Bye bye winter.
I heard the news on the radio the other day and I couldn’t be happier since spring is my favorite season of the year. I just like how everything just seems fresh and crisp for some reason. Even though there are still some colder temperatures, they feel warmer because we’ve been used to the really frigid weather over the last few months. Spring, though can be a challenging season for running. There are treacherous areas all over the place where melting snow has refrozen on the sidewalk and you really have to watch where you land your stride, or even worse, where a deeper puddle has a thin crust of ice at the top. I’m a gambler in those situations and just give ‘er over the thin ice. I’d say in most cases I wind up with a wet foot right up to the ankle and I’ve been avoiding Mill Creek Ravine lately because of that haha.
The other thing is having to think about what you want to wear out there…spring can be hot, cold, very cold, snowy, windy, or any type of condition really. A while back deciding what I needed was a source of anxiety for me. I used to stand there and overthink the situation to the point that sometimes I would even skip my run altogether, all because I was worried that I might be too hot or too cold. I know it seems ridiculous but this could have been borne from the fact that we live in a climate where it’s not as simple as just throwing on a pair of shorts every time and deciding if you want to go with a singlet vs a t shirt. There are other factors to consider and some hard lessons to learn, people! Case in point: allow me to take you back to winter of 2002 or 2003 or so. I headed out on a cold January morning with a stiff breeze blowing, wearing only a thin pair of sweats and an equally thin kangaroo jacket (hoodie by modern day terms or bunny-hug if anyone from SK is reading this). I felt great for the first few kms with the wind at my back, but as everyone knows, a cold January wind is more noticeable after you’ve turned into it. Several hundred meters into this gale gave me intimate knowledge of how accurate the human physiology textbooks are when it comes to how the male anatomy functions in situations such as the one that I now found myself in. The wind was a hungry, rabid wolf trying to feast, and my man-bits were the scared ferrets retreating deep into their den. And let me just say, it’s a really, really deep den. And getting back to those human physiology texts, believe me, there are worse appendages to freeze than your fingers, especially when we’re talking about male anatomy, folks. Those were some tense, fetal position moments in the shower after I got back and properly thawed out.
Because I’m probably not unique in having a disaster like that, most people have learned over time what they are roughly comfortable wearing in any sort of weather that gets thrown at them. Obviously you remember what worked and what didn’t. Everybody is different and has different things that they feel they need to use or put on. As a result, at least for myself, any temperature 0 degrees and over is shorts but below that it varies depending on how cold it actually is or if there is rain, snow, or wind (wind is the element that tests you beyond any other, no doubt about it!). The key is layers and preparation. Obviously this becomes less of a concern the further away from winter we go but it is a critical point, especially for those of us that like to hit remote mountain trails. As an aside, apart from the first couple of episodes, there is a great series on YouTube called, I Shouldn’t Be Alive, that chronicles people that have run into trouble out in the wilderness and against all odds, make their way back to the land of the living. They are unreal stories of survival but the one thing they all had in common was that each episode showcased how either the lack of proper planning was what got these people into their situation, or how the use of proper planning got them out of it. It’s a good mentality to have even if you’re heading out for a quick 5k.
I’m thinking in the future here at some point, and maybe as we get closer to next winter, I’ll take a look at a lot of the warm weather gear that’s available and do a review on it. It never ceases to amaze me how little you need to be wearing on your body to be prepared for a run in -40 and a windchill. Gone are the days of thin sweats and frozen appendages if you’re not into that! Thanks for reading everybody and hopefully I see you out there!