Thanks for the slush-slop shower. Not!

Sometimes neighbors present one another with strange surprises. That’s certainly what happened to me around here.

Hey, it’s the holiday season. It’s prime time for neighbors to shower one another with kindness. Folks offer thoughtful little gifts, fresh-baked cookies, well wishes, crooned carols, and sweet sentiments. 

Only that’s not exactly how it went down this time.

Here in the Upper Midwest U.S., we have enjoyed an all-too-brief, but most welcome, stretch of unseasonably warm weather. This has been an extra-special gift, because it came in immediately and suddenly after a much-too-cold session.

At last, Christmas Eve morning arrived. And we had a few hours of down-time before we had to leave for a family celebration.

Naturally, I slipped into my reflective gear, laced on my sneakers, and hit the road to clock a few miles. I trotted out to my favorite six-mile route, which took me along a couple of county highways and through a loop of lovely farm roads.

The holiday spirit was evident nearly everywhere. Along the way, I was delighted by Christmas yard displays and scents of wonderful things cooking in various homes. Most of all, I was impressed by the many oncoming drivers (particularly big-rig drivers), who veered across the center line to give me a little extra running room.

So I chugged along, grabbing some extra pep and enthusiasm from a high-tempo holiday song station, piping into my headphones. I slogged my way up the big hill at the end of the route and rounded the last corner towards home.

Then, boom.

A neighbor pulled out of the far end of the subdivision in a little white SUV and flew right by me, bestowing me with a surprise gift: a head-to-toe shower of slushy, muddy, salty road slop.

OK, I was gonna bathe anyway before going to Grandma’s. (Hey, it’s Christmas!) But that last mile was extra frosty. And I have to admit: I was more than a little frosted at a certain neighbor.

Looking back, I’m pretty sure the guy didn’t deliberately douse me. Maybe my neighbor is just plain clueless. He might have been on the phone or (worse yet) texting. Or perhaps this is just one more example of how many non-runners really have no idea what it’s like to trudge along out there with traffic.

Drivers: Please be careful of runners out there -- especially in the winter, when our trails are snow-closed, the road shoulders are narrower, and we have nowhere to jump out of the way!

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10 safety questions to ask before going for a run

Runners exercise extreme determination, whether training for 5K charity fun runs or big-city marathons. That often means lacing on sneakers to pound the pavement or tread the trails in unfamiliar territory. What quick safety precautions are most important for runners to take?

Pixabay/public domain photo
 NOTE: Written by this author, this copyrighted material originally appeared on another publisher’s site. That site no longer exists. This author holds all rights to this content. No republication is allowed without permission.

Here are 10 safety questions for runners to ask themselves before stepping out for a jaunt.

  1. Who can I take along for the run? A running companion can make the miles more merry, while also adding safety and security.
  2. What’s the local weather forecast? It’s surprising how many runners don’t check before setting out for a long trek.
  3. Is my cell phone charged and ready? This may be the most important safety device a runner carries. Besides providing music and camera capabilities, a smart phone will likely have GPS tracking. Pedometer applications even count miles. And a cell is a lifesaver, if emergency assistance is needed.
  4. Do I have my reflective gear? Safe runners wear clothing that makes them easy for motorists to spot, no matter what time of day they go. Reflective patches on shoes and other gear help a lot. Smart athletes also stick to well-lit areas with good visibility.
  5. Am I carrying personal identification? A running pack or armband is handy for holding a driver’s license or ID card. Runners with special medical needs may wear specific bracelets or lanyards or carry information cards. Increasingly, runners are sporting ROAD ID wristbands containing their identification and emergency contact information.
  6. Do I have enough water? For longer runs, some folks plant water bottles in certain spots along the way or identify drinking fountains that may be available for refills.
  7. Will I need a snack along the way? Mid-run nutrition is essential on longer trips.
  8. Have I told anyone where I am going? Even a runner who lives alone or is flying solo while out of town can send a quick text to a friend or family member to indicate the expected running route.
  9. Can I find my way home? A predetermined running route or mapped loop can be essential for out-of-town miles. A GPS device (or smart phone app) can do the trick nicely.
  10. Do I need added protection? Many runners carry pepper sprays and whistles for potential protection against wild animals or dangerous strangers.
These precautions are particularly pertinent for those running after dark, far from home, or in potentially dangerous areas.

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Running product review: Bondi Band athletic headband

Stretchy headgear is a hot trend among runners, fitness bikers, triathletes, and other workout enthusiasts. Bondi Band, founded in 2005, is an active contender in this field, showing up in race expos and finish-line vendor lineups.

Athletes of both genders and all ages are snatching up the lycra headbands, beanies, and compression sleeves in a flash.

Product publicity photo – fair use
NOTE: This product reviewer purchased the product described and evaluated here outright, and the reviewer (at the time this review was published) had no prior or existing relationship (either familial or professional) with the creator, manufacturer, or marketer of the product.

However, as of 2018, the reviewer has become an official Bondi Band Brand Ambassador and begun offering a discount code for Bondi Band products.

What’s so hot about Bondi Band headbands?

Constructed of stretchy, breathable, wicking lycra / nylon / spandex, Bondi Bands are lightweight and comfortable. The sleek and flat design fits just about any human head. These handy headbands hold bangs and loose hairs away from racers’ faces during athletic activity, even on the windiest days.

Sure, the headbands may make some folks’ ears stick out a bit. But the bands can also be placed over the ears, holding audio headphones in place.

The flat, form-fitting design may not flatter every face, but the practical nature of the product makes it a hit. Plus, they fold and stack nicely for storage.

Wearers of Bondi Bands or similar athletic headbands may find themselves with plastered-down hair after a workout or race. But don’t most athletes head for the showers anyway?

Popular Bondi Band imprints include such slogans as:

  • 10K
  • 13.1
  • 26.2
  • 50 and still kicking.
  • 5K
  • Because I can.
  • Bike happy.
  • Born to run.
  • Bring it.
  • Gotta run.
  • Hot mess.
  • I run like a girl.
  • No one ever drowned in sweat.
  • Running for a cure.
  • Stronger than yesterday.
  • Sweat is my fat crying.
  • Will run for chocolate.

Athletes may choose from blinged-out and patterned Bondi Band designs, such as paisleys, polka dots, stripes, swirls and tie dyes. Custom and personalized Bondi Band imprints are available, such as slogans or names for team uniforms or fund-raising purposes.

Usually priced from $8 to approximately $20, Bondi Bands also come in furry, fleecy, contoured, and skinny braided designs for various styling options and weather conditions.

I purchased my first Bondi band several years ago, and it has held up well to countless launderings (including trips through the dryer). Since then, I have picked up at least a half a dozen more as swag/give-aways at various races. They are handy, and they last.

NOTE: Written by this author, this copyrighted material originally appeared on another publisher’s site. That site no longer exists. This author holds all rights to this content. No republication is allowed without permission.

Here’s the best part.

Maine-based Bondi Band donates 10 percent of the profits from their product sales to Charity. For 2016, the recipient is the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a National Cancer Institute affiliated with Boston’s Harvard Medical School.

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