Running away with the circus

February 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Winter in Canada is quite the brutal affair, and even though Toronto isn’t as bad as others, it’s still worse than a human can sustain without resorting to specialized 700$ arctic winter gear. Back in the elementary school days, I used to make snow angels, have snowball fights, and generally traipse around the white stuff with the best of them, but as I grew older, and less prone to frolic around in the cold, I couldn’t handle the freezing temperature. The worst, least logical thing to do in such conditions, at least in my opinion, was running. I used to look at those crazy people running around in the slippery, icy, snowy conditions, armed with nothing other than running shoes, tight pants, a windbreaker, and a tuque and wonder what could possibly compel a  human being to get out there and, not only battle the freezing temperatures, but also exert themselves while they’re at it! Clearly these people were insane.

You know how the saying goes right? Never say never. Well, I said never, and fast forward to today, never has arrived. Today, I ran away with the circus.

It started in November. I hadn’t jogged in over a month, and I was surprisingly craving it. The unfortunate reality was that I was facing a good 6 months of winter ahead of me, and I didn’t want to hit the treadmill anymore. My craving was bad enough that I started trolling the Sporting Life and Lululemon websites for the gear necessary to go hardcore on winter running. Nothing like a boost of pretty things to get you motivated! Acquiring these pretty things took a little longer than I would have liked but the winter is so definitely not over yet.

Having acquired all the gear I needed, I got home today, and set off before I had enough time to reconsider my venture into crazyville. I hit the pavement, tunes pumping, sun setting. Halfway down my block I felt a chill over my back and remembered the breathability of my base layer. Yeesh. I shook myself out of the reaction and continued. Turning the corner onto a bigger street, I suddenly felt self-conscious. I used to roll my eyes at runners in the winter, and here I was, bundled up with nothing but a thin layer of nylon-spandex guarding my bum from the elements, wondering what people were thinking of me. That’s the funny thing about growing up, you remember how you used to react to “older” people doing “crazy” things like run outside in the winter, or tell dirty jokes, or offer advice about dating, and though you’re on the other side, wiser and rolling your eyes right back at those teenagers who have much to learn, you suddenly gain consciousness of the shift. But let’s ignore that for now, that’s my crazy “30th birthday looming” self talking.

Warm up over, I started jogging. My expectation was that I would jog for a block and then my lungs would start to rip into shreds because of the lack of two things: oxygen, and practice. I kept those expectations at bay by checking the pavement ahead, expecting ice patches everywhere and a wipeout by yours truly to entertain the evening commuters. Surprisingly, my expectations were not met. I didn’t slip and fall, and managed to run much further than I was able to in the summer, prior to the familiar lungs-being-ripped-to-shreds feeling kicked in. And even then, it wasn’t that bad. Was it all that moksha yoga I had been doing since I stopped running? Was it the colder temperature? I don’t know WHAT it was, but I just had an awesome run.

Of course, around the end, I felt like there were icicles hanging off my butt, and that I could “cut glass” if you know what I’m saying. I’m still thawing as I write this but winter running, you have just been acquired as a hobby!


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