Running through the polar vortex

I know I live in Canada and should be used to the cold weather, but it’s definitely been one of the colder winters in recent memory. Sometimes when I go outside and it’s -30 I have a slight flashback to when I lived in Sault Ste. Marie in northern Ontario. I thought one of the benefits to moving back to Toronto was going to be milder winters! At the same time, I like to think that living in the Soo made me a bit more resilient to the cold (just something I like to tell myself to make myself feel better).

Outdoor running selfie with black toque and black and mint green neck gator covering the lower half of my face.

How I survive running through the polar vortex. I like to pretend I’m a ninja.

This year I’ve found it very challenging to keep on track with my running. Between the early morning darkness (if I run during the week it’s usually at 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m. before going to work) and the frigid cold (my iPhone keeps shutting down from the cold, my eyelashes keep freezing and so do my water bottles), it’s been very hard to stay motivated.

Fortunately or unfortunately for me, I was really ambitious at the end of 2013 and signed up for six races so far. In less than three weeks I’ll be running the Hypothermic Half in Sarnia and at the end of March I’ll be running the Around the Bay 30k. Last year I didn’t do very well at Around the Bay. My grandmother had just passed away and I was also overtrained, emotional and tired. Because of that, I’ve sworn redemption for this year, which also means that I need to keep running. If not for these two races, I probably would have talked myself into hibernating from running until the springtime.

Here are some pics that I’ve snapped during some of my cold winter runs:

Running along the boardwalk in The Beach and through Cherry Beach.

Running along the boardwalk in The Beach and through Cherry Beach.

Ducks in the frozen lake.

I guess they didn’t get the memo to fly south for the winter?

Cherry Beach in the winter

Cherry Beach in the winter.

My last long run was yesterday. I attempted to run 19k, but turned around early when my waterbottles froze shut. I still managed to get 18k in. The strangest thing about this run was that despite the wind whipping me and my eyelashes freezing and having to run very slowly due to the snow and ice, I felt relaxed and actually enjoyed myself. It was a nice couple of hours to have to myself, think about life and forget the rest of the world. I guess running really is my therapy, even during the polar vortex. Despite all of that, I keep saying that I may never run another winter half again. We’ll see how the Hypothermic Half goes in a few weeks! And more importantly, we’ll see if I remember this when it’s time to sign up for a winter run again next year!

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5 thoughts on “Running through the polar vortex

    • Thank you! If I hadn’t signed up for those two races I probably wouldn’t go. It’s just enough to keep me motivated. (Also my marathon running clinic instructor is running the half and I don’t want to let him down 🙂

  1. Pingback: I defeated the Reaper – Around the Bay 30k, 2014 | Plain Can Be Lovely

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