Monthly Archives: January 2009

Foto Friday

I already posted some great photos from last weekend’s race.  But here are the two winners from the Ice and Snow Sculpture contests:

Fountain of Unicorns (zoomed in)

Hormel McSwine & Friends

[tags] Foto [/tags]

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Finding Your Running Life Balance

In the final chapter of Running – the Sacred Art we come full circle to the concepts laid down at the onset of this book.  I really like this George Sheehan quote Warren Kay uses to open the chapter:

Don’t be concerned if running or exercise will add years to your life, be concerned with adding life to your years.

We need to find a balance and find a way to enjoy life.  As runners running will be a large part of that enjoyment. I think running for all of us is fun and at some level we all want to improve and push ourselves to our physical limits.  Most of us need help doing that.  I thought I could train for a marathon by myself but at the last minute realized I’d be much better off taking the marathon training class offered by my running club.  That was the right choice.  Not only did I receive coaching, but I also met new people and had others to push me when I was tired and encourage me along the way.

Kay says that it is important for all runners to have a “coach”, but especially spiritual runners.  I put coach in quotes because your coach might be your running group.  I don’t think you need a specific person to coach you but having someone or a group of people to push and challenge you is vital.  I think he used the coach term because it translates better for most of us to the spiritual.  We need someone or a group of people to challenge and push us spiritualy as well as in our running.  This could be a pastor, imam, priest, or other spiritual leader.

In both the running and spiritual realms Kay thinks coaches provide three valuable things:

  1. Proper guidance
  2. Adequate support
  3. The right attitude

Just like it takes pain to become a better runner, it can take some pain and brokenness to become a more spiritual person.  Kay compares it to running up a hill, most people don’t like to do it – requiring an attitude change, you have to adjust your stride – or adjust your life to find balance, and it can be slow going – it takes patience and fortitude.

I think he ties the whole point of his book together with this final quote:

Having made contact with that pat of myself, the spiritual quest – which is the endeavor to find who I am and be truly at home with myself, to establish a healthy relationship with others, and to have a healthy relationship with God – is a natural outcome.

We runners are special and have a unique opportunity to find our way to God through our running.

The last section of the book is a list of suggested readings. I have created an Amazon collection of the books I could find in their selection.

[tags] Warren Kay, Sacred Art, Balance, Spiritual [/tags]

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Race Review: Frozen Half Marathon

You know the race will be interesting when the website offers this warning:

Extreme Weather

This is a cold weather race! Temperatures have been at or below zero for this race in the past. Hypothermia could be a definite concern. Make certain that you are dressed properly for conditions on the day of the race. In case of extreme weather conditions this race could be canceled or shortened. All entry fees are nonrefundable. An accurately measured 1/4 marathon course may be used as a short course option. Check with active.com for up-to-date weather information and changes in the race schedule.

The Securian Frozen 5K and Half Marathon is a part of St Paul’s Annual Winter Carnival.  Well sadly, we had those “extreme” weather conditions and the 1,200 pre-registrants got the following e-mail from Mary Anderson, race director.

Hi All,Just a note to let you know that the half marathon course has been shortened to approximately 6.5 miles (or half of the marathon distance) for tomorrow. The start time will remain the same at 9:00am.

The 5K race will go on as scheduled and start at 9:15.

The half marathon turnaround is just East of 35E on Sheppard Road and will be at the break in the median there so that runners can go westbound on the way out and eastbound (or with traffic ) on their way back.  We will move the water stop to this point and will be serving individual bottles to the runners. This should make it easier for volunteers.

Thank you participating in the 2009 Securian Frozen 5K and Half Marathon!

A wise decision given the fact that the actual temp was officially -15 with a wind chill in the -20’s. The morning broke with a clear blue sky and lots of shining sun, so that helped make the race bearable!  There was some confusion about the actual course distance.  The e-mail clearly says 6.5 (6.55 would actually be a half of a half) but the announcements coming over the PA system in the registration area kept calling it a 10k (which is obviously 0.35 miles shorter than half of a half).  My Garmin called it 6.46.

