Thursday, January 8, 2009

Is There a Polar Bear?

I love to run outside. I am not a running fiend. I have never run a marathon and generally I eschew running outside in the winter like the plague. It's cold. And dark. And, well, cold!

Last night, I got home at the unheard-of early hour of 6 p.m. The idea of walking an hour to get to the gym was more daunting than braving the outdoors. The outdoors also cooperated. The temperature was about -10 to -15 in the evening (unusually warm), there was little to no wind, and I happened to know that it was going to be a lot colder the rest of the week. So, I made an educated guess at how many layers I needed and set out, hoping I would not get too cold.

The biggest challenge was getting used to the cold air. My nose got pretty cold. My lungs got a little sore as I ran uphill. What I imagined to be the greatest challenge, however, the slippery ground, didn't turn out to be at all. Trail runners and careful footing kept me on track.

At one point, I needed to stop and do some jumping jacks. I just wanted to warm up a bit without breathing too hard. A woman walking home saw me and thought something very different. I noticed her staring at me, so I stopped.

She asked, "is there a polar bear?"

I imagined what she must have seen from her point of view: a woman running from a side street, crossing the road, running a little, then stopping, turning and jumping up and down while waving her arms. Oops.

"No, no," I assured her, "I'm just exercising."

"Oh," she seemed relieved and took her daughter by the hand and kept going. I ran on, hoping that in fact there was no stray bear roaming town looking for delicious human running snacks.


towniebastard said...

That's pretty funny. It makes sense, I guess. Well, to that person a polar bear probably makes more sense than running or doing jumping jacks in the cold.

And there's only been one polar bear that's come close to town in the past 3 years or so, and they spotted and dealt with him pretty quick. So I don't think you need to worry about becoming snack food.

Jackie S. Quire said...

Haha, classic! I love it!

kathleen said...

At least the rescue team wasn't sent out. My parents lived in a "retirement community" for a while. The response time for the EMTs was about 3 minutes.

It was in S. California, and it was a beautiful, not too hot spring day, so I went out on the front steps to read the paper. After finishing the paper, I laid back to enjoy the warmth on my skin and the lovely lack of anything to do. After a bit I went back inside.

A minute later the Fire Department showed up. Apparently, one of the neighbors had seen me lying down and called 911. Apparently, it is not normal for the elderly residents to lie down on the porch.

Bonnieupnorth said...

Too funny! About a year ago when I was first in Arviat about mid-December got warned to not x-c ski to far from the shore or hamlet because of polar bears....took it abit lightly until two young males reported as being seen close to the community hall!