Lessons learned from a habitual outdoor runner

Month: November 2018 Page 1 of 5

Break out the Clava

When the wind chill drops into the single digits, it’s time to cover up the face!

Screenshot from 2018-11-27 06-43-16

A 16 mph wind iClava_Blacks strong enough to hurt exposed skin at these temperatures.

After several experiments with various face coverings, I found these combo clava’s to do the job of letting me breathe while protecting against some pretty bitter weather. They are a lifesaver!

In these temps I can just put the hood up on my coat and wear a scarf around my neck for adequate comfort and protection. When the windchill drops into the negative double-digits I may need to add a hat over the clava.



December 2018 kicks

20181126_183753.jpgBlack Friday/Cyber Monday/Clearance Special


They were at a good price at my local store (Body N’ Sole), so I scooped them up.

My current pair is wearing out faster than anticipated with just over 500 miles (see below) on them, so when a good deal appears I had to grab them even if I won’t start wearing them for a few more weeks.


Running in high winds today



I adjusted the first mile through a residential area so I could reduce the wind and generate some internal heat. By the time I reached the open fields again, I was warm enough to head west into the belly of the beast! The windswept snow hitting my face was bitter, and the force of the wind was severe, but I told myself to go just one mile to another row of houses where the wind should be less. My gear was doing its job as the covered parts of my body were warm enough.

Run 2018-11-26The house-row runs north on the west side of the road about 1/2 of a mile, so I headed north with their protection. When I reached the end of the row and crossed the tracks, I faced the full frontal ferocity of that northwesterly wind. Quickly, I considered my options, alternatives, and other wind-breaks up ahead if I continued north. I had 1.5 miles to the next viable route and about a third of that had some windbreaks, onward to the north I went, and turning east was a notable and welcomed relief.

Besides the traffic and increasingly slick surface, the wind and snow were less of an issue heading east, and two miles later I was heading south and expecting it to get even more relaxed. I was wrong!

The wind was now behind, and on my right, it was more than just a little pushy. This was now like running down a hill for two full miles on a non-ideal surface. I thought to push my way into the wind was harsh and now this trying to stay upright was a new challenge for a different set of muscles. Yes, from the glutes down are feeling it.

The wind was gusting so strong that I had to consciously manage my right leg to keep it from banging into my left on the downstroke. It was a challenge, but sort of a fun one.


End of the Thanksgiving weekend 2018

It’s Sunday, and it’s back to work tomorrow. The Thanksgiving break was a nice time to binge on some Netflix (The Evolution of Us) and study a company structure (Perficient), but I was also able to maintain my running routine. The weather was mostly cooperative with some wintery stuff on the way the next few days.


As I crested a hill this morning, the view struck me that the miles of farmland and grid of roads as far as the eye could see were organized by generations before me, who had dedicated time and money into their construction.

While these roads have seen plenty of farm machinery and rural traffic, they have also been my running tracks for the past 6 years. The majority of the over 10,000 miles and the few thousand days have been on these country roads. I supposed, in a way, I have some of the best-maintained running routes around.

I am grateful for well-maintained county roads and limited traffic.

You don’t look like a runner




When you think of someone running outdoors, you may picture an image like the one above. Good looking slender people with nice looking clothes/gear and a smile on their face

Do you have to wear the cool gear to be a real runner?

While traveling last weekend, I had just returned to the hotel at the end of a 9-mile run in the snow (temp@24, w/c@15) and got some odd looks from two young runners just heading out. They were dressed in their “cool gear” and I… well… I’m a utilitarian (warm, dry, safe) and not all that interested in style over functionality.

I’m an early morning runner, and it’s usually dark when I start out, and it is lighter when I return. They looked at me with my flashlight, reflective vest, pepper spray, water bottle, running belt, hood was drawn up, an old pair of gloves, and insulated wind pants. Maybe they thought I was homeless?

I was about to tell them to be careful on the river path when they quickly exited toward the street for an in-town run. Good for them. It did make me wonder if I should get more of the fashionable gear.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried several of the well-known items from socks on up and have found some non-running gear that provided better results. When I speak of results, I mean warm torso, staying dry longer, no blisters or chaffing, comfortable after a few hours of movement, warm face, fingers, and toes, etc. Runner’s World has a neat little what-to-wear tool you may want to check out for some suggestions. This runner has posted her tips on a blog as well, very helpful.

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