Tag Archives: pajama pants

Trail Runners and Pajama Pants

Trail runners are different. I like to think to think that this is a good kind of different rather than a bad or scary kind of different. We prefer not to run on pavement or roads. We often choose the steepest, rockiest, and most difficult routes to run. A typical run might result in a tumble, with some abrasions, bruising, and bleeding. Yet, we love running on the dirt, through the mountains, and immersing ourselves in the outdoors. I consider this the good kind of different, but then I am biased.

Part of being trail runner and being different is not wearing the sort of gear a typical road racer might wear. Some trail runners wear shoes with extra toe protection so that you dont break a toe when they inadvertently kick a rock in the trail. Other trail runners use trekking poles to get up and down mountains.

Being a trail runner, being different, and knowing that anything goes in trail running wear, I didnt think twice about wearing pajama pants to the 2013 Soulstice trail race. It was early morning, I was tired, and I thought, Hey, why not just wear some pajama pants for warm up pants? I trail run in compression tights or shorts, which enhance performance, but do not provide much warmth. It is cold up in the San Francisco Peaks, near Flagstaff, AZ. Flagstaff is at 7,000 feet elevation, and the race is about 8,000 to 9,000 feet in elevation. The race is held every October. It is not uncommon to find it snowing during this time of year. I knew I needed a second layer to stay warm pre-race. Why not wear my pajama pants as that second layer. They are fleece pajama pants that always keep me warm. So without further ado, I pulled on my compression tights, sweat-vac race shirt, and Salomon trail shoes, then threw on a polar fleece jacket and my blue plaid fleece pajama pants and left for the race. When I went to the registration area to pick up my race bib, my legs felt nice and warm, even though it was below freezing. No one gave me a second look even though I was wearing my pajama pants. We are trail runners and we are different, and anything pretty much goes with trail running apparel.

Fast forward to May, 2014, and the Flagstaff trail racing season has begun. Every year I sign up for the Flagstaff Summer Running Series. Neil Weintraub , who founded the Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association also created the Flagstaff Summer Running Series. Neil has worked hard in keeping the series going year after year. The first race of Flagstaff Summer Running Series is Run for the Mountain. The race benefits the Mountain Charter School. This is a race held at Fort Tuthill on the outskirts of Flagstaff. It is all dirt trails running and pine trees.

It was a little cold the morning of the Run for the Mountain race. The weather was definitely pajama pants weather. I walked up to the registration kiosk wearing pajama pants and got my race bib number. No one batted an eye at the guy wearing blue plaid fleece pajama pants. The pajama pants kept me nice and toasty until it was time to start the race.

This is my fourth year at the Run for the Mountain race. My son Max and my daughter Emma were running the 5K, while I would run my usual 10K. One year the announcer at the Imogene Pass Race coined the term The Running Nation of Flagstaff. (The iconic Imogene Pass Run is a 17 mile mountain race within the San Juan mountains of Colorado, you run along a route which connects the towns of Ouray (7810 ft.) and Telluride (8750 ft.) by way of 13,114 foot Imogene Pass). It looked like many citizens of the Running Nation of Flagstaff would be running the Run for the Mountain race. Some of these citizens were elite runners and they would run in the same 10K that I was running. One elite runner, Emily Harrison, of Flagstaff, finished the Caumsett State Park 50K this March at 3:15 setting the course record. She won the USATF 50K National Road Championship. She also ran the second fastest 50K in North American History. Nick Arciniaga, another Flagstaff resident, took 7th place in the Boston Marathon this year. Nick also would be running in the 10K with me.

Dirk Murphy in his prerace fleece pajama pants.

Dirk Murphy in his prerace fleece pajama pants.

Being in my 50s, I always hang back with other local old guys toward the middle of the pack at the start of a race. The Run for the Mountain race started out fast. Luckily I had warmed up ahead of time with my blue plaid flannel pajama pants and was ready for the quick start. I ended finishing 3rd in the mens 50 to 59 year old category. My son Max finished 5th in the mens 13 to 19 year old category for the 5K. My daughter Emma finished 9th out of the womens 1 to 12 year old category for the 5K.

Earlier I had seen a guy on a bicycle leading the kids 2K fun run part of the Run for the Mountain race. The bicyclist was wearing a neon orange afro wig, and a blue super hero cape. I realized that it was my neighbor, who also was a trail runner and regularly runs Imogene Pass Run. I thought, Wow! That is different. My neighbors attire reminded me of the crazy attire for the annual Kahtoola Uphill race. Kahtoola is held every February at the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort just north of Flagstaff, AZ. You start running at 9,200 feet and run straight up to 10,800 feet. The course is about 3.3 miles. The Kahtoola Uphill race could be described as a winter running Mardi Gras, with crazy runners and skiers racing straight up a ski slope.

When I reflected on some of the outlandish running attire that I have witnessed at trail races, my mens blue plaid fleece pajama pants seemed downright conservative in comparison. So, I will keep on wearing my plaid fleece pajama pants as warm up pants at the local trail races. I find them comfortable, warm, and easy to don on and off. They may not look like other runners warm up pants. But, what can I say? Im a trail runner. Im different, but it is a good kind of different.

Dirk Murphy enjoys trail running and the outdoors when he is not spending time with his family or helping with his family’s business.

Would You Wear Pajamas in Public?

