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Decked Out Like a Commando (With KungFu Grip)

A couple of years ago I was looking at one of the running “how to” books.  I think it was one of Amby Burfoot’s books.  I had not run in about 13 years and was just wondering what it took to get back into it.  Either way, of all of the advice and anecdotes about running I remembered one of the contrasts between running and other sports.  The gear for running was probably the most minimum.  All you needed was a decent pair of socks and a good pair of shoes.  Of course some chlothing was nessecary but that is the true for most sports.  Except for … well lets not dwell.  Other sports have pads, or balls, or apparati to use.  Running has shoes and I have seen some people go without that.

When I was running cross country and track in high school I discovered the comfort of the running shorts.  They supported everything and they breathed.  Naturally they became more like undergarments for me and I already had a pair or four that fit my over sized behind when I decided to run again.  Those are always nice but not nessecary.  I could run very well with nothing more than my shoes (Pearl Izumi’s) a pair of running shorts and a t-shirt.  But Amby and the rest of them forgot one thing.  We runners are suckers and will not just stop at the basics. 

This morning I was getting ready to start my training for the Flying Pig Marathon on May 4th.  I am 15 weeks out and it was time to start off with a good 10k run.  Do you rmath.  April (4.5) weeks, March (4.5) weeks, February(4.2) weeks.  February has 29 days.  I get an extra day to prepare.  😛  It is middle of January and a cold front hit northeast Ohio about 3 months ago.   Any how, I was getting myself ready and it was like a montage for the A-team.  Sure there was no welding of imposible vehicles for making the plan come together but I was pulling on this and tieing this down and attaching that and eventually Iwas able to get out of the door to run.  What is that I actually need to go run.  I thought about this and for the most part there is a minimum.  But I had to really think about what I go through to get me out there.  Especially, in the winter. 

Lets start with the basics because that is all I was supposed to need.  I had my Pearl Izumi Synchro Guides on which I am proud to say I have put 237 miles on as of today.   The socks were some blister preventing wicking socks i picked up a fleet feet.  If I hadn’t I am afraid I would have run out of skin on my feet from all of the blisters.  My nike running shorts.  Oh my running shorts.  I was at the Prime Outlet Mall north of Pittsburgh many years ago and found these real nice pair of running shorts on clearance for $4.99 a pair.  I got three pair thinking that would do me just fine.  They have this pocket in the back middle that fits just perfect for my MP3 player (more on that later).  These shorts are absolutely comfortable and show off my awesome legs.  Which they are.  They get more defined everyday.  I should be allowed to wear shorts to work so everybody can observer the greatness of my legs.  🙂  Since that day I have been in pursuit of these shorts but it has been in vain.  I know that they will not last forever but I just can’t stop wearing them.  And the last basic is my shirt.  I run races for the free shirts.  Therefore, I run in race shirts.  Now every body that sees me running will know that I ran in a race.  If they see me again they will see that I ran in more than one race.  Oh the shirts.  My collection grows and the shelf in my closet sags. 

So much for the basics.  Now it is winter and if I were to stick to that then I would have been a popsicle.  I had my running pants on which are water repelant with the zippers at the bottom of the legs for better removal with shoes on.  They have pockets and a couple of insulating/wicking layers.  I move upwards to my overshirt.  Today it was a Nike dark blue insulative shirt with a draw string at the bottom.  I don’t quite know what it is there for but I came up with something.  Again, wait for it.  Now back down to my hands.  I have seen all of these gloves on the market for running and I am sure they work my friends that have them say they are fantastic.  I prefer my clothe gardening gloves.  They keep my hands warm.  I paid about $5 for 5 pair so when my hands get hot and I have to take them off and I lose one or both I am not that upset about it.  A big plus is that with them being all cloth I can use the entire glove to wipe my nose in the cold or the sweat in the heat (and the cold). 

Back to the top.  I have become obsessed with bennie style caps while running.  I have several that are open knit for the warmer weather and others that are more solid and one that are designed to keep me warm.  I cannot go out without one.  I have been so obsessed that I usually pack two just to make sure I have one when I run.  The thing acts like a sweat band and keeps my head warm and dry when I am in need of it. 

Now the peice that goes from the top to the bottom.  Or at least to the top of my bottom.  If you remember I have these fantastic shorts that have a pocket in the back middle.  Well, I strinh my ear bud wire down my back, inside my shirt to that pocket where my MP3 player is waiting.  I usually have some real fast rock or alternative going.  There are exceptions like the Superman theme, and Herb Alpert.  For the record, Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley may be a great song but it is terrrible to run to.  There have been some other stinkers but for the most part I have endured the bad selections of my playlists because I know some rocking jam is coming up next.  The odds of two songs in a row that “doth sucketh” are like the odds that I could cut two aces out of deck of cards consecutively. 

I had notice that many running clothes were dark in color and not very reflective.  It seems odd since we are encouraged to run early in the morning or in the evening.  I wake up arround 5AM to go running during the week and in the winter I have at least 2 and a half hours of darkness left.  In the summer it is not so bad.  The light is early and plentiful.  Since I run on the streets to avoid the dangers of the sidewalk (for those of you in Cleveland you know what I am talking about) I can be almost invisible to oncoming trafic.  I have looked for more brightly colored running apparel but most is just black or gray with a minimal reflective stripe down it.  Maybe the apparel companies have decided that the site of a Dayglo dressed runner motivating down the street at O dark Thirty may disturb the roaming wildlife so much that the taxpayers would have to provide for therapy.  Either way, I invested in some attachable lights that flash and could be mistaken for airport taxi way lights.  Attachable is a phrase used loosely.  They state attached for approximately a quarter mile.  This is where that Nike over shirt comes in with the draw string.  I attach the light to the draws string and bring in the slide.  It worked real well till this morning.  I will miss that light.  It was purple.  The good news is that I invested in a Road ID wrist light.  That thing is real bright and is more like a red head light.  Then there is the bright yellow reflective ankle wrap.  I love fluoresent colors.  

The wrist light reminds me of new addition to my gear.  My Road ID.  It has my name and emergency contact info.  I have no intention of getting hurt or something happening to me but in the event that it does my Emergency information is available for the first repsonders.  I really recommend it  The Road ID.

Count it all up.  I am not even including my actual ID, a dollar or two, a water source, gels, and other fuel, mole skin on my feet and keys for locker, car, or house.  If there were a combat in running form I think I am geared up for it.  


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