Being a native South Carolinian, I tend to prefer warmer weather. But after stints in West Virginia, Indiana and now Cleveland, I've gotten used to the cold. And, in the case of Cleveland, I've even gotten used to the snow and gray winter days. Check out the following temps for my early-morning (start at 5:30 a.m.) outside runs the past two days:
Last year or the year before I'd have stayed indoors, but my treadmill hasn't yet been fixed and so I was forced to go outside for my runs. On Wednesday, a lady drove past me shaking her head. No one else I ordinarily see in the mornings was out. I was it. Thursday I saw a few folks--only two or three. Wearing my North Face jacket, I covered eight miles in each run--and loved it! All that said, tomorrow morning it may be below freezing with a wind chill of negative 25. That might be where I draw the line. We'll see.
Many people hate the winter and the dark and waddle in their own misery as the mercury drops. This might explain why over the past few weeks I've come in contact with so many bent-out-shape folks--people who clearly need to get outside and take in Mother Nature. Is is hard to stay positive when it's super cold and dark a lot, and when the economy is tanking to boot? Yes! But you have to find happiness. Winter brings a variety of exciting possibilities, including:
Snowy trails--running, hiking, whatever!
Those are fun activities and they provide reason to look forward to the winter. Since we have a little one, all of the above except trail running for me are pretty much not possibe for us right now. But both Anne and I are really excited about future ski vacations and outings to the local ice rink. And one of these days I'm gonna pony up a few hundred bucks and take up cross-country skiing as a cross-training activity. We have a huge field across from our neighborhood that is perfect for cross-country skiing.
If you haven't yet braved the super cold, give it a shot! Just make sure you have the right winter gear. For me, the right gear starts with my North Face Apex series jacket, UnderArmour long-sleeve Cold Gear mock turtle and UA compression shorts, along with a tech tee for my middle layer, running pants, gloves, a ski mask, long running socks and my Yaktrax if it's slippery where I'm going. I also wear a headlight.
If winter outdoor activities don't suit you and you'd rather walk laps in a shopping mall or spend even more time indoors at the local gym (I love gyms, but I want to be outside!), take comfort in the following: We are now at the time of year when we're beginning to have more and more daylight in the morning and evening. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel.