Enemy Territory

Darkness has settled in. A cold wind howls, growing in strength with each passing hour. By morning the wind will reach over 60 km/h and with its relentless crescendo, the temperatures will plunge the suburban enclave into an ice age.

-40C with the windchill. And into this arctic tundra, tiny in the face of Mother Nature’s frigid onslaught, a lone runner will set forth.

I won’t lie. For the first time that I can remember as a runner, I’m scared. Deeply scared. At -30C my clothes froze to my body. Hydration was impossible — the Gatorade still icy even after 8 hours at room temperature.

-40C may be too much. I am scheduled to be doing a 30 km run. That puts me out there for over 2.5 hours. My only weapons being my mind and an armada of layers. Will it be enough?

I will run small laps around the neighbourhood. Home and the promise of its warmth and safety always in reach. If I have to come inside after each lap, I will.

I will need to be strong. I will need to summon my most ardent courage.

For now I must sleep. While the winds outside taunt like rowdy gang members. Menacing. Threatening. And ready to pick a fight. Mother Nature’s thugs. I will need to rest well in spite all this.

Tomorrow I enter their territory.




  1. razkristi · · Reply

    Ok, we aren’t doing 30k, but all four of us are racing tomorrow morning; the boys 3k, Mike 5k and me the 10. Same temperature predictions. The boys are planning on wearing ski goggles, though we are prepared to make a last minute decisions and tell them not to run. I wouldn’t be so worried except for the fact we are running on an open road along the Ottawa River. That translates to zero wind protection. Yep, a little scared too!

    1. Good luck and be safe! Let’s touch base tomorrow. Compare notes.

  2. Are you training for the Antartica Marathon? If not, why not flex the training schedule? Or train indoors? Treadmills and indoor tracks are not pleasant, but better then frostbite or hypothermia. Of course, I ran the Polar Dash two years in a row at -30F wind chills…so I am not exactly the model of sanity…

  3. Be safe! Sounds brutal

  4. The wind is brutal today. Take care.

  5. Please follow up to say you’re still alive and OK! (Such courage and insanity…)

  6. Thank you everyone for your well wishes! I ended up running but decided to call it a day after 14 km. It was really awful out there. The Internet is also out at D’s & has been out since 6 a.m. (am using my data plan up to communicate 😃) – I’m wondering if something weather-related knocked out the connection.

    How is everyone else faring with the weather today? Is it bad where you are? Did you run?

  7. I love your writing style and I’m grateful that (at least for now), “Mother Nature’s thugs” are on the other side of the continent. It was almost perfect weather for running today, sunny and 50 (10C), which is very unusual for this time of year. Good luck with the cold, I’m sure it’s coming back here soon.

    1. Thank you! I long for the days of positive value temperatures! Enjoy them. Cherish them 😃

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