Showing posts with label clothing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clothing. Show all posts

Sunday, April 30, 2017

So many running clothes, so little time

Wanna buy some used Karhus?
Today's run (street): 4.7 miles

For the first time since fall, I've had two consecutive runs wearing short sleeves and shorts. Yesterday's temperature was moderate, but the humidity was anything but. Happily, today was cooler and far less humid. In both cases I was comfortable, helped along by overcast skies. I'm not looking forward to running in the summer heat and I hope I'll have the discipline to get out at dawn most of the time.

Today's run or Rorschach test? 
Now that we are transitioning to warmer weather, I've started to pay attention to my lighter gear. Over the past eight years, I've collected a lot of running clothes that I keep in a wooden wardrobe in the guest room.  I have at least three pairs of running tights, three pairs of track pants and a sizable collection of quarter zips, rain jackets and long sleeve running shirts.

My collection of short sleeve running shirts includes the first one I ever bought and every one after that. I also have a bunch of shirts I got from racing. Storage has extended to a dresser in my bedroom. I also have six pairs of running shorts and dozens of socks. Don't get me started on shoes. There are pairs I use and those I just can't throw out.

I swear I'm not a hoarder, but I find it hard to throw out perfectly good running clothes. Perfectly good may mean different things to different people. I don't think rips and tears necessitate disposal. As long as you can wear it, and it doesn't expose areas that need to be covered in public, I think a shirt should be kept in inventory.

In truth, I tend to wear the same gear, cycling through four or five pairs of shorts, the same number of shirts and about half a dozen pairs of socks. That changes a little when the seasons change and I put wool socks to the back of the drawer until fall. I know I should go through all this stuff and keep only those clothes and shoes that I actually use. I really should donate the undamaged shirts and recycle the old trainers. I'll make it a project for next weekend unless I can find anything else to do.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Wrong day for a runner's mullet

Not a good choice for 63°
Today's run (street): 3.2 miles

My new role at work is turning me into one of those people who need to schedule meetings in 15 minute increments. Some of this is due to absorbing a lot of new groups and responsibilities all at once. In the short term, it will be long days. Things should ease up eventually. Last night I left the office a little later than I wanted. By the time I got home it was too late for a run or a workout.

I worked from home today and that saved me approximately three hours of total commuting time. I started working at 5:00 AM and took a break around 8:00 to do my run. It was 63 degrees outside but it felt cold in my house. I probably should have gone with short sleeves, but I went with long sleeves on top and shorts on the bottom. It's what I call a runner's mullet.

Halfway through my run I renamed it the "runner's bad decision" because the low clouds had given way to sunny skies and I was heating up fast. My distance target was modest and I knew my run would be short enough to bear the heat. About 2/3rds through my run, my cell phone rang. It was my office and I had to think about whether I'd cop to running when I answered it. Luckily it took so long to fish my phone out of my SPIbelt that the call went to voicemail. On the bright side, that short break cooled me down nicely.

The fact that someone was waiting for me to respond motivated me to pick up my speed. I covered the last mile much faster than the previous two and I was back home and on the phone in 10 minutes. I'm glad I had the opportunity get my run in today. Next week will very tight and I'll need to go into the office on Friday. Monday is a holiday so I'll get to string four runs in a row. That's good because, after Monday, I'll probably go run-less until next Saturday.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Underdressed and overburdened

Warmer gear was out of reach
Today's run (street): 3.4 miles

I could tell before I went out this morning that I'd have a difficult time, but that didn't actually happen until I was on my last mile. It's been a busy weekend and I (once again) got outside before our guests awoke. The temperature was 54° around 7:00 AM and I wanted to wear a long sleeved running shirt. Unfortunately, all my running gear was in a cabinet behind the guest room door.

Prior to the arrival of our visitors, I'd taken two sets of running clothes from the cabinet. With the relatively warm weather, I didn't anticipate the need for warmer choices. I have many long sleeve race event shirts in my bedroom, but even with a temperature in the 50's and 72% humidity, I didn't want to wear cotton. I decided to tough it out and go with short sleeves and shorts.

