Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bag Lady

One of my girlfriends asked me today to explain how I do the foot-in-bag technique for keeping my feet (mostly) dry during these rainy, puddly, slushy runs. And I figure, why not share it here, too?

I. I first put on a knee-high pair of nylon or compression socks (you can't really see them in this picture as they are black like my leggings). Not wearing cotton, or wearing a sweat/water-wicking base layer, is essential. On top of that I wear regular running socks. I do this for the additional layer because the nylon socks are thin and won't keep your feet warm in cold temperatures.

2. Put your foot in a gallon bag! (I would say I prefer Hefty OneZip bags, but it's the only bag I had lying around.) Zip your foot in!
3. Fold the excess bag over.

4. Tuck the bag inside your running pants. If you don't wear leggings, I'm fresh out of ideas, as I'm not sure how a loose pant leg would hold it close to your skin. Hmmmm. Surely there are more creative ideas out there than rubber bands...

5. Voila! Dry-ish feet! I wear Brooks Vapor-Dry leggings, so it really keeps the wetness out. I've run through knee-high snow before and my feet and shins didn't feel anything other than the brief moment of coldness.

I left work late again today and really only got to fit in a quick out-and-back run. (Good thing, since I forgot my balaclava, and I couldn't even feel the snot running down my face. It was SO windy which made it feel really cold.)

2mi splits: 8:30, 8:15
Windchill: -14F (Actual: 5F)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

An Unfun Run

After seeing the temperature hoover around 36F degrees at 10a.m. this morning, I decided to head out for a run before all the sleet and rain we've had in the past few days turned into ice as it cools down. We could be back down in the single digits as early as tomorrow. Boo!

For the first time, I'm venturing to say I almost did not have a fun run. I love running, and by the end of the workday I can't wait to get out and fit in a few miles. Well, if the Greenway wasn't slick ice today, it was inches and inches of slush. I put bags on my feet this morning, but the slush was so viscous and omnipresent that they didn't make a difference. Not only were my feet miserable, running in slush is like running in mud. I couldn't get any traction, and when I could, I could barely move. And even though I was barely moving, I was working twice as hard and quickly grew exhausted. This winter running is undoubtedly hard work.

I headed over to the Lake Calhoun/Lake of the Isles canal to attempt to run on the frozen water. Remember what I looked like when I saw that runner on it Friday afternoon?
This is what it looked like this morning. Almost like a giant pond of urine!

Of course you can't gauge how much slush that is based on a picture, but if you were step on it, you'd sink a few inches into the earth. I know that there's still plenty of ice to walk on this (especially because the canal is so shallow), but one of my biggest fears is falling through the ice and I didn't even want to risk it. So much for lake running this weekend!

Instead, I ran around Lake of the Isles, which I haven't run since probably September. It's a little out of my way, but it's a beautiful lake. The houses along the lake are gigantic and date back to the 1800s. I know that the Mary Tyler Moore house is on this lake, but I haven't found which house it is, so don't ask me to point it out. :) During the summer, this lake is filled with runners, walkers, bikers, canoers, picnic-ers, and Frisbee throwers. Apparently in the winter there is ice skating, hockey, and still plenty of runners.

I decided to rename the lake today, though, to Slush of the Isles, because the ice looked like it was melting faster than an ice cream cone in the Sahara.

This portion of the lake must be the ice rink... only it looked like a few inches of standing water.

A little further down the lake is the hockey rink. If you can find the two kids out skating, kudos to you. And kudos to them for making it out there! That is one sloppy rink. All this standing water is what is they had to cross to get over there!

From this side of the lake, the Southwest side, there is normally a very clear view of Downtown Minneapolis above the brush in the background. Only Downtown is all fogged over today. The only thing visible is Slush of the Isles.

This run was so hard this morning and I am definitely not feeling good about it, but I'm still trying to find the positives: I got to get out and enjoy some warm weather. I am blessed in that I have the ability to run -- and I enjoy it. I have amazing access to running paths. I live in a beautiful city that permits me to enjoy the outdoors in the worst times of the year, weather-wise.

