It’s safe to say that residents of Regina hate driving around Wascana Lake at this time of year. Not because of the horrible drivers in Regina, but instead because of the people running outside.
Who do they think they are in their spandex pants, thin wind jackets and toques, looking as if they are actually having a pleasant time outside in minus 30, making it look so effortless and enjoyable? They honestly can’t be enjoying that, can they?
However, after talking to the University of Regina’s cross country female star Karissa LePage, Regina residents might not be so irritated when seeing the winter runners.
LePage has a purpose for being out there in the freezing cold.
Regardless of any personal issues someone could have with outdoor runners, the dedication, willpower, and discipline it takes to train and compete in cross country is amazing.
This season, LePage has changed her biomechanics of running to better deal with her specific injuries that she sustained earlier in the year. She has yet to let them bother her much.
Not only is she relatively pain free but, these changed biomechanics LePage is doing are clearly effective. She has placed top three in every race this year as a Cougar; her best performance being the Roy Griak Invitational.
“I feel like I accomplished a lot in Roy Griak, going from 17th [last year] to 3rd. It’s the race I look forward to every year,” She said.
“Physically, we have done all the work outs, it’s just making sure you are not injured or getting sick at this point and staying healthy. Mentally, I’m just going out there and racing my own race and not worrying about other girls or this and that.” – Karissa LePage
With a field of over 400 female runners, the competition to place was tough, but it’s not just placing well that LePage takes from her experience in Minneapolis.
“It was all about competition,” she said. “Being able to have more experience running with other people. I was able to run with a lot of girls so I was able to push myself.”
Although it is easy to tell that LePage loves competition and challenges, does she actually enjoy running outside during the winter?
“It puts that much more of a challenge. It’s more mentally tough, and most of the time you are just trying to maintain stability,” she said with a chuckle. “You just really see who’s going to dig deep and go for it.”
Not only does she not mind winter running, she also appreciates it.
“Being in Saskatchewan, it’s great for training. We almost get this extra confidence [compared to athletes in BC and Ontario], we have seen this, we’ve ran in this, we are just that much more prepared.”
And prepared she is. Physically and mentally, LePage seems ready to take on her competition at CIS championships on Nov. 10, in London, Ontario.
“Physically, we have done all the workouts; it’s just making sure you are not injured or getting sick at this point and staying healthy. Mentally, I’m just going out there and racing my own race and not worrying about other girls or this and that,” she said.
So, in the end, after talking to LePage, it’s difficult to hate those people who are running outside in the winter. They are just devoted people involving themselves in a sport that takes a heck of a lot of commitment and strength.
Photo courtesy Arthur Ward