PORTLAND – The days in December and January are short, and the temperatures are traditionally hovering near the freezing mark, and yet for a few hardy runners (translated: a foolish few), it couldn’t be a better time to take to the streets of Portland.
January is traditionally the time when people make all sorts of resolutions for the coming year. For me, and a number of my friends, it’s just a time to continue slogging forward and dreaming of warmer days to come as we run along the Eastern Prom in Portland.
This past Thursday, January 3, was the first official meeting of the 2019 Winter Warrior running group. For the next three months, we’ll meet on Tuesdays
and Thursdays evenings and on Saturday mornings, as many of us continue to try to keep active and stay outdoors during winter weather.
One of the most important considerations for us is to remain safe and visible as we run during the darkness. Some runners add traction to their shoes, and others find interesting and creative ways to add lights and reflective elements to their running gear in hopes that they will remain more visible to traffic and other pedestrians.
Most everyone invests in layers of wicking clothes that are designed to keep whatever warmth we generate close to the core. But above all else, we come together to say hello, renew friendships and lend a little support to each other as we find a way to take a deep breath and enjoy the sights and sounds of the prettiest cities on the east coast (OK – I am biased).
One of our regular runs takes us past the U-Haul store on Marginal Way and then up Anderson Street to the Eastern Prom. From there we go up and down the streets in the neighborhood, Walnut, Montreal, Melbourne, and Quebec (WMMQ). I have officially dubbed it the radio run, and depending on how many times we make the loop, the run can be anywhere from 3-5 miles long, plenty of time to catch up with friends.
A typical conversation between us is often centered around family, work, or even an upcoming marriage (yes, I was listening), but in all cases, the discussions almost always return to the weather and the running conditions.
“Did you need traction tonight?” asked David Dowling, one of the coaches for our group.
“No, I stayed on the roads for the most part,” I said. “But I almost never use traction. I have this simple rule. If I see ice or snow, I slow down, maybe even walk for a bit.”
He smiled back at me and added, “Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? Three or four miles together and we’re happy.”
I was, and I think most people who joined us would be too. If you have an interest in taking to the streets with us, please visit the Fleet Feet Maine website and sign up. If I do say so myself, we are a welcoming bunch.
See you on the roads and stay tuned – as always, if I think it’s interesting, I’ll write about it.
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