Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cold Running

This has been an unseasonably cold winter. I look back at how many runs I had in minus 20 range weather and realize that my wind ravaged face has been well earned. Other runners from these hardy climes understand and go through the same seasonal temperature swings, but we can't forget the other folks who brave the cold for reasons other than running.

We all see them regularly, huddled shivering just beyond the ten metre mark from main entrances to public buildings, or in wind-protected back entrances. Rain, snow, sleet, fog... nothing keeps this group from their regular foray into the elements. These are the smokers, of course, that dying breed of determined adventurers, and one of the saddest of outdoor sights. But look objectively and you see that these people hate being outside in this weather and are driven by their addiction. It isn't choice.

Huddled on hot air vents or in doorways and alleys, beneath piles of dirty textiles if they're lucky, the homeless are another group of people seen outside in all types of weather. These are the ones your heart goes out to, the ones who need those emergency shelters and food lines, and the ones for whom I am most willing to help through the agencies that provide services for them.

Then there are workers. Parking lot attendants, construction workers, police... bundled up quite snugly in most cases, but you just know that the chill must inevitably work its way through to their marrow.

Compared to the above, runners have it pretty sweet. We generate heat as we run, and we're totally out there by choice. Even if you view running as an addiction, you can't argue that using a treadmill is not an option. I look at the snow blowing around outside the window right now, and I have to admit that it doesn't bother me. I love living here, and I guess the snow and the cold are part of the bargain.

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