Why You Need That Winter Running Buddy

Miles run:  6
Today, let’s pay tribute to that winter runner buddy.

I am a huge wimp when it comes to cold.  I hate being cold. Hate it, hate it, hate it.  A strong word for strong feelings.  My morning can be ruined with a cold shower. I won’t swim if the water is tepid and am often the buzzkill when it comes to late night night skinny dipping parties. Not that I’ve ever had one of those.  But if I were to have one, the water would have to be hot.  

Perhaps I have Cheimatophobia, which is fear of being cold.  This phobia proves to be an extra big hurdle for my shivering self when winter hits New Hampshire for a very, very looooong time, and I still need. to. run.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not the only one out there with this problem.  And this is why, friends, we need that winter running buddy.

Whenever I say, “I need…” husband quotes Jack Nicholson, You don’t want the truth…you can’t handle the truth!  you want me on that wallYou need me on that wall! 

I’m hear to tell ya, I need that buddy on the wall.

Case in point is yesterday I get a text.  Now usually on Thursdays we get to run at 7:30 instead of 5:10.  Thursdays are a treat!  But running buddy has to go to the fire station to dispose of drugs (she’s a pharmacist not a junkie) at 8 a.m.  

We need to run at 5:50.  I read her text while I wait for the school bus and notice that Mary Poppins must be leaving us as the weather has most definitely changed since that very morning.  It dropped from the 40s into the 30s and was going to drop into the 20s overnight.  

But I always say yes.  Yes, buddy, I will be on that wall with you!  I don’t think about it, don’t question it, I hit YES and I hit send.  Then I agonize.

It’s going to be so cold, I whine.

Then don’t go, husband says.

No sympathy, I tell you.

The alarm was set for 5:32.  It makes me feel like I’m sleeping in when I set the alarm just past 5:30.  Husband thinks I’m crazy lady for getting up at such hours in the winter.  Well, this is true.

I get dressed in the dark (I’m an expert by now) inwardly groaning at how darn cold I am and knowing full well that I would never be getting up if buddy wasn’t going to be waiting outside. Pull on socks, winter running shirt, winter running vest, feel sorry for self.  Drink an Emergen-C, put on shoes, Garmin running watch, pet dog, put on hat and fleece neck warmer, gloves.  And then I put on the headlamp and wait by the window.  Shivering.

Did I mention it was cold?

It is pitch black outside. There are no street lamps where I live.  There aren’t even any stars.  Shiver, shiver.  I remember that one year ago I fell while running in the dark and almost pulled my shoulder out of socket.  It crosses my mind that if I did that again I could sleep in.

See how easily I can talk myself out of this?

But no, the running buddy comes.  She always comes.  She never not comes.  And that’s why I need her.

The thing about running in the cold is that you always get warm.  Unless it’s unusually frigid, but that’s unusual.  You run, your body warms up, you even sweat.  I know this, yet every time, it’s hard.  It’s always hard in the winter.

Our six-mile route begins with a one-mile hill climb.  Yeah, that just makes it all so much better.  But the moon is out and it casts a merciful light to accompany our headlamps.

We go six miles and with each step the earth gets lighter and lighter as the sun yawns and begins to say good-morning, earthlings.  Well, hello there, runners.  Aren’t you up early this morning?

But before the sun fully emerges, the moon makes it’s last stand.  
And I arrive home, thank buddy, and run inside, switch to long lens, run back outside and photograph the sky.

And I think that only the early-bird catches something like this.

And the runner is happy.  She is always so happy after a run.

Especially after the hot shower.  Oh, hallelujah for simple blessings.

Remember.  We can do hard things.  But sometimes we need a little prodding.  Or a big ol’ shove.

Ode to the running buddy. You need her on that wall.  And she needs you.  So if you haven’t found her yet, start to holler.  I bet she’s looking for you too.


14 thoughts on “Why You Need That Winter Running Buddy

  1. Kirsten Smith

    I found this on Pinterest without looking at who pinned it. I was about to send this too you thinking it was sooooooooo me and you might appreciate it too. I so enjoyed your post!! I too have a running buddy!!

  2. Kirsten Smith

    I found this on Pinterest without looking at who pinned it. I was about to send this too you thinking it was sooooooooo me and you might appreciate it too. I so enjoyed your post!! I too have a running buddy!!

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  4. Lindsey

    You are almost, ALMOST, encouraging me to get out and run super early. But I’m already awake at that time with two crazy boys who don’t sleep…so I think I’ll have to wait until another time in my life when I actually have a CHOICE to get up that early! 🙂

  5. Anne Reynolds

    Really enjoyed your take on the chilly winter running! How do you negotiate the dark? Flashlight? Headlamp? Do you wear those blinky things that are colorful? I am a 5 am exerciser, and would love to get out early but am not sure how to deal with the darkness.

  6. AmyMak

    Hi Anne,
    Yes, I have to wear the headlamp on my head – which can be annoying; I often have to reach up and slide it back into place. However, it’s always worth it, esp. if I can avoid the treadmill. Also, I can usually turn it off half-way through the run and enjoy the sun coming up. My running buddies wear headlamps, too, and the reflective vests. We are a well-lit group! Be careful though – last year I tripped in the dark and pulled my shoulder out…happy running and good luck!

  7. TriGirl

    Found you on BlogHer, and I feel your pain. In fact, I feel it so well that I refuse to get up that early to run, especially in the cold. I will run in the evening in the cold and dark with my running buddy, but never in the morning. Being cold just sucks (I type that from under my blanket, hat, hoodie and sweats…the heat is on in my house).

  8. Shruti Kapoor

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I recently moved from Santa Monica – NYC and with the cold here I just gave up my running. I was a beginner but with the crazy winter here there is no way I can run out here. I so badly want to get back to running but am too scared to try. I wish I had a running buddy. Any suggestions on how to get one. I don’t have friend here who run 🙁 Thanks!

  9. AmyMak

    Hi Shruti – it’s tough when you don’t know anyone. I suggest bringing it up in every conversation 🙂 There’s got to be someone who’s also needing someone to run with. People you trust, like at church maybe or school or work? Even if it takes awhile, I hope you got out for the run anyway…that could lead to someone too. Good luck!


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