So many running clothes, so little time

Wanna buy some used Karhus?

Today’s run (street): 4.7 miles

For the first time since fall, I’ve had two consecutive runs wearing short sleeves and shorts. Yesterday’s temperature was moderate, but the humidity was anything but. Happily, today was cooler and far less humid. In both cases I was comfortable, helped along by overcast skies. I’m not looking forward to running in the summer heat and I hope I’ll have the discipline to get out at dawn most of the time.

Today’s run or Rorschach test? 

Now that we are transitioning to warmer weather, I’ve started to pay attention to my lighter gear. Over the past eight years, I’ve collected a lot of running clothes that I keep in a wooden wardrobe in the guest room.  I have at least three pairs of running tights, three pairs of track pants and a sizable collection of quarter zips, rain jackets and long sleeve running shirts.

My collection of short sleeve running shirts includes the first one I ever bought and every one after that. I also have a bunch of shirts I got from racing. Storage has extended to a dresser in my bedroom. I also have six pairs of running shorts and dozens of socks. Don’t get me started on shoes. There are pairs I use and those I just can’t throw out.

I swear I’m not a hoarder, but I find it hard to throw out perfectly good running clothes. Perfectly good may mean different things to different people. I don’t think rips and tears necessitate disposal. As long as you can wear it, and it doesn’t expose areas that need to be covered in public, I think a shirt should be kept in inventory.

In truth, I tend to wear the same gear, cycling through four or five pairs of shorts, the same number of shirts and about half a dozen pairs of socks. That changes a little when the seasons change and I put wool socks to the back of the drawer until fall. I know I should go through all this stuff and keep only those clothes and shoes that I actually use. I really should donate the undamaged shirts and recycle the old trainers. I’ll make it a project for next weekend unless I can find anything else to do.

Fashion backwards at Stillwell Woods

At the top of a rise

Today’s run (Stillwell Woods): 3.6 miles
Yesterday’s run (Street): 3.2 miles

Hot couture

This morning’s run was delayed due to a fashion-related protest by the female representatives at Emerging Runner Inc. I have long been in the camp that men aren’t meant to wear running tights without shorts. I’ve done it a few times during races, but that’s different. There are numerous shorts/tights posts in online forums and Runners World did a survey that favored the more modest combination. I wanted to run at Stillwell today and the weather seemed too cold for trail shorts and too warm for track pants. I decided to go with some lightweight running tights.

I knew I’d be running in the woods and thought that would be a situation where shorts-over-tights wouldn’t be necessary. After seeing my outfit, my wife and daughter insisted that I add shorts or lose the tights. I was fine with that except that it added an unnecessary layer. I don’t think it improved my look. When I got ready to leave, it felt much colder than the 42° that the local news station reported.

Once I adjusted my outfit to match the temperature, I headed over to Stillwell. There were baseball games going on, but the parking area near the trail head still had spots. As usual, there were a few mountain bikers preparing to ride and I zipped in before that happened.

I usually cut left toward the Black trail but decided to run the CLIMB bikeway trail instead. I soon encountered a couple of high school age girls coming from the other direction. About five minutes later I heard them coming up fast behind me. I sped up, mostly because that part of the trail was so narrow that passing would have been difficult. I managed to stay ahead of them until the trail split and I went right while the girls went left.

The downside to going right was that I had to scale a 50′ rise at a steep angle to get to the next section of trail. I’ve taken on that hill many times in the past and was grateful to be wearing my Brooks Cascadias because the surface is mostly sand and loose rocks. People say that you can run trails in road shoes, but this hill is nearly impossible to manage without good trail runners.

Today’s route

Once I passed that point, I was on my usual loop. The decision to wear shorts may have made me more presentable to the critters in the woods, but they did restrict my stride. After the initial encounter with those girls I saw few other runners or bikers today. I didn’t run well or get into a comfortable rhythm until I was close to finishing. However, I did enjoy the experience of running in the woods.

Later in the afternoon my son and I watched The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young on Netflix. The race involves running five 20 mile loops (that are actually closer to 26 miles each) in some of the most rugged terrain in North America. The total course has more than 54,000 feet of vertical climb (and vice versa). Many years there isn’t a single finisher. After seeing what those people went through, it’s hard to complain about the 50 foot challenge at Stillwell this morning, even though I was forced to wear shorts.

Short of time and business attire

 

Today’s run (street): 3.25 miles

This is going to be a bad weekend for running. I’ll be tied up all day tomorrow and throughout most of Sunday. I don’t think I’ll be able to fit in a workout during that time, but I’ll be doing a lot of walking. Any chance to pick up extra miles today were dashed by a tight work schedule that limited my running time.