Stepping outside, I was reminded of the feeling I get the morning of a fall race. The temperature felt chilly, the way it often does when we line up for the start, under-layered to help manage the increasing heat later in the race. I was tempted to push hard to build some heat, but I wasn't feeling energetic enough to do that. Last night's high carb dinner failed to translate into a hoped-for glycogen payoff.

It didn't take long to get used to the cool air and I ran comfortably through the neighborhood until about the 2.5 mile mark. At that point I encountered a woman who was running north slightly ahead of my direction and I tried to stay on pace with her. After a few minutes I realized that she had an eight cylinder engine working at max capacity and I was a steam engine that was almost out of steam.

I managed to recover enough to resume my pace, but I was ready to return home short of my originally targeted distance. In a way, I lucked out by running with lighter clothing than I thought I'd need. The persistent chill likely energized me through this run.

I'm getting a little tired of under performing on my runs. I realize that I have to put some hard work into my training to get to prior performance levels. I can't face intervals, fartleks and hard tempos these days. I'm hoping that the increasingly cooler weather will motivate me to do those things.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The fashion-challenged runner

Sorry girls, but I'm married
Today's run (street): 3.4 miles

The only thing that travels faster than light is communication between women. I know this sounds sexist, but hear me out. This morning I went out for my 3 miler and this is what I wore (see above). I know, I know, but my daughter wasn't there to give me a her look that combines horror, shame and pity, followed by a polite suggestion that I change into something less embarrassing. I dressed for the weather - the temperature was 45 degrees (39° with wind chill) and didn't give a thought about how I looked.

I felt good, even better than yesterday, so I felt I could push my pace a little harder. I ended up running a half a minute per mile faster than on Wednesday. A scan of my Garmin data showed I ran the same cadence, but my stride length today was .2 meters longer. Doesn't sound like much, but it's almost eight inches. Multiply that by 4,000 or so steps and you cover a lot more ground. Apparently it's 27 seconds per mile more.

I loved the run and being outside, except for when I ran directly into the wind. That was unpleasant, but at least it wasn't freezing like yesterday. I planned for only three miles, but my route took me beyond that. About two miles into my run I took a right and spotted a car that turned in after me on the same street. The car continued and parked in a driveway a few houses north. When I passed the house the driver was just getting out of her car and I saw that it was one of my wife's good friends. I said hello and continued on.

When I got home my wife told me that she heard I was spotted running in the neighborhood. It was then that I saw myself in the hallway mirror and realized that I was dressed like a complete dork. My wife's friend didn't mention my fashion choice, but she happens to be very polite. Oh well. It used to be a lot easier when I'd run at 4:00 AM. The only person who ever saw me was the the guy who drove around tossing the NY Times on driveways. You should see how he dresses.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Layering up for the Hangover

Too much?
Today's run (street): 3.4 miles

The old Scandinavian proverb, "There's no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing" is especially true for runners. This morning was so cold that I considered staying inside for my run. My wife was on the treadmill at the time so I would have needed to wait for her to finish. We had morning plans, so to save time I decided to brave the weather and dress "appropriately."

I added another upper layer just before heading outside. It's always tricky to find a balance that works. Races are hard, when you're by yourself and there's no place to keep warm before the race begins. I generally dress for my second mile. That can be uncomfortable unless I'm able to park close to the starting line and stay in my car until race time. Training runs, like today, are easier to manage because you can start as soon as you step outside.

That extra layer kept me comfortable from the beginning. I wasn't looking to run at race pace which would have put me into overheating territory. It wasn't until near the end that I really began to heat up. Flipping back my glove mittens to expose my fingers helped introduce enough cooling to counteract that heat. That got me through the remaining half mile.

Tomorrow is New Year's day and, for most people, it's a recovery day after staying up very late. But for me and my two other Musketeers (and possibly a fourth) we'll be gathering in the morning at Eisenhower Park for the LIRRC Hangover Fun Run. The distance is supposed to be 5 miles but we may be going for a few extra. Our speediest-keteer is looking to cover ten.

