Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Staying Warm on a Cold Winter Run

To celebrate Galentine's Day 2016, I asked my lady friends to join me in the "Run Your Heart Out 5K" in Watertown, Massachusetts. I thought it would be a fun, active way to celebrate my female friendships in the spirit of Leslie Knope.

On the eve of the race, the headline on CBS Boston read:
Hypothermia, Frostbite Possible During Dangerously Cold Weekend



Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) issued a warning advising that residents "minimize outside activities and watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia".

I shuddered at the thought of stomping through Watertown on ice block feet with a burning throat and raw, stinging face. For once, I found myself hoping that a race would get cancelled.

Of course, runners are an awfully stubborn bunch. At 9:00 am, 150 of us huddled together outside Donohue's Bar and Grill to set off on a 3.1(ish) mile jaunt around town.
(I am quite amused by the other browser tabs open on the race director's desktop. And the fact that the so-called 5K race is clearly measured at 3.2 miles)

SO. How does one dress oneself for a sub zero run? Specifically, how does one dress oneself when one is trying to run in sub zero temperatures at a reasonably fast pace?

For me, it comes down to choosing thin technical layers and taking care of my extremities. For this race, I wore:


Sports bra (duh)
Compression running tights (my go-to pair from Brooks or these Under Armour tights)
Fitted, midweight synthetic shirt (I am in love with my New Balance heat pullover hoodie, which has both chin-covering neck and a hood with ponytail hole.)
Smartwool ear covering headband
Knee-high compression running socks
Serious lobster mittens with hand warmers inside
and, of course, favorite running shoes.

On a longer or evening run, I'd add a running shell and a wool cap


In the end, the race went by quickly and the the cold didn't feel so bad after all. We grinned for a post-race picture.


And took home some age group awards!



And then, of course, we ate a bunch of pancakes.

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