And now to the Negative Nancy technical stuff: Thanks to Mr. Anastos's GPS capabilities, the pink line in the graph below charts my distance over time, and the blue line charts my speed during that time. You can clearly see the spots (the abrupt falls in the blue line) where I had to stop to walk for ice -- and my slow progression over time. I didn't even hit an average speed of 7.0 for ANY of my miles. The closest I got was a 6.9 average for Mile 4! (I guess, again, this is good training for my marathon pace...) The last mile was definitely the worst in terms of invisible ice, as you can see how choppy my running got -- speeding up and slowing down, literally every few seconds. This is where I actually had to hop off the running trail and run in the snow because it was just too icy to even stand on.

7.59mi splits: 8:54, 8:54, 8:48, 8:41, 9:03, 9:08, 9:50, 6:09
Air Temp: 36F

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More January Rain

This is Minnesota! It should not be raining in January.

I bundled up for a quick run in some windy sleet this morning, but after slipping three times in about 100 feet, I turned right around, changed into my gym gear, and hit up a treadmill instead. I couldn't even make it to the end of the parking lot without losing my footing, and I can't stand treadmills. I would rather lift weights than run on a treadmill (NOW THAT'S SERIOUS).

But, I did chug out a half hour without quitting -- and I am notorious for ending treadmill workouts early! For whatever reason I focus too much on the act of keeping my body in sync with a moving belt, I start feeling all these phantom pains, I keep thinking that I can't catch my breathe, etc. And none of it makes sense -- I usually run faster outside than I do on a treadmill. I think I just get so bored that I begin fixating on stupid things. And, I can't believe I'm going to admit this ...

I ran with the treadmill on 7.2 mph for 28 minutes. Then for a minute and a half, I bumped it up to 8.5 mph. For the final 30 seconds, I bumped it up to 9.0 mph.

After the treadmill auto-ended, I ran straight to the bathroom where I proceeded to dry heave.

I have puked at the end of races, but I've never thought I had to upchuck after running such a short distance at an average seed. This has to be a new low for me. Or maybe I just hate treadmills that much.

3.622mi splits: 8:26, 8:19, 8:20, 4:55

Ohhh, let's hope this rain doesn't turn straight into ice like the weather people are saying it will. I really need them to be wrong this time. I really need to run outside! (And I still kind of want to run on a frozen lake...)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Where Am I ... Los Angeles?

All of California has been getting pounded by torrential rain storms (mud slides! tornado watches!), and I can't help but laugh at how they act as though the world is ending.

My favorite blogger has posted pictures on her blog about how the rain is putting a halt to her Long Beach runs. And while I understand that Los Angeles is going through a little more than "just rain" right now, it still makes me chortle at how they are unable to drive -- or perform any daily functions -- when the sun isn't shining.

I don't mean to poke too much fun as I love California and consider it my second home, but my first home is in a part of the country that's super hearty and is used to dealing with unusual weather every few minutes. :P

The wacky weather in California is altering its course through the jetstream, and we've had some pretty mild weather this week. It's mostly been above freezing, and we saw a little bit of rain yesterday. The sun is being blocked out by thick clouds, but it's acting as a nice insulator in getting rid of some of this snow and slush.

Unfortunately, that also means lots and lots of puddles along the Greenway. (Have you stepped in these cold-water puddles? Having water close to freezing squishing in your shoes is not fun.)

It's beginning to look a lot like L.A.!

Here's one way to avoid the puddles -- run on the frozen lake! Despite my massive fear of falling through the ice, this could be something fun to try this weekend...

I just love animals and was excited to see this cute little squirrel being all cute, little, and squirrel-y.

The last of the California Typhoon is this weekend, and we are expecting the repercussions of their storm to affect us here this weekend. It looks like we have a few days of freezing drizzle in the forecast, which of course will turn to glare ice when the temperatures drop overnight. It's looking like I could be having a few slick runs this weekend!

4.77mi splits: 8:35, 8:24, 8:27, 8:28, 6:47
Air Temp: 32F

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Schlub for Schwag

When I was little, I was a gymnast. At all of my meets, there were tables of schwag and gear for purchase. Usually they had really crappy overpriced shirts, sweatshirts, candy, soda, sometimes grips and chalk for the bars, leotards, etc. I would always check out the table to see what was there. My parents were very financially conservative, so I knew I could never con them into buying anything so unnecessary, but I still thought it was fun to look and dream.

