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I did not anticipate that wind would send me wimpering to the treadmill with my tail between my legs.


Rule of thumb: If the local wind is significant enough to have it’s own special name, you are entirely justified in opting for the cozy, brightly-lit gym and using the treadmill instead.

On that note, the notorious northeasterly Taku winds started kicking up on Tuesday.

Overnight, they  howled.

They made such a ruckus that I barely slept, anxiously imagining trees falling down on the house.

It sounded like a hurricane.

All day on Wednesday, they were ferocious.

We watched nervously from the window, anticipating another power outage.

When I left work, I started running for the bus, trying to minimize my wind exposure. As I ran slowly into the headwind, a gust kicked into my face and I almost fell over backward.

Then, the wind promptly changed direction and dumped me forward (and in an unprecedented show of agility, I managed to avoid a full-on face-plant).

Chastened by these fickle gusts, I stopped running and began walking gingerly so that I could keep my center of gravity low against the wind.

Finally, I came into view of the bus stop. It was cold, so I began jogging again.


I stumbled off of the sidewalk and went hands down to the ground, wondering for a moment if I had just been hit by a car.

Nope, it was just the wind.

After recovering myself, I scurried onto the warm, safe bus and then looked outside and giggled at all of the people trying to walk around without getting knocked down.

This morning it is 16 degrees. The idea of running over the Juneau-Douglas bridge in this weather is terrifying.

Yup, the treadmill sounds good.

(Naturally, after I made the decision to treadmill it, the wind died down and now all is calm in southeast Alaska. Oh well.)

What weather conditions send you to the treadmill? Ice and extreme cold, sure. But I never imagined I’d be heading inside to escape the wind!

Second order of business:

Thank you for all your comments on the body image and form vs. function post. Sometimes I read the comments on my posts and wish that I had thought to make that point.

Rebecca’s comment was one of those: “Have you ever gone to a race and tried to pick out the fasties without knowing any of them? It always shocks me who is fast. Not the ones you would think… Thanks for your post. It is a great reminder that athletes come in ALL different shapes and sizes.”

Valjean1979 had a great point, too: “Would you rather look like the one doing the eating, or the one being eaten[?]”

And it made me laugh to read that a guy once told Brit, “You really remind me of a velociraptor.” Guess I’m not the only one with friends of questionable tactfulness.

Amelia reminded me that a lot of the perspective is cultural: “In Korea and now in China everyone always tells me I am a very strong girl (I think it’s code for you are like a man) because I like to play sports and run and girls generally don’t do that here. I just always remind myself I am normal in NA!!” (Side note: I have been in hysterics reading about her adventures running in China!)


Since I am currently something of a nature education dork, I loved reading your answers to the question, “What kind of animal athlete are you?”

Sarah said, “I always was told that I resembled a house sparrow, so I’ll go with it: compact, stout, but virtually indestructible.”

Lisa said: “I am super clumsy, so I’m probably whatever animal constantly crashes into things and get mysterious bruises.” …hm… any ideas? I’m trying to think of an animal that fits this criteria. All I can come up with is Wile E. Coyote.

Annie Crow said, “I would definitely be a bear, I think, solid, solid, lazy-looking, and then surprisingly fast. (And very strong.)”

Ewen said, “I’m a wombat. Supposedly slow, but in reality fast over a short distance, and very determined.”

hurdlingham said, “i think i would have to be a llama…mildly awkward and not the most graceful of the bunch, but if you try to chase me down, you’ll be sadly mistaken (apparently llamas can run up to 40 mph over short distances? who knew!)”


Lastly, my friend who made the “eat the other girls” comment would like to thank Marie, who came to his defense: “I think your poor friend is getting crap for some commentary that perhaps was more disparaging to the skinny, underdeveloped models rather than his normal-sized friends.”