Not running all week and then starting up again on Friday is a bad habit that I need to break. Instead of feeling well rested at the start, I usually feel out of shape. I don’t struggle through these runs because I typically keep my distance under four miles due to time. However, feeling out of shape, at least for the first half mile, usually does not motivate me to push my performance.

Just before I sprayed on sunscreen, my cellphone rang and I had to deal with a work problem. That put me further behind. By the time I left the house, I had only 40 minutes to complete my run and be back in time to shower before my call. Otherwise I’d have to do this call wearing my sweat soaked running shorts.

And that’s just what I did. I tried to imagine what the people on the other end would have thought if they could have seen me rather just hearing my voice. I love working from home! Although I had to wind myself up at the start, I ended up in a good place by the end. I even pushed past my comfort zone throughout the last mile and greatly improved my pace over the prior two miles.

It turned out to be a busy day so I was glad I got in a workout. I may end up doing a late afternoon run on Sunday if I feel up to it. That could be a nice way to end a very busy weekend.

Shorts success at the SOHO REI

Shorts but sweet

Today’s run (street): 3.6 miles

My office is usually a ghost town on the day before a holiday weekend. Acknowledging that, my company officially closes our office at 1:00 PM. I chose to work from home this morning instead of coming in for half a day. We begin “Summer Friday’s” next week, but this was the next best thing.

With no commute to worry about, I had more time to sleep in this morning. I’ve been feeling sleep debt lately so this additional rest was welcomed. After morning coffee and the news, I changed into my running gear and headed outside. The skies were cloudy, but free of rain. Humidity was high, but I figured that an outdoor run would be far preferable to the treadmill.

My route took me through the top of my neighborhood and then down to the bottom, and back. I ran well and ended up pacing a little better than my average. Since today was a week day, I encountered more cars than on a typical weekend morning. I spent more time than normal running on the sidewalk and was especially careful not to trip on misaligned concrete.

Although I didn’t wear them today, I finally found a pair of good running shorts with pockets. Yesterday, me and KWL went downtown to check out REI’s new location in SOHO that is having a big sale this week. It’s an impressively large store and a good place to waste a few hours if you have them. We didn’t, so we split up and headed for our respected areas of interest – cycling for him and running for me.

After considering options from Salomon, Patagonia, Mountain Hardware and REI brand, I bought a pair of Brooks Rogue Runner III’s. The shorts have a 7″ inseam, two side pockets, a small zipper pocket and an inside pouch. They’ll be great for either the street or the trails.

Quest for pockets

Is this too much to ask?

Yesterday afternoon we stopped by Sports Authority to pick up some needed items and I was hoping to find a good pair of running shorts with side pockets. It’s always puzzled me why men’s running pants and running shorts often lack pockets. Most have a small pouch, but that’s useless for anything bigger than a key or a credit card. I’d really like another pair with side pockets, so I can get quick access to my gel flask on longer runs.

The cynic in me thinks that pockets are excluded on running shorts to save manufacturing costs. I’m probably wrong about that. It’s more likely that these shorts are designed to be lightweight, and provide maximum freedom of movement. This is true of my two pair of Adidas shorts that I love, despite their lack of storage.

Sports Authority disappointed me because most of their athletic gear is either Nike or Under Armor and I have an irrational dislike for those brands. To their credit, both offered running shorts with pockets. Adidas had no running shorts with pockets, period. The only other brand was New Balance. They had pairs of shorts with pockets, but I’ve found that NB’s liners irritate me on longer runs.

I’m obviously too particular, as I could have bought what I wanted yesterday. Instead, I went online and looked at shorts from RaceReady, GoLight, Brooks, Mizuno, and others. There are also plenty of trail running shorts with side pockets out there, although most are pricey. I may take a trip downtown to REI or Paragon this week to see what they have. Or I can just give in and buy the Nikes.

Running shorts weather is great, except for one thing…

Avert your eyes!

Today’s workout (elliptical): 25 minutes

We’re seeing unseasonably warm weather this month, not that anyone is complaining. I’m sure we’ll pay for it in spades next year when we’re clearing snow off our driveways in April. This morning I wore running shorts during my elliptical session and it occured to me that the world may not be ready to look at the scars that remain from my big fall last October. I considered showing an uncensored picture, but it’s just too ugly to look at.

With running shorts, there’s no hiding this disturbing sight. I wouldn’t care so much if the damage looked rugged and cool. In my case, I have six splotches, ranging in size between a nickel and a quarter, that together, look like a bad case of leprosy. I had similarly ugly scarring on my other knee from a prior accident and it took years for the discoloring to fade.

It’s likely that I’ll run in shorts this weekend. I’m seriously considering wrapping that area with a light bandage when I’m out in public. My daughter winkingly proposed that I replace my running shorts with below-the-knee board shorts. Depending on how people react, I may consider that suggestion.