When I decided late December to sign up for the 2010 Team Ortho race series, I saw that I would be getting a free pullover. Or did I sign up because I would be getting a free pullover? We'll never know to the truth to that. :) The pullover arrived in the mail today and seeing a package for me felt like my birthday! Although, I do have to admit it is a little strange to receive the pullover so soon, since I'm only 1/4th of the way done with the race series. Hmmmm.

Pretty awesome, huh? I took this with flash so you can see the reflective strips. The strips are on both the front and the back.

The exciting 2010 Team Ortho race series logo on the back.
Close up of the 2010 logo. (hehehe... finisher!)

I love free stuff!

In more important news, the Greenway has been nice and clear lately. There are still a few spots of rough ice and a few spots of really slick "black ice," but the vast majority of it has melted and I've been able to get in some quality quick runs. I've been leaving work later than usual lately, which means it's already somewhat dark by the time I hit the trails. Since I don't have a whole lot of proper night gear yet, I usually try to get back before complete sundown.

Yesterday I ran a quick 2-mile out and back, and saw 5 deer along the path. I had the distinct feeling there were eyes watching me, and I was glad to see it wasn't some creeper. From yesterday:

2.03mi splits: 8:02, 7:47, :13
Air Temp: 23F

Today's out and back:

2.53mi splits: 8:33, 8:31, 4:33
Air Temp: 22F

As I know I mentioned in an older post, the great thing about running during the sunset is ... running during the sunset! I brought my camera phone with me today for that distinct reason.

A sliver of the moon, pink clouds, and an airplane coming in for landing. A few of my favorite things. :)

The view from the Greenway, with another speck of a plane coming in for landing.

Gorgeous! I am lucky to live in such a beautiful place. I love that I get to enjoy these views of the setting sun, especially during the winter. It's little things like these that make winter more bearable.

And the most important news of all, I've been selected to wear test the Brooks Cascadia 6 trail running shoe! The shoes will be shipped to me on Friday, so I'm guessing they'll get here next week. My instructions for the wear test are to run as much as possible in them for about 10 days. Could I have any better of an "assignment"? This sounds more like a challenge, right?! I'm stoked! Keep your eyes peeled for some sneak-peek pics and early reviews of the 2011 shoe (and perhaps some reviews of new trails I want to explore) soon.

Monday, January 18, 2010

RIP Sherpa Molded Case (or "Sherpa Molded Case Product Review")

Well, that was a flop. As much as I would love to blame Brooks for sending me a faulty product, I take full responsibility for messing this one up.

I brought my Sherpa Molded Case out for run No. 2 this afternoon, and wasn't expecting that this would be its last run. I wanted to take it out for a few runs and do a full product review once I had more time to bond with the product, so I am saddened to have to review this product far too prematurely. Apparently I put too much stuff in it. Or, maybe I tried shoving my awkwardly large Google Android phone into a space that was roughly equal in size, along with lip gloss and a pack of Sport Beans.

During my run this weekend, the molded case was a dream. It didn't bounce around on my waistband too much (or at least it was very easy to get used to), it held my lip gloss and keys, and I was able to pull my phone out a few times to take pictures and a video and put it back in effortlessly. The zipper is conveniently located on the top side of the pouch, so it was simple to open and close without even having to shift my eyes from the trail.

Today, however, was another story. I pulled my phone out at the end of my run because I was waiting for an important e-mail. As I was putting the phone back in, the zipper ripped open around the phone because of the tension, and before I knew it, the entire zipper fell off the track and I cannot for the life of me put it back on.

One of my best friends and biggest running supporters is a Mr. Fix-It and he's convinced he can put it back together. I say he's an over-confident guy as once I zipper is broken, a zipper is broken. I won't let that stop him from trying, though!

I will still have to say the $5 investment was worth it -- unless you have an Android phone and shove the case a little beyond its limits. If Mr. Fix-It can't fix it, I'll definitely be buying a new one.

(Note to self: Keep receipts for more than a day.)