Attire? Yes how in the world do you dress to race at those temps? Well ultimately the same as you would to run in those temps!  Unlike warmer weather where you could wear less layers, it was vital to keep everything nice and warm. I actually wore the attire mentioned here, minus the silk balaclava and adding a pair of goggles.  I wore mid-weight smart wool socks, duct-taped shoes, tights, wind breaker pants, a singlet, long-sleeve dry-fit, long-sleeve cotton, under a wind breaker jacket, gloves, an ear band, and fleece balaclava.  I got a new pair of “fog-proof” goggles, but I steamed them up within the first mile.

Pre-Race We were able to park in the Securian building’s parking lot for $2 in downtown St Paul, which was great.  Take the skyway over to another building for packet pickup and then stand around and wait. Unfortunately all of the indoor restroom facilities were closed to the public so you had to venture out to the porta-potties lined up on the street.  We did a little warm-up jog and then waited for the race to start.  The directors were nice to wait until all the runners lined up, but it was a chip race so they should have just started instead of punishing those of us who followed directions!

The Race Almost immediately you go down a hill (about 200 feet in 1/4 mile) from downtown to the river. The race is an out and back along the Mississippi River on Shepherd Road.  The first mile came up pretty quickly and I came through in 6:35.  I tried keeping my goggles on because the wind was extremely bitey at this point and hurt my face, but I couldn’t really see out of them so I shoved them up on my face.  I tried to settle into a pace that would work for the whole race and picked some people to try to stay with.  A guy was reading splits at the 5k turn around, which was a little weird but I came through mile 2 at 7:08.  The course was a little hillier than I had expected since it was on the river flat.  They weren’t anything monstrous, but definitely steep enough to tire you out a bit.  I wasn’t really cold anymore at this point although the layers were making it hard to keep up a fast pace.  I came through mile 3 at 7:23.  The turn around point came pretty quickly after mile 3 and there was the race’s only aid station.  Dedicated volunteers passed out bottles of water – caps already off.  People were taking them, I did not.  Maybe I should have, but I didn’t feel like messing with my balaclava or spilling on myself! 22:34 at the turnaround.

I was actually starting to get tired at this point.  I was also getting really hot and raised up the balaclava and un-zipped my jacket a little.  This helped regulate the temps as the wind was solidly at my back.  Sadly I don’t think the added push of the wind helped my times too much and I came through mile 4 at 7:03.  Now I was beginning to get really tired and couldn’t wait for the finish line to arrive.  I was a little disappointed when I looked at my watch and saw that we were only at 4.5, yuck 2 miles to go.  Around the 5 mile mark we saw the 5k runners.  Fortunately we were on a divided road so they weren’t in our way yet (this usually isn’t a problem due to the half-marathon being farther and the 5k starting 15 minutes after us).  I came through mile 5 at 6:58.  I tried to pick up the pace because I was tired of getting passed, but I was also plain tired!  One of the 5k runners was wearing capri tights and the bottoms of her legs were bright red, looked painful.  I actually took my gloves off because my hands were sweating, my feet too but nothing you can do about that! I came through mile 6 at 7:25.  The last bit was straight back up the hill.  We joined the 5k runners.  I stayed way off to the side so as to not get stuck behind them and passed a lot of people up the hill which was a nice feeling! I may have passed a couple of half-marathoners on the way too and finished hard into the biting wind for the finish. 3:02 for the last 0.46 miles.

My official time was 45:31 (7:02 pace) [the website said 7:21 pace, but my Garmin and weblog both said 7:02] and good enough for 96th out of 661.  (Official results)  Evidently the 5k isn’t scored so I don’t know what the total turnout was.

Post-Race I hadn’t heard my teammates cheering me into the finish and I didn’t immediately see them so I wandered back into the buildings to get my post-race food and finisher’s mug! Then I wandered back out and got some pictures of people, including this great one of Mark Deters! I finally caught up with Nathan and we headed home.

A pretty crazy race day!!  Did you run it, what were your thoughts?

Local  News pieces:

Pioneer Press

[tags] Half Marathon, Race Review, Securian, Winter Carnival, St Paul, Frozen 5k [/tags]

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Week in Review

A decent week, weather-wise, busy on the work front though. The temps dipped considerably at the beginning of the weekend.  Fun times below 0 again!  My mileage is actually decreasing each week instead of increasing.  I probably need to stop letting that happen, so hopefully the weather will cooperate a little bit!

