At one point in this journey, I had very real intentions on dressing up for the race in some sort of attention-getting costume. Several ideas were thrown around, the one I liked the most was going as “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. As the race grew closer, it became clear this was an unrealistic goal. For one thing, I suspect I am going to have a hard enough time just finishing the race, period, let alone spectacularly dressed in a costume highlighting my failure. Even more importantly, the temperatures in Wolverhampton (and much of the UK in general) are the lowest they have been in 30 years, from what I hear. With that in mind, this weekend I picked up the last of the gear I would be wearing during the race. I thought it might be interesting to see how I plan to keep hypothermia at bay for 4 hours during the Toughguy race..
Apologies in advance for the low quality image. Christine’s camera is in need of repair, so you will have to settle for our first generation iPhone. You can still get a pretty good idea of what I was wearing though. It was sort of like playing games of bingo getting these images together – I had that much fun!
Here’s how it all ended up breaking down:
1. Bicycle cap, Sugoi. $22 I would really have preferred a neoprene cap to keep my head warm, but that proved too challenging to find. After talking to a fine gentleman at REI, I settled on this polyester cap. It has a fleece feel inside, but the weave is really sturdy, and will cut the wind extremely well. Not to mention, with my big ears pinned back, I should shave my mile pace by a good 30 seconds. It was between this and a better fitting wool cap, but wool always makes my head itch, and I felt like this would not retain water as easily. It’s probably not great protection from the water at all, but it’s better than nothing.
2. Coldgear Base, Under Armor. $40 The first of three layers for my torso. 95% Polyester, 5% Elastane (I have NO idea what elastane is, this is my first encounter with it, I can only hope it’s approximate to lycra) It’s REALLY snug, but I think this is for the best in an event like this. I like the high neck, and I feel like I have full mobility with it.
3. Nike Pro long sleeve, Nike. $20 This was a steal on clearance, 84% Poly, 16% Spandex. It fit slightly more loose than the Coldgear, plus, the orange arms allow me to possibly be identified in a crowd (Until I am covered in mud)so it is my second layer.
4. Champion Tech T. $? I don’t recall how much my top layer cost, I bought it at Target when I started this training and have really enjoyed it, it’s amazing for wicking the sweat off of me, so it comes on as my top layer. I believe it is 100% Poly.
5. Glacier Gloves slit finger glove, Glacier Outdoor. $18 A neoprene fishing glove, I got a great deal at Wholesale Sports in bend. Other than two slits in each glove, one for each index finger and thumb, I have high hopes for this keeping the cold away better than anything else I could have found (other than say, one with no slits…)
6. Swim Trunks $? Possibly another target purchase from my past, I have had them awhile and don’t recall the cost.
7. Footless Tights, Nobo $6 Yep, I went to Target again and got me some lady tights. For $6, I figured I would give them a shot, and if I couldn’t stand them, I could always spring for something better. As it turns out, I think these will work out great. They are a bit shinier than I would like, but I suppose there’s a superheroish thing they give off. I was also worried because they really don’t breathe at all, but then realized that they would cut the wind extremely well, and in this cold weather, I don’t want them to breathe! I want them keeping the heat in if at all possible.
8. Jungle Combat Boots, Military Surplus. $25 This is really the biggest question mark for me. We passed by Military Surplus while shopping and decided to see what they had. The Toughguy race organizers reccommend boots highly, as one might lose a shoe easily in the mud during the race. I had been prepared to take my chances on this, but at $25 these boots were a steal. But so extreme looking! And large enough on my foot that I am worried about how my feet will take the beating in them. They offer no real cushion on the soles of the feet, and I don’t have much time to break them in before the race. However, they are unbelievably light for such a high boot, and Christine rightly convinced me that my shoes would soak up water like a sponge, something these boots won’t do with their side vents that should dispense a good deal of water collected. Also the canvas sides allow for a shockingly full range of motion in my ankles. I just need to get used to the higher heel and trust that after four miles of running my feet will swell enough to not make the extra space a big deal.
9. Polypropylene sock liners, two pair, Fox River. $5 Each. The race organizers recommend silk socks for this race, but I could not find what I needed, so my solution is to double up on these Polypropylene sock liners and hope for maximum wetness-wicking power. They are very thin, and won’t offer much of any protection from the cold, but hopefully will retain almost no water and make it so my feet are able to dry out quickly.
How will all of this hold up? I have no earthly idea. I do know that I started getting very toasty in the outfit almost immediately in the apartment, so I hope that bodes well for me in the race. I will report back on how these stood up once the race is over and my body resumes it’s normal temperature.
I am still taking donations! And time is running out to get your portrait at a cheap price in exchange for your donation. If you would like me to draw you or a loved one at a super cheap price, now is the time to do so before the race is over and I raise my rates to a more respectable level. If you have any questions about this, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org