Saturday, January 4, 2014

Winter Woes... And how to cope

I often ponder why in the world my relatives decided to settle in Minnesota…Why didn’t they continue to venture further west or at least make it a little further south? This winter has already gotten pretty long and it is easy to get discouraged trying to brave the icy sidewalks day in and day out. Here are a few of my coping mechanisms:
This picture explains the love-hate relationship with Minnesota

1.       There is hope! The days are already getting longer; we are gaining over a minute of sunlight every day! Halleluiah! And by the end of the month we will be gaining over 5 minutes a day (Thank you Casey Graham for the information).

2.       Come to run with us at Mill City Running- Check out our calendar of events-, it makes a world of a difference getting out the door with old and new friends!

3.       When there is a slight film of packed snow or ice, I love using YakTrax. This year I bought a pair of Yak Tracks from Mill City Running. They are called YakTrax Run. They are very elaborate- they have 4 very small “spikes” on the front and coils on the back. In the past, the Yaktrax I have used have the coil on both the front and the back, and I am aware of them on my feet and I don’t feel like they are very responsive. With the new model, however, I barely notice wearing them, I get good grip, and I don’t feel like I am sinking into the coils. Strapping the YakTrax onto my feet make running on the hard packed and semi-slippery roads and paths much less frustrating and help me ensure I still get to run in the fresh air.

4.       Some days it is impossible to get out on the roads due to too much snow and ice…On those days, rather than getting bitter, I get better and celebrate that I can just go Cross Country ski! I can’t say enough about what a great cardiovascular workout it is. Not only that, but it is good strength training- engaging your core to maintain balance and both the arms and legs. Finally it is low impact and a great way to cross train. It is such a gift to be semi-excited when it snows because I know I can still get a workout outside that even has the potential to actually enhance my running performance!
             Unfortunately you cannot just throw on a pair of skis and go out your back door like you can with running. Not only that, but you need equipment. Fortunately there are tons of groomed trails throughout the city and surrounding areas. Also, there are a variety of locations that rent cross country skis to give you a chance to test it out. Below is a link for locations that rent cross country skis. There are some stores such as REI and Hoigaards that allow you to take equipment to any trail for a day, weekend, or week. Other locations will rent skis at the trailhead. I would strongly encourage you to rent for a few times before investing in equipment- but make sure to try it a few times because it can be initially frustrating!

Just remember we are Minnesota tough...and Old Man Winter will eventually go into hibernation! We should be proud to be thriving in Minnesota winters and we can do it together!
~Elizabeth Yetzer