In the PNW the vernal equinox wasn’t just another day, it was as if a switch flipped, and with it came warmer temperatures, longer days, and the shades of green that signal the planning of new adventures. It is also the season of unpredictable rains, unexpected snow, and forgotten habits of the incoming season. Even though I have been running for years, I have to remember how to dress and prepare for the new season’s conditions. In the upper left that translates to rain, mud, puddles, rushing streams, still dark mornings, and vacillating temps.
Here are the pieces that I’m using for the Spring; many of which have already been reviewed, so look for the links below.
For my weekday morning runs, which are usually urban and still start in the dark, I’m still wearing my Petzl Nao+ and Territory Run Co. bandana. I prefer something between my forehead and light, and even with light rain, I prefer a headband rather than a hat. That said the Petzl Nao+ works well with a hat too if that is your preference. With consistently mid 40 morning temps I’m rocking the Oiselle Mac Roga shorts and a long sleeve top, which may or may not stay on depending on the speed workout or if I venture into Forest Park. The other product I grab run after run is the SPIbelt (small personal item belt). It is basically a tiny fanny pack without the cool factor (I kid 😊). What it lacks in cool it makes up for in function. It is easy to wear because it is small and discrete; it fits the essentials: phone, keys, one or two food items, and in a pinch my Houdini or a soft flask. The bag of the belt is made of stretchy material and it expands, so whether you carry it mostly empty or very full, it still wears easily during a run.
Longer days and a recovery period that is winding down bring more miles and longer weekend trail runs. Since most of my weekend runs are in the woods inching ever closer to the still snowy mountains where weather is unpredictable at best, I have my Patagonia Houdini, a pair of convertible mittens, and either a Territory bandana or hat. The convertible mittens are great because you don’t have to take gloves off and on as the trail undulates, or when you want to take a picture. Most of these runs are more than a couple of hours, so I’m also wearing my current pack of choice, the Ultimate Direction AK Mountain vest. This is also the time of year that sunblock is non-negotiable. Even though I’m a total sun worshipper and I crave its rays on my not-yet-tan skin, sunblock, especially on the face, is a MUST. You gotta take care of that skin! Ramping up the miles inevitably means new chaffing and blisters. So, body glide is also on the list, as is my evolving blister prevention routine: Wuru wool, Injinji toe socks, and Territory Run Co. socks. A couple of months of decreased mileage means soft(er) feet, plus hours in wet shoes equals at best soggy calluses and worst blisters. Lastly, sore feet and muscles are soothed with Prevail Botanicals A.S.S. CBD salve.
What I’ve left behind for the winter season:
- the Arctyrx Norvan jacket: this still comes along for the ride but doesn’t usually come out of the trunk.
- NW Alpine vest: now I’ll wash it (and repeat) and take it to work for the refrigerated office setting
- Running tights: because the sky’s out, thighs out!
What I need:
- a waterproof phone case for the iPhone SE (yes, I’m still holding onto mine). It is hard to not take pictures when running in the PNW, but the water factor is real. I don’t usually have my phone in a case, so my rainy weather game plan is a plastic baggie. Unfortunately, it’s not very effective. Any recommendations?
- Convertible mittens for warmer weather
What’s the next transition:
- long sleeves to tank tops and running arm sleeves. I’ve been wearing the same tank top for about 4 years, and only I can appreciate at this point, but my sleeves of choice are the Territory Run Co. Single Track long sleeves
List of products:
- headlamp: Petzl Nao+
- Bandana (buff): Territory Run Co made the two that I rotate, but neither are currently on the website. See Matthew’s review on the bandana.
- Shorts: Oiselle Mac Roga
- Running belt: SPIbelt
- Lightweight jacket: Patagonia Houdini
- Convertible mittens for colder weather
- Running vest: Ultimate Direction AK Mountain Vest – the exact vest isn’t offered anymore but is equivalent to the Adventure Vesta 4.0
- Sunblock – I like the stick kind for a compact carry and easy application: Neutrogena UltraSheer stick SPF 70
- Anti-chafe: BodyGlide
- Blister prevention
Lifeproof Fre’ case for that iPhone SE. Water, snow, dirt, dust and shock-proof. They actually have you test it under water BEFORE you install the phone.