Saturday, October 29, 2011

Snowy Soccer

I realize that I look a little silly in yesterday's post, wearing short sleeves and shorts and rambling about the onset of winter. I failed to mention the cold streak that hit our city after the rain during my Thursday evening run, and the fact that snow was in the forecast for this weekend. Cold weather was not only on my mind but was in the air.

But I am determined to not let it stop me. It can't stop me. So yesterday after work, I ran in pants and gloves to Nikki's apartment to feed her cat, Ren, since she's out of town for the weekend. I ran fast on the way there, averaging an 8:12 minute mile, and then slower on the way back, at 9:26. She does only live a mile and a half away so 8:12 isn't that impressive. But it made me sweat and Ren liked the sweat.

I sat on her floor and drank water for a few minutes. I took some pictures of me and Renny to send her and confirm that he is still ok and happy. He liked my sweat.

It was basically dark on my run home which brought down my optimism about running in winter. I drank chocolate milk, wishing it was hot, and stretched  a little.

I did some spooky holiday things last night and then stayed in bed until almost one this afternoon, which is unheard of these days. I had little to do but anticipate the 4:15 pm soccer game that I may or may not be playing in, and that may or may not be in the snow.

It was mildly sleeting all afternoon and I wondered if the game would be cancelled. I wanted to play but I also wouldn't have been totally bummed if the league gave me a reason to stay on the couch in my sweats instead. But sure enough, 3:45 rolled around and the game was still on, despite the fact that the sleet had turned to snow. Josh and I headed out and I made sure to tweet and update my facebook status about how badass I was for playing soccer in the snow in October. Whatever Carrie, get over yourself.

I don't care, I still think we're badass for playing. It was snowing really hard at 4:15. It was hard to see through the flakes in the wind and it was really cold. The whistle blew and, all of a sudden, we were supposed to be quick and agile and know how to handle a soccer ball in the snow. If I've ever been good at handling a soccer ball in the snow, it hasn't been for at least seven years. But I tried- we all did.

My team was down a player and picked up a random guy from the last game who, miraculously, was willing to play a charity game for us in the terrible conditions. The other team, our arch rival in this league, scored an early goal on our goalie, Josh, who has never even dreamed of playing soccer this weather and was not at all used to the ball's slipperiness. He absolutely did the best he could to stop the ball.

They scored again and we were frustrated. But we got a goal early in the second half to put us down 2-1. I had two chances to score quickly after, in which I shot multiple times and the ball kept bouncing between the goalie or defense and my foot, with the shots never hitting the back of the net but never being saved either. It was a truly messy and slippery game. And it was frustrating as ever as this favorite (please read the sarcasm) team of ours dove and flipped and over-dramatized every moment of contact to their advantage. If you are a soccer player, or if you've ever watched Italy play soccer, hopefully you know what I'm talking about.

Bottom line: it got a little dirty. But it was snowing and it was a hot mess that somehow made it funny. We lost 3-5 and it was very frustrating. Who knows what may have happened had the air and field been dry. But it was snowing for them just as much as it was for us so the weather conditions are no excuse.

We did our best and we (I, at least) felt so incredibly good for having played 60 minutes of soccer in the snow. In October. I was wet and cold and tired and, I won't lie, it was pretty unpleasant at times, but there's not much else I could have done to make me feel more alive today.

I probably sweat a lot without even knowing it. All gear was sopping wet.

And I was very happy to come home and watch the second half of the Florida game on the couch with a giant mug of hot tea.

And then to mope about the tragic outcome of that game.

At the end of the day, I'm still ok with winter's arrival. Even more than toenails are for sissies, hibernating is for sissies. I plan to kick winter's ass this year and dominate a few races in its coldness. I may even be out on the frisbee field in the morning, bundled in many layers and making boys feel bad about themselves as they watch me run to the endzone.

A small part of me wants to get up early and cheer for runners in the marine corps marathon tomorrow morning. But I think the part of me that wants to sleep and be cozy will win that fight. Good luck to everyone running, including DC running blogger Sarah and her fiance!

Do you like to play (sports) in the snow? Did you get snow today?

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