Just over two weeks away from REV3 Portland has me thinking about, “Portland”.  After a little googling research a few things stood out:  Farmers markets, active community, and cold.  The first two are very much like home.  Cold is not so much like home.  However, coming from a warm island in the Pacific I am the person to ask about staying warm in the cold!

I already know what you’re thinking, “Bree has no business talking about cold, island people live in bikini’s year round”.  EXACTLY!  You see, every time I visit the mainland it feels cold to me and for some reason everyone loves to say the same thing, “It’s not cold”, “You have no idea what cold is, this is warm for us”, “It’s nice out”.  In my opinion people that don’t get cold really don’t know how it feels to be cold, making it hard to tell someone how to get warm.  BUT when you come from a warm place and don’t deal with cold on a regular basis you learn how to get warm.  That is my job at the moment, to give you some pointers how to stay warm.  I’ve got plenty of practice!

Alright, let’s start with pre-race:

  • Hot tea, hot coffee, maybe hot oatmeal to get your body warm inside.
  • Long sleeves, (with a hoodie), long pants, and socks, are all a good idea to wear to the transition area.  Keep those muscles WARM.  We lose heat through our heads so a beanie or hat works if it’s super cold!

Cold water no fear, (I’m actually terrified!):

  • Race week train in the swim event water at the time of day the race will be held, preparing the body for what’s to come.  Embrace it, don’t fight it.
  • Race morning warm up is important, don’t let cold water tempt you to skip getting your body ready for action.  If you can’t brave the water loosen up with swim stretchcordz or arm circles to get the swim muscles/range of motion fired up. If you do brave the water have an old towel, socks, and sweatshirt you don’t mind leaving behind or throwing away.  Take it off just before your start wave gets in the water.
  • Double cap (practice this if you don’t swim with 2 caps on a regular basis).
  • Think warm.  Obviously being in a wetsuit, or freezing in a speed suit when you wish it was wetsuit legal, is not the same as swimming in the warm Pacific.  Think warm thoughts, the body has a really good way of listening to the mind.  If you can imagine being warm and can find some positive phrases to convince yourself you are warm then the body will respond.
  • Ice baths.  Honestly, I sit in them after hard workouts and pretend I’m “acclimatizing” for the cold water swims.  People run on treadmills without fans and train in midday heat to prepare for Hawaii races so it’s only normal for people from Hawaii to prepare for cold by freezing in ice if we have too.

Bike and run warmth:  After much googling I am convinced Portland in July has a very good chance of being nearly perfect conditions for a ride and run.  The weather reports all claim it to be beautiful in the low 80’s that time of year.  They only warn of “mist”.  I’ve got my fingers crossed that they know their stuff, leaving me with little to say about staying warm on the bike or run.  BUT if it is cold, use some arm sleeves on the bike and those cute little toe covers over your bike shoes.

If you have any more questions just ask someone from a cold weathered place, they will just tell you it’s not cold and there you have it.  It’s not cold, you are warm.

See you in Portland!