of the hill taking in the view, you realized it was a beautiful day. And you almost missed it. You almost stayed home, wrapped in your little cocoon, cowering from the chill.

The hills were challenging but not miserable. Each lap was a little more pleasant than the previous one. You enjoyed the crispness of the air and the camaraderie of other runners. Yes, you would have liked the temperature to be 32 instead of 12, but you managed to survive 12 just fine.

Now if the weather can cooperate for the half marathon (sunny, dry, no wind, maybe a little warmer than today), you’ll be all set. Because even though you enjoyed that run, it doesn’t mean you are a crazy runner.


  1. I love this, Sue! And I needed to read your post, as I am pretty freaked out about this little half mary we all signed up for! I’m not getting the long runs in like I’d hoped to, and unlike you – I wimped out and hit the elliptical this afternoon. I really shouldn’t have. I need some miles on my legs. I’ll be thinking of your post when I’m running in the dark this week.

    • Thanks Jenn! Really, what were we thinking when we signed up for this? Can’t we all just agree to skip it and meet for breakfast instead? At a nice, warm restaurant, of course.

  2. I can’t wait to cheer for you guys at the half!!! And after you’re done, I’m going to wish I ran with you all. We are a sadistic bunch.

    • If you really want to run it, Chanthana, I will give you my spot in the race. Cuz that is the kind of friend I am.

  3. Uh, I hate to break it to you, but if you ran hill repeats this morning in THAT sub-freezing cold … you are one of those “crazy runners.” No question.

    But you know what? That F*cking Freezing Frozen Lake Half is gonna be a blast! Looking forward to seeing you there!

    • Hmmmm, “blast” is not the word that comes to mind when I think about that race. But I do look forward to brunch afterwards!

  4. Blah, blah, blah, running. When are you going to post the snowshoe pictures?

    • Ooooh, yes, I should do a snowshoeing post. And I have some great photos of you making interesting faces.

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