I do almost all of my running first thing in the morning, before breakfast. It's a time I can control - not that I find getting out of bed early easy, but I can do it. So, I get up when my alarm goes off (or sometimes the second time it goes off) I have everything pretty much ready to go. The next thing is to check the weather. Sometimes I look out of the window, but unless a neighbour has left an outside light on I'm unlikely to see much, so I pick up my phone and check the temperature on there.
This morning it said 0°F. I had been expecting it, but there it was. Was it possible for me to run in those temperatures?
I've nearly finished reading novelist Haruki Murakami's wonderful memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running in it he nails the potential disaster in allowing excuses to stop him running, "I have only a few reasons to keep on running, and a truckload of them to quit. All I can do is keep those few reasons nicely polished." I'm perpetually afraid that if I miss a couple of days of running I'll just stop and never get back to it - so today had to be a running day.
To the two shirts, tights, gloves and hat I had been wearing on days when the temperature was in the teens, I added a pair of glove liners, a fleece and a pair of fleece jogging bottoms. I swapped out my hat for a real cold-weather one with a velcro chin strap to hold it over my ears and added my regular high-visibility bib and headlight worn around my waist and off I went.
This is what I looked like in the early morning sunshine when I got back just over an hour later. The temperature was still 0°F.
The run was OK. I walked outside and felt OK, I took a breath and thought, "Oh yes - that's cold!" After a mile I'd cooled off from the outside but was starting to warm up from the running and realised I was fine. Then I started to worry about whether I would get too warm and have to take some clothing off - but worried that if I did I would get cold. I needn't have worried about that.
The shoulders and back of my fleece gradually got a coating of ice and so, more surprisingly, did my knees - but that didn't really bother me - I was warm and running easily.
In fact, the problem came after about seven miles - and it was my little fingers - as has often been the case on my less-frigid winter runs. I pulled them out of their finger holes, balled them into my palms and finished up - I ran just under eight miles in all.
So - yes - it is possible for me to run when it's 0°F. I found out when I got home there was a wind-chill advisory due to the extreme cold. Fortunately my route is fairly well sheltered. Still, I'm considering this morning's run to be fairly hard-core, if only because I seemed to be the only one brave or foolish enough to be attempting one.