Another Winter Wonderland Therapy Run - Bridge to 10K

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Another Winter Wonderland Therapy Run

SaskAlliecat profile image
33 Replies

This winter I have been struggling with motivation and a low mood, in general, which is worrisome given it is only early December. I go to work in the dark, I come home in the dark, it is cool (sometimes cold), icy, snowy, windy, there just seems like there is lots to do but why do I come home and eat supper, just to plop on the couch and fall asleep. I got up enough gumption earlier in the week to hit the elliptical for a 20 minute little spin but then had a Christmas concert Tuesday night (which was over early enough to actually still do something productive), was on call Wednesday and was in the clinic for a while so knew I likely wouldn't do anything that night, but literally sat watching tv all night last night. There is a beautiful fresh blanket of snow out there just asking to go snowshoeing on but neither my hubby nor I seem to be strong enough to pull each other away from the comfort of the couch after a long day at work.

I woke up this morning and got kiddo ready and dropped off at school still in the dark (of course) but knew today there was nothing to keep me from my long run today. It is cold, but the sun is shining and there is very little wind. After dropping kiddo off at school, I detoured by the pathway, just to see if it was lit up enough so I could maybe get back in the routine of running right after dropping him off on Fridays. But nope, the path wasn't lit up and running in the dark, in this area of town, would be crazy and possibly unsafe given where the pathway runs. So that's ok. Back home to let the sun rise and perhaps the air to warm up a bit.

An hour later, I'm dressed and heading out the door, back to the pathway I like to run for my long runs. It is a scenic pathway that runs along the creek in town from one golf course to the other. I decided to detour to see if the pathway is cleared near my turn around point (it often isn't) to decide if wearing my Yaktrax is justified. They are unfortunately already starting to wear so I would like to reserve them for truly justified conditions. There is some snow but the pathway has been cleared sometime this week so I will try running without my cleats and just use my trail shoes, to see if there is enough traction. As I'm driving there though, I notice the temperature is dropping, much cooler than the forecast showed. It is now -20C. I had braved wearing my thin long sleeve run top under my awesome arcteryx jacket but this is a few degrees colder than what I've run in the past wearing my thicker top and reporting in my run log that I should've wore my thinner top. What to do? What to do? Let the faffage begin. I head back home to change my top, the temperature in the car jumps up to -16C, grrr, do I just risk it? Nah, better to be a little warm than freezing, especially in these temperatures running an out and back where nobody is at home waiting for me. So I change, put on my fleecy run top and off I go, again. The temperature at the start of my run is still reading -18C, but as I walk to my starting point, I feel cool as expected, but not frigidly cold so I set off at a nice slow pace.

The path has snow with a few ice patches but the shoes are gripping well enough so I commit to a Yaktrax-free run and keep going for a planned 13k out and back run. My hands are little ice balls gripped in a fist inside my run gloves but by 1km, my hands are warm and in their proper positions in the gloves, my face is warming up so I'm pulling the frozen buff off my mouth trying to tuck it on my chin without the ice being too uncomfortable and I realize, I probably could've wore my thinner top. I'm warm, not hot, and if push comes to shove, I can unzip my top or my jacket. As I cross the first steel bridge, I realize those are going to be my downfall today if I'm not careful. They have crusted snow on them that isn't packed so it is slipppppperrrrryyyy. That's ok. There are 4 bridges on the out and 4 on the way back, a great excuse to walk at those points, drink some Tailwind if needed, and carry on on the other side of the bridge. As I cross the first bridge, I notice there is still open water in spots. We've been cold, but it is running water, so it shouldn't surprise me but then I turn the corner and I see 2 ice shacks on the ice near where a truck had gone off the road and landed on it's side in the creek a few weeks ago. I think...what are they doing?!? There is still open water, you shouldn't be ice fishing....then I notice the police vehicles as I run a little further and the underwater recovery team. They aren't fishermen jumping the gun on the weather, just policemen trying to do their jobs. They still haven't located the guy driving the vehicle and I guess they are doing a second sweep of the creek. I don't believe the creek is very deep here and I know they had the underwater recovery team in when it first happened, but despite numerous pleas, he hasn't come forward so there is still question as to his well being. Needless to say, it gave me things to think about as I carried on.

