Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Layers and layers

I hit the road again yesterday.  That's right: I ran again.  It's been way too long, at least two months since I did anything resembling a regular workout.  I decided it's time to stop being afraid of the cold and just go out there and try.  Yesterday was as good a day as any, as we're having record lows and it was still only about 40 degrees by 3:00 in the afternoon.  It was only two miles, but it was two miles more than I ran last month so I felt pretty good about it.  I got a bee in my bonnet about getting healthy again so I decided to go back to watching what I eat and trying to run a regular schedule.

I will NOT be a New Year's Resolution cliche.  I will just be a mid-December cliche.

Now for running in the cold weather, one should probably have some heavy-duty running gear.  I don't have any.  The only gear I bought was back in June and July when it was uncomfortable to run in anything more than a tank and booty shorts.  Cut to me in December with zero dollars and zero cents.  My cold weather gear is basically pieced together from warm weather stuff and dance clothes.  I ALMOST ran in a unitard.  Under my clothes, mind you, but a UNITARD.  I hope you got a good laugh out of that.  I don't really have any tech shirts or compression tights so I almost made the decision to go with whatever spandex was on hand.  While we're on the subject, how many of you even have spandex on hand?  I'm guessing not many.

Anway, what I decided to go with was this, with importance being placed on synthetic, wicking fabric on the inside and wind-breaking material on the outside. Layers:

1)  my regular microfiber undergarments (ha!  what a silly word)--supportive Target sports bra and non-chafing VS chonies--just for the record, I'm not one of those runners who can run commando.  Why is that like, a thing?  I pass on commando, every time.  Someday I'm going to write a book on underwear.  I swear.  No lie--I have so much to say on the subject.  Anyway...

2) lycra running capris

3) tech tank (the blue one I wore for my half marathon in October)

4) baggy poly warm up pants from my dance company (lined)

5) fleece hooded Old Navy sweatshirt

6) polyester beanie

7) my "hobo gloves"--cheapie gloves with the fingers cut off so I can pick things up and work my iPhone

8) synthetic running socks

9) running shoes

That felt like so much clothing to me!  It was sunny out, but freezing.  My nose, fingertips, and lower legs felt cold most of the time.  I warmed up after about a mile, which was a shame since I was only doing two yesterday.  Tomorrow I'm supposed to run 5, so we'll see how it goes.  I was much more comfortable after I reached the warm up point, but I was surprised at how long it took me to get there.

My upper arms were also cold under my sweatshirt, though I felt like the fleece kept my heat in pretty well.  I think next time if I can't find a tech shirt that's long sleeved, I should at least throw something on over the tank.  I feel like Phil Davis in White Christmas when Bob Wallace asks him where he's got the electric blanket and he says with a smile, "under the underwear!"  Gawrsh, I love that movie.  Love it even more when Bob Wallace says "oh, you'll get a nice tan!"  Ha.

Performance on the run was as expected: Lameski.  It's okay, though.  My time wasn't bad even though I took a crapload of walk breaks.  I can tell once again that it's my breathing that takes longer to catch up after a break in running.  The cold air didn't help with that either; there was definitely some notable pain in the back of my throat.  It will take me a while to conquer that feeling.  Yeck.

Tonight is my first solo night with the kiddos while E works.  Funny how that used to be the norm.  I've got plans to cook a chicken.  (I know, again?) and I'm hoping to time it right so it's done when he's done.  I don't think I mentioned this, but last week I cooked the America's Test Kitchen Simple Roast Chicken recipe and it's TO DIE FOR.  Score one more for what appears to be the best cookbook on the face of planet earth.  I find myself going to that book to learn about how to make most things, and the recipes therein are always delicious.  This roast chicken recipe starts off low and slow (a la Chicken Nerm, my father) but then cooks really hot at the end so it gets nice and crispy on the outside.  I'm not even a fan of chicken skin and I was salivating for it last time.  I'll try to take pics so I can blog it.  I'm also still a firm believer in the once-a-week roast chicken so I can make other recipes the rest of the week. Trader Joes had them on sale last night so this one only cost me about $5.90.  Deal.

Hobo gloves, in action.

