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.
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.
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....
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.
Fingers crossed for calm winds and nice weather for you!
Ty Sask. Fingers crossed for you as well 🤞