Sunday, January 22, 2012

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful...

Because I am training for a Half Marathon on March 18th, I have had to start thinking more seriously about running outside. In the cold. The treadmill is all well and good for less than 6 miles or so, but beyond that point it gets really tedious and isn't necessarily the best for training. A consistent, flat treadmill surface isn't really realistic, nor is watching my main lady Ina whip up a little cheese platter and roasted chicken for her stylist and fish-monger who have just happened to stop by for a visit. Not that I don't love watching my best friend, the Barefoot Contessa, while I run, but I think it perhaps makes me lose a bit of focus. Because I'm more involved with her delightful Hamptons herb garden and her husband Jeffrey (to whom I gave a Splenda last week when I was having coffee with them at Le Pan Quidotien. Next to them. Near them. Whatever.) rather than the task at hand.

My best friends eating cookies together and laughing. Similarly to haw they shared a large cookie and laughed together when we hung out last week. I am obsessed with them. And they used my Splenda.

The main problem though, you see, is that the gym is warm and happy and TV-filled. And outside it is cold. Harumph.

I owned a few long sleeved shirts and running tights, but in these types of temperatures the garb just simply wasn't cutting it. I tried an outdoor run a few weeks ago using a million layers of what I had -- such as a normal windbreaker I use for adventure trekking -- but the clothes felt a little awkward and uncomfortable to cruise in. (In which to cruise? I hate ending sentences with a preposition).

So I went to Jack Rabbit (a.k.a. the Bottomless Pit of Awesome Running Gear Where Money Goes To Die) to get some advice and pick up a few pieces. They imparted some knowledge on me, so let me impart some knowledge on you as to how to build your cold-weather running wardrobe. You will need:

* Running tights. Sexy-ass running tights. I already had a pair which is great for 40-50 degrees, but I would recommend getting a second pair that's lined for when it is freezing or below. There are different degrees of lining depending on how cozy you want to get.

* Base layer.  This is basically a long underwear shirt to be worn tight to your skin. They have special material so you don't get sweaty and cold in a vicious cycle of discomfort and possible hypothermia.

* Second long-sleeved shirt. I would wear this if it is, like, legit cold. 20 or below maybe.

* Running windbreaker jacket. If it's above 20 I could do the base layer and just this, or put it above the TWO layers if it is colder. You get what I'm saying. What makes these jackets good is that it has good pockets and venting. Even if it's ridiculously cold, having the breathing ventilation is really necessary or else you get weirdly hot and cold and it is confusing for everyone involved.

* Hat or headband.

* Running gloves. I had normal cheap wool ones, but I got special running ones that are supposed to be better. I was already throwing money into the bottomless Jack Rabbit pit so, I thought, why not toss in another $20? I was makin' it RAIN up in there.

The last item you need is gumption. Or stupidity. Either or both of those I assume will get you through.

This stuff is, indeed, expensive. But worth it and truly necessary if you are going to be a bad-ass outdoor winter runner, which I do truly strive to be. I look at those people who run when it's really cold and I always think, "wow, they are freaking idiots." Because they could just go to the gym and watch some E! Kardashian marathon or something and not be so damn cold.

But then I think, wow, that's dedication. And they seem really cool. And in shape. I think we could be friends.

In fact, there was a Half in Central Park yesterday in the freaking snow that kind of blew my mind. The conditions were bad, and made me wand to throw up a little. But I do totally understand why these racing nutcases didn't just say "screw it" when they woke up that morning. They showed up early in the morning, in the cold, probably with a very, very small crowd cheering them on, and they ran. They ran because they trained and because they made a commitment to themselves that they wanted to complete no matter what. I totally get it, and I absolutely applaud them. Sam S., in particular, gets total kudos for completing her first Half in that nonsense. You're amazing, lady!

So just in case my March Half is equally as cold and horrid (let's hope not!) I am going to start to prepare now by maybe (maybe?) doing some regular outdoor runs. People say that once you get used to running in the cold, you actually start to love it. don't know...but now that I spent all this money at least I know I'll look gooooood doin' it!

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Post-Script: The author has worn the new tights exactly three times since purchase. These events were: To go to the grocery store, to bring Archie to the vet, and to get a bagel.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Who ARE You?

Hey there Gang! A Happy New Year to you!

So...2012, huh? A New Year is upon us, full with the promise of New Year's resolutions and the certain havoc the resolutions of others will wreak on your gym for the next two months.

