Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Frozen Snot and Other Observations

Wow, you guys freaked out about me running in my capri tights in 25 degree weather! Thank you for all of your care and concern (translation: thinking I'm a dumb ass). I don't think there has been such an uproar since that couple got into the White House uninvited last weekend.

So, here's the deal about cold weather running, at least in my book. I'm no guru in this matter, but I did run outside through the Colorado winter last year since my marathon was at the end of January. That's just how much I hate the treadmill. A couple of things to note:
  • Most people tend to way overdress when running in the cold. Rule of thumb - wear less than you think you need. Then take off a layer.

  • I LOVE LOVE running outside in the cold. I find it to be totally invigorating and refreshing. The world looks completely different in the winter than any other time of year and there is so much beauty with the way the light hits ground and the sky. It gives me a new lease on life. You should try it sometime. Plus it freezes your snot and that's always fascinating.

  • Colorado cold is not equal to the cold in places that are humid. For one, those humid climates have a wet cold that make you cold to the very inside of your bones. I know because I grew up on the east coast. I was way colder in Richmond, Virginia and Washington, D.C. than I've ever been in Colorado.

Today it snowed all morning (3") and we had a high of 18 degrees. I ran outside at 3:30 p.m., before the sun went down. Here's how I looked and what I wore. Please don't call any modeling agencies or fitness magazines wanting to submit this picture of me. I really don't have time for all of that attention (actually I'm looking like a cold dork, but I thought I'd throw that in for good measure):

Full length tights. That's right! No capris, so no need to freak out. I have had these tights (Pearlizumi brand) for 15 years, got them when I was a wannabe runner, but never ran. They sat on my shelf for years. Now I wear them, but only when it's under 20 degrees. Any other time, I'm in my capris because they're more comfortable. My legs, feet, torso and arms never get cold once I start running. This is amazing because at 110 lbs I am always freaking cold. The beginning of a run is always hell, but once you warm up the only stuff that really gets cold on me are my fingers and face.

Gloves: I usually wear the cheapy $1 gloves from Walgreen's. Again, if it's under 20 degrees, I go for the true running gloves. These are fleece, pretty warm, and even have a pocket on the top for your key or condom or tampon (as long as it's an OB). They're made by Reebok. I have no clue what they cost.

Under Armour Cold Gear Mock Turtleneck: No, I don't work for Under Armour and am not promoting this sometimes overpriced bunch of swag, but I do like some of their stuff. The shirts work great for super cold weather running. They are snug and wick away all the moisture because believe it or not your body really does sweat when it's 18 degrees outside. I have these mock turtlenecks in gray, white and green. They are about $50. Here is my torso in the white version:

Under Armour Arctic Headband: Again, not doing a product placement here, but this keeps my ears way warm. They are about $17. Here is a picture of it on my head:

Running hat: I wear the one I got at the Boulder Half Marathon this year.

Smart Wool Socks: I have serious love affair with these things. They are light weight, but cozy and keep my feet toasty. These go for about $12/pair so I only have two pairs that turn inside out and upside down until they can stand up by themselves.

North Face Flight Series Windbreaker: Now this is the key to running in the cold. If it is below 30 degrees I put this baby on over my mock turtleneck. It is extremely lightweight, nothing more than an overpriced windbreaker. But it keeps the cold air out and keeps me from getting overheated. I can't remember, but I think it goes for about $70. If you look closely you can see my snot/spit on it (under the NF emblem) because I still haven't learned how to not spit all over the front of myself when running:

That's it. Simple, basic, good quality gear.

When I am in my Hallmark movie I am going to wear all of these mismatched brands so I can get sponsorship from all of these companies.

For more info on cold weather running, read this article I wrote for the Examiner.

Drinking: About to get some wine


  1. i'm with ya on preferring to run in the cold... even though i'm in the east. But i'm also notorious for over dressing, so yes, layering works wonders for me. Looks like you've got yourself covered gear-wise!

  2. Eek! Snow already?!?! No!!!

    Nice gear, chica!

  3. Today wasn't just about the snow, it is just dang-nabit cold!!!! You dressed perfectly. I just hate sliding on the streets so until it melts, I stick to the treadmill (sigh). You're going to get so rich from all your sponsors!! I'm gonna go out and get them socks. REI? Thanks!