I'm trucking along, carrying on at a nice slow comfortable pace enjoying the sun on my face, my old playlist from last year filled with songs from the 70's and 80's (thanks Bluebirdrunner for reminding me of it yesterday) and the peace and solidarity that comes on these long winter runs. Other than the police, there was nobody on the first half of my run, but by the second half, I came across a couple dog walkers enjoying the crisp morning, and stopped to have a chat with one of them that is a regular client that I know quite well. By the time I reached the end of my run, I was tired, but felt more content. I drove home, had a nice hot shower, ate some left over pasta and had a lovely cuppa while listening to the wind just howl. The running gods were with me today, despite some faffage early on, giving me much needed sunshine, calm winds, great songs coming up on shuffle (it is a crazy long playlist) to bring a smile and a song to my lips. I may've even broke out in song while stretching a bit in the shelter at the end of my run. Thankfully, I looked around after and there were still no people around. Phew! Sometimes, I forget where I am when I'm running, especially when "Only you" by Yaz comes on, taking me back to high school once again 😊. I now feel ready to tackle some errands today - some Christmas shopping for kiddo, perhaps clean the house a bit, before getting supper on and taking kiddo to his guitar lessons where I can hear him jamming out a bit of House of the rising sun with his instructor. And who knows, maybe tomorrow will be the day I get the snowshoes on and tackle the coulee by my house with it's fresh blanket of snow that is just begging to be explored.

33 Replies
Decker profile image

You are a rockstar to be running in those temps Sask. I went out in just -8 last night with a few peeps and if it wasn't for them I would have run inside for sure. I was first cold, then hot running, then sweating on the subway home and freezing on the run home from there :) It was so dark and with the icy patches you have to be quite careful on the hills. It sounds even worse where you are. Happy to hear you got out and back safely and in a better headspace.

SaskAlliecat profile image
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to Decker

It has definitely been hard in the evenings to find the motivation to get out. Running with others would help, for sure. I couldn't imagine riding the subway after. I find I get chilled right after my run when I get inside and have to get my sweaty clothes off and go for a soak in the hot tub or have a hot shower. That is one benefit in living in tiny city Saskatchewan, it doesn't take long to drive home to my hot shower. I reminded myself today on my run that winter running here has to just about base building. As much as I love a hill workout or interval run, it is just too treacherous with our conditions. If I get stuck running a treadmill run, I'll do a hill or interval workout then. It just gives me something to look forward to (in 6 months 😢). These long slow runs are quite peaceful though and with the snow underfoot, there is no overstriding concerns. After Sqkr 's post on form, I was watching my shadow today - looked ok, but a video would probably tell me better 😆.... the things I do to pass the time....

Decker profile image
Decker in reply to SaskAlliecat

Base building is a good way to look at it. It has a purpose. With the right music or podcasts, even treadmill work might be enjoyable, right?. I’ve no sense if my form is good or atrocious. :) but it keeps our brains busy in the cold. We are supposed to do 18k tomorrow morn. 😳🥶. We steel ourselves and we go.

SaskAlliecat profile image
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to Decker

Fingers crossed for calm winds and nice weather for you!

Decker profile image
Decker in reply to SaskAlliecat

Ty Sask. Fingers crossed for you as well 🤞

linda9389 profile image

Wow. A wonderful photo and a wonderful read. It looks so peaceful and pretty - and cold! So many challenges for you to overcome to get out for a run. I am in awe of your efforts. Absolutely brilliant job, well done :)

SaskAlliecat profile image
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to linda9389

Thanks Linda. These winter runs are quite peaceful, there's not often a lot of other foot traffic. I enjoy getting lost in my music and tuning everything else out. I definitely find it easier to get out when the sun is shining, but now that I'm working an extra day a week (compared to last year), I miss having that other guaranteed daytime run day. I was thinking today, I may need to try taking my run gear to work and go out for a short run on the days I get a bit of a break, but we're on a service road, so it's not the greatest place to run. I'm going to have to figure something out though.

Oldfloss profile image

Oh you... what was so exciting, almost like watching you run..... I was there with you....Absolutely awesome.... thank you for this xxx

SaskAlliecat profile image
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to Oldfloss

Awww, thanks OF. That means a lot coming from you. You often need a cuppa tea and a snack to get through my verbose posts, but I can't help myself ☺️

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to SaskAlliecat

Your posts are perfect.... they take me to places I have never seen.. and what images in my head as I settle down for the night... crisp cold days, snow, sunshine, ... and friends far away... wonderful! xx

Dexy5 profile image

A winter wonderland it certainly is Sask. what a beautiful place you live In but what challenges you have to face to go for a run. No wonder you want to stay on the couch. It is so nice to hear about your journeys. This girl can. 🏃‍♀️🇨🇦

SaskAlliecat profile image
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to Dexy5

If i’m going to keep indulging in the Christmas treats and eggnog, I better get better at getting off the cough or my lovely new winter running kit won’t continue to fit. You’d think I was carb loading 😆

Goforitmama profile image

So far -13 has been the coolest I’ve been for a run in. We are still drifting between cold and mild temperatures just over the zero mark. I’m definitely a daytime runner and I admire you for even giving the notion of going out in the dark a passing thought. We are in the country, so it would be dangerous to go out in the dark.

