Leslie Runs

My journey as a long distance runner who started the sport later in life.

Running Gear and Gratitude (#leslieruns)

I have a Garmin 310XT, heart rate monitor, and foot pod, all of which I purchased a little over a year ago. I ran with all of this cool new technological gear for the first time during the Christmas holidays of 2013, that’s how I remember when I got it. After receiving them I was so excited that I wore them all for almost every run. Some days I would almost not wear the HRM because I felt that it was a bit of a pain to deal with. It really isn’t that hard to put on a HRM, but on days when I really didn’t want to go running anyway it was just that one extra step that seemed insurmountable. Still, I paid for it, and I love data, so I would throw it on begrudgingly, the guilt consuming me if I didn’t.

There came a point in my training that I would sometimes not wear the HRM on the really short runs, just for a break from that extra step. I got over the guilt and also realized that a run was still a run, exercise was still exercise, even if I wasn’t wearing a HRM. The data was fun to look at, but I wasn’t actually doing much modification to my training because of it. Mostly I was just posting the odd hill night heart graph on Facebook to say, “Wow, look at what hill training does to my heart!” or “Check it out, how many hills did I run?” It started to become easier to make peace with not wearing it once and a while. I even sometimes forgot the foot pod, but rarely both at the same time.

The HRM strap got really hard to put on during the Christmas holiday season of 2014, simply because the house was very cold (14C/57F) and the strap needed the contact points moistened beforehand. A cold house, bare skin and a cold, wet HRM strap don’t really make for a fun experience, so when the battery died I wasn’t really too concerned about it. What a nice break from the pre-run torture!

The battery lasted as long as Garmin said it would, about one year. I told myself I’d eventually get to that battery place down the street and fix it up. I tried to get them to help me out last weekend before my 18K long run, but alas, their small screwdriver was good at nothing but stripping the screws. The man was super nice and told me to try a watch repair shop. I thought about it and realized that I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a store in my almost eight years of living here. So the HRM remains lifeless, and I’ve continued to run regardless. It’s gotten cold again, so there is a silver lining for now.

This run streak has gone on for the entire month of January 2014, and I am liking it most days. I knew that going back to work on January 12 would make it harder, but my expectations of how difficult it would be haven’t been realized. We have a good set up when we arrive home from work each day, and we can both get in our exercise. It only gets really tricky on nights when there are other commitments to also deal with.

Tonight was one of those nights, and I only needed to do one mile anyway, so I decided to keep my old school jogging pants and cotton shirts on and just do the run in those. My line of thinking was that it would be excessive to change out of the comfortable clothes that I had just changed into for only one mile. What harm could a one mile jog in old fashioned sweat pants do? I wouldn’t sweat much at these temperatures and it wouldn’t be far enough to chafe. I did throw on a running bra because it’s the right thing to do when you are a 39-year-old runner who has breastfed two babies for 18 months each. I was right, it was totally fine, except that because the cotton retains the moisture the clothes felt gross upon my return. I found myself thinking about whomever had taken the time to invent moisture-wicking active wear.

I know the Garmin is a luxury item that not very many people are lucky enough to be able to afford even if they want one, but never before had I put much thought into the simple must-have gear for comfortable and enjoyable running. Is running itself a luxury sport? I know it’s less expensive than a lot of other sports, but that technical clothing isn’t very cheap, not even if you buy the knock-off version at a warehouse-style store. If you had no other choice, would you still run if all you had to wear was sweat pants and cotton t-shirts? I write this assuming that you have a choice. Maybe you don’t and you still run anyway! I am not sure if I could go beyond the distance I just did today without a lot of discomfort and chafing, especially at the usual temperatures (35C/95F) for this area. I am grateful both that I found running, and that I can afford gear that makes it comfortable!

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