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. Perhaps...eh.....I 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.