Nine Miles in the Freezing Cold (9 miles)

While saying its cold out might seem a bit redundant in January, today was exceptionally bitter — between the wind-gusts themselves and their accompanying 5 degree wind-chill, I was beginning to worry about the lack of feeling in my fingertips by the time today’s run ended. Other than the fact today’s run was a bit slower than my usual pace (my legs took quite a while to warm up, and pushing the jogging-stroller into a headwind is a good workout), I actually love running on these nearly arctic days. The cold means you want to keep moving at all times, and nearly gives a sense of purpose to one’s forward momentum.

The low temperature also drives all but the most devoted runners from the park, leaving not only a wide open path and plenty of space for nearly solitary contemplation, but also a sense of unspoken camaraderie among the few brave (or crazy?) souls traveling around the loop of Prospect Park. There is a fleeting moment of eye-contact, and imperceptible nod, an acknowledgment: “ah, yes, you too . . .” I even took some sort of perverse pleasure in my water-bottle freezing over; having to crush ice out of the bite-valve lends a quality of dedication and touch of the hard-core.

Normally I take Nat in the last morning and he naps for most of our long run, but today we went in the late afternoon, after his nap. He was awake for the first hour or so, just staring around and hugging Super Grover inside his cozy and under the wind-shield. I’d talk to him occasionally, and he’d babble back from time to time, but mostly when we run together I just enjoy a sense of being together. I have no idea what he gets out of it, but he must enjoy it as well, because he asks to go running when he sees me getting dressed in tights. “Dada running? Nat? Nat running?” He stares out at the passing scenery, which I imagine is actually quite fascinating, and then usually drifts off to sleep, lulled by the rhythm of the wheels on the pavement, the cadence of my feet.


About Chris Van Dyke

I am a 33 year-old high school English teacher and long-distance runner. I live in Brooklyn with my partner, our 3 year-old son and 1 year-old daughter and a growing collection of muppets and trains. Besides running and teaching I like to draw, read, write, cook, and play the harmonica. While I didn't get to run my first ultra-marathon on my birthday, I've got a few more I've set my sights on. You can follow my (seldom updated) twitter feed @aboutrunning. I also blog as part of the Run Smiley Collective.
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One Response to Nine Miles in the Freezing Cold (9 miles)

  1. Nils says:

    I think I understand some of the appeal of running in the cold. I used to bike to work all winter long. There is some pride in not being deterred by the elements. There is some self-righteousness in persisting when those less dedicated fall to the wayside. There is also joy in the absence of a crowd. I had that much more when I was younger, but now I amtrading that for the joy of sleeping in and not freezing my butt off. More power to you, I guess

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