Signs of Life in the Winter

by Teresa Lynch

Winter running at the lake

Photo courtesy of Lindsay Ems.

When the skies get gray, the snow starts falling, and the air gets frigid in Bloomington, it’s very easy to stay inside warm and cozy. That is, until you start getting stir-crazy from staying inside too much.

But, in Bloomington, there’s ample of opportunity to get out. Some folks, such as doctoral candidate Lindsay Ems, never allow themselves to get to that cabin-fever point. “I think one of the tricks for living in Indiana and for surviving the winters here is participating in winter outdoor activities. Otherwise you get cabin-fever, you’re inside all of the time. That’s why I run outside…so I don’t go crazy,” Lindsay laughed.

Celebrating signs of life in the winter

Cross country skiing and finding a sign of life in the winter. Photo courtesy of Lindsay Ems.

Winter sports are nothing new to Lindsay. She’s been a snowboarder for 13 years, learning initially on the slopes at Paoli Peaks, south of Bloomington. But, primarily, Lindsay runs. Because she lives out on Lake Monroe she hits trails out at the lake four to five days a week. When it gets too snowy to run, she cross-country skis on a thirty year old pair of skis she was given by her grandparents. She also runs (year-round) with the Interdisciplinary Frontal Lobe Maintenance Association, the faculty-graduate student running group started by members of the Telecom department.

Lindsay says she loves the running group in part because people interested in joining the runs are given plenty of latitude to pursue their own agendas saying, “we give a time period when we want to start. You can come run a mile and a half or a three mile or more…some people are doing ten minute mile pace and some people are slower. I think it’s very amenable to everyone.”

In terms of staying motivated to get outdoors in the winter, Lindsay cites running with the group as motivation, but she admits there’s some personal, psychological motivation for her.

Run along frozen Lake Monroe

Frozen Lake Monroe. Photo courtesy of Lindsay Ems.

“Running in the winter – you imagine that it’s harder to do – so it becomes more of a challenge and thus more enticing… We have to trick ourselves a little bit to do it and I think the adrenaline of going out when it’s dark contributes. I mean, I run with a headlamp sometimes because it’s so dark and it’s cold and it’s a weird experience…in your mind, you’re thinking ‘I shouldn’t be doing this,’ but it’s a challenge and you start thinking ‘I just want to do it more.’”

Often, whether running by herself or with the group, Lindsay says the cold and dark are thrilling. The combination also comes along with different experiences than warm weather running.

Solid Awesome

Solid Awesome. Photo courtesy of Lindsay Ems.

“One of the amazing things about running in the wintertime is that the air is so cold, when you breathe and sweat it just freezes. The moisture attaches to your hair and freezes, so you have these crazy, white, frosted pieces of hair…At one point, Betsi [Grabe] sent out this picture – an inspirational quote – that referred to sweat as ‘liquid awesome’, so of course we’ve started calling the frozen sweat ‘solid awesome’.”

This past weekend, Lindsay hit the slopes to do a bit of snowboarding, but she’ll be back to freezing running soon. Be assured, if it’s winter, Lindsay will be carrying on in the spirit of solid awesome.

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