In praise of rain gear

I’ll post my week’s basebuilding report shortly. But for now I wanted to extol the virtues of having proper rain gear. Today I did a 17 miler in foul weather. Freezing rain was coating the ground when I started. That quickly shifted to plain old rain, hitting me at a 45 degree angle due to high winds.

I’ve got full body armor, but I didn’t wear all of it today. I needed to run the last two miles fast and my Goretex shoes are real clodhoppers. I also couldn’t deal with the Goretex pants. Not only do they flap around, but I sweat like crazy in them (they are not really as breathable as the marketing would have you believe).

But I did wear two key pieces of clothing for wet weather: my waterproof Asics baseball cap and a bicycling jacket that I picked up last year from, of all places, L.L. Bean. The cap is great. The jacket is okay, but not great for very long runs. That’s because it doesn’t breathe that well. I end up drenched in sweat, which soaks through the base- and mid-layers, which then leads to feeling like I’m on the verge of hypothermia. That’s actually not a bad thing, since it forces me to run faster in order to keep from freezing to death!

The whole run was an ongoing experiment in flexibility and improvisation. I knew that a few of the roads I normally run on would be too dangerous, so I drove to the halfway point and ran north (fewer cars) to the Valhalla Dam. But the footing was really treacherous. So I just did a 10 mile out and back, then took to the streets of Scarsdale, where the layer of sleet and slush had melted somewhat. I also figured that if I did have any sort of problem (slipping and breaking something, getting too cold), I always had the option of knocking on someone’s door for help, whereas I’d be in the middle of nowhere had I headed north again.

I guess it’s time to set up the treadmill again.

I didn’t realize how soaked I was until I got back to the car: waterlogged shoes and socks, soaking tights and nearly-saturated gloves. I wish someone would invent tights and shoes that can cope with wet weather without weighing down the wearer. On the other hand, when I think about what people had to train in just a few decades ago — cotton and leather — I’m grateful that technical fabrics have come as far as they have.

Blondie

For all who have been curious, I’ve posted a photo (highly stylized) of me with my new blonde locks on the About page.

Mormons, pole dancing, and the Olympics. What you need to know.

I suppose if they can let in the people who twirl ribbons on sticks, they can let these people in too.

Childhood obesity PSA

Saw this great little PSA from the creative minds at ACT this morning on Euronews.

Legally blonde

About two months ago I decided to cut all my hair off. Well, not all of it. But it’s pretty short. But still very feminine. I would describe it as pixie-ish.

That apparently set off some sort of chain reaction in my brain because I then began flirting with the idea of going blonde. I was a towhead for the first few years of my life, so I figured I had the right coloring to start with to not end up looking like a freak.

Yesterday I took the plunge. Having never had my hair colored, it was a real education. Over the course of three hours, I had bleach spread on my head in two separate sessions, some heat lamp time, non-culinary use of Saran Wrap, then the spreading of blonde dye color, and the renewal of my pixie haircut, with multiple washings inbetween. I caused quite a stir, since I’m known at the salon as a normally quiet, reserved person, and my hair is — while not brunette — a subdued brown to start with. Such a radical departure ran counter to their expectations of my personality, it seems.

The intial bleaching revealed an interesting color — sort of an Edie Sedgwick/Annie Lennox white-blonde with buttery overtones. We debated keeping it that way, but ultimately decided it didn’t go with my warmer skin tone. So we went with a straw-colored blonde. It’s very light. So light that I’m practically Finnish. An interesting side effect is that my normally mushy-colored hazel eyes now look very green.

I’ll post a picture or two soon.

Track Tracks: Maria Bamford

I’d say I run with an MP3 player about half the time these days. Typically on longer runs when I’m not doing anything special that I need to pay attention to (like running faster intervals). I usually listen to music, but sometimes for a change I download a comedy album from Rhapsody To Go.

This week’s comedy album was Maria Bamford’s Burning Bridges Tour. And it is funny. So funny that I was occassionally laughing out loud while trying to appear normal and not lose my form. I hope passersby didn’t think I was laughing at them.

Trying to describe someone’s comedy act is…well, it’s impossible, really. So I won’t try. But, for some context, I first became aware of Bamford while watching a show about one of the Comedians of Comedy tours a few years back, which featured another favorite comedian, Patton Oswalt.

Today I’ll listen to her other album, How to WIN!.

“What’s it like to race a marathon?”

Specifically, the New York Marathon? This race report from Pascal Lauffer vividly describes the agony and the ecstacy.

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