Let’s face it, winter running sucks hard most of the time, especially when you need to do it alone. There are days that I would skip if I didn’t have someone depending on me. Having a race booked and a training schedule to follow helps too, but the one thing that gets me out there in this bitter Canadian winter is my running tribe. I love them dearly.
You need to surround yourself with like-minded people – people that hold you accountable and push you and challenge when you think you have nothing left.
I’ve been so fortunate to have met an amazing group of women in my community that love to run just as much as I do. They depend on me just as much as I depend on them. You really need to enjoy your running company, because 2 + hours on the road with someone that isn’t your cup of tea makes for a looooong run! Also, there are many TMI moments out there, so pick your tribe wisely.
If you are new to this running thing and you want to pursue it further, I highly suggest you network your community and rally some troops. You need a running tribe that will set their alarms at 5am and meet you on the corner with their headlamps on. There is nothing more badass then a group of strong woman with headlamps giggling through the streets.
Today was one of those days when I really didn’t want to run. The sidewalks were iced over and so were most of the roads. While I was contemplating to run or not, Linda reached out at the right time and we talked each other into it. Off we went!
This will be my second year of endurance running, and my husband and I are both training for our next big race, our second Around The Bay race. My good friend Amy, who lives just down the street, is also training for it. You really need a good support network to keep you motivated during these cold winter months.
Around The Bay is a 30k race around the Hamilton Bay of Lake Ontario. People travel from all over to participate. Did you know that Around The Bay is older then the Boston marathon! ?
The first 20k is an “exciting”, scenic, and fast route through Hamilton Ontario. The final 10k treks through rolling hills along the scenic North Shore Blvd. It’s a challenging course, but the energy of the people that are running it and the people that live on the course give an extra boost.
One thing that always stresses me out is the unpredictable weather. Race day is March 26th, and here in southern Ontario the weather is dicey in March and April – winter is still lingering but there are hints of spring in the air. Maybe it’s a girl thing, or maybe it’s a runner thing, but dressing with the right gear is so so important. Too little clothing and you freeze your butt off for 3 hours, or if you dress too warm you sweat then freeze your butt off. The Weather Network becomes your favourite app for the week leading up to your race, and pretty much every hour up until race time so you can fine tune your layers. Since this race changes directions a few times, the wind and temperature can change quickly. I will most likely have three outfit choices for the morning of and decide at the last minute based on the expected weather.
I’ve learned that you need to be prepared to remove layers as you’re running and be able to put them back on once the temperature changes again.
That waiting time at the start line can be long and cold. Some runners buy heavier layers at the thrift store to wear over top of their normal gear, then toss them aside when they’re all warmed up. I saw a ton of retro jackets along the streets of Hamilton and dollar store gloves that runners tossed when they were done with them. The city picks them all up and it’s all donated.
What I also learned from last year was at the start line you need to keep up with the pack because you’ll get trampled. It’s a huge field of racers, but once the pack thins out, you can find your own pace.
45 days and counting. 5 more long runs to complete.