I wimped out.

In September I moved from Ottawa to Toronto to start a new job and “adulthood”, so to speak. What I started to notice almost instantly among Torontorians was with the winter season came a new level of vocabulary; more specifically, strong hateful words about the cold, snow and ice. And while I don’t mean to state the obvious, i.e. you’re in Canada, it’s surprising how many people complain about the frigid season. It’s not like winter and cold temperatures are “unexpected”. Getting a hundred dollars and a monkey from your 86 year old neighbor on a Tuesday afternoon would, in my view, be considered unexpected. Below zero temperatures in CANADA at the end of January . . . not so much. When elevator weather talk begins, I frequently turn to my “northern” living experience as a means to assure Torontorians that it’s not really THAT cold outside. My go-to response in these situations is typically along the lines of “well, it’s not warm” followed by a big smile that shows both my top and bottom teeth. I admit, I love the cold and not everyone does, but I just need to state that you know the cold weather is inevitable 5-6 months out of the year sooo let’s tone down the death-threatening language and throw on an extra sweater! Anyway, this morning when I turned on Breakfast Television I wasn’t at all shocked to see the -22C temperature, followed quickly with “but with the wind chill, it feels like -31C”! I’ve heard the sub 20C temperatures before and usually I don’t let it phase me, but the sound of the wind whistling this morning was in no way easy to ignore. Not only that, but about a dozen mini snow tornado’s spread across my balcony making my pre-run “window assessment” quite frightening. Rarely do I let the News or the sights outside my window be more powerful than me, but today I really didn’t feel like covering my face with Vaseline. Instead I thought to myself, “no need to be a hero today Laska, Monsieur Bonhomme de Neige is likely seeking shelter too”. So instead of long underwear, I threw on shorts and headed down 18 floors to the condo gym. I was proud of my decision, until I had a run-in with the custodian. Our eyes locked, he smiled and I knew what was next . . . “oh, so today it’s too cold”, he said. The day before he watched me come in from a 10kms run in -25C. I boarded the elevator smiling and happily stated how fast I ran because of the weather. I even went one step further and exclaimed how I was indebted to Mother Nature since if it wasn’t for her, and the blistering cold temperatures, I wouldn’t have run so fast. I smiled at the custodian and with attitude I replied, “at least I’m still going to run” and walked swiftly down the hall. I opened the door, hopped on a treadmill, pushed start and started my 6kms tempo run. In less than a minute, I instantly regretted my decision! Kudos to all runners who train on treadmills because it took all of my strength not to get off. I watched the trees outside bend every which way and thought to myself “from now on, Vaseline always wins”. 6kms felt like an eternity, but I didn’t want my first blog post to be about how I quit, so I kicked up the speed, sucked up my pride and promised that next time I’d be less of a princess and simply conquer the cold. I think the coldest conditions I’ve run in to date was -36C, with wind chill, and took place after sunset. I agree that safety comes first and it is important to assess the conditions before hitting the pavement but in my opinion, being bound by a treadmill is much more horrific than having front row seats to the snow-tornado show. At the end of the run, I passed the custodian again and said “I should have run outside”. He laughed and replied “you still got your run in and that’s what counts”. 

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