In this blog series, I offer tips for cold tips. These tips will save all of us from treadmill and trainer imprisonment this winter.
Within the first two minutes of my arrival in Malaysia, I developed hijab envy. All around me, women coordinated dresses with lovely headscarves. Some solid, some print. Some wild. Some muted. Many held in place by highly decorative pins. The Ecuadorian scarf wrapped around my head wasn’t going to cut it in the modern Muslim metropolis of Kuala Lumpur.
I was trekking through SE Asia on a shoestring budget with a small backpack. I didn’t have money or space for any non-essentials. But it only took one stroll down the streets of KL to recognize that a proper hijab was, indeed, essential. With the help of some locals, I selected a black hijab that coordinated well with all two shirts in my backpack.
This hijab then paved the way for a delightful trip through Muslim-majority parts of SE Asia. It broke down cultural barriers and began conversations. In every customs line I passed through–mainland Malaysia, Borneo’s Sabah, the Sultanate of Brunei, Indonesia’s Lombok and Java–I was greeted with a smile.
But upon my return to Washington, DC, the hijab ended up in the back of my closet. It stayed there for two years. Then last month, after a few frustrating track sessions where my balaclava impeded my breathing and my peripheral vision, I dug out the ol’ hijab. What was fashionable in the Malaysian summer was now practical in the DC winter.
The same material that makes the hijab bearable in the heat and humidity of SE Asia, makes it breathable for the runner on a cold day. The cut provides peripheral vision far superior to my balaclava, as the hijab was designed for women to wear while working or driving. It covers the ears, neck, and chest, but allows the mouth to breathe freely.
So am I suggesting that you hop the next plane to Malaysia to get yourself a hijab? Not entirely.
Is this post really about keeping my neck and ears warm on winter runs? Only kind of.
The real point here is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on something fancy to stay warm in the cold. As discovered in a post (click here) a few weeks back, what we do have is much more important than what we don’t. There is likely something in your closet that, with a little creativity, could become your new BFF for winter rides and runs.
When you find it, let us know!
If you liked this post, check out others in the Tips for Cold Tips series: