Dressing for Dummies

Last weekend I splurged on some new cold weather running gear at our local running store, Fleet Feet.  Chances are that you have a local Fleet Feet in your neighborhood.  You should check it out.  Despite the fantastic deal I received, it was painful when the bill was presented to me.

I took comfort in the fact that my running gear lasts for years and years.  My trusty running outfit, that is finally falling apart at the seams, was a hand-me-down from my father.  He died in 2000.  I’m still wearing it.

A few years ago, I purchased a bright, neon pink running jacket that is quite warm.  I complained to the sales associate at Fleet Feet last weekend, that I love my jacket, but that air gets up under the jacket and my belly turns lobster red.

Me in my pink jacket running the 2010 NYC Marathon

She remarked, “Oh, doesn’t it have the draw chord to cinch the jacket tighter?”  I immediately replied, in a convincing tone, “No.”  Meanwhile, my inner voice said, “Nooooo?  Wait, does it?”

I checked my jacket when I got home.  Yes, it has the draw chord.  I wore the jacket this week, when it was 20 degrees out. I discovered that it does indeed work much better when I’ve cinched the waist.  No more cold air on my skin.  I’ve only had the jacket 2 years or so.  With my track record (pun intended), I will have it at least another 8 years.

Last weekend, I bought a super, cool new jacket with thumb holes and hand warmers.  It’s black, but has hot pink reflective markings on it.  I’ve worn it on several runs this week and it was sufficiently warm.

I also bought a new pair of running tights.  They have compression bands that help support your muscles and ligaments in your lower legs and knees.

My legs do not look like this super skinny person's legs.

The sales associate made sure I knew that my knees were supposed to be lined up in the hole of the compression bands.  That I did know.  I’m not sure how.  I think I may have seen them modeled on a mannequin or in a running magazine.

Here is some more running paraphernalia that may be perplexing at first glance:

  • Yak Trax are coils that slip over your regular running shoes.  When I say the “slip over your shoes” I mean you wrestle them over your shoes, try them on, find they are uneven, adjust them and then try again.

They are designed to grip snow and ice covered roads or trails.  They work very well.  But once I’ve wrestled them onto a pair of shoes, that pair of shoes becomes my designated pair of Yak Trax shoes.  I don’t take them off until Spring.  Here in Buffalo, that’s about May or so.

The trick to putting Yak Trax on is to put them on before you put the shoes on your feet.  It’s much easier to bend the shoes to get the coils on without your bones getting in the way.

  • The Major is a fan of “Pit Zips”.  They are the zippers on jackets located under your arm pits.  The allow for heat to escape and for cool air to get in.  TM generally skis all winter with his “Pit Zips” unzipped.

Here’s the part about “Pit Zips” I haven’t figured out.  My “pit zips” are part of my pockets.  If my zips are open then everything falls out of my pockets.  I tend to carry a lot of stuff with my on my long runs.  I try to evenly distribute my loot, so I don’t feel lopsided.  This leads to my “pit zips” remaining zipped.

  • Here is a Running 101 tip:  Don’t run in cotton shirts.  Runners definitely need wicking material, not only in shirts, but also in pants, bras and socks.  This material is designed to wick moisture away from your skin to keep you feeling dry.  Some clothes even comes with odor fighting material in it.  I have a few shirts that definitely DON’T have that material in it.
  • Have you ever seen a hat with a little opening in the back?  I was excited to purchase one at the Disney Marathon Expo.  It is a hat designed for a person to fit his or her ponytail through the opening in the back.  Mine said, “Eat. Sleep. Run.”  I left it with my luggage in Haiti.  I hope someone is sporting it on those cool, crisp running days during Haiti’s winter months.

Me running the 2010 Disney Marathon

Actually, my hairdresser told me to cover all of my hair when I’m running outside.  My hair color tends to fade pretty quickly if I don’t.

  • Running arm warmers.  Never worn them.  If I did, I would never take them off.  No one wants to see my arms flapping about.

Um, here's an outfit choice.

  • On race day, runners often deal with chip timing.  Each runner is given a plastic chip and several zip ties to attach to their shoelaces.  It enables runners to receive accurate timing during a race.  Each chip has an identification number and as runners pass over mats throughout the race, the chips are activated.

Race packets come with instructions on how to attach race chips.  At the end of the race they are clipped off of your shoe and recycled.  I anticipate these will be outdated quite soon.  The NYC Marathon did not have chips this year.  The race bibs had some sort of chip already in them that was activated as you ran over the mats.

  • I’m not even getting into running bras.  I’m still in the Dark Ages with the ones I wear.  I’m definitely not sexy struggling out of those things after a long run.
  • I’ve never worn a head lamp.  I stick with reflective vests.  They are fairly dummy proof.  Look for the tag to tell you which side is up and which side is the back.
  • Have an injury on race day?  Try KT Tape.  I used it during the Disney Marathon.  I was lucky enough to have a former competitive gymnast in the group.  She taped me up.  The  instructions were found on a video link. That tells you that the average runner would be unable to follow the directions on a simple pamphlet.

Taped up and ready to go!

  • Check out RoadID.com. They are a “must have” for runners, bikers and walkers.  They come in bracelets and shoe straps.

Happy Trails, everyone!

–Running Girl

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Gail on January 30, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I’m still laughing at the disclaimer you placed under the picture of the leggings! lololol…

    Reply

  2. Posted by Tipseybelle on January 30, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    A friend just ran the half in Houston today. The race bib that has the number on it had the chip in it. I guess there all going to that. Who knew dressing for running could be so complicated.

    Reply

  3. Posted by lisa on January 30, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    We have to use yak trax when it ices or snows to get up our driveway! And, you have great legs!

    Reply

  4. Posted by annesailer on January 31, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    1) I think the odor-fighting wicking shirts are genius. The ones that don’t have it can only come out when running with true friends!

    2) Arm warmers. Wow. That’s one of those “now they’ve thought of everything” items. I’m with you, though, no one wants to see my arms. The arm flap is one thing I really didn’t expect with aging…

    3) My brother-in-law, Randy, is really into the whole barefoot running scene and has those wacky-looking shoe-sock thingies with individual toe definition. Apparently the injury rate goes way down with shoeless running. Have you tried it? So curious, am I.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Eden on January 31, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    My favorite was “um, here’s a fashion choice” 🙂 I admire your running in snow, and sleet and hail. I can’t imagine.

    Reply

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