Monday was a nice day of rest. I thought about running and decided not to in the end.

Tuesday I ran a new 4 mile route in 34 minutes.  I went out 2 miles on the Greenway before heading back up the LRT trail to 24th St and home.  It was a decent route that combined 2 other of my routes.  It was a clear morning and the sunrise was pretty to see. The weather actually wasn’t too shabby either at 12 above and 3 above wind chill.

Wednesday I ran 3.25 miles on my Metrodome loop in28:15.  The LRT trail is pretty messy still so the combination of low traction and overall poor footing made for an ok feeling workout.  Some days when the trail is messy like that my legs feel a little tired. It was 18 above with a 10 degree wind chill so not too bad of a morning.

Thursday I was feeling quite tired after several late nights and woke up too late to run.  I also actually skipped an optional meeting that I had planned on going to.  Oops.

Friday I didn’t run either.  I thought about it and I’m not really sure why I never made it out the door. Maybe to be fresher for the race on Saturday or maybe I’m just a little lazy.  I did get my CPR certification renewed in the afternoon.

Saturday It was -11 with a -21 wind chill for what was supposed to be a half-marathon race but it got shortened to 6.5 miles.  It was cold!  I finished 96th in 45:31.  Stay tuned for the the full race report!

Sunday We met at Minnehaha Falls and ran the Get in Gear 10k course again.  We tacked on a little bit and it was 6.3 miles in 55:51.  The River Road trails offer decent footing but in reality it comes and goes – some places being a lot better than others.  It was -7 with a -17 wind chill, but a nice slow run.

Weekly Mileage

Running – 20.1 miles

Last Year

Run: 10.4 Miles
Bike: 7.7 Miles
Swim: 800 Yards

Last year I wrote a tribute to Jesse Owens for Martin Luther King, Jr Day.  I found some great statistical data about running in 2007 from MarathonGuide.com.  I should look to see if they have 2008 numbers up yet! Some people are dedicated to running, but forget to take precautions and end up winning frostbite.  Like to run outside but don’t want to get sick?  Try eating my one of my favorite foods Clementines! This week last year is when the Spirit of the Marathon debuted in theaters.  I took a picture for Foto Friday.

PowerBar is Safe, Clif Bars Recalled

Highlighted products include and their current status:

I got this e-mail from PowerBar today. I assume It covers their Pria product line as well.

We would like to take a moment to reassure you that none of our PowerBar products are affected by the recent reports of salmonella found in certain types of peanut butter and peanut paste ingredients traced to Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), the company that announced a nationwide recall of peanut butter. It is important to know that PowerBar does not purchase or source any peanut butter-based ingredients from PCA.

Consumer safety is our top priority and we utilize extensive quality control processes and checkpoints to ensure our products are in full compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements.

We’re passionate about sports and fitness. That’s why we started PowerBar to begin with-to help athletes like you reach your goals by providing trusted, proven nutritional products.

For the full safety release, visit:
www.powerbar.com

For a limited time, we’re offering a 10% discount on select PowerBar products. Visit www.PowerBarStore.com and enter discount code: PUSH09 at check out.

Respectfully,

PowerBar

I couldn’t find any information about Gatorade, or Balance Bars.

Update (2/2/09): Balance Bars updated their website to include this statement:

Balance is NOT recalling any products in connection with the recent salmonella outbreak related to peanut butter and paste.

Mars Snackfood US continues to say all of their products are safe.  A full list and detailed information can be found below.

19 January 2009 – United States
Hackettstown, NJ – January 18, 2009 – Mars Snackfood US today issued the following statement in reaction to the ongoing FDA investigation into peanut butter:

“Mars Snackfood US remains confident in the safety and quality of our products that contain peanut butter, all of which are safe to enjoy. Mars does not receive or process any peanuts or peanut butter from Peanut Corporation of America or King Nut, the companies that, according to FDA’s most recent update on its investigation, appear to be the source of contaminated product. In addition, we have not been asked by the FDA to recall any products in relation to the current investigation into salmonella.

At Mars, the majority of our products are manufactured using our own peanut butter made from our own roasted peanuts.

