02 September 2006

The Things I Carried

I'm used to running with as few accessories as possible, since I've generally adhered to the maxim "the less you carry, the farther you can go." But with this Brooklyn thing, I've had to incorporate a bag (a waistpack, to be specific) in order to hold my little digital camera. But nature does indeed abhor a vacuum, and the empty spaces of my bag are no exception. I keep a lot more than just a camera with me on my runs now, and I'm kind of getting used to them. So today, as I watch the wind-driven rain pelt my window (and since I'm completely bereft of any deeper insight or thought at the moment), I'm dedicating today's post to, yes, the contents of my bag.

The bag has two compartments, a main one (it rides closer to my body) and a smaller, outer one. I keep the camera in the outer part, since it's smaller and holds the camera more snugly, and because it's easier to gain quick access. In the larger compartment, though, I've been carrying the following:
  • an unlimited-ride MetroCard
  • two dollars (for a post run Gatorade or to placate aggressive panhandlers)
  • my house keys
  • a single, folded paper towel (emergency TP -- the real stuff disintegrates)
  • a hand-made map detailing the day's route
  • articles from the New Yorker or Harper's
  • two AA batteries (spares for the camera)
The articles are for reading on the subway (or waiting for it). These two magazines work well, since they typically have good writing and run long pieces. I'll take one or two articles, rip them out, staple them together, and fold the whole thing into quarters. It then fits perfectly in the larger compartment, but takes up little room and weighs almost nothing.

The map (the picture up top is my map from Friday's run, and on most screens will probably be pretty close to actual size) is about 1.75 x 2.5 inches. I make one each day, using a piece of 5 x 7 note paper, folded into eighths. I include an outline of the route, the street names, the subway stops I'm planning on using, cross streets, any points of interest I want to see, and mile markers, so I can figure my pace. When I'm done writing on it, I wrap it in clear packing tape, which makes it stiffer (and thus easier to hold on to) and water-resistant (an important consideration, given how much I typically perspire). I usually keep it in my hand while I'm running, of course, though it goes in the bag while I'm on the train.

Fascinating, to be sure. I'm hoping the weather improves enough that I can get at least 10 miles in tomorrow, but regardless, here's an extra picture from last week:

Sparkly laundromat, 16th Street


At 11:55 AM, Blogger Feminist Runner said...

Oh my god, I feel like I've seen your secret life!

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Gary said...

You're right, I suppose there are few things more private than the contents of one's running bag... The funny thing is, as I mentioned, that I used to run with almost nothing besides a watch, and now look at me! Next thing you know I'll be pushing one of those grocery carts filled with junk...

At 7:06 PM, Anonymous Humbled said...

I found this entry oddly fascinating. I especially liked the detailed description of your running map - above all, the idea of reinforcing it with clear packing tape. That's something I may just have to try the next time I'm running in a strange city, sweating all over one of those cheapo hotel maps.

At 12:08 AM, Anonymous Natalie Slevin said...

I must say, this completely amused me! Is your "running bag" just a glorified name for a fanny pack?! I'm glad to see that you are doing so well...and gathering quite a following! Let's talk soon!

At 7:26 PM, Blogger Gary said...

Geez, Natalie. Some people write to tell me they like the pictures or to make sure I get enough rest. You, on the other hand, leave comments to make fun of my "running bag!"

Yes, we should talk. Write me at either my gmail or UI addresses. Hope all's well with you!

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