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.

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