Making Peace With Winter

My name is Kalli Frissell, I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and I hate the cold.




Or, at least I thought I did.


Though I think winter is stunning, and I enjoy winter sports, I feel like I’ve always had a bit of a war with winter. You know. When you look out the window five minutes before you have to leave the house only to see a blizzard… and Old Man Winter is just there, grinning his stupid grin.
You know.


When I moved to southern Ontario for university, I thought I’d be good to go. Sure, London gets a lot of snow, but on the whole, it’s not as cold as my hometown, and the winters are shorter. Clearly my London friends had the same assumption about me:


‘Brrr it’s cold out. You must be used to the cold being from Edmonton, right? Haha’
‘Haha… yeahhhh…’
*…as I stand at the bus stop, frozen to my core, unable to think about anything other than the likelihood of me dying in the cold.*


(You get it. Always cold. A big baby when it comes to cold.)


It makes sense that I’ve always been one to hit the treadmill in the winter.
People actually run outside when it’s below 0 degrees celsius? Nope. Not for me.


…Until this year.
This past fall I instructed a Learn To Run clinic at the Running Room. It was an incredibly rewarding, 10 week experience from October – December. I enjoyed the program so much that I decided to sign up to instruct the 10k clinic, beginning in early January.


The first week of January wasn’t so bad, but then things started to cool off, and I started to question my decision. This is it. This is my nightmare. The cold is my worst enemy! I don’t know how to dress. How can this be fun?? I’ll probably slip on ice and die. How am I going to do this?!



But, I signed up for this, so I put on multiple layers of the warmest gear I had, and headed out the door.


We did our 4k route as a group, and yes, I was cold, but by the end of the run, I wanted to keep running. So I decided to run some trails on the way home to keep the momentum going.


As I was running, I realized that I couldn’t exactly feel my legs (you know that tingly ‘pins and needles’ feeling?)…. But I also noticed that, for some strange reason, I didn’t really care. The wind was coming head on, and my face was frozen — but I just felt… good? Breathing comfortably, I started to relax and sink into my run. Focused on the quiet, snow-covered path and the foggy exhales in front of me, I thought:


So, this is what it feels like to be at peace with winter.


It was a beautiful run, but I know it won’t always be that way. (Actually, it’s probably going to get a lot colder). I know there will be days that winter will kick my butt. But it was such a great surprise to discover that we don’t always have to be at war.


Challenge: So if you’re like me and dread the cold, be brave, bundle up, and head out — you might surprise yourself! And, if you need an extra kick in the butt to help you get outside, our friends at Nike have a couple words of wisdom:


“The bad news? Winter is coming. The good news? You are not a bear. That means you don’t have to hibernate. You don’t have to hunker down, curl up, or stay in. You don’t have to binge-watch seasons 1-4. You don’t have to let holiday traditions trip you up. You don’t have to get cabin fever. You don’t even have a cabin. It’s the weatherman’s job to tell you what’s headed your way. It’s your job to not let it get in the way. You can’t choose the weather. But you can choose your winter.”