When we headed out for our run this morning it was about 23 degrees (23F is -5C for my friends from other parts of the world) and the The wind chill dropped it to 16F (-9C). There were steady blasts of 12+ mph coolness in our faces as we ran north. What’s crazy was that the cold didn’t get to me at all. The only discomfort was the feeling of trying to breathe while running into the stiff wind. The temperature itself was very much acceptable to me, heck, I was even sweating by the halfway point!
My attire this morning on our run? A t-shirt, a very light jacket, hat, gloves, socks, shoes, and shorts. Yup, I was wearing shorts. Last year in this type of weather I would have most likely have been wearing a long sleeve Under Armor shirt, the light jacket, and a windbreaker or sweatshirt over top the rest. My legs would have been totally hidden underneath wind pants and possibly (likely) a base layer of Under Armor. I would have been very sweaty by the end, and I still started the run cold.
Why the change? I’ve been reading more and more of the benefits of cold exposure for my cardiovascular system, joints, and a few others positive health impacts. Over the past couple of months I’ve been taking cold showers (with only the occasional hot shower). I’ve only been wearing shorts on our runs, sometimes losing my jacket and finishing in my t-shirt. This past Saturday on our hike I wore only shorts and a t-shirt. The more and more I’ve been practicing adapting to the cold the more and more my body is showing me that it is okay with it. Not only is it okay with it, but my resting heart rate has even dropped a few beats!
A few months ago I never would have thought I’d be running in the cold weather with as little clothing as I have been. My mental paradigm was that I needed to bundle up and stay warm, cold was to be avoided. After practicing and pushing myself slowly I’m seeing that cold could actually be my friend (probably never my best friend, but that one that you enjoy hanging out with once in a while but wouldn’t really want to ever go on vacation with – that friend). Through minimal suffering I’m finding ways to feel better that I would never have thought possible.
How true is that to so many things in life? When am I living into my self created paradigms and finding comfort there instead of continuing to push the boundaries to find what really brings me the most joy? When I am comfortable I should remind myself to find the edge.
Running in the cold in shorts today actually felt quite amazing. It was refreshing and my legs felt more fresh at the end of the run than normal. I wouldn’t have imagined that just a few months ago.