August 3, 2021
It’s 9am Mon morning. Outside temperature including wind chill is a brisk -29C (-20.2F) and not a treadmill in sight. My legs, especially the left hamstring are feeling a bit twingy after my first track session in ages…a gentle application of 12 x 200m has left me feeling a bit less perky today than I might have wished.
So what to do? Well, as Seal in “Living With a Seal” by Jesse Itzler might have said “get your shoes on mother^%$#%” we’re going out!! So on went the shoes and practically everything else I owned along with a pair of pink ski goggles I liberated from my daughter and out into the invigorating cold of a Montreal winter’s day.
You might be wondering why the idea of just staying inside and doing a bit of gentle stretching or perhaps some restorative massage had not occurred to me, especially under the circumstances described by some of the more dramatic weather stations as ‘extreme cold conditions warning’? Well believe me it had! However, as many folks who’ve had too much alcohol will attest, sometimes the best cure for a hangover is another drink…or at least that’s the theory.
For the first 20 mins or so of the run I felt worse than ever. My stride was more of a slow shuffle, my hamstring kept twinging and I was bent over perhaps in a feeble attempt to reduce the chances of frostbite from the nasty wind blowing in my face. Walking backwards every few hundred meters got me into the shelter of the trees and I started to find a bit of rhythm. Then a young woman wearing a fairly large backpack went by at a pretty good clip and I figured what the heck lets try and stay with her. Pretty soon we passed 2 other women cross country skiing who were so warm they had removed their jackets and tied them to around their waists!! They were laughing and enjoying themselves and I began to wonder if there was something I’d misunderstood about the ‘extreme cold conditions….!’
Following Miss Backpack (like it isn’t already hard enough to run up the mountain ) I suddenly realized I’d run past my predetermined turnaround point and rather than a 6 k recovery run I was now into a 10k winter training experience !!
Well the last 5 k was mostly downhill and by now I was feeling way better. My stride and lengthened, the issues with my hamstring had vanished and the cross patterns I’ve been exploring with Helen Hall were now slinging me along with relatively little sense of muscular effort. Suddenly I felt I was seeing the world through rose coloured glasses, although that was perhaps due to the pink tint in the daughter’s ski goggles…Back inside at 10:30, feeling way better than before I left. Did the hair of the dog approach work?