As I wrote last year, I sometimes fear more than wintry conditions when I brave less-than-ideal weather to run outdoors. I worry that others' judgment could turn aggressive.
I've had lots of chances to test Des Moines' tolerance, unfortunately, given the bone-chilling cold that doesn't seem to be budging; but I'm happy to report that no one has even honked at me.
Late last week, as the temperatures took a nose dive, I kept an eye out and exhaled with relief each time I saw another runner. It's not like there's really safety in numbers, particularly when we're going in opposite directions — but maybe I subconsciously feel less conspicuous.
During this stretch of single-mile runs, though, I've noticed there's decent sidewalk traffic already in my stretch of Des Moines, no matter what the wind chill is: College students and dog owners are still out and about.
Beyond providing camouflage, they also reassure me that yes, it's still OK for humans to be outside in this weather, and we can even exchange a quick grimace that while it's OK, it's not fun. (More pragmatically: If the sidewalks are used, they're likely to be cleared in a timely, thorough manner.)
It's true that drivers are still likely to think I'm a pretentious, self-righteous jerk for being outdoors by choice, while they'll see the students/dog parents as just unlucky souls not dodging responsibility because it's cold.
But that's OK, because their misery is my company.
A look at the run streak since I last posted:
Friday: 1 mile. Obligatory observation that getting dressed for a single mile in single-digit temperatures takes more time than actually running.
Saturday: 1 mile. Cory joined me for this one. Out-and-back miles pass even faster when you have company.
Sunday: 2.5 miles. Cory and I were both pretty excited for our first snowy run of the season. We would've run longer, but we had plans later. Big, fluffy flakes make the hills seem slightly less awful.
Monday: 1 mile. I'd daydreamed about scattering a few short runs throughout the day, because I'd been feeling bad about the streak-within-a-streak of running less than three miles, but it just didn't happen. I also finally remembered, though, that these are runs I wouldn't have done were it not for the streak.