LooseCrew-JeffO: Dark, Winter Running


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dark, Winter Running

Many people have asked me about Winter running. Questions are usually about either lighting or clothing.
So here's a photo of one option I use.
This is a cheap $3 pair of fleece gloves with a pair of bike gloves over, and my Petzl Zipka headlamp trapped within the bike glove strap. I do this without the fleece for lighting during warm months, but the cord tends to cut into my skin.
Without the glove strapped around, the headlamp will flop around uncontrollably.

Around my waist is another Petzl headlamp with the head strap replaced by a reflective cinch strap I bought from REI. So the belt reflects very brightly while providing a 2nd source of light.

To keep my ears warm, I use a Gore-tex/micro-fleece Elmer Fudd cap (Mountain Hardwear) with a cap over it. My Black Diamond headlamp goes over that.

I also have an $18 plastic Brinkman that uses zenons and two 3-volt lithium batteries. Zenon bulbs gobble up batteries, and each one costs about $7, but this palm-sized flashlight is freakin' bright! I use it on rare occasions when I want to see something farther away that my softer L.E.D.'s can't handle.

Except for the lithiums in my Brinkman, all the other batteries are AAA NiMH.

One of my peeves with running garb manufacturers is that they skimp on reflective hi-lights. Reflective thread and copious reflective logos, stripes, spots, etc. should be the norm. I have some new stretch pants that use reflective thread. It's not real reflective, but better than matte-black.
Reflective stuff not only helps keep you out of trouble, if you were to get into trouble anyway, and be far from help such that there was a search & rescue, if you were wearing tons of reflective stuff, you'd shine back like a spotlight if a helicopter searchlight pointed your way. And that would be true from more than a mile away. From a helicopter, it's virtually impossible to recognize anything as small as a human, even if flying directly over you and looking right at you. There's four reasons to launch helicopters at night. One is to use infrared, another is to look for fires, and the victim might shine a flashlight or, even if the victim is unconsious, reflective clothing will reflect back. Even without a searchlight, reflective clothing will shine back at an infrared source. the average runner won't care about this, but ultra runners might be miles from civilization.
I like to wear a tight UnderArmor top and a long-sleeve tek-shirt over that. My fave shirts are from the Salida Marathon and the Goblin Valley Ultra, both from 2006.
I usually have my fleece vest on. The nice thing about a vest is, when zipped, they provide great warmth for your core, but unzipped it's so airy it's like you don't even have it on. So it provides a great variation of comfort.
I like vests snug. I wear size large shirts, but my vest is size medium. It's not too tight, but there's absolutely no room left over. This is a great 1st layer under coats. When mountaineering, I put a thick down coat over the vest, and a Mountain Hardwear Gore-tex parka over the down.

By necessity, in the past I've been a penny-pincher. I've always "lived within my means" so I know about tight budgets. I'm not going to bullshit you into thinking all this stuff is "affordable". It all depends on your income, your obligations, and if enough is left over for luxuries like hi-tech running gear. I'm sporting nearly $200 worth of lighting. The tek-shirts come from races, but the UnderArmor and spandex pants are outrageous and practically never go on sale.

My foot seems to have weathered the Thursday run, but I really did push it to the max. I was flirting with over-doing it. I just now sprinted across the street to avoid traffic. If I had actually over-done it, there would've been some sharp pain during the sprint, but there wasn't. Whew! But that doesn't mean I don't feel some discomfort.


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