Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Night is Dark and Full of El Niño

At different points in my life I've taken planned or unplanned breaks from running, and it still never fails to shock me how quickly your body gets un-used to running. In July I did three 20+ mile runs in four weeks and never felt the least bit sore; 4.5 months later, my first three-miler without walk breaks post-stress fracture left me so sore the day after that I was actually laughing about it.

The good part is that because I've kept up my cardio on the elliptical reasonably well, running doesn't feel hard in that way. (I was actually a little surprised to see that my nice, easy, comfortable pace has been 15-30 seconds faster per mile than it was in the summer, though that may be a function of the temperature outside more than my fitness.) However, I can definitely tell I need to get back in the gym & back on my strength work (particularly all the hips & glutes stuff) ASAP so that I don't hurt myself again as I start to increase time on my feet.

In related news, last Thursday we got our first serious rain storm in like a year or something, and I took to the dark, soggy streets sporting three new pieces of hawt gear:

A (kinda) New GPS.

After some investigating, I kind of decided it was probably going to come down to buying another cheap Garmin or shelling out for a Suunto Ambit & just sucking it up & learning a new device. I have to say, I'm super intrigued by the Ambit & was pretty tempted to give it a try. But, it sounds like you can only have three data fields up at once, which is one of the things I dislike about the FR220 (I really want four; it's a mental thing), and that combined with the price tag kind of put a damper on my enthusiasm.

In the end, I bought another FR310XT (number 3) from a woman on Amazon Marketplace who said she got it as a gift and used it twice, but has since come to terms with the fact that she is just probably not going to use it ever again. It was basically new in the package with all the bits & pieces for $85 & seems to work just fine, so I felt like I made out okay.

Here's the funny part, though. Remember how the problem with my current FR310XT is that it wouldn't turn on or charge? Well, just for kicks I put it on the new charger, and it turned right on! So, either you could say I probably could have saved myself maybe $60 or so & just bought a new charger, or that I basically went from zero functional Garmins to two for just $42.50 each (on average). Yes, the 310XT still takes an annoying amount of time to find satellites (which is why my general strategy is to never turn it off & just stick it back on the charger after every run), but to be honest that's a problem I'm not really willing to shell out $150-250 to solve. (After all, I have races to sign up for, hopefully.)

Some Long-Overdue Safety Gear

It is now that time of year when more often than not, I end up running in the dark or almost-dark (ie, fearing for my life). In past winters I have tried to be a good pedestrian and be sure that I was wearing a white or bright-colored top if I was running at night, but I don't have tons and tons of those and also personally I have almost hit dumb pedestrians in my car on occasion even when they WERE wearing white/bright things. (Fun fact: The 2010 NYC Marathon shirt is the *exact* color of dusk. Thanks, random moron who jumped out in front of my car in the dark!!)

So, this year I finally bought myself a reflective vest, which means never having to think about this issue ever again. (Also, it will make my mom happy.)

One of my many, many favorite long sleeves
not suitable for night running (also the color of dusk)

Nifty New Puddle Jumpers!

Most of the time we don't get enough rain here to be worth worrying about, but there were a few weeks last winter when we got a bunch of rain storms serious enough that I finished a bunch of runs with my socks absolutely soaked. So, earlier this year when the Kinvara 6 was released and all the 5's went on clearance, I picked up a pair of Kinvara 5 RunShields, which is the water proof version.

We've had a super dry year, so up until Thursday they'd stayed in the box in the closet, so it was neat to finally open them up & take them out for a test drive:

Shock of shocks, they feel a lot like Kinvara 5's!

Like everyone else in California, I've still got my fingers crossed that the crazy El Niño everyone's been predicting will finally show up. Then again, with my luck, I probably jinxed the whole thing by buying waterproof shoes. (Sorry) :-/


  1. They make waterproof Kinvaras? As a residents of rainsville, LA, I should look into this.

  2. I've been thinking about getting waterproof shoes too (a fellow Northern California resident) but haven't seen any of mine on sale yet and I don't think I want to shell out $150 just yet for a pair! Good idea though.

  3. I keep figuring since this is the first year in a WHILE I'm actually training a fuck ton over the winter, of course it's going to be an El Nino.

  4. I used to just wear light colored shirts and horrendous neon shorts when I ran before sunrise. Then I got yelled at a few times by cyclists and bought some lights. I've never tried a reflective vest but I've seen a lot of people with them early in the morning. And I guess the fact that I can SEE them means they work well :-)

  5. Safety first! I also wear a headlamp when I'm running in the dark.I surely look like I'm going to go mine something, but ... safety first? Bring it on, el niño!

  6. Charging Garmins seems to be a common problem with a lot of their models. I used to have a 410 (or 405 - can't remember) and I had to replace the charging cable twice. Now I have a 610 and it has this fancy magnetised cradle thingy that nearly never works unless I swab the terminals with alcohol.