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Welcome! Can I steal your sweat-wicking outer garments?

Well, hello there! I can see there are a lot of new people hanging around these parts. Let me dig out some folding chairs and make room for you. Will everyone please scoot down a little so we can fit more people on the couch? Thank you.

I am PastaQueen a.k.a. Jennette Fulda and I’ve lost almost 200 pounds in the past three years, blogging about it along the way because typing burns calories. You can learn more about me here, read some of my best entries here, and check out my rotating progress photos here (no comments about my poor posture please). If you like what you read and have a credit card, you can pre-order my book, Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir which will be in fine bookstores in May (and also some not so fine ones). If you are just starting out on a weight-loss journey, you might want to browse the products that I’ve found helpful. If you have any questions, shoot me a line. I am a real live girl, not a weight-loss commercial, and I will probably write you back (though not necessarily in a timely fashion).

Now, back to blogging as usual, though there is nothing usual about the weather.

Baby, it's cold outside

(Image shamelessly stolen from Mymsie)

It was so cold yesterday that my nostril hairs crystallized before I locked my door. Temperature: 4 degrees. Wind chill: -12 degrees! And okay, I’m not like Amy in Maine who had to crawl on hands and knees up an icy hill into her house the other day. I only had to walk up one flight of stairs lightly covered in snow. But for Indianapolis this is cold!

More importantly, it recently occurred to me that I might have to run outside in this cold! My training program for this May’s Indianapolis Half-Marathon starts at the end of January and it will not be taking place in a room full of treadmills. Somebody spiked my water with some crazy juice when I signed up for this one, eh? What was I thinking? It’s all cold and snowy and I already gave them my credit card number. In fact, I also signed up for the training series, meaning I’m running a 5K on February 9th. I’d totally forgotten about that!

But, I will not freak out. I will go to Target and buy some appropriate winter running gear. I will also buy a dozen cans of Aqua Net and spray as many CFCs into the air as possible to speed up global warming in the hopes of a warm February. No, I won’t do that. I don’t think Aqua Net uses CFCs anymore and Al Gore would hate me for it anyway. I used to always laugh from my car at the crazy people who ran in the winter snow. I guess now I’m checking myself into this particular insane asylum. I’ve heard once you start running your body stays warm enough that the cold is quite tolerable. Please, please, please be true. I don’t want to get on Al Gore’s bad side.

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Amy • January 3, 2008 at 7:57 am

Micro fiber longjohns my friend, they’re the best. You don’t have to get fancy patagucci ones either, they sell them at jcpenny in the lingerie section on the cheap. And I’m so glad you didn’t have to crawl to your house over antarctica, damn penguins have no mercy.


Chris • January 3, 2008 at 7:58 am

Take heart…everything I’ve heard has said it’ll be brutally cold this week, but unseasonably warm for the rest of the month. Here in Ottawa, it’s -10F (-22F with wind chill) right now, but it’s going to get up to 52 by Monday. Which is absolutely ridiculous for Ottawa in January, BTW.


Chris • January 3, 2008 at 8:06 am

Posting again only because my URL was wrong on my last comment. :(


Chubby Chick • January 3, 2008 at 8:54 am

Could there BE a worse-smelling hairspray than Aqua Net??? I don’t think so. Eww!!! lol

Good luck with your training. I can’t wait to read your book! :)


Debbi • January 3, 2008 at 9:17 am

It’s completely true that after the first mile of running you will be warm. Warm enough to shed some gear, if you started out multi-layered. But if it’s windy, do tuck some lip balm into a pocket. And pockets are good things for stashing mittens and hats, which you probably won’t need after the second mile. Have fun with the training – I think I like training better than racing.


Elizabeth • January 3, 2008 at 9:35 am

This is my first post… so, hello! Anyway, I found your blog on a fluke, and I spent an entire day at work reading all of your archives! (I am anxiously awaiting your book in April)… I just wanted to let you know that I am going to be doing the Indianapolis Half Marathon too! I know it is going to be a really really long 4 months of training to get there, but I think (hope) it will be worth it in the end… and hopefully help me shed the 45 pounds I have gained over the last 3 years! A question… whose training plan are you using? I am using Hal Higdon’s plan, but am modifying it a little. It doesn’t seem too impossible! I also met with a trainer who helped me figure out which weight machines I needed to be using to help me with a longer run… some of them really surprised me… just a thought (as you mentioned in your last blog that you are joining the gym)… I would be sure to request a runner if you sign up… mine was really knowledgeable about strength and endurance building for runners. Anyway, thanks for being such an inspiration! See ya in Indy!


nolybab • January 3, 2008 at 9:46 am

Brr.. I have yet to brave the chilly weather to even go to the gym.. I am going to be daring and actually go there tonight.. Today’s high is 31 in Baltimore, with a much lower wind chill.. but that sounds mighty toasty in comparison to your Indy temps.. I’ll keep that in mind when I bundle up in my gym gear..

