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Winter running: I'm over it

I can only be badass for so long. Winter running, I'm so over you.

When I started Couch to 5K on March 1 last year, it wasn't exactly in ideal weather conditions. I distinctly remember taking Kenlee out in the jogging stroller (bundled and covered) for a run on sleet covered streets around the beginning of April. It sucked, but I was proud I didn't let Mother Nature stop me. I've since taken on rain, wind and extreme heat as well. I usually feel pretty awesome when I finish a run despite the elements.

But this winter has been my first running in the worst our Midwest weather has to offer. When I took on the Runner's World Run Streak challenge from Thanksgiving to New Year's, it toughened me up, so to speak. I only had a handful of days where I limited myself to 1 mile due to the weather. And even those handful weren't so awful looking back.

Because now that I've survived January's polar vortex — TWICE — December looks downright sunny.

When the first major snow storm and extreme temperatures hit us at the beginning of the month, I didn't have the option to go outside. As a paramedic, Kyle is essential personnel and had to report to work while Kenlee and I were trapped at home during a two-day snow emergency. So I made the best of things and popped in a Jillian Michaels DVD a few times. You see, I figure if I shouldn't be driving then I shouldn't be running either. Once the temperatures were back above zero and the snow emergency was lifted, I was back out on the road.

Lucky for me, only half the residents of our village had decided to shovel their sidewalks after we received something like 14 inches of snow (Insert eye roll here). BUT I can understand that not everyone has the time or capabilities to get things cleaned up right away, so I have (carefully) been on the street as much as possible. I refuse to do high knees on a un-shoveled sidewalk and pray that I don't fall on my face in snow bank. I tried it a few times, but the workout just isn't for me.

So basically, I sucked it up and accepted several things about winter running:
• Slow and steady is key — I can't be trying to set PR's on the ice and snow.
• Layers are essential. For any days below 20 degrees, I wear two pairs of tights, a long sleeve shirt, a fleece jacket, tall socks and hat and gloves. For days in the single digits, I add another layer on top, a thicker hat and an extra pair of gloves.
• Below zero runs aren't worth it. It's too hard to breathe and my face goes numb. I have my limits.

When the polar vortex returned this week, a combination of scheduling conflicts and the weather kept me from running for four whole days. This may seem fine to the average person, but for me it was nearly torturous. Since I have no treadmill at home, I decided to cash in a free day pass to the local Y today. Lunch runs aren't ideal, but at least I can get a good sweat. I'm hoping Mother Nature decides to play nice soon though, because I can only watch so much Price Is Right before I get bored with my workout.

Seriously, is it spring yet?


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