3.77mi splits: 8:47, 8:59, 8:36, 6:56
Air Temp: 34F

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Booty Shorts, Squats, and Snot Rockets

I am definitely not a football fan, and I certainly wouldn't even consider myself a fairweather fan. I am left out of any and all conversations about football at work, but I was able to pick up on the fact that the Minnesota Vikings were having an "important" game this weekend.

Not sure what the game is called ... it's the game before the game before the Super Bowl. So if they win this game AND the next game, they are going to the Super Bowl. I think?

I headed over to the gym to see how the game ended. I know I will have absolutely nothing to contribute to any sports conversations that are sure to happen tomorrow, but at least I can say that I knew the Vikings won. And not only did they win, they dominated the Cowboys in a pretty classless manner. 34-3? Really?

Anyway, I decided to try out my brand-new booty shorts. I figured the gym would be empty because of the game, so there would be very few people to laugh at my spandex. I was right -- I was the only one there. And, I'm not sure anyone would have laughed at my shorts ... I might even say they looked somewhat decent, for as decent as spandex can look. :)
However, I definitely will need to step up my current piddly squat routine to ensure they remain looking ... not so intrusive ... to my fellow gymgoers. These things are SHORT and my thighs aren't exactly small. And if not for cosmetic reasons, I'm sure the lower-body weight routine will help my running and endurance tremendously. I just haaaaaate weights. I absolutely want to get better at it.

I biked for roughly 19 minutes before realizing that I left the setting on Level 1 (instead of my usual Level 9), and therefore barely got a workout. I cranked it up during the final 13 minutes and peddled until my legs couldn't keep up with the crank, but didn't mind too terribly that it wasn't the best 5-star workout.

Proof I made it to the end of the game! I happened to see what looked like Brett Favre and Tony Romo making out.
OH! And the biggest news I forgot to share about my 10-mile run yesterday: I finally and successfully learned how to blow snot rockets! No more snot running down my face, snot being wiped on my sleeve, snot being frozen into Kleenexes in my pockets, snot ending up on my gloves because I accidentally blew it on my hand instead of the ground, etc. I am very proud of my new discovery! Next, I need to learn how to blow them straight down instead of to the side, as I'm too afraid of blowing my nose on someone during a race. Any advice?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Few Degrees of Separation

Drip. Drip. Drip.

I woke up to the sound of water pattering what sounded like right by my head. I groggily opened my eyes, searching for where the water was falling. I first looked up at the ceiling, then all of the corners in my room. As I looked out my patio door, I saw that it was the snow melting from the deck above mine -- and all the water was dripping into a tin pie plate I have filled with bird suet. What a promising sign! No indoor leaks, and warm weather outside pretty early on in the day. Think birds mind waterlogged food?

I lollygagged around my apartment for a while. While drifting to sleep last night, I told myself I wanted to run 8 miles today, but for some reason that mileage seemed daunting this morning. I took out the trash, cleaned a few things, made a couple of phone calls, and finally convinced myself that I didn't need to run 8 miles -- I just needed to run and enjoy the sunny, warm weather. My marathon training starts in a couple weeks, and until then I should just run what I want to run and avoid getting injured, because after training starts, only then will my mileage matter.

Right around noon, I set off on what I thought would be a 5-mile run. Right around 1:30, I finished my longest run since my Halloween half marathon last October.

Not only was the weather so pleasant today, so were the people! The first two runners I saw said hello, and that was within a quarter mile of my apartment. Yes, we are "Minnesota nice" here, but usually us runners keep to ourselves ... unless we're out braving the elements at 4:30a.m., and we are one of two people outside. Not today. Everyone was smiling, happy, laughing, and enjoying the mild weather. Even all the dogs looked happy! Those few degrees difference truly broke all of our separation. I couldn't help but grin during my entire run as I smiled and waved to so many people.

My 5-mile run turned into a 7-mile run. I stopped by my gym to get a cup of water since I was dying of thirst, and headed back out for a lap around a nearby nature preserve. After 8.5 miles, I still wanted to keep running. So my 8.5 miles turned into a few more laps around local blocks, finishing at 10.3 miles. And, I seriously felt like I could have kept going if I had brought some Sports Beans or a water bottle with me.

