Monday, April 6, 2015

Fight Through the Headwind, Savor the Tailwind

Happy Monday morning to you all.  I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend if you were celebrating.  I was in PA enjoying Easter with my family.  Unfortunately, my sisters and I don't wear matching Easter dresses any more so I don't have an updated version of Friday's picture to share with you! HAHA  My hope is that one day I have children I can dress in matching clothes, along with matching outfits for myself and my future husband.  If you know any single men who are interested in a future like this, please send them my way.

Ok onto some reflections from the weekend.  Easter fell a bit early this year so the weather was still pretty brisk.  In fact, most of the weekend in PA was extremely windy.  I awoke Saturday morning to the sound of the wind whipping around outside and against the house.  It sounded like a hurricane out there.  I immediately feared how I was going to make it through that day's long run.  I checked the weather and it confirmed that the wind was going to stick around all day, with gusts up to 40 mph.  Say what?!!  There was no chance I could move my run to Sunday, because, uh, Easter.  Church, family, dinner, driving back to Bmore.  I was going to have to face that wind head on. 

It was probably meant to be since I emerged from the run with yet another important life lesson.  As much as we'd love to do so, we humans cannot control the weather.  In fact, in the game of life, there are many factors that are beyond our control.  Sometimes, the only thing we can do batten down the hatches, and ride out the storm.  When you make it through to the other side, you always come out stronger.

My mom was just arriving home from her morning workout when I headed out for my run.  "You're going out running in this?!", she said.  "I could feel the wind blowing my car around on the drive home."  Oh dear.  I'm fairly certain I weigh less than a car, and that did not bode well.

I set out and apparently caught the tailwind on the first few miles because my splits were under 9:00 min/mi at the start.  "I'm flying Jack!", I thought!  However, you can't ride a tailwind forever.  Well, I suppose you could if you always head in the same direction, but running and life just aren't like that are they?  They're a series of twists and turns, a few steps this way, a few steps that way.

Eventually, I had to head back in the direction of home.  And then I felt it.  The headwind.  Oh sweet Moses.  After initially being smacked in the face with it, I found my footing and started pushing.  Sometimes I felt like my legs were pushing so hard, but I was barely moving.  Like I was running through quicksand.  I would make a few turns here and there on the way back and sometimes be out of the wind's path, but eventually, I'd head north again, and there it was.  "When is this going to endddddddd?", I kept thinking.  But that's the thing.  I knew eventually it would end.  I'd change directions and I'd be out of it. 

I had 11 miles on tap for the day, which meant two 5.5 mile loops.  So I knew I'd eventually get back to the house, and have the advantage of starting the loop all over again, riding the tailwind for the first few miles.  And so I kept pushing.  And when I finally got back and started heading south again, I felt incredibly strong!  It's amazing how light and swift on my feet I felt after fighting the wind for so long.  I somehow felt stronger midway through my run than I did at the beginning.  I rode that high for awhile and then had to face the headwind again for miles 8-11.  Nothing like putting your hardest battles at the end.  But I kept telling myself eventually it would end, and this one little run would be over and done with.  And so it was. 

The end result of my battling the elements that day?  I ended with avg splits that were 25 seconds faster than my time 2 weeks ago on the same course! (Oh and then I treated myself to Vegan Treats, of course.)  Much stronger indeed.

We often wish life (and our runs) could be smooth sailing.  Just a crystal clear sea without a wave in sight.  But I think we know that's just not realistic.  When in the midst of an up cycle, we wish things could forever stay that happy and calm.  But without the headwind, there would BE no tailwind.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Just as there would be no day without night, no Spring without Winter, we've got to take the good with bad. 

I'm going to keep this run in mind the next time I'm in the midst of a particularly rocky string of events.  Things will always turn around and the winds will die down.  In the meantime, choose your battles.  Fight hard.  Or adjust your sails, and change course.  There will be blue skies up ahead.

While you ruminate over that, I'll share just a few Easter pics with you.  We were all asked to bring a dish to my grandparent's house this year. Most often I purchase something ready-made.  (ie. my standard contribution to Thanksgiving dinner is cranberry sauce.)  Well, I made a real dish for Easter dinner yesterday.  Behold this beautiful pasta salad:

What can I say, I'm a domestic goddess.

And, here's the "adult" table from dinner.  We were missing both of my sisters and two of my cousins this year so it was a bit smaller.  I guess that just meant more food for the rest of us!

I hope this week finds all of you with the wind at your back!
How do you deal with headwinds in your life?
Are you currently riding a tailwind, or fighting some stormy weather?
Did you celebrate the holiday weekend?


  1. Ooh, fabulous post. I once read something about how running with a tailwind helps your speed only half as much as running into headwind hurts your speed. So you really have to push the tailwind miles to make up for the headwind.

    Maybe this applies to life sometimes, too. One step forward, two steps back? Certainly feels that way at times. But you're right; life changes and headwinds eventually calm down.

    1. Oh I did not know that Larissa! I bet running with the tailwind was partially mental on my part too. It was such a relief not to be running INTO the wind that I think when I had it at my back I was running way faster than usual. Totally agree with you on the life analogy as well. Sometimes progress seems so small and twisty turn, but eventually things do turn around.

  2. This reminds me of the embrace the uphill, ride the downhill post I wrote last year, but with a greater focus on the beauty of the battle, rather than a caution about giving in too much to the freefall. I think that the battles we face and fight are just as rewarding as the ultimate climax. Because, if nothing else, it can always get better. Sure it can always get worse, but what if we look at it as it can always get better? And we are the ones who can achieve that? Hills engage your glutes, making you a stronger and more efficient runner.
    However, running into headwind is difficult when you weigh a buck o five. Cause then you just get picked up lol.

    1. Haha yes, before I headed out this weekend, my dad asked if he should tie a brick around my waist so I wouldn't be carried away!
      And I agree, when you go through the battles, it really does make the good things in life feel that much better.

  3. I admire your resolve to get that run in! I hate doing anything in windy weather, and plan my errands to fall on nicer days :)


    1. Thanks Farin. I am usually like that as well, but I have a race in less than 3 weeks so I had to get it done!

  4. Very impressed you ran in that wind! Although, if I had to choose btw a windy run vs. humid run, I would pick the former :)

  5. Perfection is nothing ANYONE should strive for because that's so unrealistic!!! Right now I am riding the waves... No head wind or tail wind... Just wind ;)