I’m not going to make it

“I’m not going to make it.”

Those were the thoughts I had last night as my windy, 17-degree run turned me into an ice cube.

“How will I last until May?”

Is what ran through my mind as I sat on the chilly subway train for 45 minutes and then walked into the headwind back to my apartment.

Yeah, yeah, I know everyone is complaining about the cold and the wind and the weather (except for you crazy people who actually enjoy this crap).  And although I’m prone to hyperbole, I’m going to say that I might be winter’s most vehement hater. I love the summer and the heat – when it’s sunny and 85 degrees, I spend every possible moment basking in it. I take my lunch outside and sit on the benches in midtown, I will walk for miles around the city just to be outdoors, and my love for ice cream and iced coffee knows no bounds. But now? Forget about extraneous walking, lunch is eaten in my cubicle, and I haven’t had an iced coffee in months.

I also have this pesky (and painful!) thing called Reynaud’s disease. Basically my blood vessels spasm and I lose circulation in my extremities. From what I can tell, it’s fairly common amongst my demographic  as a lot of my other young, fit, lady friends seem to have this problem. When I get an attack, my fingers go numb and white and the only thing that really helps is running them under warm water or swinging my arms vigorously (that’ll make you popular on the subway platform). Once the blood starts to return, it’s very painful and I usually end up with a few ulcers on the tips of my fingers by winter’s end. Attractive, yes? When the weather is cold, it happens during or after nearly every run (even if I wear mittens!). Using hand warmers helps, but sometimes I forget them…they also cost $1 a pair. That’s $30 extra dollars a month for running in winter months….

I know I’m being whiny, but this is my blog, and I feel like I need to rant a little bit. This condition isn’t life threatening or all that serious, but it makes winter awfully unpleasant. I am already beginning a countdown to May 1, because let’s be honest, it’s not going to be warm on the first “official” day of Spring in March. 117 days to go!

However, if we go by the retail calendar, Spring is practically tomorrow! Thanks H&M….

Okay, but in all seriousness, if I want to not be a total grouch this winter and also train for Boston (lolz to signing up for a Spring marathon!), I need to have a plan of attack. And here it is:

1) Dress appropriately for the weather. I am all about wearing as little as possible (one-shouldered sports bra? spandex booty shorts? yes please), but that’s not going to cut it right now. I wore spandex capris, a long sleeve zip-up, a headband, and cotton mittens last night. Not appropriate. I own a pair of CW-X tights and plenty of fleeces and heavy duty mittens, and I need to start planning ahead and wearing them. I’d rather be a little overdressed than develop ulcers on my fingertips.

2) Subsist mainly on soup and hot chocolate until Spring arrives. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but I do love a good post-run hot chocolate (one of the FEW things I enjoy about the cold weather). And if bribing myself with melted chocolate, whipped cream, and clam chowder is what it takes to get me out the door, so be it.

I’m already planning on participating in a group run to City Bakery for THIS:

photo credit: http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.120749!/img/httpImage/image.jpg

3) Speaking of group runs, the buddy system is KEY when the weather sucks. Example, last night it was windy, cold, and I was in a bad mood because Christmas vacation was over. What I wanted to do was go home and watch netflix in my sweatpants. What I did instead? I trekked to the gym, stashed my stuff, and met my friend for a mini-workout in Central Park. Our running club usually does indoor track workouts on Tuesdays, but for a lot of reasons (it costs $15 for a day pass, it’s FAR from Brooklyn, and the workouts aren’t marathon-specific), I don’t go that often. Instead, my friend and I are going to try doing some alternate workouts together this winter. I’m planning on running a tempo on Thursday, so we kept last night pretty chill:

  • 1.5 mile warm-up
  • 2 miles @ at a little faster than marathon pace (7:11, 7:08)
  • 1 mile recovery 
  • 1 mile @ 10k pace (6:40)
  • .5 mile cool-down

Better than nothing!

In order to get my mileage and long runs in for marathon training, I need to either sign up for a race (nothing like paying $$ to get me out of bed on the weekend!) or make plans to meet up with a friend. Left to my own devices, an abbreviated run or the couch will win.

4) Finally, I’m going to try and remember that this dark and cold is temporary. I love the summer (sorry if you hate it!) and it will come back eventually. Until then, I’m planning on fun activities that will get me out of the house and distract me. Coming up this month – a holiday party with my running club, a trip to Philadelphia with my Brooklyn BFF, and a fun visit from an internet celebrity.

I also recently discovered that I can access my roof. Picture this: Summertime, a good book, a cold beer, and a view from the top.

A few things I think are cool:

Stonyfield Farm (makers of organic yogurt) just opened up a cafe at Chelsea Piers in NYC. Lots of healthy and organic options. I particularly like the sounds of the Chicken & Roots sandwich (organic chicken tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette with Brie and roasted root vegetables).

A company called Rogue Female Fitness has combined fitness and happy hour (and we all know how much I like happy hour…) with a series of classes called Raising the Bar. According to their website, you sweat for 45 minutes and then imbibe. Sign me up!

