1. The snow was finally gone, but the mist lingered. It was thirty-five degrees out instead of twenty-five, which I tried to tell myself was some form of progress. Sort of like how the Republican health care bill fell apart, even though our system is still a mess. (To go for the most obvious political comparison.)2. Following my half-marathon in New Orleans, I had decided to keep training -- this time for a full marathon, assuming I could stay injury-free -- which meant I was very aware of the weather. And my body. 3. But to be aware of the weather, as with so many other things, seemed to bring little but disappointment. Why did the weather hate me? Why didn't I live in Northern California, where the temperature was always perfect for running? Why did my left calf hurt?4. A week earlier, I had slipped on a patch of ice on an overpass crossing the highway. It felt like an icy hand had emerged from the ground to pull my feet out from under me, meaning I could barely brace myself as I dropped to the pavement. Fortunately nothing was broken, but I can still feel the ache in my left wrist. Fortunately, I'm not using my wrist to run. 5. I've learned that distance running in the city can be precarious in ways I hadn't expected until recently. Uneven sidewalks, potholes, curbs, dog leashes (and the careless humans holding them), roots, branches, loops of plastic that attack your feet, and now patches of ice: all of these things and more can literally trip you up and leave you with skinned knees and palms and worse. 6. It's true that running inside is always an option, because thankfully I've never tripped on a treadmill. The only problem is that I've come to the conclusion that treadmill running (at a 1.0 incline, which supposedly mimics outdoor running best) is psychologically and possibly physically harder than running outdoors. The miles just go by a lot slower, even when you're listening to a good podcast. Or a bad one. 7. Or maybe it's possible that I've gotten slower in the months since New Orleans. Maybe it's time to start measuring my age in days and weeks instead of years. "A few weeks ago I was so much faster than I am now." Or: "You can train all you want, but you can never be as fast as you were a few weeks ago, when you were so much younger than you are now." Fortunately, this isn't the kind of thing anyone says on the running blogs and websites I've been reading. 8. Runners tend to be optimistic, which I think is why I like being around them. (I mean, as much as I like being around any "community" of people.) I never have any doubts that my running friends are rooting for me, just as I am rooting for them. 9. Being friends with runners is completely different than being friends with writers and artists, who when they learn about the success of one of their peers say something like "wow, great" and when they learn about the failure of one of their peers say "that's a shame" except that the true meaning of these phrases is actually the reverse. This is true even at "the lowest levels" of art and writing, where really nothing is at stake. (Which these days is pretty much all levels of art and writing.) As Morrissey said with such characteristic insight and precision: "We hate it when our friends become successful." 10. Recreational runners, by contrast, will say "wow, that's great" or "damn, that's too bad" and mean it 100 percent. 11. I've noticed that gardeners and pet lovers are like runners in this regard, too. We all genuinely want each other's plants and animals to be happy and healthy.12. The world, it seemed, was divided into two factions: those who love hellebores and those who love misery. 13. And some of us who, after all these weeks, still can't decide where we belong.