Of course, all is forgiven and we gathered to watch Top Model again last night, to the backdrop of the aforementioned screaming Taku winds. (Thankfully, the power didn’t go out in the middle of a Tyra Banks monologue).

Have you ever lived in a place where the winds have their own name?

30 Comments leave one →
  1. 11/18/2010 10:32

    YES. When I lived in Egypt, we feared/dreaded the khamseen. That’s the Arabic word for fifty, and the winds are so named because they allegedly last for 50 days. They’re hot winds. It feels like a hair dryer has been turned on you. But the hair dryer is all gunked up with sand, blowing at you. A wall of sand, just coming at you.

    I have a rule about things that are named: hills, winds, storms… I’m fearful.

    • 11/20/2010 23:13

      So true — give something a name and all the sudden it becomes an acknowledged, undeniable, intimidating reality! Good point about hills and storms, too.

  2. 11/18/2010 12:05

    the winds do not have their own names here but we do get nor’esterns if that counts.

    i’ll hit the tm when the conditions are such that i think drivers aren’t going to see me. and i also have a run that if the windchill is <0 i'll stay inside. if i had access to the tm then i might do more indoor running if i'm in training and want to hit certain stuff. but i love feeling hardcore in bad conditions. plus the way i see it is that it's extra training for race day if that sucks

    • 11/18/2010 12:19

      Yes, in Munich (where I lived in high school) you get the Foehn coming off of the Alps. It’s a high wind, so you don’t experience it on the ground, but it blows in a change in pressure that makes people crazy. Migraines abound, driving goes to hell, there’s a jump in violent acts, you name it. Pity, because it makes everything so sharp and beautiful looking and you can see for miles and miles.

      The sidewalks get VERY icy in Chicago in the winter, and then you get multiple layers of ice, snow, trodden-down ice and snow, etc., and a patchwork effect of cleared sidewalks vs. partially cleared vs. not at all cleared — so that’s when I head indoors. This year we’re joining a proper gym (first time for me) so I’m almost looking forward to it!

      • 11/20/2010 23:15

        Wow. That Foehn sounds intense. Googling it right now. I always thought I was weird for suspecting that weather has the ability to make me crazy, but maybe I was right all along…

  3. 11/18/2010 12:29

    We’re not cool enough to give our winds their own names. We do discuss cold wind as coming from the North (I guess that’s the leftover Taku from Alaska? 🙂 ) or warmer winds beinds from the South or East. West wind depends, but seems colder than South or East winds.

    Cold wind is actually tied for the #1 thing that sends me to the treadmill (ug, frigid); the other would be heavy precip. Your analysis of the body image comments is classic.

    • 11/20/2010 23:25

      I’m STILL trying to come up with an appropriate clumsy animal… 🙂

  4. 11/18/2010 13:06

    We get crazy wind here, I guess probaly because it is so flat, but I don’t think there are any names for it. I am a big baby and I tend to run inside unless the conditions are great outside.

    I have this overly dramatic image in my head of you blowing away enroute to your bus. I can’t imagine a wind that strong!

    • 11/20/2010 23:26

      It was frightening and unexpected. I will not underestimate it again.

      Also, I’m a bit of a baby too. I always bundle up excessively, for example.

  5. 11/18/2010 16:44

    I don’t know if I’ve ever commented on your blog before, but I’m now hooked! Anyway… in my part of Nor Cal growing up we had the Diablo winds, named after nearby Mt. Diablo… yes, the devil mountain and devil winds. It sounds a little extreme and in my experience mainly led to retrievals of runaway patio furniture, but the fall ones can spread wildfires.

    • 11/20/2010 23:27

      The visual of chasing patio furniture makes me laugh. We had to do a sweep for our trash cans this week — they tried to run away. I would be fearful of any weather event named the Diablo!

  6. 11/18/2010 18:43

    I HATE wind. Running in the wind enrages me irrationally. I’ll take rain over wind any day.

