Birthdays, when you are a runner, involve more than presents and birthday cake.
We run our age in kilometres (or miles).
So if you are 25, you would run 25 kilometres. Turning 35? You would run 35 kilometres. What better way to celebrate another year on this earth?
I have wonderful memories running with friends in the spring and summer months on their birthdays.
I used to think this was a brilliant way to spend my day, until the candles on the vegan cake eventually increased to require two packages of candles.
Suddenly, no one would commit to run the long distances on my late-November birthday. They were even “too busy” to run a measly 5K or 10K portion of my run. But they would love to meet up later for drinks or dinner. Some friends.
This past Tuesday, I thumbed my nose at the runner birthday tradition and celebrated with a Prairie Mountain hike in Kananaskis. My running pal Rachel Crocker, who has a much longer birthday run in store in January, joined me for the hike.
What a glorious day to be alive and in the mountains.
Over post-hike coffee, we chatted some more about the tradition of birthday runs.
After vigorous debate, we concluded there is a flaw in the tradition – particularly if you are over the age of 30, live in Alberta and were born in either November, December, January or February.
Seriously. Who wants to run 30+ kilometres on a frigid/snowy/icy day in an Alberta winter?
Not this sun-loving gal. Don’t get me wrong, I love running outside in the winter. But my runs are usually short and sweet.
Planning a birthday run route in November is not easy.
There’s the combination of snow and ice. And you simply cannot know what Mother Nature has up her sleeve.
A huge dump of snow or extreme drop in temperatures could throw all your careful planning down the drain. I know some winter birthday runners turn to the treadmill.
That’s fine for them, but I’m one of those runners who is easily distracted. (Think Taylor Swift versus the treadmill.) Besides running on a treadmill is an easy out. Winter runners earn their bragging rights, and it often pays off in the spring race season.
With all this in mind, we added an option to the run your birthday in kilometres (or miles) tradition. Instead of running 36 kilometres on your 36th birthday, the runner would run 3.6 kilometres.
Ta da. Doesn’t that make better sense?
While the distance may seem dreadfully short, it is much more realistic in always unpredictable Alberta winter.
Find Running with Rhyno on Facebook and @CrystalRhyno on Twitter. Send your column ideas, photos and stories to email@example.com.