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Monday, April 29, 2013

Winter Running in Ottawa

My neighbor Steve has lived his whole life in Ottawa. He replaced winter tires on his SUV last week. He must know. It was an indisputable sign that the winter was over. Wow … we won’t get any more snow storms in late April. The whole city seems to be focused now on a big after-winter cleanup. Runners are coming out in large numbers to run along the canal. Everyone seems to be happy to finally be able to shed layers of winter running clothing and wear shorts and light technical shirts. Yes, spring is in the air. It almost feels like summer with +23C this weekend. Helen and I survived our first winter in Ottawa. It was a very long and cold one. There were several chilly, but gorgeous days with lots of sunshine and beautiful blue sky. There were also many cold, snowy, icy and windy days. I’m happy to report that nothing prevented me from running except for few very warm days when the snow started to melt and the path along the canal was flooded with 3 inches of water. Of course, a big freeze overnight turned the path into a “skating rink” the next morning. But runners adapt. I bought Yak-tracks to run on ice. Balaclava and goggles for windy days. Gortex running shoes, heat packs, smart wool socks and big warm mittens from MEC for freezing temperatures. My first half of a long run on Sunday often took me to the Museum of Civilization where I would change to a set of dry clothes carried in a backpack before running the second half back home. Most of my weekly mileage was accumulated by running 5K along the canal to and from the office. This “commute” allowed me to stay outside for no more than 30 minutes which is recommended in freezing temperatures. Running-generated heat also made those cold days easier to cope with. It was easier to run to work than wait for the bus in those low temperatures. After a couple of months, Helen and I would often say: “Hey honey, it is sunny and mild -15C today”. When you say “mild” and “-15C” in one sentence, it is a pretty good indication that somehow we have adapted. Now we can enjoy "adapting" to sunny and warm spring season in Ottawa. 

Run Strong!

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