The weather has taken a sudden turn toward winter. With temperatures below freezing, and the wind chill taking it down even further, it’s not a great time to exercise outdoors. I’m much more a fair weather athlete; give me 65 degrees and blue skies and I’ll find an excuse to be outside all day. Give me 29 degrees with a wind chill in the teens and the most I want to exercise is my whining.
Of course I also like to make plans far in advance, and my decision to run the Rock n Roll USA Marathon in March has been made. I no longer have the luxury of whining instead of running. Sure I could run on a treadmill—I once ran 18 miles on a treadmill to avoid running outside in the rain, fair weather athlete, remember—I just don’t have the desire to do that again. That means I have to turn toward cold running gear.
When I grew up in Massachusetts, my idea of cold weather running gear consisted of wearing a pair of men’s long underwear over my tights and a thick cotton Harvard sweatshirt. Times, techwear, and my sense of fashion have evolved since those days. Thank goodness for that.
I went off to REI in Bailey’s Crossroads to check out the choice in winter gear. I had a goal in mind to get a pair of long pants that could serve many purposes. First, they could be worn alone if the weather wasn’t too cold, that meant flat seams to keep chaffing at bay. Second, they could be worn over a pair of tights for a second layer of warmth when the weather got colder, much as the long johns did in days of yore. And finally, they could be worn as a cover up if I were going to the gym, or to meet a friend for running someplace I had to drive for. I may be a fair weather athlete, but I am no slouch when it comes to purchasing athletic clothes, I’m a professional.
When I entered REI it took me a good 5 minutes to walk around to get the lay of the land. There is just so much merchandise in there, and my shopper side didn’t want to just stick to my plan. There’s bike gear, camping gear, casual wear, winter coats, ski gear and probably much more I didn’t yet get to explore. The staff there was wonderful, pleasant and offering assistance without following me around the store.
Alas, I had a mission to fulfil! I finally worked my way to the running section to see what they had. There was a nice variety of pretty much anything you could want. I found great reflective gear, fleece lined windproof coats, vests, and much more. I was pleasantly surprised to see a few brands I especially favor like Moving Comfort and Lucy. Of course they also have the main brands you’ve come to associate with running, not to mention a large line of REI branded items. As luck would have it, I found two pairs of pants that met my criteria and fit wonderfully. I’m so excited I almost want to go out for a run right away! Almost…