    However, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a wind with its own name – unless the Santa Ana winds in Southern California count? But those just made it 80* in February, causing my friends and I to go to the beach and then call our friends and family around the rest of the country to boast about it. (And I guess they cause wildfires too, which is no bueno.)

    Anyway…yeah, I would have gone for the treadmill it it Taku Winds attacked me, too. 🙂

    • 11/19/2010 17:00

      Seconded with the irrational anger. I don’t understand it, but I get really irate…at the air.

      • 11/20/2010 23:18

        Thirded. I actually yelled at the wind the other day: “STOP !@#$&* BLOWING!” and a few tears of frustration squeaked out of my eyes.

  7. 11/19/2010 02:46

    glad you are enjoying my chinese running adventures as much as I enjoy your alaska ones!

  8. 11/19/2010 05:03

    maybe you should eat more so you’d hold up in the wind better! or they must be really strong winds to blow over such a ‘rhinoceros’ 🙂

    wind can be brutal – especially when it’s cold and super windy, then you get wind burn.

    • 11/20/2010 23:24

      Yes, exactly. My face gets perpetually ruddy and my neck stays porcelain white. Unattractive.

  9. 11/19/2010 08:11

    ew, wind. add in some torrential rain and i’ll choose netflix and hot chocolate over running.

    there’s just something SO infuriating about windy conditions. i mean…sometimes i get angry and try to run faster to “show it who’s boss”. but usually, i just end up tired and back on the treadmill. heh.

  10. 11/19/2010 17:01

    I hate wind. I mean, yeah. Who doesn’t? I remember trying to chart my runs in Minnesota (during the winters) so that I would be running with the wind on the way back home. But usually, the winds would shift and I would get a left earful of wind on the way out, and a right earful on the way back.

    • 11/20/2010 23:20

      Hahahhaa. So you’d pretty much get a crosswind the whole way? Headwinds and tailwinds, okay, I can sort of take those. But crosswinds and impetuous gusts? Uncool.

  11. 11/19/2010 17:56

    I’ve named a wind for where I live (Canberra) — it’s ‘The Bungendore Doctor”, which springs up in the late afternoons during our hot summers. It’s an easterly ‘sea-breeze’ (even though we’re a couple of hundred k from the ocean). I named it after the more famous Fremantle Doctor.

    Your Taku winds sound horrible. I don’t like running in strong winds (thankfully rare around here) — the gum trees tend to lose branches in strong winds.

    • 11/20/2010 23:29

      A sea breeze?! That sounds pleasant. I suppose that the Taku winds are somehow related to a glacier breeze…

  12. 11/19/2010 18:10

    Wow, and I thought the bears there were scary! I run in most weather, but once I tried running in rain and wind so hard that I couldn’t see and had to go back home.

    • 11/20/2010 23:29

      Scarier still is the prospect of being pick up by the wind and blown into a hibernating bear’s den…

  13. 11/20/2010 12:45

    haha…so glad to know i’m not the only one guilty of ANTM. it’s like a train wreck, isn’t it? 😛 oh well, i guess it does have its value. without it, i wouldn’t even know how to smize.

    • 11/20/2010 23:30

      The best part is Tyra Banks. I never know what she’ll do next. She craze.

  14. 11/20/2010 16:18

    I totally read the description of those winds online…yeesh.

    I don’t do treadmills. Period. I haven’t touched one in three years and hope to keep that going…though I get concerned. I’ve run sub 10 degree weather with 50mph wind gusts before…which is probably a stupid thing to do.

    But god, if it’s that or the treadmill? At least its a more entertaining story if I suffer though the nasty weather. I don’t know what I’d have to do in the face of the winds you speak of as Lake Ontario has got NOTHING on that shit up there.

    • 11/20/2010 23:32

      I resent the treadmill, but I don’t mind the idea of it as much as I used to. Sub=10* with 50mph gusts? Sounds like perfect treadmill weather! Yes, yes it does.


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