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Embracing the Cold: Attitude is (almost) Everything!

Monday, February 24, 2014

I made the switch to Vibram Five Fingers shoes a little over year ago. One the most frequent questions I get is, "Aren't your feet cold?" The answer is often, "Yes, but it doesn't bother me anymore." A few people have rejected the idea of the shoes outright because of the cold. The people I know better, whom I know are willing to listen to me talk about why the cold doesn't bother me anymore, get the rest of the story.

I do not like cold feet. I have CPT - Congenital Popsicle Toes. I was born with cold feet. In the winter, the heat vents in my car are almost always pointed at my feet. I can live with cold air on the rest of my body, but my feet want warmth.

The VFF can be worn with socks, and when it's below 40F, I'll wear the socks. Because water goes right through the shoes, I don't wear them when the ground is wet. (The socks are not enough to keep my toes warm when the shoes get wet.)

The bigger deal is that I came to a place of comfort with the cold. I don't enjoy it, but I learned it won't harm me in most circumstances. In most cases, it is merely uncomfortable. Discomfort is not pain. I am not so frail that mere discomfort will keep me in the house, away from the elements.

There are limits to this, but in most cases, I just get out there and do my workout. Today, I ran while it was windy and hailing. Yes, my hands were cold. My face was pretty cold, too. But I was in no danger of frostbite, and I was only outside for about a half-hour.

If the cold causes me pain, it is no longer a mere discomfort. When it is extremely cold, I stay within several blocks of the house or my office so that I can get back to warmth and safety quickly. I'm not nuts. I frequently find that while I am quite cold, it doesn't bother me.

I know this doesn't work for everyone. I do not have a neurological condition that makes working out in the cold impossible or even unwise. I am careful to keep parts that need to stay warm warm: I wear compression shorts if I'm running in cold weather, and I always have some sort of wind barrier on while riding in cold weather. I know how dangerous hypothermia is, and I have no intention of risking getting it. But for me, it works.

Now if I could convince my hot-house-flower of a husband that cold won't kill him...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HILLSLUG98239 2/26/2014 11:50AM

    Ice would be a deal-breaker for me, too. When I lived in Spokane, I would run in the snow. but not if there was a layer of ice under the snow - too risky for my ligaments!

I live in a really dry climate - we average 8" of precipitation a year. We get black ice on the road, and we get freezing rains, but the ice doesn't stick around very long. We also average 300 days of sunshine a year, and even in the winter the sun will melt ice off the pavement.

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MISSG180 2/26/2014 10:18AM

    I am not averse to cold so much as I am terrified of slipping on the ice. Once it gets above freezing here long enough to get rid of the ice, I will be out there running!

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EBRAINK 2/26/2014 9:14AM

    I've been dreaming about running outside - which I take to mean that I'm hitting my limit on the treadmill. And I mean literally, dreaming - I've been running in my dreams. I do not, as far as I know, wiggle my feet and whimper like the dogs when they chase dream bunnies. But it it still too cold for me to run outside, so I haven't managed to embrace the cold yet. Maybe in a couple of weeks...I hope!

I have VFFs, too - they never caused me blister problems, but the dude at the running store fit me pretty carefully, to be sure they didn't pinch or rub. It turned out I wear the mens' model instead of the women's, which made a difference for me. I've since switched to Merrell's barefoot line for running, and use the VFFs for when I'm doing my other workouts (usually kettlebells and weights). I feel like they give me a firmer footing than other sneakers.

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MNCYCLIST 2/25/2014 7:40AM

    I love the CPT thing, funny!

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IMLOCOLINDA 2/25/2014 2:47AM

    I don't mind the cold. It's often below zero here at night during the winter months...it's the heat and humidity I can't tolerate!! If I'm not barefoot (or foot-naked as my Lebanese neighbors call it!!) I am in VFF's. People have always thought I was a weirdo so I don't even bother to explain!

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HILLSLUG98239 2/25/2014 12:05AM

    I had zero problems with my VFFs. Have you tried a product like Body Glide in the area where you got blisters?

When people are curious, I always recommend they buy their first pair at a place like REI. If you don't like them, REI will take them back. These shoes aren't for everyone, and it's kind of nice having the freedom to return them.

Because of the way water gets into them, I switched to a very-low-drop (if not zero) Asics shoe, I'm really happy with them. But they cannot replicate the joy of running through the grass in VFFs - it's just like being barefoot, but with the freedom of not thinking about what I might have stepped in.

Thanks for the cheers. I always figure people think I'm unstable and dangerous, and they're just smiling for fear I'll "go off" at the slightest provocation.

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LYNSEY723 2/24/2014 8:34PM

    I too have the Vibram shoes, but I wore them once and they started to cause blisters on my heel and then I gave up. I need to pull them out of the closet again but I have yet to find a good time to see if I can break those things in! Did you have any issues like that?

Also, way to go with working out in the cold! I silently cheer people on when they are exercising in conditions that I won't... not that it takes much for me to stay at home on the treadmill....


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This was a good day

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I ate too much today - almost 2400 calories. Garmin thinks I burned 500 on my ride home. It's possible - it was a brutal ride.

There's a high wind warning. 35 mph winds. Gust to 45-50, I'd guess. Bad enough I didn't take my left hand (the windward side) off the drops for miles at a time. I had to weight that side of the handlebars to keep the bike heeled over into the wind. I got blown sideways a lot.

