There are many days I’m cold, sometimes I think even unbearably cold but nothing could have prepared for me yesterday. A quick little thought before I proceed, I was thinking that I’m having a hard time going to the gym and walking inside. My favorite type of exercise these days is just a simple walk. It is not for intensity it is for my mind, body, and spirit. The treadmill sucks the life out of me and that type of walking is not what I’m interested in. So, I had this bright idea that I would consider year round walking outside and started to investigate how people do it.
I fully understand that keeping warm is a must as well as making sure my feet don’t slip on the ice but I wanted to see the full regiment of what is needed for outside winter walking. When we snowshoe I have a certain wardrobe I wear but I didn’t know if that would be for walking also since it is a bit bulky and would I be able to get around at a moderate pace in my snowshoe gear? Still working on that, but I think I may have changed my mind about outside walking based on my experience last night.
As I’m talking to my husband about walking year round and he is trying to support me with that look of you realize you have periods when there is no feeling in your fingers and toes right? He is trying to think that perhaps moving and walking around will keep the blood flowing and walking outside might be an OK thing for me to do. Well now reality sits in because he says that I will get a chance to see how I handle under cold situations since we are going to a Patriots football game.
We spend a week preparing, getting all my clothes ready and all my warm gear ready. My husband is busy getting himself ready too but focusing on what I need and making sure I don’t freeze. I’m doing my walking research and seeing how many layers I need and figuring it out based on it being in the 20’s. We knew it was starting in the 40’s with some sun but once that sun is gone the temperature will and did drop very fast.
I start with my under armour, fancy name for long johns, add a long sleeved breathable top, turtle neck, wool sweater, a huge coat and I figure my top half is set. My legs had under armour, leggings, and pants and I had socks with sneakers. Yes this was my downfall, I knew I needed to walk many miles yesterday and in fact took over 19k steps so my best shoes for walking are sneakers. I thought boots would keep me warmer but that they would fatigue my feet and legs and make it harder to get around. I chose the best pair of wool socks I had and went with sneakers.
I finished my fashion statement with ear warmers, gloves and mittens over my gloves with warmers inside. I really thought I had this figured out. I did realize that walking for exercise would not be much fun in all these layers but one step at a time. We get to the game, totally enjoying ourselves, jumping up and down and not realizing the temperature is changing. When that sun was gone everything changed. My husband wrapped his scarf around my neck and my brother-in-law gave me his face covering gear which covered my head, mouth and nose but left my eyes exposed. I could feel my body objecting greatly to the cold it was feeling. The warmers were no longer keeping my hands warm and they were tingling and hurting and feet felt like they had left my body completely.
I realized I couldn’t stand when a good play happened because the pain was running into my knees, hips and lower back and my body was loudly letting me know that what I was doing was so wrong. After the game we needed to move, yes my legs needed to find their way under my weight and carry me down this huge stadium and out of the park to our transportation. The protesting going on in my feet, legs, knees and hip was causing me extreme pain. I actually started to get the flare-up chills and my breathing became labored. I couldn’t speak to anyone because I couldn’t focus on brain on what they were saying or find my own words. I knew I was going into flare and there was nothing I could do except keep going. I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t warm up, I couldn’t think, but I could breath. I went into the deepest breathing of my life. I almost felt like every breath I took was reassurance that I was still moving and hadn’t stopped. My husband would tell me how far we had and said I could do it and that he was right there with me. I held on to his strength and eventually we found warmth. I was so happy to feel that heat. It only took a minute for my mind calm, my deep breathing to be not so labored and my body start to relax. Within a few minutes I was right back to feeling my normal self and the best part was I didn’t actually flare. I do realize that cold and Raynaud’s don’t mix but it is more than just purple hands and tingly feet. There is a real connection between being cold and my body in a not good way.
I’m not saying that I won’t figure out how to walk outside in the cold but I don’t know if the worry is worth it considering every time I get cold now I will undoubtedly worry.