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 40°F, 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...