I've done the Hangover event for the past couple of years and both mornings were very cold. The temperature at tomorrow's 9:30 AM start is predicted to be 27°, with winds making it feel like 19°. Since this isn't a race, I'll probably error on the side of too many layers. Just as the Norwegians say, "Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Running clothes can have other lives

Today's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

Once upon a time, I would run outdoors in the coldest of weather, every day of the week. If the temperature was below 20 degrees, I'd add extra layers and (perhaps) a balaclava to protect my face. These days, I'm more apt to choose the treadmill for weekday runs. Weekends are a different story. I can go out a little later and spend more time preparing for the cold. I'll still run outdoors even with temperature reaches the low 20's, but I'm not sure about anything colder than that.

The thermometer on my car's display showed 10 degrees as I made my way to the train station this morning. New York City is barely warmer than that. Knowing that I'd need to endure the near-zero temperatures as I stood on the platform, (wind-chills were in the single digits) I turned to my running clothes for help.

A nice thing about running gear is that can be both lightweight and warm (or cold) depending on circumstance. This morning I substituted my usual cotton tee shirt for a long sleeve compression jersey to use as a base layer. I wore a pair of Wrightsock Coolmesh socks that are snug fitting under regular dress socks. I also wore my ASICs Serpent running windbreaker, that is surprisingly warm, between my shirt and suit jacket.

I was perfectly comfortable as I waited the eight minutes for the train to arrive, helped along by my heavy wool coat, scarf and earmuffs. The socks, base layer and jacket really did make a difference and I appreciated the fact that they added no bulk whatsoever. As I ran on the treadmill this morning in shorts and a light shirt, I dreaded the cold I'd soon be facing. Thanks to my running clothes, it all worked out just fine.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The key to keeping my cool

Brooks Rev-T
It was already 83 degrees at 5:00 AM this morning and I was glad that I usually rest on Mondays. On my way to the train I saw some runners out for their workouts and was surprised to see one guy in sweats and a woman running in a long sleeve tech top. It often puzzles me the way some people dress for their runs. I often see people running with what look like cotton sweatshirts even when the temperature is above 70 degrees. These people either don't sweat much or they think that wearing heavy layers will generate more heat and burn more calories. My preference is to wear as little as I can, even if it's very cold when I start. On 25 degree days I warm up sufficiently within ten minutes with only a long sleeved jersey, compression pants and a hat. Once temperatures get closer to 40 I switch to short sleeves and generally wear compression shorts. Any temperatures warmer than that will move me to regular running shorts.

I've come to appreciate the differences in wicking efficiency between the shirts I own. The Champion C9 shirts do a credible job but the quality isn't great and a few are starting to fray at the seams. I bought a Zoot shirt that should be great. It's constructed of ultralight material with fine mesh in areas that need extra ventilation. This shirt does a good job but, perhaps due to its lack of material mass, it gets overwhelmed fairly quickly. I also have an ATAYNE shirt that's made from 100% recycled material. It's great for spring and fall but a bit too heavy for humid summer days. I've had less success with shirts that have a tight weave and satin-like texture (e.g., Old Navy REC shirts and cheap tech tee's from races) than with shirts with more open weaves and a little more material. My three best shirts, by far, are my Nike (Sphere), Adidas ClimaCool 365 and Brooks Rev-T. These shirts meet my needs very well in almost any weather. I've learned that the cooler I run, the better I perform. That's why you won't see me in a sweatshirt, even when the mercury hits 20 degrees.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This past weekend was a busy combination of activities. Some I enjoyed (long runs, buying running clothes, swimming) and others I didn't enjoy at all (an all day reception on Saturday). In between that I spent a few hours organizing my workout storage area consolidating everything into a wooden wardrobe in the guest room. I placed my running sweats, compression tights, thermal wicking jerseys, winter head gear and gloves into their own section and created new spaces for summer jerseys, running shorts, socks, etc. Now I no longer have to bounce back and forth between the bedroom, cabinets and baskets to collect my gear for a morning workout. I'm hoping this better organized setup will shave off a couple of minutes of prep time for me in the morning. Every minute counts.

