Friday, October 3, 2008

The Post Which Will Make Everyone Who Runs In A Warmer Winter Climate Very Glad

Edited to add on January 4, 2009: I submitted this post to the Runner's Lounge Take It And Run Thursday (January 1) as my favorite post of 2008. This post was the most fun to write (it involved no running to acquire content) and provoked many wonderful comments which I had to address in a separate subsequent post.

Megan in the comments of my previous post asked if I would mind posting about the stuff I take with me when I run, especially in the colder months of the year (aka "most of the time in Michigan").

Ask a girl (who normally doesn't give much of a crap about clothes but has an unnatural obsession with running gear) to talk about what's in her closet? Are you kidding? OMGBBQ!!111!!!!

It seems appropriate to me to do so now because Thursday morning, for the first time since April, I donned a full cold-weather outfit for my 8-mile run. It was about 42 degrees when I got up at 5:30 and the brief yet chilling blast of air through the door when I let the dog out made me think, yep, time to dig out the jacket and gloves again.

Here we have the hub of activity. This is the area where I keep all of my running gear. The top drawer is stuffed full of running clothes and as such cannot be closed all the way. My training schedule (with handily-placed pen for notes) is on the wall next to a pace chart. The area on top of the built-in bureau is where my odds and ends reside.

This is my Garmin Forerunner 305, also known as The Sainted Object, That Which Has Transformed My Running For All Time. In this picture one can see the evidence of Thursday morning's run, namely, eight miles in one hour and seven minutes. I never ever ever ever leave home without Garmy. If I have shoes on my feet and Garmy on my wrist that's all I need. If one interprets that to mean I would run naked, well, I guess I just might. Last year I decided to ditch the annoying rubbery wristband which I could never fasten quickly nor gracefully in favor of a Velcro-based wristband, which is available as part of the Quick Release Kit. I believe the QRK is intended for use with a bicycle, but my wrist and a handlebar are all the same to a Velcro strap. I love the Velcro strap (though it's a little funky-smelling after a long summer of sweaty running). And if you're going to get a Garmin 305 and all its accompanying accoutrements, you might as well get the ultimate in Garmin gear conveyance:

The Garmin Carrying Case. It totally rules. It holds Garmy, all of the charging and data transfer parts, the heart rate monitor, plus extra wristbands, wristband changers, and even my RoadID.

RoadID. Really, really don't leave home without it. If I ever get hit by a car and knocked into a ditch this will help them identify my unconscious/dead body. Okay, that's a worst-case scenario, but it's one we runners have to consider. Garmy on my left, RoadID on my right, I'm all set. I have never carried any other form of ID with me nor do I carry money or my cell phone. I suppose one could say I have grown complacent, running around my town never more than 3 miles from home on my weekday runs or being accompanied by John or the folks from RF501 on longer runs.

This is the elusive Bouhaki, my other personal trainer, and that is his customary spot when I am getting ready in the mornings. I do not take Bouhaki on my runs with me but he provides Valuable Feline-Based Support and Encouragement. As far as I'm concerned he is as important as Garmy. Or a pair of shoes. Isn't that right, little Boo? (Notice Garmin charger which is perpetually plugged into wall in the background.)

Now on to the nitty gritty. This is when those of you who live where it stays warmer or warm-ish during the winter will be all, "I'm SO GLAD I DON'T LIVE THERE OH MY GOD LOOK AT ALL THE CLOTHES."

Here we have my pants and tights in descending left-to-right order of Inclement Weather Resistance. The ultimate in wind and precipitation blockage are my Asics Storm Shelter pants. They block everything. I wore them when I went running in this last December and didn't feel a thing. Impervious, I tell you. Next to them are my Asics Thermopolis pants, not quite as wind-resistant, but very warm and soft. They are my go-to pants for most cold-weather runs. Next we have my Nike capris, soft and stretchy. These are my favorite pants for middle temperature days, when it's too cold for shorts but not cold enough to break out the big guns. I'm wearing these pants a lot right now as we transition into fall. I also frequently wear them in races. Finally, tights. You gotta have the tights. I wear them by themselves or underneath other pants in bitterly cold weather. I have three pairs: Sugoi (with the teal patches), Pearl Izumi (at the top with the red stitching) and Danskin (far right), which are actually my favorite tights to wear in winter races. The Sugois are really thick and heavy. I wore them in last year's Detroit Half Marathon which in retrospect wasn't an extremely wise decision as I got very warm during the race. Not this year, folks. I'm going for the minimalist look (shorts and singlet) unless it's pouring rain.