This is what I saw when lapping the nature preserve. Beautiful wispy clouds, melting snow, plenty of sun ... this weather is so enjoyable for running.

Not only is it finally above freezing, for the first time since Nov. 6, the sunset is officially after 5p.m. The cold air has seemingly disappeared, and tomorrow is the last day that our "statistical low temps" stay so low. As my weatherman joked today, "Our three weeks of winter are over."

Okay, so that is going a little far. This is Minnesota, afterall. We still have close to 10 inches of snowpack, and it won't be going anywhere quickly. When I was rounding out the parking lot to finish up my run, I saw this snowman imploding. It made me chuckle to think that he is probably the only thing that wants that frozen air back.

10.28mi splits:
1: 8:49
2: 8:42
3: 8:43
4: 8:32
5: 9:27
6: 9:09
7: 8:58
8: 9:14
9: 8:38
10: 9:00
.28: 2:32
Air Temp: 37F

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Another heat wave! Tomorrow is supposed to get above freezing; the first time since Christmas! I took off my balaclava today and enjoyed breathing in the fresh air. My nostrils didn't freeze shut ... my lungs didn't hurt sucking in air ... my eyelashes didn't ice over ... there were people out barbecuing! (I'm not lying. People do weird things when they are convinced it remotely feels like spring.)

The Greenway was slushy in spots, slick in other spots, and very clear in the rest of the spots. It made for a challenging workout, but not a nerve-racking run today. I can't wait until all the ice is gone! So soon! The worst of winter is almost over and the start of marathon training is almost here.

3.54mi splits: 8:22, 8:17, 8:45, 4:49
Air temp: 25F

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ice, Ice Baby

One thing that I'm really looking forward to with marathon training is slowing down.

I feel really lucky that my company has a fitness center and two certified fitness trainers. They work at the Operations headquarters and I work in a satellite office, but I still have access to their resources via phone calls and e-mails. I have been e-mailing my trainer of choice for a few years, and he offers me advice for my athletic vegan lifestyle, and has also attempted to put me on some strength training regimes. Sadly, without the accountability piece of weight lifting, I find that it slips from my routine way too quickly. His nutrition and running advice, however, always sticks.

He has been advising me recently, based on my times and results, to do my marathon training at a cardio-building pace instead of a fat burning/max heart rate pace. It makes sense to me because I don't want to burn out or find that I'm tiring too quickly early on. While it would be nice to finish a marathon with a sub-4 time, my main goal is to have a strong finish for my first marathon.

While I average an 8:01/mile pace (roughly 7.5 mph) in ideal conditions, he's telling me to average a 10:00-10:30/mile pace (5.5-6 mph) during training and the race. He's even warning me that that may be too fast. The idea of running at such a relaxed place sounds AMAZING and not at all intimidating!

I feel like I'm getting the "slow down!" practice as I have been running incredibly slow lately. Granted, running on ice is a very different experience and a huge workout in and of itself, I breathe a sigh of relief when I get to slow down to what I consider a fast walk. While the temperatures have been slowly rising, it hasn't been getting warm enough to melt the ice on the sidewalks. It's neared 30 degrees recently and it feels like the ice is starting to melt, but it ends up freezing again the second the sun goes down. When the snow + rain intially froze, the ice was jagged and I was able to get some grip. Now that it's melting during the day and re-freezing in the afternoon, it's leveling out and is the smoothest ice a figure skater could ask for. Now try taking off the skates and running on the ice rink.

3.78mi splits: 8;44, 9:00, 9:17, 7:13
Air temp: 22F

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back to Reality

Now that I got what felt like three Christmases, a New Years, and all other holiday activities out of the way, I truly felt like today was my first day back at work ... and back to working out.

I left work later than usual this afternoon, and was excited to see I had a FedEx package to pick up when I got my mail. I bundled up in my workout gear, headed across the parking lot to the office, and was surprised that I forgot I had ordered some Brooks apparel!

Now, I own plenty of Brooks apparel, but to me, too much Brooks is never enough. I've never ordered anything from their site, and sadly I ordered this just days before I learned I was accepted into the I.D. program and was eligible for the discount. I dropped the package off at my apartment and headed out for a jog, even though it was getting late and was already pretty dark. (Note to self: use discount to order NightLife gear!)

