Frozen pause: cold weather running and riding rolls on

Cold clear nights keep the temperature down even as climate change raises the mean average temperature on earth.

Cold clear nights keep the temperature down even as climate change raises the mean average temperature on earth.

The mornings here in Illinois keep breaking cold and clear. 12 degrees one day. 18 degrees the next. Then perhaps one day in the 20s.

2012 hothouse

Last year by this time spring had broken in grotesque glory. A string of 80 degree days brought all the fruit trees into bloom. Too early, in some cases, for bees or other pollinating insects to reach them. There would be no fruit as a result.

Running and riding in that early season heat was weird. The body is not acclimated that quickly to such intense heat. We neared 90 one afternoon and that meant slowing to nearly a walk to complete the run.

Rides were not much different. You’d go blasting along the first 10 miles and then start to feel sluggish. Hot. Hills got doubly hard. Both water bottles were gone before you returned.

2013 icehouse

IMG_8435But la de da. Not this year. We haven’t cracked 50 but once this March. Of course that’s closer to historical reality in Illinois.

The trends tell us otherwise. The climate is warming all over the world, and people argue on Facebook if they’re conservative types that global warming is a political hoax, while liberals wring their hands as they wring their bandannas, complaining that we’re ruining the earth.

Frozen paws and frozen pause

My dog didn’t think much of this morning’s 12 degree weather. His paws started to freeze. When that happens he stops, lifts the cold paw and stands there stunned, as if to ask: “Why does walking hurt?”

I scoop him up, walk a ways while holding his paw to thaw it out and make sure to put him back down on roadway that doesn’t have salt or snow on it. This morning there was both. And that hurts.

My personal running extremes are -23 below, when my eyelids froze shut, and 106 degrees fahrenheit, when it was also stupid to run.

This March has just required patience, a frozen pause. But it made me think of a poem I wrote some 20 years ago about March weather. Every runner and rider can relate.


This old piano I’m caressing

notes the rise of night outside,

scores of black key clouds depressing

tones that measure those that died.

Play the March wind for our fathers

music you long practice earned,

sworn or tamed by absent mothers

March is melancholy, spurned.

Claw across the sharp horizon

silhouette these blanket fields,

stand erect as evening’s fallen

see the truth March wind reveals.

Waterfowl on icy rivers

animals on highway sides,

God returns your helpless letters

God deliberates, decides.

God is spreading aimless waters

gathering where the soil is tilled,

play the March wind there forever

March is what the winter willed.


About Christopher Cudworth

Christopher Cudworth is a content producer, writer and blogger with more than 25 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, journalism, public relations and social media. Connect with Christopher on Twitter: @genesisfix07 and blogs at, and Online portfolio:
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