  4. I am in NY and it is getting cold here too! I just had the best find! An UA cold weather mock for less than $20 at TJ MAxx! What a steal!!!

  5. Well of course you're always cold. You got no fat on you!! That's why I hold on to my layer of jiggle - insulation purposes. Really.

  6. i am with you when it comes to running in the cold...of course, california cold is not colorado cold, to be sure. maybe into the upper 20s-low 30s at the lowest...also...cold and early morning...that's for me.

  7. lovin the white head. how'd you do that?!?!?
    father runner (aka honey) read and article that said "below freezing you need 3 layers" HA! I laughed at him and went out in one.
    totally get the snot thing. heading out into 19 degrees right now.

  8. Good Stuff! It's finally starting to chill out here in Ohio so I may need to buy some of this! I know I definitely need something for my ears.

    Glad to see you are running again!

  9. OMG i just saw the pic on your side bar about that abs, i am freaking cracking up!! not fair though i DO run and i still don't look like that

  10. It usually takes me a godo few weeks to adjust to the cold til I stop overdressing. Have to remember that if I am not cold to start, I am overdressed.

    Nice gear run-down.

  11. Okay before I forget, holy molly hot abs!! Did I just NOT notice that ab shot before?? I think I should bow in apprecitation and then go do a serious set of sit ups!!

    I love under armour cold gear. It never fails to keep me warm and dry.

    Even as an East-Coastie, I am right with you on cold wear running. There is nothing like being out in a winter wonderland wrapped in a envelope of your own running created warmth crusing along on an awesome run while everyone else huddles inside (aka being lazy). Well, one thing is better, doing all that at night with the moon and stars and a light snow falling done. Better than any drugs!! But I don't do it in capris. Too much humidity over here!

  12. You know your stuff girl! I want a jacket like your NF one & i want that Under Armour headband! :) Thanks for sharing your secrets- i need all the help i can get!

  13. Yet another comment from me about how I want to live where you live! So pretty! And I miss snow! In Austin right now, and there is a 60% chance it'll snow tomorrow, but of course it's gonna be lame and not enough.

    And, you should so totally be a running model! (I need to lose 30 pounds to get to your weight... yowza!)

  14. I am with Ulyana...I want to move from cali right now!! I think you definitely know what you're talking about ;) I also love running in the crisp cold weather :)...when it gets below 70 least haha!

  15. I always have frozen snot rockets on my clothes when I come back and it isn't even below freezing out here! :)
    Love that jacket, I think I may have to go out and find it - such a fan of North Face.
    And I am with Ulyana & Beleive, Colorado looks awesome. I really want some snow and change of scenery! BTW, just had to laugh, all the bundling up for 22 mins of running! HARD CORE!

  16. thanks for inspiring me to get out on my second cold weather run... and one of the best runs i have ever had! IN 36 DEGREE WEATHER! (you must know I am very much a warm weather gal.)
    hope it was ok i linked to your post that inspired me! :)

    cant wait to get out there again.... the question is.. how cold can i go now.. not IF i will go :)

  17. I dont see the problem with capris. On a woman I should clarify. I go with shorts in upper 30's and low 40's depending wind or rain factors. Im working more this year on not overdressing.

  18. I'm 5'2" and used to weigh 110...until someone introduced me to cookie dough in a bucket! (It's so much easier to avoid when you have to make it yourself.) At least now I never have to worry about weighing enough to donate blood; I just have to remember to get out and do it.

    I hate being cold, so it's really hard for me to get up the guts to go running in it, and I always overdress. I'm in Ohio too. I've got an extra comforter on my side of the bed, a heating pad down by my feet and always wear socks to bed. Did I mention I hate being cold?

  19. I'm cool with the chill - right up until the ill wind kicks in.

  20. Thanks to Joy for sending me over here :-)

    You have the cold weather running down! Even though I love running outside, I backed out of my runs the last couple mornings when it went under zero. I'm a ten degree and above kind of gal.

  21. Hi, Came over here from Ruthie's blog (above) and must say that I agree on every point, even the capris and especially the smartwools. I run in Colorado too and love love winter.

  22. I have smartwools and I LOVE them and if the dog goes near them I threaten to put her up for adoption lol

  23. Hmmm, I've run for years and always avoided the outdoors during the winter months. I'm going to try it this year and will heed your advice. Off to look at socks...