So, I had my first mini winter freak out this morning. I’ve been meaning to post about winter running, I am a hardcore runner meaning, I run many miles, in all seasons, and I knew when I moved to Vermont that I could not let the weather stop me. So I’ve been doing a lot of research on winter running: clothing, footwear, can your lungs really freeze (short answer: only if you’re dead lol), etc. But so far so good, the only thing that has stopped me has been bad street conditions, and those I can generally get around by running in the bike lanes (I know, I know).
But this morning, I had a sort of startling experience. I usually check the weather on my phone before I go, which is usually around 7:15 or so, right after sunrise because I need to be able to see the sidewalk, but I also need to go early, before the wind picks up (running tip: the air is very still during sunrise). So my phone said 18 degrees F, I did 6 miles in 6 degrees the other day, no big deal. So I got dressed, and checked my phone one more quick time and it said -0 F. Hmmm. I think the 18 was from yesterday. But runners know how it is, I was already dressed and I wanted to go, I mean, I was ready mentally.
And when I got out it was fine, calm, no wind, it could have been 30 as far as I was concerned, but I realized it was below 0 so I decided to just do 4 miles in the neighborhoods vs. my usual 6. But about 3/4 of the way through my run, miracle of miracles, I saw another runner! A guy, and he had on the exact same gear I did (ya’ll the balaclava is so key because not only does it keep your face warm, the hot air you breathe out is forced to recirculate up around your eyes so it actually keeps your eyes warm too). No problem, and I got mine on Amazon for like $11. Anyway, I decided, since he was out in it that I could do the whole six, and it was totally fine except I started to cool down at the end a bit, my final quarter mile is a run up a shady hill and I slow down a lot, so you know when you slow down, you start to really sweat. And sweat is dangerous for cold-weather runners, it’s important to keep up your heart rate to stay warm. So I psyched myself up for getting into the house, you can’t take off your gloves for even a minute up here, even 20 seconds in the air and my fingers are numb, sadly the stupid “Below 0” texting gloves I bought (a) really aren’t the greatest when it’s literally below 0 and (b) do not work even to just unlock your phone, so for dexterity, I whip my glove off to unlock the house and then I’m fine.
Well. I couldn’t get the door unlocked! I tried for almost 5 minutes which was way too long, maybe 3. And I panicked when the door wouldn’t open. Then I realized I had my car key, so I rushed out to the car and hopped in. I sat in it, wet and freezing, waiting for it to warm up (but at least it was probably 30 degrees in there and not 0), and when I couldn’t feel my hands, even with gloves on, I called my husband who said to come pick him up (from the nice warm coffee shop lol). In the photo, all the white stuff isn’t snow, it was sunny and clear, it’s where my sweat crystallized (did I say I was hardcore?!) Anyway, long story short, it turns out I was using the wrong lock on the door the whole time. So that’s where my story gets interesting. Every day I unlock the door. Maybe 2 or 3 times. So why did I forget it’s the deadbolt not the knob that we lock? Am I crazy? Was I scared? Preoccupied?
So I googled hypothermia, and it turns out one of the first signs of hypothermia is confusion. And I would only admit this to my anonymous blog audience lol, but I did feel a little bit out of it when I got back home in the warmth. So now I can’t decide if I actually was experiencing the beginning of hypothermia, or I just forgot. But I mean, I never forget, right?! Anyway, my takeaways from this experience are that maybe below zero is just too cold to run. It’s not when you’re actually out in it, it’s when you stop that’s the problem. So I think maybe 5 degrees or so will be my cutoff, I am very dedicated to running but I also don’t want to trip and pass out of something out there, the cold weather here is no joke and I want to be able to run in the cold for many years to come!