The cool thing about running later tonight is that I saw a beautiful sunset. I wish I had my camera to document it; it was bright pink and orange and magnificent; it ate up the entire west sky. It was a nice distraction from how tired I was after taking so many days off!

My 3.04mi splits: 8:37, 8:28, 8:47, :26
Air temp: 21F

So what did I order from Brooks, you're asking?

I got a pair of sweet Podium Boy Shorts for my marathon this summer! I've been inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, ChicRunner, and the "booty" shorts she wears at her races. :) It's still way too cold to wear these now -- and I doubt I'd even wear these to the gym -- but they are so cute and comfortable!

I also got a 3-pack of Runners Quarter socks. Most of my socks are ankle socks, and it's been a little tricky running in winter because I always end up with exposed skin or an easy place for snow to sneak in. These go up a little higher on my ankle past where my shoe ends, so this should appease some of my cold-weather ankle problems.
And lastly, I ordered the Sherpa Molded Case. I always end up pinning Sports Beans and Luna Moons to my waistband, and the safety pins can get a little clumsy during races. I also have had some nasty chaffing issues for wearing plastic against my skin (imagine the corners of the packaging repeatedly jabbing into your thighs. Not a pretty site). The case is large enough to hold my keys, a small phone (definitely not my huge and awkward Android phone, though), and a few packs of Sports Beans. I also chew gum when I run, and it could hold a few different sticks for variety!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


The last time I took a 5-day break was when I forced myself to get off of my aching knee last summer. I gave myself exactly 7 days to see if my knee would feel better. When it didn't, I went right back into running.

I just took a 4-day break. Technically I have time to go hit the gym tonight, but I think I'm going to stay in.

My entire family lives in Wisconsin, or what I like to call "the armpit of America." Other than the fact that my family resides there, I can only come up with one good thing about heading across the stateline: I have a great view of the stars. Most of the stars get drowned out by light pollution here. Out there, it's nothing but endless sky. That's kind of cool.

Otherwise I pretty much think Wisconsin blows.

I spent the entire weekend there. We had our "postponed Christmas," so now I can finally tell people I got some good gifts?! Other than running magazine subscriptions and giftcards galore, the greatest gift I could have is spending time with my family ... and my Brooks sponsorship. :) I still am so excited about that. I tried to explain to my family, but none of them are runners (or even athletes, for that matter), so they kind of said, "oh, that's cool" in between sips of Barq's during football commercial breaks.

Did I mention that I think Wisconsin blows?

I've also had a slight twinge in my lower back on the left-hand side. I suspect it's from my chair at work. I spent a lot of time stretching this weekend, but I think sleeping in a new bed actually helped. I'll make this a 5-day break, and hope that the twinge will completely disappear. If not, I'll start determining the culprit...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Inspire Daily

Today I opened up my secondary e-mail account; you know, the one I use for when I buy things online, or the one I use when I sign up for things, or the one I use to have all notifications sent to ... basically, the one I rarely check.

Much to my surprise, I see this:

I finally made the Brooks I.D. program! Apparently I am an inspiration! I finally am a real athlete! I officially have a sponsor! I will now get credit, recognition, and (wooo!) a discount to rep all things Brooks. I even get a special shirt to wear during races, so there goes part of that all-encompassing race-day wardrobe dilemma!

From the Brooks Web site:

Brooks I.D. Program
Brooks I.D. stands for Inspire Daily. These two simple words guide the principles of the program. Brooks I.D. is made up of over 2,000 members who are active in their running communities and share a passion for the Brooks brand. They are runners who are winners in their own right: Winning their age divisions, accomplishing their personal goals, pushing their own limits, and, by extension, encouraging others to do the same. They are coaches, mentors, and leaders.

You are looking at the newest 2010 I.D. member. Now let's go run! :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Heat Wave!

After brutally cold temperatures all weekend (really, -15 air temp?), I have kept many of my workouts indoors lately. I can't stand treadmills, but I managed to sluff out a 30-minute stationary run the other day. That's a big accomplishment for me!