There has been a lot of commotion in the press lately about the practice of wearing pajamas in public. Celebrities are wearing their pjs around town. School boards are worried about high school students wearing pajama pants to school. School officials are also in a dither about parents wearing pajamas to school when they drop students off. Wow! Who would have imagined that this would ever have been topic of discussion a decade or two ago.

So… what do you think? Would you wear pajamas outside of your house? If so, when is it OK? When is it not?

It is not my preference to wear my pajamas all over town. I live in my pjs at home. I wear them all weekend and all evening/night. If I am going to run to the grocery store or to get some dinner, I would throw on a pair of jeans or khakis. I love my pajama pants, but I wouldn’t wear them to a lot of public places. That is just my choice.

But, other people make other choices. I think about my old neighbor Guy. He lived down the block from us in our last house. He was retired. He used to hang out in front of his house and drink his coffee in the morning in his Batman pajama pants. I thought that he was really cool even before I officially met him. (Once I met him, I discovered that he was a very nice man.) It did not offend me in the least that he sat on his front patio in his pajama pants. First, it was his yard. Second, he was retired, so he should be able to do what he wants as long as he was not bothering anyone else. Third, he picked a really cool superhero to wear, so what’s not to like?

I only wear pajama pants outside of the house when I go for long walks by myself. Why? I really don’t like wearing sweatpants. I don’t even own any. Now, if I were twenty, cute and thin, there might be some really attractive sweats out there for me. But, I am not. I am middle aged and need to lose weight. I really think that I am doing my neighbors a favor by wearing my cute cartoon pajama pants to go for walks rather than some unattractive sweats. (If they really don’t want to see me in my pj pants, they can always look away. I also walk on trails that don’t get a lot of traffic. The 2-3 people who see me at a time will probably survive the experience.)

What do I wear for these scandalous excursions? I wear men’s cartoon pajama pants. I love them. I have many pairs including Superman, Charlie Brown, Elvis, and Homer Simpson. (Unfortunately, some of the characters aren’t even made anymore.) I have washed and worn them a zillion times, so I can tell you that they hold up very well.

I can only think of one time that I wore pajama pants in public other than on my walks. Admittedly, it was pretty embarrassing. I had on a pair of khakis and dropped of my kids at a birthday party on a Saturday afternoon. After I dropped them off at the party, I went to the office and loaded my truck up with these giant bags of mail to take them over to the post office. (I suspect this is when the damage occurred.) I later went back to the party where I spent about an hour talking to other parents before leaving with the kids. We later picked up my husband and headed to the movies. As we were walking into the movie theater one of my kids said (as only a small child can say at full volume), Hey mom! Did you know there is a giant hole in the back of your pants? Of course I didn’t know. What sane adult knowingly walks around with a hole in the back of their pants?

When I told the kids that we were going to have to miss the movie due to the ripped pants fiasco, they were crushed. I don’t even remember what the movie was, but it seemed like the end of the world to them. At that point, I was forced to formulate another plan. All four of us headed back out to the parking lot and to our truck. (Of course, I was attempting to strategically cover the hole in my pants with my purse as I left the theater.) In the truck, I did have a few extra clothing items as only mothers miraculously seem to have on hand. One of those items was a pair of Elvis pajama pants. Don’t ask me why they were there, but they were. After a quick change, I was back in business. (The things we do to make our kids happy. They will never fully understand.)

Now that they are older (young teens), my kids seem to have no interest in wearing their jammies outside of the house. When they have specific pajama/spirit days at school they always participate, but they don’t otherwise wear pjs to school.

The other morning my son and I left the house together. It was about 32 degrees outside and insanely windy. (We live in the mountains of northern Arizona. It can be freezing in the morning and beautiful and warm by the afternoon.) What was my son wearing? Shorts. I was freezing in my long pants, but there he was in shorts. He would have been better off in pajama pants. But, he is a teenager and he thinks he knows everything. I am the mother of a teenager and I pick my battles. Right now homework and studying are at the top of my list. I let the shorts slide. If he really wanted to wear pajama pants to school, I would let those slide too. Pajama pants might be a little unusual for school, but it seems like they might be more practical than shorts on a 32 degree day.

I recently discovered that my husband wears his fleece pajama pants outside. He is pretty sly about wearing his pjs out of the house. I actually had no idea that he was doing this until just recently. My husband is a park ranger for the National Park Service in his regular life (soon to be retired), but his real passion is trail running. He runs marathons, half marathons, and many 10Ks during the running season here in Arizona. He is a great runner and wins a lot of awards for his age (what he calls the old guy division).

So what is the deal with the pajama pants? When he goes to races and is getting ready, it is really early in the morning and is pretty cold. He thinks that the fleece pajama pants are perfect for keeping warm without looking too slick like a pair of fancy warm up pants would. (I guess serious trail runners are a relaxed bunch. I am not a trail runner. I don’t profess to know anything about their fashion preferences.) When we do go see my husband’s races, we see him cross the finish line " not getting ready an hour before. So my kids and I did not know that dad was secretly wearing his jammies to warm up before his races.

Fleece Pajama Pants

Fleece Pajama Pants

Who would have guessed it? Not me and we have been married for eighteen years. I guess you never know who is going to turn up in their pajamas in public. (Believe me " my husband does not seem like the type.)

Now you know all of the Murphy family secrets about pajama wearing in public. What are yours? Do you wear your pajamas outside? What do you think about other people wearing their pjs outside? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you.

Sweet dreams.