But one's stable of cold-weather clothing would not be complete without jackets and tops. And boy do I have plenty of both.

Blue Asics Storm Shelter, black Mizuno, red and black Pearl Izumi, Brooks Nightlife vest, New Balance X Windblocker. The Asics is my most impervious jacket. It will resist a blizzard. I know; I've run in one. My Mizuno jacket is similarly wind-resistant but not as bulky as the Asics. It was the jacket which I wore one frigid December day and actually became so overheated I ended up unzipping it all the way. The Pearl Izumi is very lightweight and not as warm as the previous two. It's a great cool but not cold weather jacket. My Brooks vest I wear when I want to keep my core warm. Additionally, it's extremely eye-catching (hard to tell in this photo, but if you've ever seen its color, you know what I'm talking about) so I wear it in the country this time of year (crazy deer hunters). The New Balance X jacket I just bought last weekend and haven't had a chance to wear but I am looking forward to doing so. So soft...ooh...soft and fuzzy...

Base layer time! My heaviest shirts are on the left (Pearl Izumi, Hind, Asics); midweight ones in the middle (another Asics, Columbia) and on the right, my beloved Nike Personal Best Dri-Fit shirts (four and counting). My Nike shirts can be seen in virtually every photo of me from every race I run from September through April. I love, nay, adore my Nike shirts.

So what is my ultimate ensemble, the one I would put on for a run in a howling blizzard or near-zero temperatures?

Sugoi tights under Asics Storm Shelter pants, Nike Dri-Fit base layer, Pearl Izumi middle layer, Asics Storm Shelter jacket, InSport hat, Sugoi neck thing (I can't remember its proper name), and my Brooks gloves. Yes, all of this goes on my body when I head out for a nasty winter run.

On days when it's cold but not too cold, and not very windy: Asics Thermopolis pants, Asics base layer, Mizuno jacket, InSport headband, and Brooks gloves.

My "I want to look uber-stylish and coordinated" Christmas-present-from-my-parents outfit: Pearl Izumi tights, base layer, and jacket; InSport red hat, and gloves.

What I've been wearing lately: Nike capri pants, Nike Dri-Fit shirt, Brooks vest (or no Brooks vest). Darwin approves. The Orange Tabby Stamp of Approval is very important.

However, no discussion of what I take with me when I run would be complete without:


I have 17 of them. I love them. They keep the white chick 'fro under control. I can match them to any outfit. Or not. The day I discovered Bondi Bands was a very good day indeed. The only day in months I went running without a Bondi Band was the day of the Run for the Rolls. I figured my hair was sweat-plastered back well enough after running 18 miles earlier that I didn't need additional assistance.

Finally, my CamelBak FlashFlo waist hydration pack. I have worn this in the two half marathons I have run. I have not decided if I am going to wear it for the Detroit Marathon. I have not been training with it this time around but its convenience is unparalleled. Along with its 42-ounce fluid capacity (available for deployment at any moment) it has ample room for small item storage (Gu packets, cell phone, etc). I really don't know what I am going to do with regards to wearing this for the marathon. It's a quandary. For my 20-mile run at Kensington last Saturday, I safety-pinned my Gu packets to the waistband of my shorts (the packets themselves were on the inside of my shorts and not flapping against my hips on the outside) and that worked rather well. I normally do not carry my cell phone with me, but I think the marathon may be an extenuating circumstance as I will be anxious to contact my family at the end. I will most likely waffle on this like the champion procrastinator that I am until the night before the marathon.

I hope y'all have enjoyed this tour through my closet, and Megan, I hope I covered the material you requested adequately!


chia said...

