Friday, November 27, 2015

Inclement weather gear test 1...of many, it seems

Among the so many things for which I am thankful, I got to try out my bad/wet/cold/snowy/rainy running gear yesterday. 

The first real day of cold and wet Kansas winter weather started Thanksgiving morning, at almost exactly the moment we left our house to walk Nugget.  Not 100 yards from home, the soft rain turned cold and fierce as westerlies gusted and chilled us to the bone.  The rest of our walk became a run and Nugget, Eskimo fur and all, willingly complied with an abbreviated walk.

We waited all day for the weather to improve so that we could run outside.  It didn't! 

Instead I drove to Weston for a quick 5K with the hope that the trees would shelter the running path from the rain and more forceful blusters.    I plan on running the Psychowyco in February, so why not try out my cold/wet weather plan starting now?  I figured. 

February weather around here could be anything, so I'd best prepare!

Well, my plan sucks.  My "rain jacket" is apparently only a wind breaker.  My running tights are seemingly water-absorbent, practically sponges!  Not so nice on a cold day.  Luckily I have enough flesh on my thighs that they rarely get cold.  My thermal Under Armor turtleneck overheated me.  The turtleneck part felt like a garrote, and I wished I'd worn instead a shirt with a zippered collar or even just a short sleeve shirt.  Cheapie knit drug-store throwaway gloves?  Dual purpose...if you want the dual purposes of keeping your fingers wet and extra cold.  My hat - fleece beanie (an old PT hat)  kept my hair dry, but I was too hot a mile in and taking it off left my scalp to suffer an ice-mop of hair.  I need something breathable yet water repellent.  So, limited luck yesterday.  I wish I'd worn my running sleeves, a short sleeve shirt, and an actual rain jacket (I don't have one).  The leg sponges at least prevented water from dripping into my shoes, but a more technical/evaporative fabric would be nice. 

If I'd been out longer than a 5K, my feet would've been soaked and frozen, but that's not usually bothersome to me.  On a side note, I do look forward to a new pair of trail shoes.  My old ones are torn and tread-bare and won't hold up much longer.  I want to branch completely away from the Mizuno family and see if I am happier in a Saucony trail shoe, just like I am for my daily runners (the Kinvara 6).  I committed to the Kinvara 6 even more and bought a second pair last week ($79.99 - a great discount!) while in DC.  I did go for a half size larger which I think is a better fit for thicker winter socks.  I am exceptionally pleased so far.

Anyway, thank you Kansas for the upcoming opportunities to try out winter running gear over and over again!

I retuned home from Weston a soggy chilled mess and prepared for our Thanksgiving dinner, planned at a friend's home.  D does not involve himself in the kitchen much so he snuggled up to finish The Man in the High Castle and I made a walnut cranberry pumpkin seed salad, which seems so insufficient, and so to compensate we brought lots of wine.  And a hostess gift of our halibut, sure, it's not customary, but it is darn well received! 

I hate when a dinner party host says to "bring nothing but your appetite!" because then I am left to scramble and demonstrate not only my lack of creativity but also precisely how poor a cook I am.  My friend is tres gourmet and I ogled the Viking appliances as I helped her/got in the way in the kitchen.  This was our first gluten-free Thanksgiving experience and it was awesome!  It doesn't hurt that my friend is an amazing chef who's been dealing with true celiac for years, but I could not tell that any of the items were gluten-free and we ate too much of everything, exactly as one is supposed to do.

Today it's even colder and the overnight freezing rain sealed our cars, steps, porch in a slick glaze.  Nugget slipped down the back staircase as she scurried out for her morning pee-pee, no worse for the tumble, but we don't plan on going many places today just in case the roads stay icy.  Well, we rarely venture out on Black Friday anyway.

I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving and is ready for winter running season with at least a little more luck/preparation than I! :)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Wyco Lake Park Trail Run: Veteran's Day Fantastic 4 Miler

Poppies for remembrance!  Allow me to remember citing the source, here
 It's that most beautiful time of the year - fall- when mornings in east Kansas are chilly but full of sun and skies still baby blue.  There was a crunchy frost on the grass (and windshield!) this morning when D and I left home for the Trailnerds' Veteran's Day Fantastic 4-miler at Wyandotte County Lake Park.

Here we go!
 We've run with this troupe before at the saucy Mrs Robinson Romp 10K in March.  Today the Trailnerds again held a fabulous event.  The part we liked best is how the race is fuss-free and still so organized.  Registration is a breeze, the course is well-marked, the participants (human and canine) well-mannered, and the spectators full of cheer AND cowbell.  I like that these trail races are intended for runners of all abilities and ages:  young kids, older kids, middle-aged kids, and some kids who might even be members of the AARP.

The special event today was Veteran's (and public servants) Day.  For any EMS, police, fire department, current/former military, the race was FREE!  For all others, just $15!

To me the very spirit of America is that of intrepid volunteerism, which our public servants live out each day, no matter the austerity or dire nature of the situation.

Why not toast to them and those we remember with a 4-mile run?

Today's course started in the trails of the northeast corner of the Wyandotte County Lake, following the curves and the hills surrounding the reservoir.  Though the park is just one hill from I-435, it feels a quiet and peaceful world away.

View of the trail - from across the lake

View down the spillway
 D and I are same-day registration kind of people.  We arrived about 3 minutes before the start (still up for debate is who's to blame for our late departure...hint: it's not me) but we had just enough time to register and sprint to the start line.

The one thing I don't like about running (or riding) on hilly single-track is getting stuck behind a long line of runners.  It's a dicey maneuver to pass people (no matter how much verbal warning you provide) and I tripped a few times, losing footing on the shaky, slick, muddy hillsides, amid roots and rocks of all sizes.  Fallen leaves and dappled sunshine further obscured a clear view of the footpath, so I was glad I wore my old trail shoes.  Oh woe is me, to run on a perfect day in a beautiful place....

Immediately after taking this picture, D asked if I wanted my thighs in the frame....(????)
I guess he'll let me know how comfortable the couch is in the morning
Just like last time, we eagerly anticipate the race photos.  D likes to do silly poses and mostly I wonder, "there was a race photographer?  He didn't capture my snot rocket, did he?"

Many thanks to the Trailnerds volunteers, again part of why America is just so great.