Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Brothers in arms

Yesterday's post generated some great recommendations, and I've learned a lot more about the wonders of bike pogies and leathermans. I really like the idea of chemical handwarmers. The only time I ever used them was during a Dave Matthews concert at a 2002 Winter Olympics medals ceremony. Back then, I was still clinging to my late adolescence and still thought I was pretty cool. So, of course, I attended an outdoor concert in Salt Lake City in February wearing only a hoodie, some ratty jeans and and equally worn-out pair of Vans. (It only took a couple more years for me to become one of those people that drives by school bus stops and wonders what's wrong with those kids.) Anyway, my mom gave me some handwarmers as an afterthought. I stuffed them into my pocket and welded myself into the people slew near the stage. However, I was already a little too old to be cool enough for the pit, and as the crowd amped up I was pushed further back into the cold winter night. Numbness had pretty much consumed my fingers, ears, face and toes, and was moving on to my torso by the time I remembered those warmers. And as I clutched them in the pockets of whatever useless cotton layer I was wearing, I remember the sensation as akin to wrapping my fingers around a uranium-laced rock - it felt so wrong, but yet ... so right.

Today I went to the gym for the first time since Christmas. I wanted to keep my heart rate uniformly high for an hour and then do some tricep curls. The gym I go to is really small, and the personal trainer tends to lurk uncomfortably, wait for you to get embarrassingly sweaty and then blurt out advice that seems obvious ("be sure to drink some water after you're done.") So I usually stick my face in a magazine while I'm there. Today, the place was packed with New Years resolutioners but the personal trainer still managed to corner me as I was bee-lining for the elliptical.

"Haven't seen you in a while," he said.

"Yeah," I said. "It's that busy time of year."

He furrowed his unibrow and I could see I was in for a lecture. "We all get pretty busy around the holidays," he said, "but it's important to keep up a regular regimen if you want to stay fit."

"Uh-huh," I said.

"Be sure to stretch extra long before you start," he said. "Don't want you to get sore."

"Sure will," I said. I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was kind of a down day for me.


  1. Jill, I used them when I worked up in Montana and Wyoming trucking if IN was going to be outside for a while. They probably saved me many a mashed finger by keeping my hands warm enough to feel chaion tension and such by slipping them inside my gloves. I also slipped them inside my boots if my feet got a chill::GRIN:: Glad you liked the suggestion and use it in good health! I have no doubt you will finish this race, by the way! Кабель пинком (Since Alaska used to be Russian speaking!) That's Kick @ss by the way!

  2. That personal trainer would probably work on my nerves:-)

  3. Check these out.
    I have no experience with them but one of the guys on the Surly Blog swears by them. The downside is it is another battery to deal with.

    As for the personal trainer, challenge him to ride outside with you -- then see his reaction.


  4. indeed ... don't get sore.

    pleasantly weird ~ but i have this image of 'rex-quando' for your pasty pT.

    actually, i just want him to wear a usa flag bandanna on his head.

    don't break the illusion for me.


  5. I have those hotronic warmers mentioned above. They are awesome for training and I have been through three sets of them in the last 10 years. I recommended the chemical warmers because I prefer them for racing, lighter than the battery on your foot region and besides you would need back up batteries for a 24 hour race. To me preventitive maintenance is the key, whether your running battery or chemical warmers, start using them right away. Don't wait for your digits to get cold because the warmers may not have enough energy to revive things as opposed to keeping things warm.

  6. "Point your toes more, dude" "Raise your seat or your knees are going to hurt" "Higher than that, man."
    Nothing worse than unsolicited workout advice. BTW, my health science buddies tell me that, statistically, stretching does nothing to prevent injury, contrary to popular belief.

  7. I have an issue with discarding chemicals so to make the chemical warmers stretch as long as possible I've found that when you have only used them a few hours you can ziplock them into a baggie and they stop giving off heat and when you take them back out they are good to go for the rest of their lifespan. I can make a pair of packs last almost a weeks of commutes by doing this.

    Also, you can go to a ski shop and pay a $1.50 for each warmer pack or you can go around to pharmacies and chain drugstores and search because they are clearing them out right now and I found them for 29 cents a pack and bought the whole store display!

    And if anybody tries to tell you those 9V battery powered socks you can get at outdoor stores work good, ignore them. They suck. They warm your toes up for about 10 minutes.

  8. I was referring to those $20.00 9V wool socks with little heater strips you can get at REI, not the Hottronics heated soles. Hottronics rock if you have the cash.

  9. You just gave me a great idea, Jill! I'll create an automatic personal trainer. Just push the "on" button and your trainer will utter helpful phrases that you gave:

    "Be sure to drink some water after you're done."

    "It's important to keep up a regular regimen if you want to stay fit."

    "Be sure to stretch extra long before you start."

  10. I think caloi-rider is right... I still swear by stretching afterward, but a good warm-up is way more useful beforehand than stretching.

    Of course, if you want to do yoga without being publicly humiliated, you shouldn't stop stretching.... that's why I don't do yoga.....

    hey caloi-rider, is your Caloi a mtb or one of the exquisitely rare road bikes? My winter beater is one of the latter, and I even posted a picture of it earlier this week. It is hott. Doesn't work very well, but hott nonetheless.

  11. Thanks for your kind words over at my place Jill! Nice to meet you and you have a great place here. Dave Matthews @ the Olympics? Jealous! Great pics you have shared here too!


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