Getting Used to Autumn Running Again

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I love running outside in the summer, with the heat bearing down like thick molasses and sweat making my skin shine. There’s something about a blistering sun overhead and the smell of sunblock slathered all over my face that says freedom like nothing else. I also like winter running, bundled in extra socks, a hoodie, ear warmers, and mittens, when I sweat through all my layers as though it were summer again. Running during spring or autumn, especially autumn, is a much greater struggle.

Parkway in fall

Yesterday I went on a two-mile run along the parkway near my house. I started out strong, wearing a sweat-wicking turtle neck and long pants, carrying a cold bottle of water. The temperature hovered around 59 F, and the wind shook leaves down from the trees. About half a mile in, I was already huffing, despite keeping a slower pace than usual! The crisp air burned my lungs and I had to stop at the end of the first mile to stretch and regain my breath and take the above photo.

The return mile felt just as hard, with my legs stiff beneath me and the wind whipping around my head. I couldn’t decide whether I felt too hot or too cold. My Nike+ app showed my pace getting slower and slower, and I started to wonder why I had bothered to even come out and run at all. Oh yeah, because I’m planning to run a Halloween-themed 5K this Saturday and wanted to get in one last run before taking it easy for the rest of the week.

I don’t expect to set any PRs at the race, and I’ve decided I’m okay with that. I’m still getting used to the change in weather and I don’t want to push my body into injury. So, wind or no wind, chill or no chill, I will not worry about my pace or my time, but will focus on having fun and with friends, family, and my running community.

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