I think I can track the beginnings of my cold intolerance to when I moved to Washington, DC for undergrad. It's uncommon to get more than a couple inches of snow and the temperatures don't get all that dramatic. But if you watch people drive when the first couple flakes hit the air you would think the world was ending. Everyone freaks out. At the time I thought they were all ridiculous and scoffed at their shivering and slip-sliding. But I think that over the years I slowly started to join their ranks without realizing it.
|(The big one circled in yellow)|
[Don't worry, the post office didn't know where Mali's located either. I had mail routed through Maui, Malawi and Bali to get to me - and that's just a few of the more "obvious" examples. Then I told people to add "West Africa" to my address, thinking that might help. Once someone at the post office crossed out West so that it read:
Mali's pretty close to the equator, relatively speaking, and the top 2/3's of the country are made up of the Sahara. Pretty much year round the temperature hits 100F at least during the afternoon, and in the hot season it can be 120 degrees even at night. (And to put it in perspective, air conditioning was pretty impossible to find outside of major buildings in the capital - 12 hours away from me.) For maybe a month in the winter time it would get "cold" at night... there were a handful of times I could see my breath! Feel free to make fun, but when all of your clothes are appropriate for 120 degree weather, 40 or 50 degrees is horrifying!
|Winter hat, jacket, pants|
So... 2 years in West Africa + almost 4 in New Orleans = wimpy in cold weather. Once the thermostat drops below 75 I start wearing sweaters and break out the winter coat. Strangely enough, some of my best races have been in "cold" weather - either the 40s or 50s. I know that's "ideal" racing weather and I feel good once I get going. It's that "getting out the door" part that's often unbelievably hard. I love the concept of running sleeves, which are easy to remove as you keep moving. And throwaways are a great idea, but perhaps not for the weekly long run.
So, what do I do to stay warm? I go for the ridiculous look. Living in NOLA, I can't convince myself that it's worth buying cold weather running clothes. So I have some $2 gloves from walmart, one long-sleeve wicking shirt, two pairs of capri running pants (which don't wick) and a $5 hat from Old Navy (does a great job at keeping moisture around my head which means once it's on I can't take it off or I'll FREEZE). If it's REALLY cold, I wear the outer layer of an old ski coat that chafes my chin. Sweet! And then I layer like a crazy person. You know the kid in a Christmas Story? ("I can't put my arms down!") Yeah. I go for that look. Now that I'm back in Cleveland for the holidays, it's on!
Did you know that a Christmas Story was filmed in Cleveland?
And in case you haven't discovered this little gem, hot chocolate is amazing after a run in cold weather! What do you do to stay warm?