Posted by: thehungryrunner | January 4, 2011

The case of the gaiter-causing-fogged-sunglasses syndrome

Maybe my memory is doing its Swiss cheese impersonation, but I don’t recall ever having this particular problem on my winter runs.  Why now?  Your guess is as good as mine!

As was addressed in my last post, we haven’t had the most outdoor-run-friendly weather this winter, at least not the month of December.  But this past Sunday (1/2/11 — my mind wants to see a pattern in that) brought hooray! sun and hoorayhooray! 23 degrees — all at the same time!  Add to that roads and sidewalks that were now clear of snow and ice (courtesy of the meltdown caused by storms and temperatures in the 50’s on New Year’s Eve), and it seemed only right to take the opportunity to back away from the hamster wheel and squeeze in a morale-boosting outdoor run while I still could.  No problem, I have all the layering things and technical things and warmth-retaining things for just such an occasion.  So I suit up and shuffle out into the chill.

This is usually the point in which the story often goes, “Things were off on a good start,” or “It all started well,” but that’s not what happened here.  For I hadn’t gone 50 feet (thank you, Garmin, for letting me know) before my half face mask, which was snuggly tucked into my neck gaiter, caused every drop of exhale vapor to migrate to my sunglasses and do to them what happens to my husband’s glasses upon entering the indoors after a winter walk.  My sunglasses were completely fogged, which is definitely not good when you’re about to turn onto the main road traversing our immediate neighborhood.

I immediately pulled the face mask down and let the glasses clear.  Put the face mask back up.  Hey, you never know.  Same result — instant blindness.  I’m a slow learner, so it took another 10 minutes and numerous variations of that up-and-down testing to finally declare this wasn’t going to work.  If I was to hang out for the full intended 6 miles, I would have to grit it out with face exposed.  Which I did; although the wind was rather torturesome when confronted head on, as long as I had ample “skin warmth recovery” via running the other direction, I seemed to be OK.  Not comfortable, but OK.  Any colder or windier and this story would have ended differently.

But now I’m left with the perplexing mystery of why this is happening this year?  Without my sunglasses (yes, I tried that too), the effect of my mask was so strong it actually began to fog my *contact* lenses!  Yet, this is the same face mask I have used for years, both on ski outings and on winter runs.

A mystery to be solved, hopefully well before the spring thaw!

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