Dressing All Wrong for Cold and Wet

Winter running is a bit different in New England. The cold climate brings more than just discomfort and a chill. It brings a new set of rules and hazards, including how to dress. Today I screwed that last one up.

I thought I had it under control. The temp was 3° C (about 38° F) and it was only raining a little. I thought a 10K run would be no big deal. No need for gloves, hat, or even jacket. I would just go out there and let the run warm me up.

This is typically the right idea. After a few minutes, your body builds up heat and distributes it through your body, drastically changing how you feel about the day’s weather. You choose between a cold start with a comfy finish, or a comfy start with a sweaty jacket tied around your waist. I had every reason to believe that I was doing the right thing.

But it’s a tricky thing to judge. Native New Englanders take it for granted, but there’s a definite skill involved with dressing for the weather. I underestimated today’s combination of wind, light rain and cold temperatures. I was find with a long-sleeve shirt and a pair of shorts, but I really needed the gloves I didn’t bring.

On a dry day I would have been fine, but this time the heat from my core wasn’t enough to keep my hands warm. The result was a pair of near-dead hands and a deeply chilled core. I guess being soaking wet for an entire hour can take its toll…

When I got home, I jumped into a hot shower and stayed there for longer than usual. Even after that, I was still too cold. When I came out of the shower and started to dress, my wife told me that I was shaking rather badly. My teeth were actually chattering. I had to dress for Winter inside our apartment to ward off the effects, and I’m only now starting to feel right again. (My typing speed is actually improving as I write this.)

Maple Syrup, tea and a tea kettle.
Ah, sweet relief! Hot Vanilla Caramel tea with maple syrup.

So let this be a lesson to us all. Always respect the weather, and if there’s a shred of conflict over whether to wear that extra bit… just wear it. At worst, you’ll take the gloves off and carry them. At best, you’ll keep the feeling in your fingers.

Oh, and be careful when you choose a spouse. A good decision can result in a woman who sees you shaking on the way to the shower and starts hot water for tea. As I look down at my hot cup, with it’s lovely steam and yummy maple syrup, I’m reminded that I could not possibly deserve her.  🙂


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