The Outer Limits

19 Nov

Yesterday, all 50 states felt freezing temperatures. Even Hawaii. People in the Aloha State actually had to turn on the heat.

If ever you needed an excuse to stay inside with Winter Boo and make your bed your friend, the Polar Vortex is it. But we all know how I feel about excuses. They are the reasons people use to justify why not.

Why didn’t you go to the gym this morning? Polar Vortex.

Why didn’t you pack your lunch last night? Polar Vortex.

Why didn’t you go for a walk around your heated building to get a little exercise? Polar Vortex.

It can be so simple to while away the days in your home and hibernate. I’ve been tempted myself. But this season only lasts for a little while and before you know it you’re gonna want to put that bathing suit back on. I’ve already offered tips on how to get motivated while the weather is telling you to keep it indoors. But what if you want to take it outside?

I prefer running to any other exercise activity. It’s cheap, it’s quick and it’s ridiculously convenient. The only problem is I hate being cold. To get over that, I’ve challenged myself this winter to break my cold-weather-run rule. I usually refuse to set foot on the running path in temps below 40 degrees. The other day, I broke that rule.

Before I get into that, let me set this up for you: The New York City Marathon was held a few weeks ago. I’m not trained for a marathon, but I still ran that morning to show solidarity with my peeps. It was so damn windy that day. The gusts were so strong I thought for sure I’d be blown into the Hudson River (I have been blown into the side of buildings on gusty days, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility). The gusts actually made it hard for me to breathe, which besides blinking is the only bodily function I enjoy. Yet, I finished my run. I even did a personal best: 9 minutes, 28 seconds per mile. The less-than ideal running conditions gave me the motivation I needed to try my hand at other less-than ideal conditions.

My #OOTD...the other day

My #OOTD…the other day

So this past Sunday, under cloudy skies and 37 degrees, I strapped on my running tee, running jacket, capris and beanie and hit the path for a good four miles. As soon as I started, I hated it (because I hate the effing cold). My tee and jacket both have thumb holes, but my fingers were so cold. I had to constantly flex them to get the blood pumping. The wind wasn’t as strong as on Marathon day, but it was still pretty chilly. After mile 1, though, I started getting in a groove. I had to keep telling myself that this was a short run and it would be over soon. Before I knew it, it was.

It wasn’t as bad as I’d always thought it would be. The air wasn’t as thin as I’d remembered. The cooler temps kept lots of runners away, making the path clear for me and a few others. My main concern was the wind. I didn’t want a repeat of Marathon day when I was gasping for air. What I got was a light breeze that kept me from overheating from too many layers. I really only needed the running jacket. The cold-weather T-shirt just added extra heat that wasn’t necessary.

Most of all, though, I learned that my fear was all in my head. The girl who would never set foot on a path in less-than 40-degree temps was also a girl who had never hit 6.3 miles per hour on a run. She was someone who placed limits on what she could do just because she didn’t want to try much harder. That girl is still the devil on my shoulder, but her voice is getting weaker as time goes on.

I’m glad I accepted my personal challenge to brave the cold. I’m not going to be overly adventurous with the Polar Vortex. That sucker is actually trapping people in their homes. But I will, bit by bit, continue to press myself to expand my limits.

What have you challenged yourself to do just to see if you could?

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2 Responses to “The Outer Limits”

  1. deborahcrocker November 19, 2014 at 9:00 am #

    Okay it’s COLD here in Alabama, 28 degrees now. It will warm up later and I will go for a walk today with my pink came because of you . LOL! Keep you posted .

    • cicelyd November 19, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

      Hi Deborah! It’s just as cold here. I haven’t expanded my limitations *that* much to work out in below 30 temps. I’m taking baby steps :). But good luck to you. Let me know how it works out.

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