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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, May 25, 2024
Running, Man!

Running by the cons of winter

With freezing rain in the forecast and midterms every other Monday, it’s easy to get grumpy around this time of year.

Your heat might not be working... Maybe you have a lot of assignments due this week… Perhaps you’re starting your house hunt… And have you figured out what you’re going to wear for Halloween?

So begins the anxiety that marks the start of eight months of cold weather. With this transition comes a change in mindset about everything from health to heating bills.

Sure, a few months ago I had some routine complaints about endless construction, but there’s something about that time of year that’s just so much… warmer and happier.

Let’s review how a Madison summer stacks up to the coming Wisconsin winter.

Desire to work out

Summer: Warm, mild temperatures make outdoor exercise not only bearable but enjoyable between June and August. So, since I was “too busy studying” to set foot in the SERF during spring semester, once exams wrap up, it’s time for me to get in shape. How to make it happen? A run out to Picnic Point. A ride down the bike path. A stroll through the arboretum. The options are endless! And what’s waiting for me back in my freezer? POST-WORKOUT POPSICLES! Half-marathon, here I come!

Winter: Oh yes, running outside… While that lake breeze felt grrreeaat before the temperature sank to butt-freezing lows (don’t act like you don’t know the feeling), running to Picnic Point becomes less refreshing and more anxiety-inducing when I lose feeling in my toes before I reach the marching band field. How about instead of traveling a few miles by foot to then travel the same number of miles by foot to get back to where I started, I just never leave the starting point? I’ll even forego the Popsicles.

Motivation to do outdoor chores, more specifically my attitude toward having a porch

Summer: “I loooove my porch,” I’ll tell myself on a sunny June Saturday. “Why don’t I just sweep the floorboards and wait outside for the mailman!” If he doesn’t come before I finish cleaning, I can sit and count the basil leaves sprouting up in my garden while I contemplate which peach cobbler recipe to try out next! And ooo, look at all the bunnies!

Winter: Porch remains covered with snow until a household stalemate regarding shoveling duties ends abruptly when one roommate plows a path after face planting into the dead basil garden while trying to check the mail. Snow falls again, but shovel, with Post-it note that reads “use me :)” attached, goes untouched until move-out.

Likelihood of eating vegetables

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Summer: Having guzzled down countless cups of Swiss Miss throughout the winter and surviving a round of finals fueled almost entirely by Ranch Dipped Hot Wings Doritos, I’m ready to revamp my eating once the school year’s through. Fortunately, with the Farmers’ Market out every weekend, the produce options are endless!

On top of my body’s plea for nutrients, the warm weather makes me crave fresh food. A crispy kale salad becomes not only edible but appetizingly delicious.

Winter: Salad out, cheese curds in. Veggies taste fine, don’t get me wrong, but after braving the elements, warm, fried cheddar hits the spot that raw zucchini can’t touch. Plus, since the inside of the house can get a little chilly, it makes sense to throw a few bricks of packaged cookie dough in the oven—you know, to, uh, heat the place up.


Summer: Finally, no need to worry about paying for heat and arguing over the thermostat settings! There’s still water and electric, but the overall monthly cost is waaay down. Yeah, it’s kind of warm, but who doesn’t love an excuse to sleep in their underwear?

Winter: Thermostat is set at 63 degrees, yet somehow heat costs half as much as rent. Roommate conflict ensues over what constitutes acceptable use of space heater. Snow-shoveling issue is reopened. Everyone is cold, both physically and personally.

You know what though, winter’s not all bad. There’s snowball fights. Cocoa with marshmallows. Cute scarves. And, of course, the holidays, with gifts to buy and recipes to try.

But before I start thinking too far ahead, what I am gonna be for Halloween? And do I have an exam coming up next week?

Did you face plant into a bed of snow last winter? Come over to Rachel’s to talk about it while you make cookie-dough bricks or just email her at

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