Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spit, Or the Downside of the Petzl Headlamp

I've been singing the praises of my new Petzl headlamp in several previous posts. It's bright, comfortable on my head, long-lasting.  I saw no downside...until now.

This weekend, fortunately or unfortunately, the Petzl revealed something quite disgusting.  I was out my Pig Farm 10 miler route, in the pre-dawn hours.  The stars were brilliant, the roads were empty save for me, wind was was a great morning to be alive and running.  I was running as I normally do, which includes a certain amount of normal bodily functions.

Whenever I run, and particularly this winter when a nagging cold has been hovering in the background for some weeks now, I seem to generate a lot of mucous. It's easier for me to spit it out rather than swallow, and when I spit, I eject the sputum like from a blowgun, in what I always assumed was a compact wad.

Note the use of the past tense "assumed."

The truth-telling Petzl headlamp, positioned as it was on my forehead perhaps 8" above my mouth, revealed that rather than simply a small compact wad of mucous being spit, there was a huge bunch of aerosolized saliva also being launched.  It seemed to be a cloud in the brilliant beam of the lamp, like using one's high beam headlights in a snowstorm or fog (i.e., almost blinding).

This is a photo of a sneeze but the effect I saw was virtually identical (photo credit here):

Anyone downwind would surely have been in the drift path and bathed in myriad germs.

I plan to mend my ways and spit only when absolutely necessary.

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