I did the whole layer thing for school today too--tights and knee-high soccer socks under my jeans, running tank and cami under my wool turtleneck... scarf, wool coat, hobo gloves.  I was still cold.  My classroom heater is not fixed like I thought it was, and was back to blowing cool air at me for about half the day.  Misery, thy name is public education.  Okay, that one was dumb.  Time to move on from the plays on Hamlet.  The plays the thing!  Ugh.  I've got it on the brain.  I really need Christmas break to come so I can think like a normal person again.


  1. Running in the cold is rough but when I ran cross country competitively the most we layered was tights/crops and a long sleeve synthetic.

    I always wore an ear band because my ears will scream in pain from all the cold air rushing by them. The best piece I've ever bought for running/cold weather was an icebreaker baselayer in the 200 weight. They are expensive so it helps to watch sites like 6pm.com or sierratradingpost.com for super bargains.

    I wish I had discovered wool socks when I ran competitively. Smartwool socks will change your life especially as a runner. I hate the way cotton and synthetic socks make my feet feel clammy in cold weather. Wool socks keep your feet dry and just the right temperature.

    Do you have a vest of any kind? If you put on your undergarments, then your tank, your crops, shorts and then a long sleeve shirt topped by a vest might be a good combo. I predict you will want a little less layering all over for 5+ miles. Vests are great because they keep your core warm but if you get hot you can unzip it with one hand. No stopping required. :-)

    Good luck!

  2. America's Test Kitchen is so awesome. Everything I make from their recipes turns out the first time. Colby and Chrissy are the ones that got me hooked on it. Their baking book is great too.

  3. I'm in the same situation. I really, really need to get a moisture wicking shirt...I've been wearing long sleeve cotton shirts under a fleece and the sweatiness is unbearable!

  4. If there's a Ross or Marshall's near you, try looking in their athletic/sport wear sections. It's kind of a crapshoot, but I've gotten some decent cold-weather shirts at those stores for pretty significant discounts.

  5. If it makes you feel better- I have never run two miles in my life. Don't get me wrong- I exercise and stuff but running- not for me. My hubby has definitely taught me the art of layering clothing for cold weather. (I used to think if you had a sweater and a coat that was as good as you could do. Not so.) Good for you for staying healthy- and somewhat warm. 40 degrees is not fun! (It was a high of 25 here today...sigh)

  6. Nice gloves, nice to know I'm not the only one who works in fingerless gloves! ;-)

  7. I gave in a few years back and bought high tech cold weather running gear (heck I lived in MI, there was no other option). I got some awesome Pearl Izumi windproof running pants that look slightly ridiculous but are comfortable and warm, a Brooks long sleeve and a Moving Comfort long sleeve, a headband, and a windbreaker. I think when it was all added up that it was probably betw. $350 and $400 worth of running gear. It has held up and lasted really well, because it is only used for party of the year, so it was def. worth the investment.
    I hate that running gear is so pricey : (
    Anywho, great job on going out for a run in the cold, I've been hitting the treadmill, but I'll have to get used to it at some point.
    Have a great Thursday!

  8. Wow, seven whole comments! Wahoo!

    @BakerGirl--E has a vest and I was going to borrow it but I can't find it. I tried the layers again and I did okay, but I'm hoping I can spend some on gear after Xmas! I have no idea when it comes to wool but I will check that out too.

    @ML Love it! I seriously have not made anything bad out of that book yet! I feel like it makes me a smarter cook. :)

    @LawGirl I hear ya! I don't have the money to spend before Xmas, but maybe soon!

    @Allison I'd heard that--those two or TJ Maxx. Maybe after Christmas. Until then I'm saving to spend on the kids.

    @Amy It's not as bad as you think. It was really hard for me to start and now I love it! It's one of my favorite things in the whole world, and it's cheap cheap cheap exercise. :) I'm still a pretty new runner but I'm totally hooked.

    @Katherine Hobos unite!

    @Julia I totally believe you. I know I need to invest. Running is cheap but it can get expensive as you expand. I'm so jealous of your gym access! I'm sure I'll get it worked out soon. :)

    Yay for comments!