It is -2 F when I happily step outside for a run. What am I thinking, exactly? It's hard to say. The gym called seductively: It's warm in here. You know you can run faster on the treadmill. You can wear shorts! You can't watch TV because the only TV is mounted right above your head, and some doofus will have it turned to football, but you can look out the window and see people going into the bank! Doesn't that sound like fun?
We've entered a deep freeze, the kind that comes every year, but seems to always take people by surprise. Maybe they think they live in the tropics. My house is consistently 55 degrees because while log houses are great, they don't insulate all that well. I said, "But pioneers lived in them!" My husband said, "Pioneers froze."
For my run, I layer up: tights, silk long underwear top, wool top, fleece top, jacket, hat, mittens. I look sort of ridiculous and if I have suddenly gained 20 pounds. There is nobody else out there. But it's going to be okay. I trot down the road towards the park, which would be an icy mess but it is too cold to slip. In the park I realize that only a couple of brave souls have forged a path on the trails. I flounder in the fluffy snow.
I am warm. Except for my feet. My feeeeeeeeeeeeeet. For the first time in all the decades I've been running, I almost turn back. The thought of changing clothes and driving to the gym forces me on. I'll cut out to the road and see if I can run faster to warm up. Reynaud's Syndrome, a condition where circulation ceases to the extremities, sets in. My feet ache. I could never climb Mount Everest or run the Little Su ultra, even. I wouldn't have toes left.
When I reach the road, despite my freezing feet, the lake is so beautiful I have to stop to take a picture. Steam rises from the calm surface. The mountains float above. It is so beautiful and so cold, almost like the air itself is going to crack.
I run for a little while longer and it works, despite the weak sun. By the time I return through the park my feet are wooden blocks, but they no longer hurt. I trot up the street proudly.
Winter is always my nemesis. I am intimidated by deep cold. I feel a sense of urgency that I never do in summer, something lurking just beyond my shoulder. It keeps me inside more than I like. I want to get better at winter.
Do you have a cut-off temperature? I think mine might be zero. Anyone have warm running shoe ideas?