Jack Frost met me at the door this morning, as I stepped out to run.
I literally opened the door to a burst of biting wind, and my dog sat down and looked at me like "Are we seriously going out in this??"
I have never liked the cold weather. I dread its arrival every year, to be quite honest. When I lived in Florida, I always said I'd never move back to a cold place (never say never, by the way! often times God has other plans. ) My first year of running (2008), I did my training on a treadmill in the beginning of winter because I said I couldn't stand the cold. Then one morning, during a 6 mile run on the treadmill, I thought to myself how awful it was looking at the same spot for 6 miles, wondering when it would be over, instead of enjoying the running. So I broke down and bought the winter gear and said I'd try it out.
That winter, I felt like I could say I was a runner for the first time. I ran in the snow. Sleet would freeze on my glasses (I quickly learned that it didn't matter if I needed them to see if the sleet was going to prevent that anyway ; I may as well leave them at home), my nose would run simply because of how cold it was, I discovered that spandex weren't so bad after all, and that there was a freedom in running in ridiculous winter condition/temperatures.
Last year was a mild winter for the most part, and I did not have to walk outside in dread many times. When this week rolled around (Now my training is back in swing after a brief break), and the weather man said the awful four letter word- s n o w- I was not excited. However, I pulled out my gear and prepared my mind for the task of braving the cold yet again.
4 am arrived quickly and as I peeked out the window, Snow had indeed fallen. Even if it wasn't anything but a dusting, it was there nonetheless.
I grabbed the leash, and initially my dog jumped in anticipation, knowing it meant I was taking him with me. However, when the door opened, I think he thought twice about his excitement. But we stepped out the door, and I said hello to Jack Frost for the first time this season.
The hardest part about a run on a cold day is starting. Once I am going, there is beauty found in the cold temperatures. A silver lining, even, if you want to say. I am enjoying a moment most people are hating. I get to see God's beauty of the new season around me and soak in the moments of quiet because no one in their right mind is outside just having fun (especially at that hour!) I heard the crunch of frozen leaves under my feet. I saw grass draped with pure white dustings of softly fallen snow. I felt the sting of cold biting my cheeks, even as my warm breath puffed small clouds of steam onto my glasses. And one of my favorite parts about running in the wee morning hours: the beauty of the sky. There were streaks of grey painted across the black night, evidence of "Jack Frost" weaving his way into our lives again, through the hand of God's beauty. Stars sparkled at me, as if to shout, "Welcome to a new day! I'm so glad you are out and about." And the shining moon, blazing its light proudly among the streaks of grey. If I didn't run at that hour, I'd never enjoy those moments. God's beauty at a whole new level. Snow and cold and all.
So, many ask me why I run even when it's so cold. Especially because most who know me know I really don't like the cold. My answer is: because I have seen the beauty in it. I have learned to enjoy every season and appreciate what each one brings. I have been drawn closer to God's creation simply by allowing myself to step more fully into it. I have even become friends with "jack frost" to a certain degree. I would not have those experiences if I didn't allow myself to step outside in those moments.
My dog and I survived our first cold run of the year just fine; he was even ready to go the next day without hesitation. Perhaps he saw the beauty in Jack Frost as well…..
So one season at a time, one run at a time, one day at a time, I have begun learning to enjoy each season. both in literal speaking, and in relation to life's seasons as well.
I typically dread winter; this year, I choose to say "Welcome, Jack Frost. You have taught me new things about God's beauty."