Boo looks like Gizmo's twinsie ;-) I love your felines.

Holy Bondi Band collection. I think I may need to purchase my first one today at the expo ;-)!!

You're way more dedicated than I am. I have one pair of tights and one jacket. Of course, I just re-wear it all over and over again to detract the neighborhood rifraf from wanting to come near me.

Never met a rape victim that smelled THAT bad ;-). Defense mechanism a la chia!

JD said...

Wonderful! I love to see that others are as crazy (or crazier) about their running stuff as I am. I have a bazillion shirts from races and every time I see running bottoms I have to buy them. Unfortunately none of my outfits match, so I look like a hobo when I'm running, but I have lots of cool stuff too!

Big said...

that post was amazing, nothing quite describes a runners love for their gear. I've spent days washing my running shoes after long runs, using bleach to keep the soles looking sharp.

Plus, you are a rock star for running in the cold this morning, my windshield was frozen over.

Finally, Lil's cat will stretch with us, but he is rather apathetic about our running outfit selection. I think it’s because he is colorblind.

Maggs said...

Brrr.... yes, now I am glad I live in a warm climate. 8 years of cold weather running and I hope I never have to again. Though i have 1 set of everything stashed away just in case. Of course then I'll be the one wearing running clothes from the 1990s (hopefully styles won't have changed that much)

Fritz said...

Very impressive! Do you have a spread sheet with temperature/outfit graph? I made up one in '06 and had to revise it in '07.

*sigh* I guess I'll have to revise it again. NC has thinned my blood- the price I paid for running comfortably in 85 degree weather. Oh well...

The quick release kit has a little plastic bit that you zip tie to your bike- you pop the face of the garmin off your wrist and pop onto the bike, leaving the velcro strap on your wrist. Very handy for triathlons, and even moreso for duathlons.

When it comes to the camelbak, I think the big question is- do you think you have the knack of drinking out of a cup on the run? If yes, than leave it behind- the weight is something you don't need. If you're going for a BQ every pound counts...

Viper said...

I knew this time was coming ... I was looking at a pair of tights last weekend, but I'm not ready to make the leap to long sleeves or pants or anything else ... ah, the North!

That's a lot of gear. My winter arsenal is much smaller, and I just keep wearing the same clothes over and over until laundry day.

Girl on Top said...

Wow! I really got to build up my winter gear!

Thanks for the post!

bunnygirl said...

That's a lot of gear, but I know I'd be needing even more than that if I had to run in the cold.

I love your furry assistants!

Mike Fox said...

Great post!

However, you know that come March when it hits 42 degrees you'll be running in shorts and a t-shirt (OK...Nike Dry-Fit shirt). The temperatures are all relative...

Megan said...

Hey, you really rock. Thank you, very much!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Sugoi tights, and i wear them for biking and running October - May. (I get cold easily. My knees get cold.) I can't believe they've lasted this long, and i need a back up pair.

I'm a hat person in winter (uh, Oct - May, especially if its raining, which it is, because this is Seattle).

I'm a roadID proselytizer.

two questions:
how do you carry water to drink if you don't have your hip pack? Or do you find water fountains?


do you mind if i point my running group here to look?

(hmmm... i just realized something you may have forgotten - sports bras. I was going through my must have list. a good sports bra definitely makes the cut.)

Nitmos said...

By placing Garmin at the head of the tour, you have certainly indicated its importance without the words.

I'm angry that you have reminded me of winter running though when I'm still wallowing in a state of seasonal denial.

tfh said...

Wow, your organizational skills put me to shame. Actually, they make me really excited to clean out one of the closets and rearrange it as my running closet veryquicklybeforemyhusbandcangethomeandaskwherehisclothesaregoingtogo.

ee said...

Holy F do you have a lot of running stuff!

Bri said...

I agree with ee, you sure do have mucho stuffo. Do you have specific temperature ranges for each outfit as I do, for example, under 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, etc.

Betsy said...

This was a fantastic post! I totally envy your Bondi Band collection... and feel like a slacker with only three of my own, two of which are black.