Holy mother of all doldrums. It is the bleakest, coldest, yellowest/brownest snow time of year.
I’ve been running for most of my life, without a treadmill or gym membership for much of it. Aka, running outside all year. In Wisconsin.
I just realized something. I don’t like winter running anymore. I’m ashamed to admit this.
I see posts on social media about the joys of winter running, as people wave their outside exercise like a badge of frosty brochievement. The fresh air! The solitude! The white snowscape as far as eye can see, and a joyous winter beanie atop your warm little heads.
It’s fricking freezing outside!
Most of my running injuries have been sustained in the winter, and I blame the cold pavement.
Daylight extends for approximately the time I’m at work, so any outside runs are in the dark.
Needless to say, I do most of my winter running on the treadmill.
Yesterday, I decided I was getting too soft (and can’t watch another episode of House Hunters, Law & Order, or The Real Housewives or I will KILL SOMEONE) and should get outside for a run.
Because I share custody of my kids, I do my long runs when they’re at dad’s. This weekend, my 13-mile run had to wait until 5 p.m. on Sunday.
I honestly had a good attitude. I was going to experience the majesty of winter. Nothing but snow, and me bundled in my expensive, carefully curated running layers, owning the elements. It was a comfortable 30 degrees F.
About a mile in, my gloved hands started to ache. For the next 20 minutes, I tried to tell myself pain is just a thing in your brain, and my hands didn’t hurt that bad.
They felt like aching, frozen sausages, unable to bend. I balled up my hands as tightly as they would go, hunched over so my sleeves became longer, and shoved my hands up my jacket sleeves. Better, but I was now running like a hunchback with T-Rex arms.
Around 30 minutes my hands started to thaw, and I was able to relax. (Until I had to go poop, which always happens around 30 minutes, but I probably shouldn’t put that on the Internet?)
I stuck close to home for 8.5 miles, running only on lit streets. When I ventured off the beaten path, I could not see pavement or ice and wondered how long it would take someone to find me if I fell and bonked my head.
The snowbanks truncated the shoulder in many areas, so I had to turn off my headphones and stay alert to oncoming traffic. Although I was wearing my $300 supposedly most reflective Athleta jacket EVER (I need to test this somehow because it doesn’t seem to light up like a camera flash in headlights), I doubt I was very visible, nor would many people be expecting runners on the roads.
After those 8.5 miles, I ran home and did the last 4.5 on the treadmill.
I don’t know, people. I’m as obsessed as the next person with running, but that was fairly miserable.
Am I still a true runner if I admit I don’t love winter running?
I like winter snowshoeing and hiking and sledding and skiing, and being inside a warm gym.
I tip my jaunty pompom running hat to those pounding the icy pavement in a winter wonderland, as I hop back on the treadmill.