Wear Gloves

November 27, 2011

The first clue should have been when I almost slipped down a set of icy steps getting to my car. The second clue should have been sitting in my car for almost ten minutes to defrost the windows before driving. The next sign was looking at the dashboard and reading twenty-three degrees on the digital thermometer. Full heat, seat warmers, and constant blowing on my hands when I finally did get outside should have been further, unsubtle hints. Suffice it to say that on this particular Thanksgiving day, it was [expletive] cold outside.

I actually felt pretty good after going on a rather abbreviated warm-up run. And there was my biggest mistake. Not the jog itself, but the false sense of security that it gave me. So I returned to my car one last time and tossed off the gloves, hat, and long sleeve shirt that I had donned for my pre-race jaunt. Other runners were still wearing many of those similar layers I had just shed. But I did a “warm up” so I was ready. Right?

While I love the Turkey trot racing tradition as much as every runner, I seem to have a penchant for making ill-advised race choices in late November. One year I went out fairly hard over the first mile of a Thanksgiving four miler and felt great. During mile three was when my body painfully reminded me that I had forgotten to eat breakfast that morning. It did not end well. The words crash and burn both come to mind.

My ASICS gloves

So on this most recent day, I went out fast and felt great despite the chill. Roughly one mile in is where the regret started to hit. My legs felt great, my stomach was actually working with me, and my lungs were handling the cold air quite efficiently. The problem was that I had lost significant feeling in more than half of my fingers. From that point on I tried everything I could think of to regain blood flow to my hands. I held them under my armpits, cupped and blew air into them, shook them out, and even flashed some spirit fingers. Nothing helped. I had nightmare images of not being able to eat my mashed potatoes at dinner.

Of course the only way to get my hands warm again was to just finish faster and go right back to my car. So I tried running harder and did end up with a respectable finish on the hilly, 3.1 mile course – though despite my own advice, I was not happy about the topography. For at least two or three hours later, I was still feeling painful effects of my fingers coming back to life. So do not do what I did. Just wear the gloves. My older and less jazzy model of these ASICS gloves always impress me with how well they insulate my hands. The terry surface on the thumb is incredibly convenient as well for the cold weather sniffles.

Please, do not be a Thanksgiving (or otherwise) race martyr. I was close to not feeling my fingers for one of the best meals of the year in what could have been a serious medical issue. Fortunately, I think I treated my situation properly. On the upside, clinching an age-group victory won me a free turkey!



  1. Congrats on winning your age group!! So how were your mashed potatoes?

    • Thank you. It is always nice to be presented with a medal along with a certificate towards a free turkey. I was… thankful… for both.

      And, of course, the entire holiday meal was delicious!

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