“I can’t put my arms down!”

I realized something funny during my run yesterday. Winter running is a lot like winter recess.

See? He can't put his arms down.

See? He can’t put his arms down.

Those of you who grew up in cold-weather areas, remember going out for recess or out to play in your neighborhood, during the winter when you were in grade school? (If not, hopefully you’ve at least seen A Christmas Story – or the pic here isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense.) You had to layer up, put on your boots, sometimes top off the outfit with a hat, scarf and mittens. All of this to go outside and play for about 20 minutes. And, inevitably, someone in class would be fully encased in his/her recess gear then utter those seven words that made the teacher (or your own mother/father) cringe, “I have to go to the bathroom.”

Running in the winter is a lot like being a child about to go out for recess. First, it takes some time to plan out exactly what you’re going to wear. How cold is it? Will it warm up quite a bit during the time I’ll be out there? What’s the wind factor? All of these questions determine the right layering combo.

Once that has been established, it’s time to get dressed. That’s where the real fun comes. In my case yesterday, it was 20 degrees with gusty winds and not much warming predicted throughout the morning.

So began the process:

Base layer: running tights, under armour long sleeve, smart wool socks.

Next layer: fleece quarter-zip.

Crap, I have to pee again. Ugh, backwards we go.

Okay, first two layers back on – let’s continue:

Final layer: wind-resistant pants and jacket.

Accessories: full hat, neck gator, gloves, Garmin.

Do I look like I can't put my arms down?

Do I look a little puffy? Or like I can’t put my arms down?

By the time I reached the point of being fully dressed, I almost felt like I had to pee yet again – nope, I’m fully committed at this point, I’m ten minutes behind schedule of when I wanted to start my run, and it’s probably just in my head. Let’s do this.

It seems like an awful lot of work to go through for a relatively short amount of time (depending on your distance, maybe 20 minutes, maybe three hours) but, in the end, a winter run it’s like recess as a kid – no way in hell you’re missing it, weather be damned!

Luckily, temps in Fargo are looking to be on the upswing starting next week – I sure hope so, looking forward to a few less layers for my upcoming 20-miler next weekend! Anyone else still running in full-on layering weather or have you shelved it all for the season? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.


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