I am enjoying my cool runs, it’s definitley better than running in the heat of the summer, more exhilarating and less draining.

Thanks for your lovely post and photo.

Take care xx

SaskAlliecat profile image
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to Goforitmama

I think as a general rule I prefer running in the cooler weather, minus the ice of course. That being said, I do miss my trail runs and getting up super early hitting the trails before the heat of the day or more civilized people are awake. Although with my lovely trails comes yucky ticks (at least early and mid season). Each season brings it’s own set of challenges. We just have to embrace the challenges and hit them head on (or with a boatload of deet insect repellant and long white socks so I can see the little buggers 😖)

Lavender1962 profile image

What a beautiful post and photo! Your writing is descriptive and allows me to feel and visualize your run. It’s great that you got out for a run. Sometimes the couch beckons just too much.

Here in Montreal it has been snowier and colder than usual but not as cold as you’re getting. ‘Tis the season for snacking! The running does keep the clothing fitting.

I’m glad your mood picked up. Your mention of Only you by Yaz brought me back in time.

SaskAlliecat profile image
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to Lavender1962

We went though our typical cold snap then it warmed up and melted all our snow. Thankfully it came back this last week and the temperature is staying below zero. We hooping to get some snowmobiling and skiing in over the Christmas break so are hoping for lots of snow over the next few weeks 🤞❄️.

Only you was one of my favourite songs for a while; it brings back memories of being in the van on a basketball trip, sharing the headphones with my bestie. I think I almost wore out the tape I played it so much. I still remember a lot of the words, hence breaking out in song. One of these times, there is going to be someone there and I'm going to be really embarrassed 😂 .

Lavender1962 profile image
Lavender1962Graduate10 in reply to SaskAlliecat

I tend to mouth the words to songs but sometimes end up singing out loud. Oops! Have fun snowshoeing!

cheekychipmunks profile image

I absolutely love your in depth and very descriptive posts Sask. It’s almost like we’re running with you - except I couldn’t run as far as you and would need to bail at 10k! 🙄

I guess you get used to those temperatures, but it must be tricky breathing in the frigid air at first? Bet it’s lovely clean air though. 😀

Have fun snowshoeing! Tons of fun! 👍

SaskAlliecat profile image
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to cheekychipmunks

The toughest part initially is the air freezing the little hairs in your nose and your eyelashes. I wear the buff over my nose for the first km or so until my breathing warms the space up. I can usually pull it off my nose and just wear it over my chin then (I'm quite claustrophobic so don't really like things over my face; I've had to get over it a bit with this cold weather running and with snowmobiling. Who knew running could help with other fears and phobias 😁).

It is still blowing pretty hard out there. I'm hoping it dies down for tomorrow; snowshoeing would be a great crosstraining activity! If not, I could go all hard core and wear my ski goggles with full balaclava and ski gear 😂....or maybe just curl up in a blankie with a good book and a lovely cuppa tea.

cheekychipmunks profile image
cheekychipmunksGraduate10 in reply to SaskAlliecat

I think I know which option I’d pick in your situation! 😅

Less dramatic, but still pretty unappealing, is me heading out shortly to volunteer at parkrun. I love volunteering - I’ve made a point to do it once a month - but it’s currently pitch black and blowing an absolute hooley. It’ll be fine as long as I dress appropriately! Gotta love what we go through with our running! 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

Stay warm Sask! 😀🏃‍♀️

SaskAlliecat profile image
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to cheekychipmunks

Dedicated runners....we're a hardy lot 💪.

I hope parkrun went well. In those conditions, it almost seems like it would be better running it than standing around volunteering. I'm afraid I've never got to experience a parkrun. There is a new one 2 hours away from me and another one 5 hours away from me. Perhaps some day....

Bluebirdrunner profile image

Ooh Allie, what a run...The photo looks beautiful but -18 is hard to even imagine here!

