Winter Warrior Challenge, Day 1

Happy New Year!

When I woke up this morning and ventured out of my bedroom to make my morning latte, the thermostat indicated that it was a frigid -13 ºF outside.

Not only is today the first day of 2018, it’s also the first day of the Winter Warrior Challenge in which I agreed to participate. I’m on a team comprising of several work colleagues, and to complete the challenge each of us are required to run or walk at least one mile outside every day of January. There’s no exceptions for extreme cold. Damn.

I put on my thermal base layer and donned a balaclava normally worn only when snowboarding on very cold days. When I left the loft for my walk it had warmed to a relatively balmy 10 ºF. Phew.

The distance and time were tracked automatically using the Strava app on my phone. Periodically, as I listened to Spotify on my AirPods, the app would interrupt with distance and pace updates, which was nice. The Easter Trail, where I walked, was not groomed; the eight or so inches of snow was minimally packed in a narrow trail by what must have been a few persons walking their dogs. It was slow going and certainly cold, but the sun above cloudless skies cast long crisp shadows on the white snow, which was beautiful.

Walking outside is really good for lots of things. What I need it for most these days is my mental health. I am grieving the death of my wife and, more recently, the loss of a friendship that has meant to much the past few years. Getting outside and being active, especially when it’s brisk, feels good and provides time to think and gain positive perspective and reflection. I’m glad I’ve entered this challenge for this reason alone.

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