Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Walking in a winter wonderland isn't all it's cracked up to be

I figured after last week's heavy post, it would be good to have something a bit lighter. So, cupcakes and rainbows for everyone! Or maybe no cupcakes considering the nature of this blog. Anyway, so I've been doing pretty well since last week. January doesn't seem to have me down so much this year, thank goodness. One thing that I am proud of myself for doing is getting in my morning walk everyday. As some of you may know, I've really been battling my asthma in this cold weather, especially when trying to run. I've really gotten to where I enjoy running (outside, not on the treadmill!) and I was determined not to let my asthma get the better of me. But then I came to the realization that I was just being stupid. I've tried every timing of inhaler use I could think of, and it was still wheezing city and my lungs would end up feeling crappy all day. I mean, the way I was feeling on some of those runs, I was afraid the result would be someone finding me on the ground, curled up in a wheezing, half-dead ball. I can't say that would exactly count as a win. It's not a competition between me and my asthma. It's just a medical condition that I have to live with and make some accommodations for, not something I have to desperately try to prove doesn't have any effect on me. And one of those accommodations apparently needs to be no running outside in the winter. There was really no reason I absolutely had to run in order to get the benefits of being outside. Why not walk? The old me would have dismissed that idea because walking doesn't burn as many calories in the same amount of time that running does. It doesn't work up the same kind of sweat. So what's the use? But the new me realizes that although I may not burn as many calories, walking is very therapeutic for me, especially this time of year. I get to be outside, not wheezing, and I seem to do some of my best thinking while walking (although maybe I should start bringing a pen and notepad because I tend to forget some of those "brilliant" ideas by the time I get home). So I make sure to get my walk in every single day. I don't worry about how many calories I burn then because I go to the gym later. Today was especially interesting walk because of the temperature. So for your enjoyment, here's a recap. And yes, I realize those of you from the north will probably laugh, but this southern girl isn't used to such frigid weather!

0600: Alarm goes off. I cautiously bring a hand out from under my cozy lair of blankets. So easy to just stay in my nest. But the better part of my mind makes me get up. The wind chill this morning is 10 degrees. That's about 60 degrees colder than my ideal. I silently urge spring to hurry up and get here.

0610: I finally have a use for my sweat shirts that are too big! They're ideal for layering. The shirt that fits now goes on first, then over that goes the one that's one size too big, then the one that's two sizes too big. I added two pairs of pants to that ensemble, the effect of which made me vaguely resemble the Hulk (minus the green skin tone). I wrapped a scarf around my face so that only my eyes showed, but then had leftover scarf that I kind of just tucked up higher on my head. I didn't realize how absolutely ridiculous that looked until I took this picture.

I decided I didn't care. I added some gloves and stepped outside.

0620: I almost step back inside after feeling how cold it is. I had heard it might have snowed the night before so I was a little excited thinking I may see a frosty, glittering winter wonderland, if not snowy than at least prettily frosted. I step out, and instead of this beautiful tableau, I step out into...dead grass. And barren trees. More like a frozen tundra than a winter wonderland. Oh well.

0621: Discover that it is difficult to manipulate my iPod in gloves. I'm not taking them off more than once in this weather, so this means that I will (gasp!) have to let songs play all the way through without skipping past any. It's almost more than I can bear.

0630: Toes are starting to feel a little cold and progressively numb. It might have been a good idea to also double layer my socks, but I already told you that I'm not used to such weather! Also the mesh in my shoes that is so good at airing out my sweaty feet in the summer just makes things a bit chillier in the winter.

0645: It's a bit claustrophobic having my scarf covering my nose and mouth, but better than what I have done on previous cold days, which is put my face down into my shirt just to breathe in some warm air and warm up my cold nose.

0700: Unlike other days, there is absolutely NOBODY out here running or walking in my neighborhood. And the few people that are already up going to work or school at this hour kind of look at me like I'm crazy for being out in this voluntarily. Well, either that or they think my scarf placement looks weird (because it does).

0710: Almost get hit by a car. For real. With three hoods on my head and earbuds in my ears, my peripheral vision and hearing are severely compromised. This results in me walking out in front of a car that I neither saw nor heard. Hopefully, the driver didn't think I was a drunk, Hulk-like hoodlum. Because in reality I'm just a layered, (and consequently) Hulk-like girl who is only wearing sketchy hoodlum-esque hoods because it's so cold and who only wanders in front of moving vehicles because I was totally oblivious to them due to my apparel.

0715: Sunrise! Kind of cloudy, but still pretty. Makes my 2 near death experiences so far today (freezing to death and almost being hit by a car) seem almost  worth it.

0720: Wind up my walk listening to "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line, which never fails to make me think of summer. And the beach. And 85 degree days.  Now that's my kind of weather.

0725: Back home in my heated abode. I take inventory. Numb nose and toes? Check. Slightly less numb fingers? Check. Good mood despite the cold weather? Double check.

My walks may not contribute as much to my weight loss as a hard, sweaty workout at the gym or a run, but they do my mental well-being a world of good. And that's just as important!


  1. Good for you, my frozen little penguin! I will join you on your walk after the "spring thaw". These old bones don't move in cold weather! Check back with me in late March. I am so proud of my baby Eskimo.

  2. I think the windchill here was -30 today! It's crazy what a difference that can make!
    I think it would drive me bonkers not being able to skip songs on my iPod.. there's always that one song that you just really don't want to listen to! haha.