Looking back on this blog, I notice that every January or February, I write a post about how sick and tired I am of winter running. Some people might call that repetitive. I call it a tradition. Here is this year's edition:
In Ottawa, it’s not cool to say you don’t like snow. In fact, one way to show your sporty-hipness in this city is to express great joy every time the flakes start to fly, and to be bitterly disappointed if the snow doesn’t amount to much. That’s because much of Ottawa embraces winter sports – skiing, skating, snowshoeing, dog-sledding, and eating beaver tails on the Rideau canal.
Even The Runner I Married has joined the hoards. Last year, he bought a pair of light-weight, aluminium running snowshoes. Yup, you read that right. Running snowshoes. They are billed as an alternative to running on icy pavement and look something like this:
I, on the other hand, do not acknowledge the existence of winter sports. Instead, I take what is essentially a spring and fall sport – running – and do it all year long. That means that in August, when I’m sweating it out a long run in 30 degree C weather, I yearn for cold, crisp winter weather. And in the winter, I realize just how stupid that kind of thinking is. Because it sucks to get out of a nice warm bed in a nice warm house to spend time in sub-zero conditions doing an activity that is painful and tiring. Plus, it requires a lot of clothing -- though I'm never sure of the exact right layerage. Too much, and I can feel the sweat running down my face and then freezing on my cheeks. Not enough, and I just get the freezing part.
But the really, really bad part of running in winter is the snow. Snow makes sidewalks disappear and the small ribbon of remaining curb become dangerously slippery. It gets in your shoes. It causes snow plows to appear, not before your run, but during it. These days, when I reach a clear patch of pavement, I want to kneel down and kiss its salty, gravel-strewn surface.
Sure, it looks pretty, drifting from the sky and blanketing the trees in white. But to this runner, snow is just not cool.