I have been slacking on any form of workout for several months, but in previous years I always found I felt a greater sense of accomplishment when I managed to get my butt out the door after work, in the dark, in cold cold temperatures; and as you know the getting started part is the hardest. I think once you get out there you will find your motivation, pride, and more encouragement for your upcoming engagements.

wishing you warmer temps!


Laura • January 3, 2008 at 10:05 am

Wow, it’s 8 degrees here in Cleveland. Come join the heatwave!!


Jen • January 3, 2008 at 10:27 am

I haven’t run in the cold (yet) but I recently discovered Yaktrax for dealing with the ice and snow. You slip them on over your running shoes and you instantly have way more traction. I’ve only used them while walking so far and I love them. Just don’t forget to take them off when you are inside your house!


Jenn1701 • January 3, 2008 at 10:33 am

Greetings from Colorado… a few words of advice, first, layer, layer layer! Starting with a thin warm layer closest to your skin (thermal longjohns are great), then building up. Make sure to cover your head, especially if it is windy. A warm skullcap that can cover your ears will do the trick. Nothing ruins a good run like frozen ears! Make sure you wear sunblock because it will protect from wind burn as well and chapstick is your best friend! Also, watch out for the ice… make sure your running shoes have good traction.


Nancy • January 3, 2008 at 10:37 am

I just purchased a pair of YAKTRAX (www.yaktrax.com) for running in the icy wintery weather. I haven’t had the chance to use them yet, but since we finally got hit with winter weather, the first use is on the horizon. Check them out, and spread it around. One of the other runners here at work was making fun of me, but I don’t want a broken bone!


Candy • January 3, 2008 at 11:20 am

Yup! Totally true. I ran last night in the cold-for-Florida low 30’s. I had on my Adidas stretch capris, a nike tech long sleeved shirt, and a pull over. I also picked up some cotton mittens for a buck at Target to wear.

My hands still wound up getting numb, but warmed up after the first mile or so. It was actually quite tolerable.

My tips? Get head gear! Keep those ears warm, wipe your cheeks and lips down with chapstick, and keep your hands covered. I also like to take a quick warm up walk and breathe in very deeply through my mouth and nose to get my lungs charged up.

Just get through that first mile or so, and you’ll be alright.

Welcome to the asylum!!


Mia • January 3, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Wow, those temps are brutal! I think I deserve a metal when I run in slightly above freezing temps. However, I’ll be facing 90 degree weather in May, so it all evens out.


Debbie • January 3, 2008 at 1:11 pm

Whoa, those are cold temps. Watch the sweat wicking clothes, though. I’ve heard the materials can start to smell and it doesn’t come out in the wash.


Kate • January 3, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Your not far from my neck of the woods, holy smokes it was cold this morning. Here in Ann Arbor, regular temp was -7….luckily there was no windchill, but still, just down right cold!


Marianne • January 3, 2008 at 1:47 pm

Wow, you are braver than I to get out in that weather! Anything below 0C and I’m staying home! :D


YP • January 3, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Layers, layers, layers. You should feel a bit cold when you step out of the door because you WILL warm up once you start to run. I feel your pain – I’ve just started training for a marathon in April and realised that building up the miles again with snow on the ground isn’t as appealing as training all summer for an October run!


Denise • January 3, 2008 at 2:08 pm

I always need the hat when it’s cold! I have also been known to run with a fleece balaclava with a neoprene face mask, which I normally only use for winter biking, which I have not any of this year because, um, it’s, um, cold? If your hands are at all delicate, you may need startup mittens and then warmed-up mittens. I just keep the same old mittens on and let my hands sweat. It doesn’t seem to make them cold.


VerseFameBeauty • January 3, 2008 at 2:10 pm

I live in Florida, and yesterday’s high was 38! I didn’t brave the cold to walk to my apartment’s gym… but that doesn’t mean I should have skipped my Pilates DVD too, hmm? lol


Maggie • January 3, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Thank you for the welcome. I am one of the new ones hanging around. I have over 100 pounds to lose and started at 266 pounds to lose half my weight. I am 5’2″ so that isn’t as weird as it may seem to a giantess.

I have read every single one of your archives in the past few days. The reason you are so inspiring is that you are a real person, not some idealized “do this and that” sort of robot. Now I’m going to go off and struggle to believe that I can do this at age 64.

