For all my bravado about eagerly awaiting the start of the cross-country ski season, I have to admit that the season’s first cold temperatures are getting to me. Stepping outside to go running the other morning when the temperature read 22 degrees was a chilly reminder of what is to come. It didn’t help that the sky had that dreary winter gray look, and the winds whipped me in the face for the first half of my run. There’s no getting around it – it felt cold. I zipped my jacket up under my chin and forged ahead. My fingers eased themselves out of their individual compartments to snuggle together in the palms of my gloves. As always, once I got going my body generated enough heat to warm up and eventually I even enjoyed the “freshness” of the air on my face. It’s getting rolling that’s tough.
Note to self: Hiking does not generate nearly as much warmth as other more intense forms of outdoor exercise. I had the right idea, dressing in layers, just not enough of them. It was my hands that suffered the most. I’m convinced that I frostbit them more than once over the years, leaving them more susceptible to the cold. Next hike, it’s heavy mittens for me. It took a cup of hot tea, cradled in my hands to rewarm me both inside and out. But I still enjoyed the hike.
I’m glad that I took advantage of the nice days last week to get in a long bike ride. I was just 21 miles shy of 4,000 miles for the year and couldn’t bear the thought of missing that milestone. I’m now safely 9 miles over. Anything more is just gravy. When I took up long distance cycling as a newbie back in March, I had no idea I’d cover so many miles. Those that know me are probably not surprised, however. And if the temperatures moderate and the sun peaks out, I’ll probably sneak in another ride or two.
Hopefully I’ll acclimate and get used to winter’s chill by the time it comes in earnest. Even so, I know I will still have to psyche myself up to head out into the cold. And I know I’ll return feeling glad that I did.