There is definitely a little more meaning in the knowing nod or wave from a fellow runner in the winter months. The eyes betray the discipline and determination required to maintain a training regimen in cold weather. Focused. Singular. Abrupt even. But, if you look deeper, in that split second of eye contact, there is respect, camaraderie and kinship.
With my next marathon set for late May in Ottawa, eight weeks from now, I have been reflecting a great deal on the last few months of training. I competed in the Around the Bay road race in late March (30k-Hamilton, Ontario). That race signals the end of winter and the start of spring for me.
I assume they know what I know. I can see it in their eyes. The outdoors can be very majestic when not over populated by humans. Some of the best runs I have ever had were in the dead of winter. The roads and trails are nearly deserted. Many times I have come across deer on a snow covered forest path and marveled at how silently they go about their business. Other times, when the snow is fresh and the sky is grey, running on a country road can feel like entering a living charcoal sketch, where the only colours are black and white and the shades between. Then there are times when the air is cold and crisp. The ground is dry and hard. The sun is blinding, and the sky is the most amazing bright blue, a blue very different from the rest of the year. So different from spring, summer and fall that you forget all about it until the next winter sighting. I see all of this in that split second of recognition.
That, and the knowing glance.