Thank you very much for all you have given me.


Sally Parrott Ashbrook • January 3, 2008 at 3:18 pm

If you find reasonably priced winter running gear that you like, please share the info. I nearly froze myself the other day; of course, Atlanta is in an extreme cold snap for the area, but still, I need some warmer clothes to keep me running through March.

For one thing, how do people keep their mouths and faces and lungs warm? When I get home on a really cold day, I wheeze and cough intermittently for hours afterward.


Erin • January 3, 2008 at 4:44 pm

The windchill in Chicago this morning was -10. Yikes. The scary part is that I actually have a friend that has developed his own sub zero running kit because he hates running on the treadmill that much.


JoLynn Braley • January 3, 2008 at 6:55 pm

How great that you’re in training for a marathon, it sounds like you’ve run them before? I’m not a runner but I do fast/paced walking, mainly on the treadmill… although I don’t mind the cold either since my greatest love is downhill skiing. You bundle up a lot more for skiing than you do if you’re going running, though, and if I walk outside I get pretty warm once I get going. :)


Marshmallow • January 3, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Oh dear, you’re more than welcome to swap your climate with mine – I would much rather run in the snow than in the sweltering heat. My personal trainer used to be in the israeli military, and he says hands down, working in the snow beat working in the desert any day of the weak. I second that. That being said, you’re running your 5K on the same day I do my triathlon. What were we thinking?!


Steve v4.6 • January 3, 2008 at 11:18 pm

All I can say is wow and what an inspiration. Your transformation is wonderful.


Manic Mommy • January 4, 2008 at 12:04 am

Just thinking about the smell of Aqua Net is giving me a headache!


Sharon • January 4, 2008 at 2:22 am

Good luck finding good gear at Target. I’m finding their women’s workout clothing really lacking this year. (I’m about a women’s size medium so the men’s stuff is all too big for me– but it was great when I was even a little bit bigger.)

Atlanta, try a neck gaiter that you can pull up over your mouth until you get warm. (Plus hat or earband, of course.)

Not sure if it’s okay to post links, but campmor.com and sierratradingpost.com are good sources for discounted athletic gear online.


Dave • January 4, 2008 at 9:16 am

What helps me is that, on the cold mornings, for the weekly long run, I do my warm up inside (I have a treadmill and walk for 5-10 minutes) and then rush outside to start my run. I stay warm and eventually heat up to the point where I’m comfortable. Gloves, a hat and multiple layers are necessary for me. Also, what helps me survive the winter is that I do all my weekday training runs and cross training indoors and only run outside for the Saturday long runs. I can tolerate the cold at least one day a week. Once the weather warms up, I run outside most everyday.

I’ve run the Indianapolis Mini for 5 years, and each year, without fail, I train through a cold, damp, windy, snowy and sometimes rainy winter. But, come Mini day, it’s always been hot and humid. You train for 4 months in the cold, snow and ice and then run the Mini in the heat and humidity. Go figure! But, I’ve always found that the hassle of the winter weather melts away once you cross the finish line.


Miss_Thing • January 4, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Hi PastaQueen – living in the icy land known as Vermont, I have a few suggestions you might find helpful. I highly recommend tech fabric wicking baselayers, which will help keep you warm and dry and are thin enough to wear under a fleece. I like the brand Moving Comfort quite a bit; they also make plus size tops and bottoms (yay!). They also have a great line of sports bras. Stonewear Designs is also a good brand. For socks, I recommend wool, which is best for wicking sweat and providing warmth – Smart Wool is a well-known brand. I also recommend getting a pair of wind pants that you can wear leggings under (mine are from New Balance). And of course, I can’t stress the importance of a warm hat enough! I’ve gotten most of my workout gear through the Sierra Trading Post and gotten great deals (more than 50% off retail!). Hope this helps!


eva • January 4, 2008 at 1:33 pm

wow. i admire anyone out there running in this weather. i live in rochester,ny and i get mad when i have to walk to my car in this COLD.


Mrs. Duffy • January 4, 2008 at 8:30 pm

Hi PQ! Target has that C9 stuff from Champion, which is pretty awesome because it’s as good as nike or whatever and much much CHEAPER. Under Armour insulated tights are pretty great, too. It’s true – you do warm up quickly when you run. I have a little, thin sweat wicking hat & glove set and a light running jacket that looks like a windbreaker but actually makes me too hot in anything warmer than 30 degrees. Not that -12 windchill is anything like 30 degrees, but, well… nevermind. Be brave! I’ve been wussing out all week long, and we were ten degrees warmer than you. :)


Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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