(From their website) Classes include:
Workout & Wine™
Cardio & Coffee™
Bootcamp & Beer™
Workout & Whiskey™

Are you a winter-hater like me? Let’s commiserate.

  • my toes get colder than my hands, especially when skiing. i can barely walk after taking my boots off after a cooold ski day. not fun!

    ummm i want to join you for hot chocolate. i am on a mission of sorts. a hot chocolate mission.

  • Emily Nickles

    I have that too!  I dicovered it last winter and pretty much freaked out, worried that I might be dying.  I guess I am used to it now. 🙂

  • 2tatts

    Thank you so much for talking about your fingers! I was at the drs this morning for a physical and mentioned that the pads of my thumbs, and sometimes my toes, often turn white and go numb. She threw around a few ideas but didn’t really give me an answer. Now I don’t feel so crazy~
    You made me Wang to go out and run right now!

  • Angela (SF Road Warrior)

    Oh dear. I feel your pain. Well; not your actual pain. Mostly I sympathize with how you feel about cold weather because I feel just about that way myself & going to college in northern Ohio for 5 years nearly did me in. I can’t imagine having to also deal with losing blood flow to my extremities! You are mad tough, woman.

  • That looks very painful…luckily the weather this weekend is supposed to be nice and mild! I’ve never been to city bakery before and after seeing that pic, I need to go there!!! Would love to join on a hot chocolate run…what could be better to end a chilly run with?!?!

  • Anonymous

    hey Dara – i will email you the deets once we confirm time/location, but it’s going to be Sat, Feb 4 🙂

  • Leah Stott

    Re-usable hand warmers!!! I haven’t used this specific brand, but the same metal-disk-re-usable-science-type ones that I found in Canada are awesome!


  • Re-usable hand warmers!!! I haven’t used this specific brand, but the same metal-disk-re-usable-science-type ones that I found in Canada are awesome!


  • Wow. I can’t believe how many people hate winter- yay! I thought I was alone but it seems pretty much everyone hates the biting freezing winds and dropping temperatures! Good tips for running in the cold- its hard and I think the right gear is really important.  

    Those drink and workout sessions sound fun. I would definitely check them out.  I also heard of cool pop-up spin classes where they open in museums and cafes and random locations! cool. 

  • I have Reynaud’s too!  I’m living in Seattle so it’s no quite so cold but I’m from Minneapolis so I know cold : ) It’s weird though because the dampness of Seattle causes Reynauds flair-ups too.  By feet are creepy when they are cold…

  • Jonboythomas

    I can totally relate to your condition. I also have Reynaud’s Syndrome and actually had blood clots develop in my toes. It hurt SO BAD! Alot of stinging and burning 🙁

  • Brandon

    Great tips for motivating yourself to run in cold weather! I wish I could run, but I have cold-activated asthma: whenever I run for more than a minute in cold weather, my lungs tighten right up! …so I get my running fix in the summer. I just found your blog, I’ll have to stop back again very soon, great tips!

    from http://www.theyummybits.com

  • Oh yum that hot chocolate looks amazing! I would run in 17 degree weather for that no problem!

  • I am a LOVER of summer and all things summer. Hang in there and do the best you can, we will be complaining of the heat in no time!!

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie

    Oh my gosh, you poor thing! I hate the cold too, like seriously. I’m pregnant and for some reason when I’m pregnant, contrary to the norm, my blood pressure goes down and so my circulation sucks and I have been colder than ever this winter…..it’s not even a bad winter. haha

  • KateRunsForFun

    I feel the same way!  Like Janine I HATE the darkness, almost more than the cold weather.  I find myself looking at the weather forecast just to see the sunrise/sunset stats tick up minute by minute every day. 

    Runerskitchen is right though – a running partner helps.   Case in point – I had no trouble going to run in a total blizzard when I was home for the holidays because I had planned to join my friend and his running club for a special “Christmas light” run. 

    Recently I started running to the gym a couple of days per week.  Knowing I’m committed to going to a 7:30am Spin class means I’m more likely to get out of bed.  Who knows how long this will last, but for now it works!

  • Anonymous

    I am a winter hater…..
    And I also secretly think that I have Reynaud’s, although I’ve never been diagnosed with it.  When I get home from runs in the cold, my fingernail beds usually reach a dusky purple and I have to sit in the shower to heat up, ugh.

  • Hi there, I’m new to your blog and I love it!  I browsed your recipes and enjoy the health-consicous spin on very satisfying foods.  I noticed your peanut butter icecream, which I will definitely be making…do you have any experience with making frozen yogurt? This is something I have been toying around with, but have not yet had any luck.  In any case, nice work on your blog and good luck on upcoming running events!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Julia,
    I think I made frozen yogurt in my ice cream maker although I can’t quite recall off the top of my head. The only issue with froyo is that the lower fat content will probably make it more icy in texture. I would recommend using full fat yogurt instead of fat free. Good luck!