Powered by cold

It’s a January, Saturday morning in central Maryland and I’m out walking with my dog. The temperature with the wind chill is about 17 degrees Fahrenheit (-8.3 c). The wind is right on our noses. Speaking of my nose, it’s running like a faucet and my eyes are watering even though I have sunglasses on to break the wind. In the course of covering three miles I do not pass another person. To many, this may sound miserable. The thought does not even cross my mind.

My first thought when the wind hits us head on is to speed up to increase body heat. Then my mind jumps to the fact that the cold is like fuel for me. Conversely, the heat is like an epic drag. In my stream of thoughts I realize what I’ve always kind of known about myself – I love the cold weather and it seems to power me.

I’m not sure if there is a physiological reason for this or it’s just part of my mental make up. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a preference for winter. From the age of 14 alpine skiing became a passion in life. But, even further back, I was always the first one to shovel the walkway, grab a sled or just go play in the snow that fell on Pittsburgh. I could stay out playing in the cold soaking wet and shivering long after others went in for hot chocolate.

I think my three boys have inherited this trait as they seem to have a preference and tolerance for the cold. When they were younger, I used to tease them that they inherited my Pittsburgh bones. I used to think my tolerance and appreciation for the cold was derived by growing up in a hard-nosed town known for cold weather. This little fact of my upbringing led to the saying Pittsburgh bones. Over time I’ve learned that there are many people out there with a similar disposition about the cold.

I appreciate that I’m powered by the cold.

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