2012 is going to be a big one. I have many dear friends getting married or having babies this year. Job success, new relationships, and fun vacations are all in the works. Ideally the Mayans are incorrect, and the world is not going to end and -- if not -- whatcha gonna do? And for me, RunMeriGRun comes back in full force for 2012.

I've stopped physical therapy and am now working on continuing to strengthen my feet and legs to help prevent future injury and to increase speed. I'm running pretty regularly now, but in a more cautious, careful way. I'm trying to stretch more and listen to my body better so that I don't push myself when it would be better to just stop. Just. Stop.

I'm signed up for two races so far in 2012. The first is the famous NYC Half on March 18th that will take runners on a course around Central Park and then through midtown Manhattan. Running through closed streets in Times Square seems awesome, and I couldn't be more excited. And the second I'm already signed up the big kahuna. The elusive Marathon. November 4, 2012. Eek. Let's cross that bridge when we come to it, shall we?

I have a lot to say about my injury-recovery process and then new ways in which I'm training and adjusting. I also feel like I have some quips of wisdom for newbie runners and for those considering getting into running and fitness. But let's not blow it all on the first post, right? Consider this your teaser for future entires to come. Kind of like in the news when the anchor says, "Are you about to die? More at 11 pm."

Today's entry focuses on the question I, personally, have been wondering for a while know. Who ARE you people that read this thing? From my unscientific research, my fans come from random sources and then come out of the woodworks at interesting occasions, such as Bridal Showers (as I just learned this past weekend.) Some are religious in their readership and get a lil' rowdy when I don't write (you know who you are). Others have to be somewhat forced into reading with nudging and prodding from me along the way. I have always suspected of a third super-secret crew who waits with baited breath for my every post and hangs on my every word but then pretends not to read my blog. And I suspect I am right.

Because I realized something. One need not be unscientific about this thing. Google FIGURES IT OUT FOR YOU. I know exactly who you are. And I am about to reveal to you the interesting -- and potentially disturbing -- readership statistics for runmerigrun in 2011. Let's begin.

My faithful readers, you have clicked on this blog not -- in fact -- dozens of times. Not even hundreds. No, no, you join thousand of fellow clickers (or, as it might be, one dude clicking thousands of times. Either way).

In case you want to catch up on a backlog or re-read some classic favorites, I'll recap my top three posts (in terms of number of readers) for you.

#3: On Saris, Violence to the Facial Area, and Sad Cookies
This was a nice little diddy about - well -- saris, violence to the face, and sad cookies. 103 of you agreed that it was delightful.

#2: 106 of you turned out for Lay Off Me I'm Starving, a comic look at my absurd eating habits and --in a way -- a tribute to the late and great Chris Farley.

#1: Wow. Just wow. It may come of no surprise to you that the WORLD FAMOUS The Devil Wears Lululemon Yoga Pants is numero uno. It may, however, shock the living daylights out of you that 1,671 others agreed. You heard me. One-thousand. Six-hundred. And Seventy. One. Word. Like, honestly? I'm famous. I don't want to toot my own horn, but that's actually a lie. I do want to toot. Because a lot of people like me. Let's keep 'em coming, people! I smell a book deal!

In total, there have been just over 4,000 clicks. Ridiculous. And honestly, if you are just one dude clicking 4,000+ times? I applaud you, sir. :::Slow Clap::::

But where are you? Oh, sure 3,934 clicks came from the United States of America. That's fine and good. But there are some others that are sneaking in just like they're sneaking in over our borders. (J/K, I love immigrants). 123 Canadian clicks have graced the hallowed pages of this blog. 46 clicks from Australia, which I can only assume is a well-read koala. 46 Brits also have clicked, as have 38 from South Korea (Diane, you sneaky bastard...) Other country clicks include Germany, Spain, France, Brazil and Malta.

Wait, what? Malta?

You heard me. Malta. 6 clicks. From Malta.

So whoever you are, my Maltan (Maltan? Is that right?) friend. I wish you a good day and thank you for your continued readership.

Google also gives you info on what platform you have read from (attached is a handy chart Google provides if you are interested in the platform source...which I am sure you are.)
Anyways, if you get nothing out of this blog, I do hope you will take with you one very important fact:

I am very popular. In Malta.

Happy beginning of 2012, and I look forward to sharing my year of randomness with you and at least 46 British people.


P.S. I had to share it...