It has become the question of the morning on the way to school with my boys…”Is he running today?”. We watch the sidewalk next to the busy road and look for the man we now call The Cold Weather Runner. The first time I saw him it was a nice crisp 30 degrees and he was sporting a light tank top and running shorts. “WHAT?”. That was my initial response as my head whipped around to take another look. He was casual in his stride and seemed to be enjoying his morning jaunt. I remember the feeling I would get as I am running on a long stretch of road on a cold winter day, hearing virtually nothing but seeing everything, connected with the natural world. There is something quiet and calming about running in the cold and even the snow. When I lived in Illinois and Colorado I would LOVE getting out and hitting the snow covered pavement simply because the crunching sound was rather soothing. BUT the big difference is that I had gloves, running tights, wool socks, Under Armour, and a running jacket. The 2006 Chicago Marathon was a cold weather running experience that I really didn’t enjoy. I discarded my paper pants that were over my shorts at mile 7, I felt my legs burn shortly thereafter. About one mile later the wind picked up and it was absolutely freezing!! When I crossed the finish line, my legs were a bright shade of red and purple and all I wanted was that shiny thermal blanket that looks like tinfoil. Which brings me back to the The Cold Weather Runner, how in the world does he do it? Today it was 26 degrees and once again we watched in amazement as we passed him on the way to school. He had on a bit more clothes…a t-shirt and not a tank 🙂
I was talking to my sister the other day and she was telling me about her first few runs with CARA – The Chicago Area Runners Association. She was certain that the morning run would be canceled due to the crazy winter weather. After checking the CARA hotline, she realized the run was still on. While running, she is having a conversation with another woman that was talking about a ultra-marathoner who runs in the Sahara Desert. The woman has to run on the white lines of the road so that her shoes don’t melt in the intense heat. My sister and the woman she was talking to both said “who is crazy enough to run in those insane conditions?!”…all the while, snow and sleet are pelting their faces. We both laughed.
One of these days, I would like to say hello to The Cold Weather Runner and shake his hand. For some reason I am thinking his hands would be much warmer than I’d expect…he just seems to be able to tolerate the frigid temperatures and even enjoy it. Somehow he just inspires me in the morning. I realize that I need to put the coffee down, push away from the computer and just get out there!
What inspires you?