12 K in -1°F (-18°C)

Pierre Fontaine in the Cold


Fun actually…

… but really, it was not a big deal though in terms of equipment I learned a few things. The temperature plunge that started on Friday and bottomed out Sunday morning made for uncommon running conditions to be embraced. So early on Sunday morning I laced my sneakers and put on a few layers.

Three bottom layers.
1: My usual knee long tights.
2: A thin long john type of pants
3: Training pants.

Those three worked out perfectly. I didn’t feel the cold at all.

For the top I put on four wicking shirts.
A pair of gloves on my hands. A face mask on my head and a knitted hat.

I stepped out and boy, wow, it was cold. Within one block (100 yards) the cold was seeping through those layers. Not good. I went back home and put paper in between the layers as in the great cycling tradition when riders grab newspapers at the top of mountains passes to avoid getting cold on the way down and went back out. It worked.

Central Park was deserted. Through my run, I saw at most a dozen runners, interestingly mostly women or so it seemed. I was surprised, cold affected people’s behavior that much as little affect New Yorkers.

The face mask helped cut down the cold air a little bit by breathing right through the fabric. I bought it the day before at Paragon. They basically had two models: With holes (10) or without holes over the mouth area. Since I was most concerned about warming the air, I figured choosing the one with ten holes would defeat that purpose so I chose the other.

Within 500 yards my glasses were fogged up and frozen. I took them off. At the 3K mark I was essentially pretty warm but that face mask became a problem. I could not breathe nearly as well as before and it was getting wet. Every so often I began to lift it up to getting fuller breaths that worked but those breaths were cold and I still had nine K’s left to go.

A problem with equipment does not better with time. I kept the pattern of lifting the face mask every so often to get a better breath. At 5K it was totally wet but still serving a purpose. It served an increasingly diminishing benefit all the way through. It is only when I ended my run that I realized, the steam coming out of my breath was actually frozen on the outside impeding air flow.

By 9K the top of my lungs started to sear up and slowly the cold spread down into my abdomen. A sensation I never had before. It increased until I finished my run.

When I got home I peeled off those layers, they were drenched but since I ran all the way home I didn’t get a chance to get cold but clearly this was an equipment failure. The paper I had placed between the second and third layer was soaked and crumbled to the floor.

All in all I was surprised by the amount of moisture that accumulated and will take this as a learning experience, my knitted cap was frozen as well from the moisture pearling up but with proper gear these things can probably easily be dealt with. For now, I cut out a diamond shaped hole to allow for more air to seep through and perhaps avoid some of the “drooling effect” caused but the moisture of heavy breathing. Let’s see what works out the best short of buying some contraption from Hammacher Schlemmer store.