DIARY: Icy Running

After days of running on the treadmill here in Fargo I finally got enough local gear together to venture out. Truth be told between work and my injury, I've only managed little and in a way resigned to these few weeks being a "winter break" for me, after all the first important race is more than three months away, so there should be time to get back in shape.

My run was 9k out and back on 42nd street, one of the main roads here in Fargo, and I was wearing my new Under Armour hat, a cheap pair of Adidas trail runners purchased here (for the ridiculous price of 45 dollars!), a pair of gloves that double up as mitts, and the most important piece: A Figo light-weight balaclava that when used to cover your mouth keeps your breath warm and the air streaming into your lungs pleasant.

Today was a sunny day with light winds, -21 degree Celsius. Whatever little water escapes your eyes as you run in this cold freezes into white droplets meaning you look like father Christmas when you return in. Let the droplets melt as trying to pull them would be quite painful and leave you lashless!

As always black ice is the thing to look out for as neither snow nor well-cleared paths prove any obstacle if you are wearing any sort of grippy footwear. The cold also had me set a pretty good pace! Only my running trousers were not quite up to the job leaving me with shiny red legs when I returned and purchasing a pair of warmer leggings and thermal tights may be on the agenda.

All in all, a very brief introduction to cold-weather running. I certainly couldn't see any problems running a marathon in these conditions, if anything the cold keeps you well-temperated. Of course, the runs of my dreams on the poles and in Alaska will offer much much more hostile conditions, so its essential to take a few winter holidays and spend them practicing running in colder conditions, running with snowshoes (quite doable as I've tested before in Canada) and running in deep snow.

January's trip back to Fargo should allow me to test this to its fullest, so I'll need to buy the rest of the cold-weather kit. In this way, my Fargo work becomes a very useful training camp for my polar goals (before anyone ask I have no similar ambitions for the desert challenges, dry arid weather is just not for me!).

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