I'm pretty pleased with my 9.9 mph average on that ride. There were times I was at 5 mph. The last few miles, I had the wind at my back. I rode up Road 100 - where I frequently average 12 mph - at about 16 mph. Tough ride, but I'm proud of myself for sticking with it.

I stretched when I got home. Laying out on my BackWave, I felt my vertebrae snap, crackle, and pop. It felt gooooooood. I hope that means my back won't be as stiff in the morning.

I walked at lunch, which gave me a chance to stretch out my ankle. I'm anxious to get back to running, but I'm being patient. I want to let my back and ankle heal enough so that I don't re-injure them the next time I run. Oh, yeah, and patience is not my strong point.

Off to clean litter boxes, take a shower, and then to bed. Maybe I'll get a tailwind on my way to work tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LYNSEY723 2/21/2014 6:48PM

    Sounds like a rough ride! Way to get it completed!!

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Winter is not over

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Glad I got some seeds in the ground this weekend. 80% of the state is under some sort of weather warning:

Our weather warning is for high winds (of course): 25-35 mph wind, 35-45 mph gusts. And yeah, I'm still planning to ride my bike home from work. That which does not kill me makes me stronger.

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PJ2222 2/18/2014 10:17AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUNSHINE99999 2/18/2014 10:06AM

  be careful. emoticon

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I think it's working!

Monday, February 17, 2014

I'm still frustrated that I can't run. Well, I *could* run, but I know that would just hurt, and set me back even further. So I'm choosing to not run for a few more days. More time on the bike!

We went out to breakfast last Saturday. I got the heart attack special: chicken-fried steak with gravy, grits, and eggs. I prefer yellow corn grits, but these were pretty good hominy grits. This morning, I fried up the leftover grits and tossed them with some bacon, then plopped a fried egg on top of the mess. Not quite a heart attack, but still pretty tasty.

I checked my average daily calorie intake over the last month. It's about 2200. That's higher than the 2000 I was aiming for, but it's a start. And I'm hopeful that it's working. My weight has been the same the past two days, and it's the least I've weighed in ten years. Before law school. Before getting married. I'm hopeful I can keep this going. I won't be surprised if my weight slides back up a little, but I'm confident I'm on the right track despite the recent detours.

As usual, I went into the weekend with a list of things I'd hoped to accomplish. Most of them have not yet been accomplished. Yesterday, the Hubs & I went for a walk in a nearby natural preserve. It's in a valley, and I'd hoped it would keep us out of the wind. It didn't, but at least we weren't getting the full force of the winds. Although it meant not checking anything off my "to-do" list, it was time well spent.

When we got home, we worked in the yard. I decided to take advantage of the relatively mild weather and the previous night's rain and plant. I planted lettuce, beets, peas, broccoli, spinach, and kohlrabi. They're all cool-loving plants, so they should be fine so long as we don't get any hard freezes. The seeds are old (from the past two seasons), so if they don't germinate I won't be too surprised. I always wait too long to get the cool-weather plants in the ground, so I figured it was worth a shot at getting them in the ground early. Again, nothing checked off the "to-do" list, but time well spent.

The goodies sitting out at coffee hour after church were divine. (We attend an Episcopal Church. Unlike Lutherans, coffee is not a sacrament to Episcopalians; coffee hour is, though.) There were several people I chatted with, which means we were there for a while ... which means I ended up eating a cookie and some nutty, gooey bar cookie. Maybe that's why we went for the walk....

Today, Cheeto, our 20-month old polydactyl mitted marmalade tabby, goes to the vet for his annual check-up and shots. The vet wants an fecal sample to test for parasites. This means I need to clean the litter boxes, then watch him until he uses one of them. Oh, the glamour! It also means I need to stick around the house until this task is accomplished. On the plus side, I may get some housework done.

And so, I should get off my rear end and get to work. I just wanted to log my feelings about my weight. I have a long ways to go, but I'm feeling good about this.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HILLSLUG98239 2/18/2014 9:43AM

    And today I'm back up two pounds, and my body fat went up, too. I'm not stressing, though. It's an example of why I don't get too excited by what the scale reads.

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JANROLG 2/17/2014 12:39PM

    You can do it!

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Beer Brain

Saturday, February 15, 2014

I succumbed to the box of Annie's Mac& Cheese. The kind with the package of cheese sauce, not cheese powder. Hot & gooey, salty & fatty. You're the worst thing on the planet, but sweet Jesus do I love you.

I'm pretty pleased with myself: as soon as it was done, I divided it into to one-cup servings. Two of those servings are in the refrigerator. I mixed the one I ate with two cups of mixed vegetables. So I got my hot & gooey fix with enough chewy/crunchy filler to make that one cup into a meal. Normally, I'd eat the enter thing myself.

On the other hand, I also picked up a big bottle of something called Wrecking Ball Stout. Twenty-two ounces of 9.5% stout. I've had one 30 dl glass (about 10 ounces) and, um, wow. "Wrecking Ball"? Try "Ass Kicker."

Needless to say, I'm staying off of ebay tonight.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISSG180 2/15/2014 8:27PM

    Every once in a while, it's just mac and cheese day.

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  LOL on the beer. Great job on dividing up the mac and cheese.

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