Cape runners dress for winter weather

January 4, 2013

We haven't seen the white stuff as of yet, but winter weather is coming. Mother Nature can make it tough on runners and even tougher on runners who have a streak of training every day. I never really kept track of streaks; I ran hard when I needed to and took off when my body told me to. My friend Chico Barranco years ago kept a streak going by running 300 laps around his basement water heater, while other longtime running friends of mine like Bob Porter, Doug White, Craig Dayton, Reuben Beauchamp, Breck Vanderwende, Alan Quillen, Larry Windsor, Jack Powell, and Dr. Lee Masser have all had crazy stretches of training where neither rain nor sleet nor dark of night could stop them for months - even years - when they were in the “running zone.”

There are three important layers when it comes to cold-weather running: a base layer of snug, wicking material, such as polypropylene, polyester, thermal or wool; a mid-layer of looser material that carries moisture from the base layer, such as down, polyester or fleece; and an outer layer to block wind and allow moisture to escape, such as Gore-Tex or nylon material for warmer days. Gore-Tex suits are high-dollar items, but well worth it on a cold winter morning.

A good rule of thumb I always used is to underdress rather than overdress when heading out the door. Your body will warm up in the first mile.

A roller coaster new year

I ended the year 2012 directing 220 runners at the Race into the New Year 5K Dec. 31 at the Rehoboth Beach Running Company, where several regular Striders came out to celebrate, race in beautiful Rehoboth Beach and enjoy post-race refreshments from Catcher’s, Surf Bagel and the Giant. It was a great time on a chilly afternoon in Rehoboth Beach.

On New Year's Day, I found myself with my race team setting up in Bethany Beach for 700 runners at the Hair of the Dog 5K/10K. What a great event for the Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation, with Strider Rick Hundley leading the way, which was put on for a big field to kick off the new year. I enjoyed seeing so many runners who stopped to wish me and the Striders a happy new year. Young Striders racers Natasha Taylor and Emma Barthelmess went one-two in the 5K, and they were all smiles with fluffy award dogs nearly half the size of their bodies.  My wife Monique raced in a competitive age group of 40-49 where she was sixth in a PR of 49:17.

When I arrived home in the early afternoon, my day began to decline as we made the decision that we had to put our dog of 17 years, Murphy, to sleep as he had stopped eating and drinking, and was losing weight and getting worse each day. Murphy logged more miles than most of us will ever reach and was a regular attendee of the weekly Grove Club from 1994-2004. He outlived most dogs, was older than our own children and had three different addresses. You would need a calculator to count haircuts and sweaters, and he had been with me nearly a third of my life. I thought I was mentally ready and went through the procedure over and over in my head as I drove to Savannah Animal Hospital, but it became one of the hardest things I ever went through once we were there and things were happening. It will be 30 minutes that I will never forget.

According to the internet, the formula for dog years vs. human years is as follows: 10.5 dog years per human year for the first 2 years, then 4 dog years per human year for each year after. That would make Murphy 81 years old, which is a wonderful life for any animal - or human for that matter. Watch out, Max, here comes Murphy!

Upcoming Striders races

10 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 5 - Second Race for the Hawks 5K Run, Saint Georges High School,  Middletown.

6 a.m., Monday, Jan. 21 - First PICS 5K Run, Miami Beach Boardwalk, Miami Beach, Fla.

10 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 10 - Eighth Valentines Chase & Couples 5K Run, Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes.

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