Food safety is of paramount importance to Mars, and we are committed to the highest standards of quality and safety. At Mars, we maintain a strict quality control program to ensure that our products leave our factories exceeding our high standards. Consumers can continue to have confidence in the quality of all Mars Snackfood US products.”

The following Mars Snackfood US products contain peanut butter, none of which is sourced from the companies being investigated by the FDA:

· M&M’S® Peanut Butter Chocolate Candies

· SNICKERS® Brand

· SNICKERS® Brand Ice Cream

· TWIX® Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

· KUDOS® Peanut Butter Granola Bars

· Ethel M Chocolates® and ethel’s® chocolate lounge

About Mars Snackfood US:

Mars Snackfood US is the United States snack operations of Mars North America. With more than $7 billion in annual sales in the U.S., Mars North America includes food, snack and petcare segments, which are a symbol of excellence for quality brands. Headquartered in Mount Olive, New Jersey, Mars North America employs more than 15,000 associates in the United States, with 72 facilities nationwide. Mars Snackfood US includes some of the world’s favorite brands such as, M&M’S® Brand, SNICKERS® Brand, DOVE® Chocolate Brand, MILKY WAY® Brand, 3 MUSKETEERS® Brand, TWIX® Brand. Additional popular brands in the petcare and food segments for Mars North America include UNCLE BEN’S® Brand, PEDIGREE® Brand Food for Dogs, and WHISKAS® Brand Food for Cats. Please visit mars.com.

Clif Bars has issued a voluntary recall:

On January 19, 2009, we announced a voluntary recall of 14 U.S and 4 Canadian products including CLIF Bar, CLIF Builder’s, CLIF MOJO, CLIF Kid Organic ZBaR and LUNA Bar, in the U.S. and Canada because the peanut butter in those products was sourced, for a limited period of time, from the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). PCA is a manufacturer and supplier of peanut butter for many food companies and manufacturers.

PCA is under investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a recent Salmonella outbreak thought to be caused by tainted peanut butter. In light of this investigation, and with an abundance of caution, Clif Bar & Company has enacted a voluntary recall. We take the health and safety of our consumers very seriously.

UPDATED 2/5/2009 to reflect expanded recall. More info here.

In the U.S, the following products with BEST BY or SELL BY dates1 within the ranges below, all sizes and packages, are included in the initial and expanded recall.

CLIF BAR Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch
09OCT08 to 31DEC09
CLIF BAR Crunchy Peanut Butter
09OCT08 to 31DEC09
CLIF BAR Peanut Toffee Buzz
09OCT08 to 31DEC09
CLIF Builder’s Peanut Butter
20SEP08 to 31DEC09
CLIF Kid Organic ZBaR Peanut Butter
21OCT08 to 31DEC09
LUNA Nutz Over Chocolate
28OCT08 to 31DEC09
LUNA Peanut Butter Cookie
28OCT08 to 31DEC09
MOJO Honey Roasted Peanut
01SEP07 to 31OCT09
MOJO Mixed Nuts
01SEP07 to 31OCT09
MOJO Mountain Mix
01SEP07 to 31OCT09
MOJO Peanut Butter Pretzel
01SEP07 to 31OCT09
MOJO Dipped Chocolate Peanut
01SEP07 to 31OCT09
MOJO Dipped Peanut Butter and Jelly
01SEP07 to 31OCT09
MOJO Dipped Fruit and Nut
01SEP07 to 31OCT09

In Canada, the following products are included in the recall. Only bars with wrappers that have the following EXPIRY DATE/DATE D’EXPIRATION codes1 on them, in all sizes and packages, are being recalled:

CLIF BAR Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch / Brisures de Chocolat aux Arachides Croquants
2008OC04 to 2009DE31
CLIF BAR Crunchy Peanut Butter / Beurre d’ Arachide Croquant
2008OC04 to 2009DE31
CLIF BAR Peanut Toffee Buzz / Toffee et Arachides
2008OC04 to 2009DE31
CLIF Builder’s Peanut Butter / Beurre d’Arachide
2009MA06 to 2009DE31
LUNA Nutz Over Chocolate Saveur de Noix et Chocolat
2008OC28 to 2009DE31

In the United Kingdom (UK), the following products are included in the recall. Only bars that have the following dates1 on them, in all sizes and packages, are being recalled:

CLIF BAR Crunchy Peanut Butter
BEST BEFORE:
07NOV2008 to 31DEC2009
LUNA Nutz Over Chocolate Saveur de Noix et Chocolat
EXPIRY DATE/DATE D’EXPIRATION:
2008OC28 to 2009DE31

Updated (2/2/09) ZonePerfect bar’s parent company Abbott Nutrition announced a voluntary recall of 3 products.

