I love winter in some respects. I love the frigid days we had here in Duluth last week, with a bright orange sunrise and sea smoke in the harbor. I love watching snow fall. I love twinkle lights.
Running in the winter just sucks, though. There are so many things I took for granted this summer, that I’m realizing as winter progresses. Yeah, I ran last winter, but I wasn’t training for an ultra. I started to list them all in my head during my long run on Thursday.
- Seemingly endless daylight.
I could dawdle around the house for a couple hours after work and still get in a decent run before dark.
- Minimal clothing.
I have to pile on the clothes in the winter, which means more laundry, fewer options for what I can wear, and less freedom of movement. I don’t have to wear gloves in the summer, which means I have more dexterity for opening gels, adjusting my clothes, fiddling with my watch, etc.
- No fogged-up glasses.
When it’s really cold and I’ve gotta cover my face, my warm breath fogs up my glasses. So then I have to uncover my face. And then I get frostbite, which reminds me…
- No frostbite and less risk of hypothermia.
Hypothermia is of course possible even on warmer days, but no one can get frostbite in 55 degree weather. My skin is miserable right now.
- Less mucous.
My nose runs while I’m running in any weather, but it runs a heck of a lot more in winter. Then my snot freezes.
- I’m not tired and cold for hours after running.
Sometimes in the winter, I just can’t get warm. I’ll feel fine while running, but then I get chilled once I come inside. It makes me sleepy, and then I’m basically useless the rest of the day. I feel that way right now, in fact.
- Trails and sidewalks are accessible.
Certainly, after a big rain, trails get muddy or water crossings get treacherous. But some trails or trailheads aren’t reachable due to snow, roads are icy, and people don’t shovel their sidewalks. Yesterday I ended up having to run on the road on Woodland because the sidewalk near Glen Avon rink was completely unshoveled; I’d have been running in knee-deep, filthy snow. Most of the sidewalks on Arrowhead between Woodland and Kenwood aren’t shoveled; they’re passable, but it’s tough going. My route options are getting more and more limited as winter progresses.
- So many races!
There are multitudes of races in the spring, summer, and autumn, but nothing in winter. Obviously because it’s cold, and clearing the course is a pain, and fewer people are interested, and there are greater liabilities for race directors; I get why there aren’t more races. But I wouldn’t mind having a tune-up race in late February/early March. It’s possible, of course, but I’d have to travel somewhere warm, and I’m not going to do that just for a race.
I’ve still got about 4 months to go before it’s warm again (and that’s being optimistic!), so I’m just going to have to deal with it, but next time it’s 90 degrees and cooler outside than it is in my house, I need to pull up this post and remind myself of how much worse it could be.