When you live in Freezingtown, USA (also known as Boston), running outdoors takes on a whole new chilly, windy, frostbitery dimension – one I was quite unprepared for in the apparel department.
Apparently, I needed fancy new tights.
We’re definitely not talking your average, everyday gym leggings here. The stretchy marvels that were delivered to my abode yesterday, made by CW-X (the company also does compression socks – which still give me the fear), are from another universe™. They insulate, you see, with “WarmStretch™ temperature-regulation fabric to maintain a constant comfortable surface temperature in a variety of conditions – perfect for the cold weather athlete” (um, that’s me!) – according to the CW-X website. They also feature Support Web™, which uses “kinesiology-taping technology to create an exoskeletal support system” (well, I do need all the support I can get).
The thing is, these tights are just so full of awesome, there’s no way I can possibly live up to them. (Did I mention that mine are called Insulator Expert Tights? That’s right, EXPERT.) I put them on and immediately feel like a fraud. They’re for marathon runners for whom a 5K is a casual jog around the block; not for me, who breaks into a lavish sweat after half a mile and still hasn’t managed to go 5K without walking.
They scream hard core where I scream: “Where’s the couch?”
Now that I am an experienced veteran of eight 5Ks (!), I have come to realize that there are certain things that put the absolute fear into me (I guess that’s a point I could make about life too; but this is a blog about running).
So, herewith the first in an occasional series.
I never thought I’d spend too much – OK, any – time thinking about compression socks. I mean, who would? But the mere sight of these at a race is almost enough to make me run in the other direction. Unusually fast.
I don’t know whether it’s because their presence screams “I’m so hard core, you may as well go home” or they give me flashbacks to my childhood and the disturbing tendency of Aussie men to team knee socks with shorts, but either way they instill in me unprecedented levels of The Fear.
You'll never need another safety pin again.
This sport is a steep learning curve. (“Steep” being the operative word.) I know I’ll soon have to address my technique – such as it is – but for now I am quite happy to plod along in my inelegant fashion, sights set on completing a 5K run by actually running it.
In the meantime, I have come to understand the following:
1. You will wind up with many, many safety pins. You know how there’s never a safety pin around when you need one? This won’t be a problem anymore. In fact, we have accumulated so many of these bib attachers that we actively try to remember to bring our own to the next race (but inevitably forget).
Hard-core running shoes.
Prior to my first three runs, my three-year-old sneakers hadn’t seen much outdoor action. They were mostly treadmill pounders.
But after my third 5K, hello hole!
Rather than being upset that my big toe had become overly familiar with my shoe so soon (perhaps an unflattering commentary on my running style; I’ll investigate more on that later), I was happy. My first sporting apparel mishap!
I feel so hard core.
1. Carrying a bottle of water is fine, but make sure the lid is back on tight after you take a swig. Otherwise you may end up with water down the front of your shorts that looks vaguely suspicious and takes the entire run to dry.
2. Leave your rings at home. Your fingers will swell and you won’t be able to get them off for the rest of the day. Plus, it hurts.