Monday, October 6, 2008

Cold Vs. Hot (Is there really a winner here?)

I rode outside on Saturday, and ran outside on Sunday. IT'S NOT SUMMER ANYMORE!

As you may know if you know me or have been following my blog, I DON'T LIKE THE COLD! And since cold and hot are relative terms, I will define them in terms of my biking and running.

Any temperature under 50 degrees, without sun, and with wind is cold for me on the bike. When I left home on Saturday, the temperature in my car was 46 degrees. The sun was out, and it didn't feel too windy, so I drove to Lifetime thinking a 50-60 mile ride would be really nice.

As soon as I started riding, I WAS COLD! I wanted to turn around and go back to the club and skip the ride, but I REALLY wanted to get a ride in. I only rode once during the week on my trainer, and planned to run outside on Sunday. I also knew that Saturday looked like the better day of the two days.

One of the MANY things I hate about riding/running in the cold is dressing in layers. I totally understand why we do this, but here is my big problem: by the time I warm up enough to take off the top layer(s), the next layers are wet from sweating (I really sweat a lot!). So when I try to take the outside layer off, I really can't because I get cold because my clothes are wet. This is really bad when I'm riding. I end up leaving everything on and getting a little overheated. Plus, you can only carry so much stuff when you're on the bike--food, drink, AND extra clothes?

Even with socks and gloves on, my feet usually stay cold. I should have put my toe covers on--I forgot--and I need to get a new pair of cycling gloves that cover the whole hand. I have a pair I bought for the Apple Cider Century in 1989. Yeah, they are really old!

In spite of all of the above, I had a pretty good ride. Although I was wondering why I didn't see anyone else riding. Usually I see at least 20-30 riders at this time on this route. That day--I saw 3. Actually, I saw several of my friends when I was about 10 miles from home. They were just starting out--they were smart because they were able to wait until it warmed up a little before starting. I had to be done by a certain time--had to pick up Peanut from practice.

I think the cold did make the ride harder though--I rode the same route, same distance (52 miles) as last Saturday, but I had to work a lot harder, and my speed was about 1 mph slower. My heart rate was in zones 4 and 5. I usually ride in zone 3.

The hot tub, steam and warm shower felt really good afterwards.

Sunday, I couldn't decide if I wanted to run in or out. I decided to go out to Waterfall Glen. Running in the cold is a lot easier for me than cycling in the cold. My feet stay warm, and the layer thing works better. I still felt cold, but had a really good 11 mile run. Good speed, good heart rate, and the drizzle didn't start until I was done and got in the car. Even though I was sweating and my core was warm, I felt really chilled by the time I got out of the car at the fitness center. I had planned to swim, but the lap pool just felt too cold. I played around in the leisure pool for a few minutes, but spent most of my time in the sauna and hot tub.

According to the weatherman (Tom Skilling), next weekend could be a major washout--lots of rain and cooler. I know if that's the case I'll be on my trainer and the treadmill. I hope it doesn't affect the Chicago Marathon. Personally, I'd rather not run in the rain, but I guess it's better than running in the heat. I don't mind the heat if it's not extreme--anything over 90 degrees I consider extreme.

If I have to make a choice between hot and cold, I will ALMOST always choose hot, especially on the bike. Running, a bit different. Although I DO NOT RUN in extreme cold. The cold is really hard on my joints, the hard ground is hard on my joints, the cold air is hard on my respiratory system, I hate wearing three layers of clothes, two hats, gloves, extra socks.......I mean, you have even more laundry to do than in the summer! I just find it much easier staying inside. Don't get me wrong--I WOULD MUCH RATHER BE OUTSIDE--but it sure beats being outside in the cold or just not riding or running at all. That would be the WORST!

One good thing about the cold is that fluid stays cold. It's nice drinking cold water or whatever. But have you noticed how hard it is to eat a cold Powerbar, or gel that's really cold? One year I trained for an April marathon. My gel actually froze when I was on one of my long runs!

When I was younger (up to my early 40's) I ran outside in almost any weather. I ran at 4:30 in the morning, in the dark, in the cold, snow, rain, 10 degrees and below wind chill, with my Siberian Husky dogs. They loved it, and I felt really safe with them. NO ONE bothered me when they were with me. Today, I wouldn't even THINK about doing such a thing! Thank God for fitness centers, bike trainers and treadmills!

So that's my story. All I could think about when I was riding on Saturday was how long it will be before April comes. Until then, I'll be on my trainer and the treadmill, watching movies, TV, Spinnerval DVD's, and listening to my IPOD. Oh, and swimming INSIDE.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Have a great week.

Until next time--God bless!


WADDLER26.2 said...

I am totally opposite of you. I love the cold! I did not bike this weekend so i am sure that was a challenge. But I did run and it felt like a different world for me.

Take care.

ECrunnergirl said...

Holy smokes I HATE the cold too and man do my feet freeze on the bike. I'm a total wuss when the temps drop below 60 for a bike ride. I'm right there with you on the hot/cold thing...I much prefer the warmth even for runs. I can always cool off but can NEVER seem to warm up!

Coach Troy here we come :O