40 Degrees and Rainy With 100% Chance Of Windsprints



It’s been raining all morning. Grey, dreary rain.

I’m freezing too. I look around the chilled house and realize it’s dropped a few degrees outside so I look up the temperature online – 49 degrees. It’s May.

I glance at my workout schedule – windsprints. I almost laugh. The thought is ridiculous.

40 Degrees. Rainy. 0% of Windsprints today

I tell myself. No way. No how.

Hell no.

I look back down at my computer and get back to work. I fire off a few emails, talk to a client and tidy up some loose ends. I look back at my workout schedule.


Staring right at me.

Nope. Not going to do it. 

I try to focus back on my work, but my mind is already started arguing with itself.

I don’t want to go.

I don’t want to do it.

Not today.

You can’t make me.

I fire an email off at Vic telling him about the rain, and the temperature – too cold to run, I say – hoping that will be an excuse enough for him to go easy on me.

I wait 3 minutes and send him another one without waiting for a response – already knowing what it would be.

“I hate you”, I type as I stand up and head to my room to look for clothes.

I layer up like I’m about to visit the tundra.

  • Under Armor, check..
  • Sweatshirt, check.
  • Shorts, check.

I peek outside – still way too cold for sprints.

I walk back in, glance at my computer and think for a second how much easier it’d be to just sit down and stay in – it’s way too cold after all (and it’s raining!). But results don’t care about your excuses.

I glance back and rummage through my closet.

  • Sweatpants, Check
  • Winter Hat, Check

It’s May. IT’S MAY! I tell myself. This shouldn’t be happening.

Last week I was in the Dominican Republic! What happened, where am I and what did people do with spring in Chicago when I was gone?

I mutter something under my breath and then walk outside. As the cold hits me, I say outloud to no one in particular.


I’ve got 2 days left in this workout regimen. Today’s the last tough day. Tomorrow’s slow and easy. And today – of all days – spring in Chicago decided it wanted to pretend it was February.


It doesn’t matter anymore. I let out a small grunt and I’m already outside. Cold, wet, outside. Great.

Sprint day. 

I hate sprint day. Run until you can’t breathe anymore – who decided this was fun?

Vic, I hate Vic – I tell myself.  This is all his fault. ALL HIS FAULT.

But Vic didn’t make me sprint outside. I did. I’m not sure why, but that realization makes it easier. I accept it, settle down and walk to my starting point.

Here we go.

50 yards. Down and back. I run in the middle of my street – quiet enough to not have to watch out for cars – but busy enough that I still get odd looks when they pass by. At this point I could care less. I’m used to it.

50 down and back. Then rest as I walk back 50 yards to do it again.

Then again.

And again.

And again.

Over and over and over.

The sets blur together and I lose count of how many I’ve done. I know that I’ll be out here for 20 minutes at the least – there’s no use in keeping track of the number of sprints I do. I don’t care about time either – I care about running till I’m out of breath.

Down and back. Down and back. Down and back.

21 minutes later, I look down at my watch. I’m done


Hill sprints are optional – but I do them anyways. I don’t know why – maybe I like pain. When you’re already this deep, you might as well keep going. In a workout, when you get the choice between hard and easy – the hard way always makes you stronger. Mentally, if nothing else.

I walk around the corner and look up at the hill.



It’s not incredibly steep, but it’s long. 200? 250, maybe 300 yards? I’m not sure, but it’s far enough to wear me out sprinting on a flat surface, much less an incline. This hill won’t be fun.

The thought of turning around and walking back home crosses my mind, but I barely finish the thought before I’m off.

My legs are tired. The wind, the rain and the hill all conspire to pull me down, but I keep sprinting – noticeably slower than before – but sprinting none the less.

Breathing heavy, I get about halfway and start to slow. I dig back in and kick as much as I can until I reach the top and realize I want to puke.


I walk back down to the bottom of the hill.

Why am I doing this?


I take off, a little bit slower, but I make it to the top.


One last time. This one is tougher, but I keep pushing until the hill levels off.


Done, I breathe finally and half walk/half-jog down the hill – as the rain cools me down – the same rain that threatened to keep me shut in.

I walk back inside – 36 minutes later. My sweatshirt is sopping wet. My sweatpants are too.  I don’t know how they got this wet, as I take them off and throw them near the laundry and change. Somehow though – I’m done. Thank God.

As I settle down at the computer – I notice something’s different than earlier. I look at the rain – it’s still coming. I check the weather – it’s still cold. Everything’s still the same…but me. I’m stronger.

40 Degrees.


100% Chance of Windsprints.

Damn straight. #rah

photo credit: pennacook

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  1. says

    Joel…you know the saying man…”It ain’t training…if it ain’t raining” Nice not letting a fear of melting stop you from kicking butt today. Go and Get it :)


  2. says

    Nice. If you haven’t give Iron War a read (Dave Scott & Mark Allen). Just finished it yesterday. Helps keep your mind right (as you are obviously doing).

  3. says

    Just remember, pain is weakness leaving the body.

    I’m glad you endured and got it done!

    Every time I don’t want to train, every time I want to take it easy, every time I want that extra Ding Dong, I remember what it was like to be 40 lbs overweight and on the road to an early death.

    Thanks for the inspiration. I’ll be thinking about it on my 4.5 hr bike ride tomorrow.

  4. Tam says

    I’m in Chicago right now thinking the exact same thing you were earlier today. It’s freaking May. The last thing I wanted to do is go to the track and do some sprinting, but I put on my running shoes and checked your blog for inspiration. Amazing. I’m skipping out my front door right now. If you did it, I can do it. Thanks!

  5. Patrick says

    I know how you feel Joel. Just started running sprints and hill every other day. 60lbs overweight and dropping. I find the hardest part is mental. My mind so wants me to quit and pat myself on the back..but i push out a few more and get so freaking close to losing a lung, but i always feel like a Billion bucks afterwards…ok gotta go, the hill calls me.


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