Streaking in the cold

I love the way the Holiday Run Streak is helping me, the queen of the weather weenies, embrace winter.

Lindenwood cemetery looked a lot different covered in snow during Sunday's run.

Lindenwood cemetery looked a lot different covered in snow during Sunday’s run.

Last year I lasted 12 days before I caved and did an indoor run. Now, more than halfway through, I’ve done at least 1 outdoor mile every day since Thanksgiving — even when the wind chill’s dipped below freezing and on Saturday, when we got a little over 8 inches of snow.

For me, the turning point came last Tuesday. It was bitterly cold all day, in the low teens with the wind whipping past 20 mph. I kept trying to imagine going for a run and couldn’t bring myself to do it. A couple of days earlier, I’d come back from a 7-miler with what Bob called “frost nip” on my thighs. My skin was fiery red and very hot to the touch. It eventually went back to normal, but it gave my inner weather weenie lots to dwell on.

Finally, after dropping Colleen off at basketball practice that evening, I decided to go into Ossian for a gallon of milk and a 1-mile loop through town. I wore double layers everywhere — gloves inside mittens, running tights under sweat pants, headband under baklava pulled down over my face — then wrapped a scarf around everything on the lower half of my head and tucked it into the sweatshirt covering a double layer of insulated running shirts.

I kept wishing I’d brought an extra key so I could leave the car running while I ran. But even bundled up as I was, I knew it wouldn’t take me more than 10 minutes or so — and that, more than anything, was what got me over the hump. I knew the faster I ran, the sooner I could get back in the still kinda warm car. The funny thing was, I wound up feeling so energized and triumphant that afterward I didn’t even bother putting my winter coat on to go into the grocery store.

I was telling this to Kevin, the guy at Fleet Feet, that new running store in Fort Wayne’s Village of Coventry, and he was like, oh yeah, running in the cold, no big deal.

“I always tell people, ‘Dress for Mile 2,’” he said. “By then you’re all sweaty and that, more than anything, is what makes you miserable.”

Colleen said her teacher the triathlete told her the very same thing last week — not that Colleen is doing many outdoor runs these days, preferring to dribble a basketball while she runs laps at the gym. At any rate, having crossed that threshold, I feel like I’m embracing rather than dreading these winter runs. Who would’ve guessed?

Running streak totals as of Sunday: 31 miles in 18 days.

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