Sunday, January 17, 2010

Windy, rainy, upper 30s

Temp: About 37, overcast
Wind: Gusts of 16 mph
Precip./Humidity: Raining/ high humidity
Terrain: Rolling to flat
Distance: Nearly 7 miles

What I Wore: Old running shoes; CW-X compression tights; Nike 3/4 zip dri-fit top; regular sports bra; light Pearl Izumi shell jacket; knit gloves; and a brimmed hat over a balaclava (new gear alert!)

Did It Work?: Mostly yes. I warmed up nicely by the first half mile and stayed comfortable until I stopped for water at the half-way point. As soon as I stopped, my wet clothes cooled off and within minutes I was chilled. My muscles tightened up but once I started running again, I was warm again within five minutes.  
This is VERY hard weather to dress for. It is warm enough that a wind- and water-proof shell might have been too much, but the wind and rain make it so you don't heat up completely. Despite wearing for a several light layers, a hat that kept water off my face and the balaclava, which covered my head (giving me a second layer at a key body-temp control point), ears and neck, I was barely warm during the last two, soggy miles.

Tip: If you have them, on wet days, wear old running shoes. Getting wet is hard on your shoes, so I choose to be rough on an older pair than my current favorites.

What the Balaclava?!: Today's weather sent me to the gear basket. I wanted to stay warm, but not as hot as I would have been in a knit hat (which also would have gotten really wet) and neck gaiter. Solution: the balaclava. It's like a thin, quick-drying hood that's been cut off of sweatshirt. It hugs the edges of your face, keeping out wind and water, but is light enough to fit under a hat or jacket collar. Plus, you can roll it up into a hat or down into a gaiter.
I don't know why it has such an odd name (it used to be known as a ski mask but I think those got a bad rap thanks to bank robbers), but it really is a great piece of cool-weather gear. Here's more about the balaclava: