I remember sitting around bored in my buddy’ Don’s studio on a cold winter morning in Chicago many years ago. We pretty much had nothing to do. It was miserable outside. The wind was blowing very hard and the city had a few feet of snow covering her grounds. The roads had been largely cleared of snow and cars were able to move about the streets, but getting around certain places on foot was really for the hardcore and the stupid. Mounds of snow from snows plows impeded foot traffic.

We got restless, as we usually did when we got together, and looked at each other with that ‘What the H—- do we do now?” look on our faces. Don was a great training partner;  7 years my junior, short, muscular and strong. I used to hate trying to catch up with him on our mountain runs, because he could power up hillsides. My own measure of success was knowing he could never beat me in flat full-out distance. We were very competitive and fed off the other’s energy. 23 years after meeting him, we still talk about fitness, and our passion for working out.

I said to him, “It’s so cold we should go for a run!” I half-heartedly meant it. He shouted back “Yeah man! That would be cool!” I think he half-heartedly meant it. After going back and forth shouting, “Yeah!” Yeah!” “Yeahhh!” We got so pumped up and decided to do it.  Two obnoxious guys psyching each other up.  We got up and peeled out the door and at the last-minute decided to wear only our shorts, socks and shoes as protective gear. Bare-chested was cool. We would pay the price.

Commit to an Action

Getting started was the hardest part of the run but we committed to an action. We tore down N. Sheridan Roadand towards Lakeshore Park Drive. The wind cut at our faces and I felt the chill on my nose and hands. We decided to go as far as we could. We would head towards the Navy Pier, circle around and then return.  We carried no money for a hot drink or a cab ride back in case we experienced failure.  In our dumb minds,  failure wasn’t an option and we were doing something cool. I wasn’t a spring chicken anymore. I did plenty of snow runs but never distance and without  cold-weather protection. The pain in my chest, face and fingers was becoming apparent. My fingers were becoming very stiff and I could feel sharp, prickly pain all over the skin of my chest and face.

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