Adventures in Winter: Cold weather running

February 7, 2013 § 2 Comments

Margaret the the Accidental Motivator

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I’m a big winter pansy, but will occasionally burst through my SAD in sheer frustration and/or cabin fever with an explosion of “fuck you seasons!” and go out and do something. Last Wednesday was one of those days. I was at work late when my phone popped up with a push-alert from MapMyRun.

run margaret run

Dammit Margaret. It’s fucking JANUARY! And also, damn you for being out of the office at 7 (Chicago time)! I opened up my run log – maybe I’ll share it here someday when I’m less sucky at running – and lamented the last run I did (if you don’t count the .6 mile sprint to the grocery store on 1/13) on 11/18 last year clocking in at 1.72 miles. Embarrassing. It was 15 degrees out but I didn’t give a shit – there were people running around in Boston in 5 degree weather and they seemed to be alive – a little sad looking, but alive! And moving outside! It was time.

So I went home, put on my Vibram KSO’s, cycling tights and some gym shorts, a moisture wicking long sleeve, and my light cycling long sleeve jacket. Debated about the hat and gloves for a bit and decided on some cut-off gloves and a light hat.

Back in October, I hadn’t run a mile on pavement for literally two years – I generally hate it and have never gotten to that “breakthrough” moment that everyone talks about where it doesn’t suck anymore and somehow becomes magically awesome (still skeptical that this moment exists) – but my girlfriend at the time had been convinced by her sister that we should run a 5K on Thanksgiving. I wasn’t particularly keen on not being able to run a 5K the first time I met her family, so I sucked it up and started training. The things we do for love.

Anyhow, I got up to 2.77 miles before she realized she was even less interested in running than I was, so I happily went back to my normal fair of hiking and biking.

So why go back out there?

1) I’m so tired of being inside. Practically speaking, I knew that it was cold in the east cost in the winter and that people generally stay inside. But, like, really.. it’s all the time. There’s no respite for months unless you suck it up and face the cold. Sure it’s slightly suckier in Oakland in January, but in New Jersey there’s no croquet in the park at lunch, no nice walks to work, no freak summer-like days where you can go to the beach. Just winter. All the goddamn time.

2) I don’t want to be the only kid in the playground that hasn’t run a 5k.

3) Stamina for zombie attacks.

The thing I’ll call a run but may have been a jog

With zombies in mind, and the outside looking like this, I did a few jump kicks, turned Call Me Maybe up on my iPhone, and started running.

Needless to say, I was cold. the fingerless gloves were a bad decision so I balled my fingers up into the palm of the glove. People on the street were looking at me like I was a crazy person and had no hesitations when it came to eyeballing me all the way down the street. This isn’t Somerville, MA where yuppies and hipsters hone their hobbies after all, it’s central Jersey where bros juice up and hipsters happily chainsmoke in the heated half shed outside of the bar.

I picked a route that put me through what was labeled as a park on Google maps, but when I got there, found that it was a a mess of trash thrown into what was meant to be a greenbelt that was totally uncared for and unpassable as far as I could tell, so I ran next to it in people’s backyards. After about a mile, my toes were totally numb and I started worrying about whether I was going to have toes by the end of it (frostbite is a word I’ve heard of …). Fortunately the rest of me was quite warm, and at exactly 1.47 miles, my lungs and toes simultaneously gave out and I walked the rest of the way home.

Almost immediately, the feeling returned back to my toes and, other than my fingers, felt warm as a bun in the oven.

Lessons Learned

1) Always wear full fingered gloves. The crappy ones from the grocery store are fine – as long as there’s a layer.

2) There are no nice parks near downtown New Brunswick. I’ll have to live with Route 1.

3) As far as I can tell, I probably could have gotten frostnip/bite if I was actually any good at running and had kept at it. So, I did a little research around toe socks and came across this review of different performance toe-socks, and am determined to get some and try them this weekend.



§ 2 Responses to Adventures in Winter: Cold weather running

  • runninginnj says:

    When it’s snowy/slushy I actually prefer to run in my Vibrams without socks (can’t stand wet socks), sure the feet get cold for a little while but never too bad. Downtown New Brunswick may not be great for running, but depending on the distance you are doing, and where in NB you are starting from, heading up College Ave to Buccleuch Park may not be a bad option, or heading down to the park along the river. For extra distance Johnson Park, over the river, is a great place to run. (By the way, as you’re so close, take a look at – great running club with runners of all abilities.

    • facepalmword says:

      Can’t believe you run in Vibrams w/out socks! Do you still have toes? Impressive.

      I just moved a mile or so away from Buccleuch Park and will check it out ASAP. I will say that running in crappy urban areas makes my new Zombie Run! app seem far more believable 🙂

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