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Adjusting To Cold Weather: An Arizona Runner Relocates To Virginia

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I am by no means a running superstar. The peak of my physical performance was a 21 minute, 30 second 5K in the summer of 2008 at the age of 21. It has never been about winning or losing -- running in my mind is solely a cathartic experience that gives the bountiful gifts of health and endorphins.

Nothing could have prepared me for my transition from the arid desert of Tempe, Arizona to the wintry swamp of Arlington, Virginia. Not even all the endorphins in the world.

I relocated to Virginia in the middle of October. Arizona is notoriously hot in the summertime, and it was still in the 90s by the time I packed up my belongings and made my way to the mid-Atlantic.

From May to the end of September, you have to run either ridiculously early in the morning (around 6 AM) or late at night (anytime after 9 PM) to even have a chance at surviving. If you've never been to Arizona in July, you wouldn't understand -- it just does not cool down, ever. The temperature at 6 AM is high 80s, low 90s.

There were many times that I would be out on a Saturday night until 2 AM, and the temperature would still be 100. Avoiding the sun is a crucial task that most runners take very seriously in the Phoenix area, as not doing so would lead to fatal ends.

Contrast that with the cold weather of a January in Virginia. My brother (also a runner) was kind enough to buy me some Sugoi tights. I used to run in sweatpants when I'd visit my parents in New England, but it was always uncomfortable and ultimately failed to keep me warm.

I've tried getting up early, but it's so cold. I've tried running after I get home from work, but again, it's pretty cold. The biggest motivation that I have is my health, and I know it would deteriorate without 4-5 runs a week.

Adjusting to cold weather is a lengthy process that I am struggling with at this time. Any advice or tips that our fine readers could provide would really help as I attempt to reclaim this labor of love from the chilly winds. Have any of you ever gone through this before?