I grew up in Canada. For 8 months of the year, I'd call it uncomfortably cold. Thus, when I could, my move to first Australia, and then New Zealand. I'd been summer hopping for a number of years until this year, when I finally decided to settle down and stay in one place throughout a winter-time.
Anyone that knew me growing up knew that I suffered from the cold. My mother would be so sick of me complaining how cold I was all the time, and she refused to turn up the thermostat in the house -- not that it was set to very cold anyway. I remember wearing a winter jacket to school and not taking it off for any of my classes, hoping I'd get to sit by the heaters so my hands and feet could defreeze.
So, when I made the decision to stay in New Zealand for their winter, I thought I'd be able to easily handle the cold, as it is nothing compared to the -20C we regularly get in Canada. Well, I've been struggling just as much here in NZ, primarily because of their poor housing situation. Kiwis, honestly, have no idea how to build houses. They are a joke! No insulation, single glazed windows, poor quality materials, and the heating systems are from the 3rd world. And they just deal with it!
However, my first winter in many years had me struggling to function properly. Once cold, I can't get warm. Period. I was tired, freezing, and unhappy. After medical tests in the summertime, and after my medical for Immigration NZ was done in the wintertime, I've pieced together valid reasons why I struggle so much.
- Low iron levels. I used to be anemic, but even in good condition, my iron levels are on the low side of normal.
- Low blood pressure. All hyped up at the doctor's, and it is still only 96/40. If I stand up too quickly, I go blind for a couple seconds, and fall down.
- Low resting heart rate. Not crazy low. Not 30. Hyped up at the doctors, it is 60. It's probably around 48-52bpm actually resting.
- High surface area to volume ratio. I am 5'4 and 108 lbs (49kg). My skin dissipates heat so easily!
None of these factors on its own would be cause for serious concern. Together, I'd say they present a good argument for my until-now-inexplainable feelings of suffering in anything under 26C (79F).
I'm heading to Cairns (tropical Queensland, Australia) this Friday for 1 month. Their wintertime is still 26C and high humidity. BRILLIANT. Just what I need.
I've also compulsively signed up for most of my future races:
Oct 21: IM 70.3 Mandurah, Western Australia
Oct 28: IM 70.3 Port Macquarie, New South Wales -- looks like I'll be doing another double!!
June 5: IM Cairns -- did the half-iron in 2011 when it was still Challenge Cairns. Gorgeous location! If you can, do the Great Barrier Reef swim at Green Island. Best thing I've ever done!