Sharing the joy - here in Berlin its been snowing frequently enough for the last 4 weeks that I can barely run a few reliably clear streets (repetitive, boring and unchallenging). I ditched my goal times for next week's Berlin HM over three weeks ago ... and have been much better able to cope with the limited and dull training plan since then. So now I'm focusing on running the HM 'just for fun' and 'the atmosphere'.
I run in Germany (Berlin to be precise), and I have to say I get very mixed results from acknowledging other runners. The odd thing is that when someone walks into a doctor's waiting room it is perfectly normal to say hello to everyone in the room ... but when you're out running, its equally likely that one's acknowledgment of another's existence is met with disdain, reciprocation or avoidance.
I wear orthotics to better support my foot (arthrosis in toes), and yes you should definitely gradually ease in a new pair of orthos. That is according to the ortho maker, and my experience of using them. Take them on a a relatively 'short' walk, or jog, or run (whatever you normally do) and see how they feel - hot spot / blister potential will show up after a short while (5 or so kilometers), if its going to happen at all.
Another thing I do is remove the inner sole of new shoes and use the orthos instead; towards the end of the shoe life (3 or 4 months depending on mileage) I reinsert the original inner soles and put the orthos on top of this. Usually the shoe has expanded a bit, and the original padding has decreased in shock absorption, so the 'extra' padding now feels good.
I run to and from work (9 km each way) twice a week. I count it as two separate tempo runs (the first day), and then an easy 2 runs the second time (its the last training day of my week). Since I'm still only in my first year of running I consider the twice daily efforts as simply putting some extra kms on the legs, and keeping the metabolism high. I'm training for a sub 2 hour half marathon (next week in Munich), with an eye on the Berlin marathon 2013.
I carry clothes in on the days I take the train - yes they get a bit crumpled, but not too badly.