It's a Bit Nippy for this Southern Boy … but I'm Still Going Out

I didn’t go for a long run today because Pam and I have a deal (basically she gets to veto any obviously stupid ideas I have that might lead to her being a young widow). Still it was a run. Actual temp  -4°F and with the windchill it felt like -19°. I look forward to another short run tomorrow when the projected temp is expected to be just a wee bit nippier. 

I didn’t run long so only a little of my breath froze on my balaclava

Being raised in Alabama I am not naturally used to low temps. When we moved up to Wisconsin some friends who were also transplants gave Pam and I some great advice. They said:

1. Find something to love about Winter in Wisconsin. Winter is coming (to quote the Starks from Winterfell) each year and there is nothing I can do about it. Therefore, I might as well try to make the best of it. My friends encouraged Pam and me to find something about Winter that we really enjoyed. We’ve met several other Southern transplants up here who have hated Winter and were desperate to head back South. When I would talk with them I usually discovered that they didn’t do anything during the Winter. No wonder they hated Wisconsin. If you don’t do anything during the Winter then there is a large portion of the year where you are merely holed up in your home.

2. Slowly buy good layers. Good Winter clothes can be expensive and when it gets relly cold you need quite a few layers of good clothing. Let me stress this. Layers are VERY important. Layers make the difference. Of course, buying all those layers at once can be expensive. So Pam and I bought good coats and layers as we found them. Also remember that “cotton kills.” Wicky layers are your best friends. Our outdoor gear improves a little bit each year.

3. Good socks and boots are incredibly important. To most of my friends this will be no surprise but I can be kind of cheap. I get this honest because it was passed down to me by genetics thanks to my dad. Cheap boots and socks aren’t a good purchase. They tend to lead to cold feet and cold feet tend to lead to miserable experiences. These socks and boots don’t have to be expensive, but they need to be good quality. Right now I am very partial to Fox River Work socks and  Darn Tough Vermont socks. They do a good job of keeping my sweaty feet from being awfully cold.

4. Get outside. This is pretty close to the 1st point but it is specifically related to being outside. It makes a difference. It is important that I get outside pretty frequently. If I don’t I tend to get a decent case of “cabin fever.” So I get out to run, cross country ski, or go ice fishing. It makes a big difference. Pam does the same thing by going snow shoeing and cross country skiing. It works for us.

Anyhow, stay warm.

One Reply to “It's a Bit Nippy for this Southern Boy … but I'm Still Going Out”

  1. Robert you are so right on all four points. Never done Wisconsin but I can say the same for Siberia. We have about 5.5 months of snow, 3 months of green and 3 months of no-fun-transition weather.
    We cross country ski more than anything else in the winter and love it. One thing I have found is that we have to exercise later in the day when the sun is up. Exercising in the cold and the dark doesn’t do much to beat away the winter blues.
    Using layers is also very important. The base layer must wick, the middle layer is the insulating one and the outer layer must breathe but keep out moisture. I wore a ‘breathable’ raincoat once skiing and had ice build up on the inside of the coat. A good sign it wasn’t helping.
    Do these things and you can come to love cold winters and even look forward to them. My Venezuelan wife has cross country skied when it was -20F and enjoyed it.

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