According to various weather reports, Chicago is due for a bad winter. I’m not saying I put any stock in these reports, last year they said the same thing and we were the beneficiaries of the balmiest winter ever despite dire predictions of an arctic armegeddon. However, these reports have made me think a little bit…about running. Not from Chicago to Cali (I wish!) but from my house to the lake and a few suburbs up “the Drive.”
Because the weather was so unusually warm last winter, I was extremely lucky to log some runs that were neither uncomfortably cold nor windy. This meant I simply threw on a pair of leggings under my skort (love it!), donned a long-sleeved tech shirt and hit the pavement. If the weather gurus are right about this winter, I need to actually dig up a hat, gloves, and yes…some kind of a jacket. The jacket part of this equation gives me pause. I HATE (yes girls, mommy used the “H” word) and I mean HATE (yes girls, mommy used the “H” word again) any kind of bulk while running. I also HATE (uh-huh girls, I went for the trifecta on bad words today) feeling cold. The product designers at North Face, Patagonia and Helly Hansen couldn’t possibly make a jacket thin enough…yet warm enough to meet my needs. (In their defense, they do try.)
In fact, I am so picky that what I have worn for my longer runs for the last 20+ years is a very well loved North Face windbreaker that I owned in college. For whatever reason, it is the perfect combination of weight, flexibility and warmth, and I have never been able to part with it. Unfortunately, it is also from the late ’80s, and the last time I wore it, my friend actually said to me, “Did you wear that to a screening of the Breakfast Club?” Yeah…by 2012 standards, it’s ugly. But aside from my skorts, I don’t really think running is meant to be a beauty pageant.
However, his teasing comment has prompted me to do a little online research, and now what I’m really appalled by are the prices of performance jackets! Holy 50-yard dash, Batman! $189 for a jacket in which I am going to sweat? You have got to be kidding me! Fortunately, I managed to find a few on sale at Athleta which look promising. I’m also going to see if The North Face has an updated version of my beloved windbreaker.(Added bonus, my girls love those fleece-y beanies from North Face, and I feel like I can’t have enough of them on hand once it’s time for sledding and snowmen.)
Wish me luck in my jacket quest! And hey, if you’re northbound on Sheridan Road this winter and you happen to see someone on the running path in a skort and a day-glo jacket, it’s okay to roll down the window and shout, “Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?” (quote courtesy of John Bender, The Breakfast Club)