Will it be a day for winter running? I climb out of my sleeping loft, start a fire in the woodstove and put on the coffee kettle. The weather forecast is not very good. Still, the sky is open and invites to a fantastic morning atmosphere. Through my window, to the west, I see the early winter sun rising out of the dark lake, covered by a light fog. Of course, I forget my coffee, slip into my thermal pants and rush down to the lakeshore to see the natural spectacle up close.
Beauty and power of winterly nature
When I arrive at the boat landing, I am overwhelmed by the beauty and power of nature. The neighbour peninsula with the yellow abandoned house looks like a little paradise in Avalon. Additionally, the golden ball climbs higher through the fog and illuminates my lakeshore. As well as the new-laid ice encircles the glowing yellow autumn grass that tries to stand upright.
A tiny home in a warm morning glow
Farther out, the lake is still open. Due to the light wind, the water-ice transition plays a gentle interlocking game. Coupled with the nature concert experienced at most once a year. Since everything has to fit: fresh ice hitting open water by only a bit wind from the west. Taking in this beautiful aura, I watch the natural show. Then the sun leaves the mist. And its newfound strength encloses my tiny home with a warm yellowish glow.
Simply live, be flexible and change your plans
The decision to reschedule my day is easy. My computer work can wait. Many dark hours are still ahead in the coming winter. I need to get out to nature today.
Back in my warm, cosy tiny house, I set up the coffee kettle again. I think through all the options to welcome this first winter day on foot. A walk with the dogs? I should take a break from running today. I cannot resist the desire and decide to the run-up to the Pyhäkiellinen hill. Since winter running on sunny days warm my heart despite the cold.
Almost dancing, I collect my clothing and equipment
Finally, the winter running shoes are laced, off we leave. The phone rings — NO, I do not want to answer now! — Yes, I see my dear friends and neighbours on the screen. They like to take two huskies out on a walk to the Isovaara hill. So, I change my plan one more time and take a ride with the two of them to the nearby village. Then I run from there, as well with the same goal, Isovaara sightseeing tower.
Martina and Stephan drive a few more kilometres with the dog Max and Simba. Like this, we will be up at about the same time. The first three kilometres I run on the bike path along the main road. Not even this road can tarnish my overwhelming joy in life and winter running today.
Additionally, the ground is concrete and hard since the snow plough has already passed. Good for getting my heart and lungs going and warming up my joints and muscles. As well my damaged arthritis knee is also grateful for the easy start.
Winter running with a light heart and heavy legs
In the next village Puoltikasvaara, I cross the main road and turn into the unplowed forest path. The terrain is soft and covered with snow. I see the traces of my friends below me. The small hiking trail branches off to the right after a short time and the ascent up the mountain begins.
With the sun on my face, the track meanders through the beautiful snow-covered trees. With heavy breath and legs, I look back and catch the first view of the lake Soutujärvi. My tiny home locates at the opposite bank of that lake. I see the new ice cover in some bays. Also, most of the lake is still unfrozen.
The trail climbs gentler and reaches the top
A bit before the highest point silhouettes of my buddies appear in front of me. Good, I gained a first crack that I can redeem on the way home. I will have to slow down running downhill over the snow-covered track. After a few cuddles from the huskies Max and Simba, I run-up to the tower. And a beautiful view reward me!
Time for my warming extra layer
Of course, sweaty exposed to the cold and the wind, my body temperature drops very fast. I pull an extra mid-layer under the jacket. Then, I see the predicted cloud front on the sphere. Like promising a quick change in weather. Cold all over my body, I climb the ladder down and start my way back.
Demanding descent in the snow
As expected, descent demands my greatest concentration. Soon I realize with dread that I have forgotten my running poles. Hiking trails without solid surface include for winter running many invisible “ankle breakers”.
In the first place, the snow blanket covers stones, roots and holes. In untouched snow, our eyes make out elevations and gaps. But, if someone broke the trail before, these small aids disappeared. That demands extreme caution and a slow pace. Still, I run further, and the warmth creeps back into my body.
Simply well-equipped for winter running
Winter running in arctic regions increase the demands on equipment. First, it needs a good protection against cold, wind and snow. Especially the cold, and the cold even more coupled with the wind. Likewise, the felt cold rushes down and the body temperature drops. The lower the temperatures drop, the more crucial it is to avoid sweating.
Help yourself with a warm cloth
To avoid sweating is impossible for me on uphill, so I bring a wooden hoody with me. If you do not want to tie it around your body, small running backpacks are ideal. An additional benefit with a little rucksack is the space to bring a warm drink. As a matter of fact, the water in regular drinking bottles often freezes, especially on longer runs.
Furthermore, the pants must be insulated or backed up with warming thermal pants. Up to minus ten degrees Celsius, I choose lined and windproof tights. But for colder temperatures, I prefer warming thermal pants coupled with a windproof, insulated one.
Protect your extremities while winter running
Equally important, hat and gloves are a matter of course. As well as winter running shoes should have spikes and a wind / snow-proof membrane. And in combination with a short running gaiter, our runner paws stay warm. Even in cold degrees and deep snow. Since daylight leaves us in the arctic at 2 p.m. in the middle of winter, I usually bring a headlamp in case of delays.
Home, sweet tiny home
I get back to the bakery in Puoltikasvaara and feel the pain pounding in my broken knee. As well my ankles are tired of absorbing the missteps. For sure, next time I will not forget the poles. As a matter of fact, good poles support winter running. After a short walking break, I enjoy a light trot back along the bike path.
Then, two to three kilometres behind my starting point, my friends catch up with the car. Not to mention that I jump on the backbench. And I look forward to a united moment with a hot tea at my tiny home.