Last year, I learned that I love winter running. Granted, I’m sure I love it because I only have to do it once or twice a year — but clearly I don’t do well with the heat, so it probably makes sense that I relish running in the cold. I think about 65% of the volume of my suitcase this year was fleece tights and pullovers and headbands and gloves.
I’ll take any excuse for some quality cold-weather running when I’m visiting family in Michigan, so when I saw Ashley announce the Home for the Holidays Virtual 10K, I was sold. Then, between travel and changing time zones, I forgot to sign up. I thought I might just “virtually” participate in the virtual race (meta!) but when registration re-opened on Friday morning, I put my name in — and got Pete and our niece to sign up, too.
So, go figure, it’s been 40 degrees (or warmer) almost every day since we arrived in Michigan. Tights? Awesome new running hat with fuzzy ear flaps? Clearly overkill. (Pete ran in shorts and a T-shirt.) But look, I don’t get to do this very often, so I settled for the non-fleece tights and left the gloves at home.
On Christmas Eve, we headed out, running a big loop through Pete’s hometown. We kept a conversational pace, sharing highlights from the past year while Pete pointed out landmarks — his middle school football field, interesting remodeled houses, assorted Dow Chemical-funded buildings. The route was similar to one I ran alone the last time I was here, in October, but Pete knew the right way to go so we didn’t run out of sidewalk in the middle of a cemetery, so that was cool.
We took turns leading and chatting and all finished the 6.2 miles between 59:40 and 59:50 — not bad for doing as much talking as running. The cold did get to me a bit and I didn’t feel awesome until about 5 miles in, but from that point on, I felt like I could run forever. I’d planned to run the last .5 miles back to the house as a cool-down, but Pete suddenly came flying past me — I’d been leading — and I ended up finishing at around an 8:15/mile pace for the last little nubbin of the run trying to chase him back down.
Running with family was such a great start to the holiday. I’m hoping we can get out at least one more time before our flight on Thursday — and maybe this time, I’ll wear the fleece.