Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Updating my header

For nearly two years, the header image of this blog has been the same -- a photo of my running gear, in the shape of a runner, on my living room floor.

But over the course of those years, I've noticed that the picture was less and less accurate. So today I decided to update the photo.

Here's the old picture:

As you can see, it's not terribly different from the new one, but there are a few key differences.

Shoes: I've traded in my New Balance shoes for Saucony Ride 5s. I'm not 100 percent pleased with these but they definitely offer more room in the toebox and are better for my midfoot to forefoot stride.

Socks: I loved my Injinji toe socks back in the day but I now find that Drymax socks offer better protection from blisters. The bigger toebox in my current shoes also probably helps in that regard.

Legs: I don't wear running tights nearly as often as I used to now that I have calf sleeves. I find the compression sleeves not only keep me warm but also do a better job preventing muscle soreness. This means I'm wearing shorts up top, and for long runs I like these Race Ready shorts with pockets sufficient to hold 7+ gels. I do still wear tights on occasion, for when it gets really cold.

Hydration: I no longer wear a hydration belt because I've found it aggravates my IT band issues. Instead I carry a handheld, or for very long runs, I wear a hydration pack.

Jacket: I loved my old Saucony jacket but I lost some weight and the jacket was swimming on me, so I bought this similar model by Brooks, just in a different color.

Base layer: On cold days, I still wear the same base layer I did two years ago, a Zensah compression shirt. I actually have one of these shirts that is over 5 years old! One problem with Zensah products: Only two sizes. I wish there was a size between S/M and L/XL -- the L/XLs that I'm currently wearing are a little big, and I fear S/M will be too small.

Eyewear: I've added specialized running glasses since I took the original photo. They are pretty nice, staying on through all ranges of conditions but displaying a nagging propensity to fog up or get drenched in sweat, rendering them pretty much useless. If I replaced these I might consider bifocals -- I'm getting old and it's getting harder to read my GPS in the dark.

Hat: The REI hat in the original photo was great but I lost it. The new one is a Brooks Nightlife, which has a nice flashing LED on the back for dark runs.

Headlamp: The same Princeton Tec headlamp I had two years ago is still running strong, but I'd like to have a headlamp I could wear without a hat -- this one bounces around too much.

iPod: I decided not to put an iPod in the photo because I rarely run with them any more. Most days I'm running with a group, and on the few days I'm not, it's nice to just listen to the birds singing. I have upgraded from the nano in the picture to a Shuffle, on the rare occasions I use it. It can be a little annoying to navigate through podcasts with no screen, but it's not worth the $150 investment it'd take to get a screen, given how little I use it.

GPS: I've upgraded from the Garmin 305 to a 910XT, which is a model with way more features than a runner typically needs. However, it's the only Garmin for running that has a barometric altimeter, which gives much more accurate elevations than the GPS models, and provides you with real-time elevation feedback, which is great in the mountains. Probably not worth the $399 I spent on it if you're not a triathlete, but I justified the splurge because I had just completed a study for which I was paid $400!

There you have it -- the full rundown of my new set of running gear, and a new header image. Hope you like it!

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