As I was doing this task it occurred to me that I still have drawers filled with clothes that no longer fit me. Over the past few weeks I'd transferred some suits into the donation bin but I still had dozens of tee shirts, polo shirts and dress shirts that now look huge on me. I've recently bought some new casual clothes so it was easy to let go of most of the tees. I drew the line at my MIT shirts since they are special and many still fit. There were some items that had me on the fence like long sleeve comfortable jerseys. I had to fight the urge to retain them but out they went. The purge continued with pants and shorts and by the end I must have had 50 lbs. of clothing ready for donation.

All the while I was throwing clothes into the donation basket I wondered if this was a fool's errand. What made me think I would continue to remain the size I am now? What if I gained 5 or 10 lbs? I decided that I had to press on as I fully intend to remain focused on fitness and running. I lost my weight quickly but I did that through a sustainable program of portion, sugar and (bad) fat reduction. I don't starve and running keeps my weight in balance. I could always buy bigger clothes if that became necessary but my dislike for shopping for (non-exercise related) clothing is so intense that it may be enough to keep my diet in check.

After all my dreading of the treadmill I did get on it this morning for a quick couple of miles. I started off at a comfortable pace and increased it periodically until finishing the last two minutes under an 8:00 pace. I ended up running 8:32/mi overall. It was fine but I miss the street. AG lent me a head lamp and reflector vest from her relay team supplies so I'm planning to try that as an occasional alternative to the weekday treadmill events.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Size matters

A week ago I had a meeting with some people who I have not seen in months As I greeted this group, the lead person asked me "Did you lose a lot of weight?" Today, I met wth an industry colleague and the first thing he said to me was "You look great, have you lost a lot of weight?" There are many other examples of this including a hit and run on the elevator today with a colleague from another floor who asked me the same thing.

I am happy that I've lost weight and it's always nice to hear that you look good (apparently I looked much worse 35 lbs. ago) but I still look forward to the day when I run into someone that I have not seen in a while and that's not their first reaction. For one thing, I hope to maintain this (healthy) weight level and as long as I continue my running I will. The other thing is about stabilizing my wardrobe. For the last 20 or so years I've worn the same size for suits. My waist size may have expanded a little but I've consistently worn size large jerseys since college. Even as my weight decreased I was convinced that I still needed to buy my shirts in large but recently I was given a medium sized running shirt that fit me very well. I then realized (despite the many times my wife tried to point this out) that clothes should fit you in a way that shows that you actually have a body shape. Over the last six months I've had some of my suits tailored to fit my form better. While that has allowed me to walk around without fear that my pants would fall down, my suit jackets still resembled the one David Byrne wore in the concert film "Stop Making Sense."

Last weekend I actually spent some time in clothing stores and bought two new suits, a bunch of (medium sized) t-shirts, some shorts that fit me and swim trunks that are far less likely to leave my body after diving in the pool than my current pairs. The downside to having correctly sized clothes is that more people are apt to notice my weight loss.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The clothes make the runner

If you know me or follow this blog then you are aware that I'm running in a 5K race tomorrow morning. I'm excited because racing is fun and every experience is different. This morning's temperature, despite the weatherman's claim of 56 degrees, is chilly. The intermittent rain is making the skies gray, dark and gloomy. I'm wondering if it's a sneak preview of tomorrow's weather.

As I stood on the platform this morning, waiting for the train, I imagined that I was standing at tomorrow's starting line. What would be the right clothing for those conditions? Would it be better to run without a rain jacket to stay cool? Would wearing a hat help keep the rain off my glasses? Are gloves a good idea? It's always hard to know. I've made some bad choices over the past months wearing too many layers and overheating or not protecting my face during runs in 12 degree temperatures. One thing I've learned is to error on the side of being too cold at the start because you're likely to get warmer as you run. But what's the threshold? I once got everything right except that I'd forgotten gloves and had miserably cold hands for miles. I'm definitely bringing gloves tomorrow.

As planned, I skipped my running this morning to give myself a day to rest up for the race. My leg feels good and hopefully that will continue. Later today I'll go the LI Marathon Health & Fitness Expo to check in and get my timing chip. That makes it real. Once the race is through I'll be half way through my goal of competing in at least four races in 2009. I'll also know if I chose the right gear for the race.

One other note: I was amused by a picture that my brother sent of my nephew reading my blog. Apparently he's a fan. I'd like to think that he likes the writing but I suspect it's more about the funny pictures.

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