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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Deep freeze

I think I haven't blogged because my fingers are frozen.  Solid.  Since Sunday, the temperatures in Calgary have hovered around the -30C mark...that's -22F.  WITHOUT the wind.  And Calgary is never without wind!  Then we get wind chills in the -36C to -40C.  Suffice to say, it's stupid cold.

Does that mean we all stop living here in Cowtown?  Nope...nary a "cold weather advisory" or whatever it was the city of Toronto called when their temps plummeted to -16C a few weeks back.  We run (run club went on as normal Sunday and tonight), we drive to our appointments (James has handled the cold very well, given he lived his first few years inside a garage...parked outside in the cold is foreign to him) and we (some of us) walk to work.  It's all about the layering.

For running:
Tight running pants, that wick moisture.  2nd pair of looser pants over top.  Not quite wind-breakers, but slightly thicker, still wicking, and a little warmer.  Socks can be double layer, and definitely up over the ankle.  You don't want exposed skin down there!  Runners, if the paths are clear, or trail runners if you have snow to contend with.  Ice is ice...doesn't matter the footwear, it's still slippery.  Take it easy.

Tight wicking top.  I call it my second skin layer.  Over that, a slightly looser and heavier layer.  Over that goes an even thicker layer, usually a running jacket of some type.  Then top it off with a wind breaking top coat.  I prefer gloves, as my hands usually stay warm.  But in these extreme temps, I've been wearing a cheap pair of .99 gloves bought at the grocery store underneath the running (aka wicking) gloves.  Toque, again that wicks, but comes down nicely over the ears.  I've even been known to wear a headband over the hat. 

Face:  this is where it gets tricky for me.  I do not like things covering my mouth.  I don't wear scarves properly and I don't like balaclavas.  So what I do is wear something around my neck that comes up to my chin.  When I'm cold, I can dip my head down, but the mouth is clear for breathing.  Some people like to smear Body Glide or Vaseline on their face, but my eyes water so bad that the sheet of ice formed tends to protect my cheeks from harm.  Knock on wood.

For work, I follow the same layering principle.  Leggings under pants, two tops under my down coat.  And it helps that after 6 blocks from home I can access the +15 system in downtown and make it almost the whole way to work inside.  Still pretty frosty.

Didn't help when I had to go to the chiro on Tuesday though...that was a chilly walk along the river into Kensington.  The river, which has now "eaten" the pathway on both sides, was just slushy on Sunday.  By Tuesday, it looked like this.  And so cool, as you crossed over it, you could hear it groaning and cracking and popping...Mama Nature may be a be-otch at times, but she's also a cool old broad!

Frustrating part is the City had JUST opened this underpass, after a year of construction.  Crap. 

I confessed my sins to Therapist Dave, who "punished" me for such foolishness (I ran 36k without my orthotics...a severe lapse of judgement) by doing his best to make me cry.  Came very close a few times!  Amazing that a man can actually jam his thumb right to the bone, in between the muscles and tendons on one's leg.  But I'm moving better, and the leg is not so achy at night.  That's when it was really bothering me...not while running or at boot camp, but while sitting still.  Weird.

Speaking of boot camp, yes, everyone was there this week, despite the cold.  Granted we are inside, but you still have to convince your vehicle to start to get there by 6am.  And it is sooooooo hard to leave a warm bed at 5am, knowing it's minus stupid cold outside.  Many, many, many push-ups, squats and likes later, I have survived to Wednesday.

Okay...I need to finish up my tea, and head for bed.  Only two more days of the bitter cold, just in time for our 28km training run on Saturday, although it could start cool...that means carrying layers home, unfortunately.  Two more days...I can take it.  I am Canadian!


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