Here is the official announcement:

Abbott Nutrition today announced that it is initiating a precautionary, voluntary recall of ZonePerfect® Chocolate Peanut Butter bars, ZonePerfect® Peanut Toffee bars and NutriPals™ Peanut Butter Chocolate bars in response to the widening recall involving peanut butter and peanut paste ingredients manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). PCA was one of the peanut ingredient suppliers to the company.

The specified Abbott Nutrition items, sold in the U.S. and internationally (Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore) in various packages and quantities, have not been linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak and there have been no reported cases of the salmonella illness associated with ZonePerfect or NutriPals products. Abbott Nutrition tests every lot of finished ZonePerfect and NutriPals bars for salmonella and no salmonella contamination has been detected. This voluntary recall does not apply to Abbott Nutrition products sold in Canada.

Abbott Nutrition’s action to issue a voluntary recall was supported by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s advisement to manufacturers of an ongoing outbreak of salmonella involving peanut butter and peanut paste supplied by PCA. No other Abbott Nutrition products have been impacted by the PCA recall.

As part of its priority to ensure the safety and quality of all of its products, Abbott is issuing the voluntary recall. Abbott is working with retail partners to remove the specified products from retail store shelves and encouraging customers and consumers to verify if they have the specified products.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled products are urged to destroy the product. U.S. consumers with questions or who would like a refund may contact Abbott Nutrition Consumer Relations at (800) 986-8884, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Consumers with questions or concerns about their health should contact their doctor.

Products impacted by the voluntary withdrawal are as follows:

  • ZonePerfect Chocolate Peanut Butter bars, all sizes and quantities
  • ZonePerfect Peanut Toffee bars, all sizes and quantities
  • NutriPals Peanut Butter Chocolate nutrition bars, all sizes and quantities

General Mills has announced that its Larabar and JamFrakas lines may be affected by the peanut butter recall.

General Mills announced today a voluntary recall of LÄRABAR Peanut Butter Cookie flavor snack bars and JamFrakas Peanut Butter Blisscrisp flavor snack bars because peanut butter in the products was sourced from Peanut Corporation of America, and may be contaminated with salmonella. No illnesses have been reported in connection with LÄRABAR or JamFrakas products, and no other types, varieties or flavors of LÄRABAR or JamFrakas products are being recalled.

No other General Mills products are involved or impacted. See update below.

Peanut butter produced by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) has been implicated in an outbreak of salmonella. As the scope of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation into this outbreak expanded this weekend, Peanut Corporation of America expanded its recall to additional lot codes of peanut butter. PCA supplied peanut butter to one of General Mills’ suppliers, including some lots that were part of the expanded recall, prompting General Mills to issue its own voluntary national Class I recall of the two LÄRABAR and JamFrakas products potentially involved.

LÄRABAR Peanut Butter Cookie flavor snack bars and JamFrakas Peanut Butter Blisscrisp flavor snack bars are distributed nationally under the LÄRABAR and JamFrakas brands, and are sold primarily as individual bars in grocery and specialty retail stores.
The specific products in this recall include:

LÄRABAR Peanut Butter Cookie
snack bars Individual Bar 54818-00014-7 Caddy (16-bar sleeve) 54818-00064-2 6-bar pack 93759-00298-8 6-bar, 6-pack case 93759-00299-5 UPC Case Code 54818-00085-7
JamFrakas Peanut Butter Blisscrisp
snack bars Individual Bar 93759-00212-4 Caddy (18-bar sleeve) 93759-00213-1
UPC Case Code 93759-00214-8

A combined 15,000 cases of product are involved. This includes all production of these two particular flavors, which were introduced in June.

Consumers who have products covered by this recall are urged to dispose of the product, and to contact LÄRABAR or JamFrakas for a full refund. Consumers with questions or concerns about the recall may call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-543-2147 or visit www.generalmills.com.

