For the last few winters, twenty-five degrees has been the coldest that I will run outside. Years ago, after my husband and I realized how much money we were sinking into gyms just to use the treadmills, we purchased one of our own so when it gets below 25, I’ll hop on the treadmill. Well, for any of you who lives in the northeast, the midwest, heck most of the United States, the cold this winter has been brutal. That means lots of hopping on the treadmill. If you know me at all — or any runner for that matter — you know that treadmills can feel like a death march after a while. Re-runs of Supernatural, Buffy and Charmed can only take my mind off the hamster wheel for so long.
When I woke this morning, the day was clear and cold — about 17 degrees. Not as bad as Wednesday’s 3 degrees, but pretty darn chilly all the same. Not only was it cold, but we’d gotten more snow last night so it looked pretty messy out there. Tom was on the treadmill and I knew I was going into a day with a fair amount of sitting and listening so I did what any self-respecting runner would do — I geared up.
Not only do I have all the necessary gear, I even had a pair of Yaktrax from my winter residencies at VCFA when a trek into town could be treacherous in the wrong footwear. I’d never run in the Yaktrax, but I thought: what the hell, might as well try it and see.
The key to very cold running, in my opinion, is not just in the gear (lightweight upper layers, good gloves, tights with fleece lining), but also in the distance. Although the body warms up quick — within the first mile — after about mile 4 or so, I start to feel chilled again. But a short winter run doesn’t necessarily translate to an easy run! Running in snow is like running in the sand. I was huffing and puffing in no time. Getting bold, I even attempted the trail near my house. Talk about huffing and puffing! The level of untrodden snow was a bit much for my sneakers, Yaktrax or no, so I turned tail and returned to the slushy sidewalks and roads.
Those of you who usually tune in to hear me talk about my experiences with writing might be wondering: what’s the point? How does this relate to writing? For me, it’s about being open to new experiences and willing put myself out there to see what happens. Now I can say I’ve reached a new low: running in sub-20 degree weather. But that’s my limit. Or is it?