More Real, Wisconsin Winter Training

This winter is the worst, again. Every year it’s the worst. This past week felt like a scene from the movie Bird Box with all the “don’t go outside” warnings because it was -48 degrees. Negative forty-eight. I’m not lying or even exaggerating.


With dangerous cold temperatures I gave myself grace with my training and did not stress about getting to the gym for a swim or treadmill run. I planned on a week of trainer rides, yoga and at-home strength training.

“Lucky” for me, I had to leave my house on Wednesday during the polar vortex assault for a doctor’s appointment and I packed a gym bag just in case. The doctor’s office was closed so I made a trip to the gym to run and swim instead. Triathlete life has taught me to always be flexible and always be prepared for plan B, C, D, E, F…and so on.

On Friday everyone was rejoicing because the temperatures were finally above zero, but winter had another “FU” to hand me for my Sunday long run. Rain, drizzle and 40 degrees, which actually can sound really nice to a runner. But the 15 inches of snow that got dumped on us last week melted into the sidewalks, streets, and bike paths leaving frustrating puddles, slush and ice to deal with.


My feet were drenched within the first two miles of my long run. It as unavoidable. At mile three I turned down a side street in the direction of my home, frustrated and quit-like. After one block I took another turn and proceeded onto my planned route knowing I had a group run to be at by a certain time. I ran a few more miles with my head down, resentful, mad, and proclaiming I quit everything in my head. Then I got to the Capitol Square, where the sidewalks were clear of winter’s bullshit. No ice. No slush. No puddles. This will do.

I ran ten mindless loops around the square, which I now know are 0.56 miles.

It was better than the treadmill. It was better than a quarter mile track. It was better than slowing and stopping every few minutes for ice, slush or puddles. It even had a Starbucks stop where I got myself a Rice Krispies treat!


From there I meandered to the meeting place for my Running Book Club and finished out my 14 miler in the best way with incredible friends. We dodged the ice together, ran up hills, visited Bucky, and shared our thoughts on the book Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown.

This last week presented a lot of challenges for spring marathon training and I powered through. It was not easy. When training is tough like this there are choices to make. One choice is to find a way. Finding a way means getting uncomfortable and doing the thing that makes you say, “But…..”.  During my long run today when my feet were drenched at mile three I had that “But….” moment. I took a moment to reason with myself, “Okay, your feet are wet. Are they cold? No. Are they uncomfortable? No. Will you regret giving up later? Yes”. I found a way, I didn’t give in to my “But…” and know that this run has strengthened my mind for the next challenge.

Speaking of next challenge, brb, let me go check the weather for the next week of training!




  1. Way to persevere! It was SO wet here today also! EVERYTHING is melted, muddy, and soggy! My feet were soaked as well as every piece of clothing I was wearing as the air was SO heavy…it was so foggy this morning we could barely see across the street.

    I’m making sure I’m interpreting this correctly…One loop around the square is 0.56 miles correct?! When I first read it, I thought all 10 loops were 0.56 miles and I was going to suggest you get your Garmin recalibrated! LOL 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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