Cool running

The first sub-zero run of the season is always a little daunting. I wake up thinking, if my fingers and toes are nearly numb inside, how are they going to feel outside? No matter how many time I run in the cold, I’m always amazed at how quickly the body adjusts.

With the day off, I had the luxury of waking up, eating a nice breakfast and giving myself time to digest before yesterday’s run. For me, that is key. With an uncharacteristic lack of peanut butter in the house, I opted for a banana, apple sauce, nut and honey wrap. Yum!

I kept checking the outdoor thermometer, hoping the temperature would creep up a  bit. It said -10C! But when I checked the Weather Network, it said -1C, and -8C with the windchill. So I geared up with my long running pants, pink Swiftly shirt and Full Tilt pullover. The pullover has built in mittens (cuffins!) which I love. Since I don’t have a proper running hat or warm head band, I wore my summer running hat hoping it would keep me warm.

My fingers even froze taking this photo. I was nervous for the cold run ahead.

Since it was such a sunny day and I had the time, I took a short drive to the Irving Nature Park, my favourite place to run in Saint John.

The nature park is on a peninsula jutting out into the Bay of Fundy. The park’s gravel road is protected from the wind.

As I started the run, it didn’t take long to warm up. I was worried that what I had on wasn’t enough. I’ve never owned a third running layer (like a jacket) but I do have a vest I sometimes wear when it’s really cold. I kept the cuffins on for the first bit but not for long. At first my legs felt chilly, but they warmed up too. The coldest parts of my body were my toes and my cheeks. But you can’t do much about that (except, maybe warmer socks?). Really the things I wished I had the most were tissues and lip chap. My body warmed up quickly and I even worked up a sweat by the end.

Running in the cold is nice because the heat doesn’t zap your energy. I find that running hills is easier and I could have run much farther if I wasn’t such a chicken from the get-go. I did run into some trouble by the end with some pain in my left knee. Nothing a date with the foam roller can’t fix.

So, here’s to cold-weather running. When you think you’re going to freeze your buns off, you probably won’t!

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April C

Writer, editor and mom in Saint John, NB.

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