The right amount of faffage, by the sound of it to guarantee you had the correct layers and that it was light enough and that your footwear would be fit for purpose..the running gods and you, know what you are doing....😨

Do you need special glasses/goggles to deal with the glare from the snow...

I'm glad you had such an exhilarating long run, it was exciting reading about it all...those bridges, that car, you singing aloud.

A feel good run, just for you, because you wanted it. Lovely.😊xxx

Picture of snowshoes? Are they actually like tennis racquets you strap to your feet ?😆⛄

SaskAlliecat profile image
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to Bluebirdrunner

The traditional snowshoes are like tennis racquets strapped to your feet but there have been huge improvements over the years. Now they're made with aluminum and a plastic type material that are much lighter and very easy to use.

I don't tend to wear any sunglasses or goggles running in winter and the glare hasn't really been an issue yet but my eyes do water a bit from the cold. If we get a lot of sun this winter, I may have to try it though. Glasses can be pretty cold against your face, so maybe I'll have to pull out my ski goggles 😂.

Bluebirdrunner profile image
BluebirdrunnerGraduate10 in reply to SaskAlliecat

Wow, thank you for this video, wearing those looks like it would give you quite a tough workout, high knees, the turning, but also be such great fun! The falling.... the trying to get up.

We just get a few inches when it snows, which freezes overnight , and then it feels quite scary/slippy to walk on.

I rather fancy going out walking in those snowshoes though... but not the extremely cold weather!

Have fun and keep safe 😊xxx

Irishprincess profile image

That looks absolutely beautiful and what a great sounding run. I can't imagine running in those temperatures and conditions so hats off to you Saska for getting out in it. Let's hope the lorry driver is ok though, sounds worrying.

A huge well done on that run though. I bet that hot shower afterwards was heaven 😊😊

SaskAlliecat profile image
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to Irishprincess

Thanks IP, the hot shower was absolutely glorious....I may've used up all the hot water I was enjoying it so much. I usually warm up in the hot tub first, but that can kill another 45 min or more so figured I better get on with my day and head straight for the shower. In hindsight it may not have sped things up at all 😆

There is still no word on the truck driver. Rumour was he was hiding out but when they followed up on all those leads, the people he was supposed to be with haven't seen him. In their update they said they actually hadn't utilized the underwater recovery team immediately after because it was believed he was just avoiding the police and the danger with employing them in these conditions. I sure hope they find him, alive and well.

Irishprincess profile image
IrishprincessGraduate10 in reply to SaskAlliecat

Let's hope so.

SaskAlliecat profile image
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to Irishprincess

We got news yesterday. The underwater recovery team found him under the ice. Sad, but at least the family will be able to get closure. I lost a friend in high school due to a suspected drowning who was never found. I still struggle with that 30 years later.

Irishprincess profile image
IrishprincessGraduate10 in reply to SaskAlliecat

That's so sad.

Yes you're right. Not knowing must be so heart breakingly difficult. I guess there'd always be the question, "what if".

Slinkymalinki profile image

Thank you for sharing your beautiful run! You are an inspiration and it's a real joy to hear about running adventures in another part of the world. We are all very human in that sometimes the will is just not there - primeval instincts tell us to rest & keep warm in the cave and then when the time's right we know and just get right out there whatever the elements are doing. Wishing you many more beautiful winter runs. ❄️🏃‍♀️🎶🌲 X

SaskAlliecat profile image
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to Slinkymalinki

I'm such an A-type personality I can struggle when things don't go as planned, like running 3 days a week, but I've been working on being less hard on myself and just enjoying the runs I do get. That was yesterday. I wore my Garmin but it was tucked under my layers so had no idea of pace. It was great to run as the body wanted and stop to take pictures or chat with someone or to just take in my surroundings. That is what running should be.

Sadie-runs profile image

An amazing run report from an amazing runner. Thanks for posting this, Sask. I continue to be amazed at how you face the challenges of running in your winter, and it certainly gives me some perspective when I get all “meh” about running in winter in the UK. I hope this run reinvigorated you. Fighting those winter blues is tough. We are here for you though, willing you on, and hoping you get out as much as you can. xxx

SaskAlliecat profile image
SaskAlliecatGraduate10 in reply to Sadie-runs

Thanks Sadie. This run definitely served it's purpose and boosted me up (the full day of sunshine also helped, I'd say). It still amazes me how therapeutic one run can be.

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