Updated 2-12-09
The specific products in this recall include:

  • Cascadian Farm Peanut Butter Chip Chewy Granola Bars
    Individual Bar UPC 0 21908-40802 6 (Not Sold Individually)
    Carton (6 Bars) UPC 0 21908-14631 7
  • Cascadian Farm Sweet & Salty Mixed Nuts Chewy Granola Bars
    Individual Bar UPC 0 21908 50442 1 (Not Sold Individually)
    Carton (5 bars) UPC 0 21908 40774 6
  • Cascadian Farm Sweet & Salty Peanut Pretzel Chewy Granola Bars
    Individual Bar UPC 0 21908-50443 8 (Not Sold Individually)
    Carton (5 bars) UPC 0 21908 40775 3

Kashi announced a voluntary recall of select KASHI™ TLC™ CHEWY GRANOLA BAR flavors and all KASHI™ TLC™ CHEWY COOKIE flavors. The official list is here (pdf).

  • Kashi™ TLC™ Chewy Granola Bars in Trail Mix and Honey Almond Flax varieties, 7.4-ounce box with a “Best If Used Before” date prior to September 19, 2009 and followed by the letters CD (SEP 19 2009 CD), with the following UPC codes: 1862703000, 1862703001, 1862723959, 1862728409, 1862731567.
  • Kashi™ TLC™ Chewy Granola Bars Peanut Peanut Butter, 7.4-ounce box with a “Best If Used Before” date prior to August 8, 2009 and followed by the letters CD (AUG 08 2009 CD), with the following UPC codes: 1862703002.
  • Kashi™ TLC™ Chewy Cookies in Oatmeal Dark Chocolate, Happy Trail Mix and Oatmeal Raisin Flax varieties only, 8.5-ounce box with a “Best If Used Before” date prior to July 30, 2009, with the following UPC codes: 1862732467, 1862742593, 1862762001, 1862762002, 1862762003.

Nature’s Path has issued a voluntary recall of the following prodcuts:

No illnesses have been reported in connection with Optimum Energy Bars and we believe the risk to be low because the bars are baked. No other Nature’s Path products are being recalled. The peanut butter in all other Nature’s Path products is sourced from Golden Boy Foods in British Columbia, Canada, which is in no way involved in the investigation.

The affected products are marked BEST BEFORE 01OCT09A, 03FEB09B, and 29APR09B.

If you have an Optimum Energy Bar Peanut Butter flavor with these expiration date, return it to the retail store where you purchased it for a full refund. If you have any questions at all please call the Nature’s Path customer service line at 1-866-880-7284.

Trader Joe’s has announcedthe following voluntary recall of their branded products:
1. Trader Joe’s Celery with Peanut Butter
2. Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Chewy Coated & Drizzled Granola Bars
3. Trader Joe’s Nutty Chocolate Chewy Coated & Drizzle Granola Bars
4. Trader Joe’s Sliced Green Apples with All Natural Peanut Butter
5. Trader Ming’s Spicy Kung Pao Chicken Rice Bowl
6. Trader Joe’s Vegan Pad Thai with Tofu
7. Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie Dough
8. Trader Joe’s Sutter’s Formula Cookies (only sold in our SoCal; AZ; NM and NV stores)
9. Trader Joe’s Vegan Trail Mix Cookies (only sold in our SoCal; AZ; NM and NV stores)
10. Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies (only sold in our GA; IL; IN; MI; MN; MO; OH; Pittsburgh, PA; TN; and WI stores)

[tags] PowerBar, Salmonella, Gatorade, Clif Bars, Larabar, Mars, Zone Perfect, Kashi, Cascadian, Trader Joes, Optimum Energy[/tags]

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Running at -21

I captured this image after my run on January 16, 2009.

After some bad experiences last year, every morning I roll over and check the weather on my phone before going for a run.  So what do you do when you roll over and see -22 as the actual air temperature?  I see three options:

1) Roll back over and snuggle under the blanket until the absolute last minute until its time to go to work.

2) Visit your local gym, assuming you have a membership, or any indoor running facility.

3) Jump out of bed with eager excitement and begin putting on every piece of running attire you own.

