It is especially sad for me, however, because I just got back from a long-weekend vacation to visit my dear friend Lauren in San Diego.
"Mmm. San Diego. Drink it in, it always goes down smooth. Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diago, which of course in German means 'a whale's vagina'." - Ron Burghundy
|Lauren and I at the San Diego Zoo. This is the one and only appropriate slash normal photo of us for the entirety of the trip.|
In San Diego, it was like this:
The whole time.
We went kayaking:
And we saw tons of sea lions!!
|Yo, New York. I'm really happy for you, and Imma let you finish...but San Diego has my favorite animal OF ALL TIME.|
We also went to the zoo and saw a lot of up close and personal action with the animals!
|Being groped by monkeys|
|Straight chillin' with seals|
|About to throw a three-point shot with a panda while bein' watched by OTHER pandas|
"Panda Watch! The mood is tense; I have been on some serious, serious reports but nothing quite like this. I, uh, Ching King is inside right now. I tried to get an interview with him, but they said, 'No, you can't do that, he's a live bear, he will literally rip your face off.'" - Brian Fantana
Overall, just such a wonderful, wonderful visit. When Lauren and I are together, we just can't help but be ridiculous. Ridiculousness just permeates throughout us and around our general vicinity. It's pretty amazing to witness.
Lauren is doing a lot of really cool stuff in San Diego. Namely, she is getting her Master's Degree WHILEST teaching and is also the Director of Communications for this amazing organization called AMPA (American Military Partners Association). They're doing wonderful work, and she is a huge part of it.
But I digress.
Aside from her crazy busy life out on the West Coast, she has caught the bug. The running bug, that is. And I couldn't be more delighted.
Lauren has always been super supportive of me and my crazy running ways, but perhaps could not understand it herself. But she's getting there and is well on her way to full on addicted runner status! She's part of a running group and is now training for her first half marathon!
I got the pleasure of joining Lauren and her running group early last Sunday morning. Coming from New York, where I wimpily have been relegated to the treadmill the last few weeks, these are the tough winter running conditions that San Diegans must deal with:
|Yay Lauren! Yay Lauren's friend! They ran their longest run EVER on Sunday: 7 miles!!! Way to go Ladies!!!|
And, yes, you do have a right to hate them. But it got me to thinking. Where we run does have such an impact on how we run. And on how we enjoy our runs.
I think there is a bit of an element of needing to feel pain to truly feel the joy when it comes to running. Anyone who enjoys this individualistic sport can attest that somedays you have great runs and somedays you have horrible ones. And this isn't just about the weather. Tummy troubles, muscle soreness, or just general "blah"-ness can make or break your workout. And while you can try to do what you can to make the experience more pleasant (good accessories and clothing, eating the right foods, downloading the right music, finding the best running buddies...), often your good days versus your bad are out of your control.
Like the weather. Can't control that much, can you?
But it's those bad days that make the good ones just so much better. Let me ask anyone who's lived in the Northeast: Is there anything better than a spring day after a long, hard, snowy, gross winter? No. No, there isn't.
"You're so wise. You're like a miniature Buddha, covered in hair."
And while living in San Diego would be amazing (seriously), I guess one could argue that you don't get that same "yaaaaaaay!" feeling in spring that you do in a more "drastic" environment. It makes the sweet that much sweeter when you miss it a little.
|But they DO have In-N-Out so really...no contest. San Diego for the win.|
But nothing can be more drastic than what Lauren's partner Christie -- a fellow runner -- is experiencing now.
|Skyping with a laughing Christie!|
Christie has to complete her runs in a treadmill. In Afghanistan. You think your cold-weather winter running is bad? You're sad that it's a little too humid out? Or that you have to carry a water bottle because they shut the fountains off? Yeah, it sucks. It does!
But just think....you could always have to run on a treadmill......In AFGHANISTAN.
Food for thought, huh?
When Christie gets back, I was thinking bout how sweet her runs are going to be. Whether she runs outdoors or in, in good weather or bad, she will savor the experience. And I can't wait to do a long run with her sometime soon.
"I miss your scent. I miss your musk!"
And remember that people are freaking fighting wars in Afghanistan. Put on your big girl pants and enjoy your run!
"You know, times are changing. Ladies can do stuff now and you're going to learn how to deal with it."
Christie told me that there are a few people who have been reading Run, MeriG. Run. from her Base in the 'Stan.
So, if you're reading, I'd like to say: Hi There! and, from the bottom of my heart, I'd like to Thank you for your service. We appreciate you and we are thinking about you back home.
And I'd encourage my Run, MeriG. Run family to think about Christie and the other astounding, strong, amazing men and women. And their astounding, strong, amazing partners back home. And while the weather out side is frightful, and whether you're running on the street, or trudging on the treadmill, or even just sitting and watching TV on your damn couch...think about how sweet things really are.
Spring will come soon enough.