Vancouver has a pretty short span of what I would define as ‘winter’, e.g. temperatures below zero Celsius, snow, a general feeling of hope and despair… And then around this time of the year things start to look up. I don’t expect to see any more snow (although one year it snowed during Spring Break in April and I managed to maintain a week-long tantrum) and I hope the day will soon come for which I do not absolutely have to wear a scarf. In fact, I was warm enough on my run yesterday to take off my jacket. AND GLOVES. Holy eff, I know.
What the end of winter brings is a span of five months where the weather is completely unpredictable. We see sunny warm temperatures of 12 C plus one day and then thundershowers the next.
This means madness on my runs. I bring to you a brief description of the bizarre weather patterns I have come across in the past three weeks of running:
What is a suspicious wind you ask? It is a wind that seems out of place. Maybe you’ve been running wind-free for miles and suddenly your hat gets blown off your head. This has happened to me. Perhaps you were cold enough to don ear warmers and gloves during your run and all of a sudden an abnormally warm wind caresses your face. This has also happened to me. It felt like an invisible giant was breathing on my face. This immediately grossed me out. Then I imagined that it was Hagrid’s three-headed dog Fluffy breathing on my face and I felt simultaneously better and more grossed out (giant dog breath smelling worse than giant human breath, in my mind).
Noticeable Temperature Changes
I should specify: noticeable temperature changes that are unrelated to elevation. There’s a trailhead near my house where I often park my car. Rationally, I am aware that the trail is well shaded and doesn’t get much sun. But on a sunny morning, to enter into a dark, damp, cold cave of rainforest foliage feels very ominous. I also find pockets of cold in between two small hills, which again creeps me out. And sometimes, running higher up the mountain results in warmer temperatures and this goes against everything I know about mountains. And I like to think I know a fair bit.
I don’t know about you, but when I head out to run under clear skies and haven’t seen a drop of rain in days, I do not expect to come across newly established lakes on my regular trails. Nor does my dog, who tends to observe any sort of water with distaste (which explains the smell). Then we both end up muddy and wet and utterly bewildered as to how we got that way. I try to blame the beavers but it makes me feel racist because they’re definitely a visible minority.
Now I’m aware that weathermen and weatherwomen are not psychic; they make educated guesses based on years of data about what the weather’s going to be like. I don’t trust the seven-day forecasts or even tomorrow’s. But I do rely on day-of predictions. I figure that by six am the weather guessers have figured their shit out and can confidently tell me what the next couple hours will be like at least. And so I dress accordingly. This usually works out fine, except for the days when Mama Nature decides to be a dick and just throw out the exact opposite of what I’m expecting. I’ll wear three layers and leave two and a half hidden behind trees and hope that I remember to pick them up on my way back. I’ll hook a pair of sunglasses onto my fuel belt and wish I’d brought a poncho instead.
Give me a break once in a while, Mama! I’m just trying to enjoy the great outdoors. Maybe next time I’ll stay home and leave all my electronics plugged in and not separate my recyclables and pour chemicals into the ground water. How would you like that? All I’m saying is that I can fight back. Keep it in mind.