I recently had this experience and while many of you from the more southern regions of our country would say I’m insane for choosing number 3 2x’s this week, I was not alone.  No I saw plenty of bicyclists commuting to work and plenty of footprints in the snow indicating both runners and people walking their dogs.

How do you survive when the air temperature is below zero? Or below freezing for that matter? Layers and more layers. Honestly, it is amazing how much of a difference the wind chill can make though.  In these cases Joe’s Temperature Guide (xls) probably won’t help too much.  In 2007, I offered 9 winter running tips, but they don’t specifically address how to dress.

So here is my attempt to reconstruct how I survived running below zero (from the ground up):

Shoes – I wear my regular trainers and I actually don’t wear Yak-trax or put screws in my shoes. Since my (and most) running shoes are made of mesh I put strips of duct tape on the mesh parts.  I suggest using smaller strips so that the shoe can still flex properly. I actually wrapped some tape all the way around my toe box (including on the sole) which actually helped me loose traction!

Socks– I recommend Smart Wool Socks they are the excellent at keeping your feet warm without adding several layers. The taller the sock the better. I was given a hard time last year because all the socks I wore didn’t come over the ankle! You can always go with a liner sock underneath a wool sock, but that might be overkill.

Pants – Our legs are an important part of the running machine.  On these extreme temperature days I make sure to wear two layers.  Between 32 and 0 I might only wear one, depending on the wind chill.  I always wear running shorts underneath my tights, so I guess it is a triple layer over the most important stuff. I wore a pair of running tights.  On top of that I wear some type of windbreaker-type pant with insulation.  This obviously helps cut down on the wind while adding a bit of warmth.  The problem is that the more you wear on your legs the harder it is for you to actually run.

Upper-Body/Chest – This area has the largest surface area and represent where you’ll feel the most pain if not dressed appropriately.  I like to start with a short-sleeve thermal underwear shirt but also have worn a nice singlet.  I think that one additional little layer isn’t hugely vital, but I want to keep the core warm.  Over top of that I wear some-type of long-sleeve technical or dry-fit shirt.  I would prefer not to have any sweat on my skin if I can help it so this shirt helps wick it away into the cotton long-sleeve shirt.  Many people will probably protest this item but it has served me well.  Yes the cotton absorbs the water and gets a little heavier but it provides a little more insulation than a second technical shirt would.  Again depending on the actual temp or wind chill I might just wear a fleece vest, but on the extreme days I wear an insulated windbreaker jacket.  I actually still have my warm-up suit from college (although I try to avoid wearing both the pants and jacket at the same time because they are both purple).  The jacket again is insulated and help stop a lot of the wind from hitting my skin.

Hands – These things are hard to regulate.  You definitely want gloves, but there are so many options.  During my latest runs I wore a pair of 40 gram Thinsulate gloves that did an excellent job of blocking the wind and keeping my hands toasty – actually a little too toasty.  I have a variety of other options but none seem to do the trick like these for the extreme temperatures.  My recommendation would be some type of glove that changes into a mitten at the top so you can regulate the temp a little better.

Head – Every one says the head is the most important part, so who am I to disagree? I like to keep my head nice and warm!  I wore a ear band.  This doesn’t do a lot but keeps the ears from getting frostbite! On top of that I wore a Silk Balaclava. Silk makes a nice base layer because it traps the heat inside and slowly releases the heat while also wicking away sweat. On top of this I wear a fleece balaclava.  Fleece is also a good wicking fabric that is very warm, although it doesn’t protect very well from the wind. I actually sweat underneath these layers and don’t usually get cold, except for in the worst wind on my exposed flesh.  You see the other day I started out wearing glasses (which are highly recommended to protect your eyes and the exposed skin that the balaclava doesn’t cover) but they fogged up really bad and then the steam froze on them.  They were completely useless at that point, so I stuffed them in a pocket.  NO HEADPHONES! I decided that I didn’t really want them freezing into my ear so I left them at home, plus who knows how the mp3 player might react to the temps.

There you have it a very long look at how to survive running in -20 temps!  I’d love to hear what you wear out  there on the cold days. You can also take a look at Blaine’s Tips for Winter Running Apparel. You can also check out this guy who bike commutes across a frozen lake at 20 below (HT The Deets).

[tags] Winter, Running, Apparel, Windchill, Extreme [/tags]

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