Well hasn’t this just been the worst winter ever? It’s been longer than any that I can remember. It started with a devastating ice storm and went downhill from there. We’ve had several heavy snow falls, record low temperatures, and the wind has been ridiculously strong. All huge obstacles for the winter runner, myself included. I struggled to get my runs in for the first little while until I found the right combination of layering depending on the crazy cold temps du jour.
But, there’s one thing that this winter has done for me and that’s forced me to run routes that incorporate a lot more hills than I usually would have. Most of the flat routes in my area, including the lakefront trail, run east/west but for the most part the wind has been coming from the west so we’ve had to make last minute changes several times to our routes picking streets that we thought would be better shielded from the whipping, cold wind. Since we start our runs almost as far south as you can go, this has meant mapping out routes that go north. North = up. North takes us up into midtown neighbourhoods where the landscape is more… textured. And quite often, as we’ve discovered, you don’t realize how hilly a road is until you’re actually running it.
They say runs like these cold, slushy, windy, icy runs are character builders. Add in multiple hills to each one and you find out a lot about the person you never knew you were.