Pushing limits / by Christina Rosalie

Before I curl up in a heap of down comforters in front of the TV with a big cup of tea and some graham crackers to watch how the winter games turned out, let me say this: I ran 9 miles in 20 degree weather today.


I wore these, and several fleecy thermal layers that made me look much like a mutant superwoman smerf when I pull the skull-tight hood up over my head, but for the most part I was warm. My breath left my body in clouds. Snot ran a constant clear river down my nose.

But the running itself wasn’t that hard, and I enjoyed moving up the long dirt road near our new house, past bucolic red-barn farms and fields where the snow has mostly melted, although now all the streams have turned rock-solid again. Along the tree line at the field’s edge I spotted deer. In the powdery snow and dust at the edge of the road, tracks of others that had run here before: dogs or coyotes, deer, squirrels, raccoon.

The return part of the loop took me along a main road through the center of two small towns, and then directly west into the setting sun. The sky was overcast over the mountains, but where the sun was falling, each cloud was shredded and on fire. I was almost blinded by it: that bright angled golden sunlight that washes the world at sunset. The pavement was inky and blurred below my feet, pounding rhythmically.

The last mile or so had me wanting to give up. Wind in my face, and the final road to bring me back home kept not being where I thought it was. Like a mirage, it was always just a little farther on.

I kept thinking of the quote someone wrote on the dry erase board above the drinking fountain at my gym: if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. So I kept running, and finished 1.5 hours.

Back at the house, I saw a bald eagle circling the western meadow. Triumph.