And today, when the temperate rose to a balmy 15 degrees, my coworker stopped by my office exclaiming, "You should go run outside while it's hot out!"

Amazingly, 15 degrees doesn't feel that bad when it's 30 degrees warmer than what you're used to feeling.

I cannot believe I just said that.

As another arctic cold air storm blows through 36 U.S. states in the coming days, I'll be keeping indoors again. Luckily, my marathon training will be starting at the beginning of February -- so I feel like I can take it easy for a little while. I don't want to burn out halfway through training, right? 30-minute cardio workouts it is.

2.36mi Splits: 8:35, 8:39, 3:07
Windchill & Air temp: 13F, still mega icy

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Taking It Easy...

This weekend has been the laziest weekend ever -- for as long as I can remember, anyway -- and not in a good way.

After running the 5k on Friday, I was exhausted and tired most of the day. I took a long, hot shower, ate brunch with my friend who ran the race, and tried relaxing the rest of the night, but I couldn't seem to get my energy back.

Saturday morning rolls around -- my phone shows me 11:00a.m., and I rolled over and covered my head, trying to get more sleep. I doze in and out until 3p.m., when I angrily decided I should get up. But, I don't think I showered until 6p.m., when a girlfriend informed me of some dinner plans later in the evening.

Yup, no working out on Saturday. Was just too lazy, because who wants to work out AFTER they've showered?

This morning, my clock shows me 10:30a.m. Like yesterday, I rolled back over until about 1p.m. I feel miserable. Not sick ... just not motivated. My head throbs from thinking too much. I knew I should run or do something to shake this funk.

At 1p.m. I get a call that my best friend is in the hospital. Turns out my phone number is the only one he had memorized (not even his girlfriend's number?!? Awkward...) I jolt out of bed to go bring him some deoderant (his only complaint was that he didn't get to shower the whole night he was there) and a word puzzle book (okay, so the book was for me). As soon as I get to the hospital to keep him company while he was awaiting some test results, he's filling out his discharge papers.

We go to a late lunch, I bring him to his girlfriend's house, and I immediately crawled back into bed. What is my problem? After moping around for a few minutes, I finally put on my workout clothes and shoes, telling myself that ANY exercise will be good. I don't even have to make it a hard workout, I just need to do something.

So I crawled an 11-mile bike ride on a stationary bike while working on my lasted read, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and sprinted a mile on the treadmill. That's ALL I did this weekend.

Something isn't right.

Weekly totals: Ran 10.28 miles, biked 21.73 miles, and did 15 minutes of upper body strength training.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Race Recap: Polar Dash 5k

I survived. Besides the miserably cold windchill and the fact I was sure I was getting frostbite on my hands and feet, I had my fastest 5k yet. I think it's because I just wanted to finish. Balls, it was cold.

Instead of going out to celebrate the New Year last night, I opted to stay in, lay out my clothes, and figure out if I was bringing enough. Although I run in my "ninja gear" all the time, I've never run in these windchills. It's hard to believe these few layers were supposed to keep me warm. It looks like a bunch of thin clothing, but I had a pair of knee-high nylon socks, thick double-layered athletic ankle socks, leggings, shorts, arm warmers, a short-sleeve technical tee, a long-sleeve technical tee, a water- and wind-resistant sweatshirt, two pairs of mittens, a face guard, ear warmers, and my signature bright-pink hat.

I slept pretty poorly last night for a number of reasons; lots on my mind, loud drunk people returning from the bars and finding it fun to yell in the hallways, etc. I woke up bright and early to try to eat a bunch of easily digestible food that wouldn't upset my stomach. I don't find it necessary to carbo-load the night before short runs like these, but I knew I was going to be burning a lot of calories standing around in the cold waiting for the race to start. I also knew I would burn more than usual during the race trying to stay warm. I made two mini bagels with peanut butter and jelly (one I ate for breakfast, the other I ate an hour before the race with a few swigs of fully leaded coffee), had half a banana, and drank a bunch of water in preparation for what The Weather Channel was showing me:

After test-running a few laps around my apartment's parking lot while I waited for my friend to pick me up, I decided to bring an additional layer. At the last minute, I removed my white long-sleeved technical tee and put on a nerdy vest. I know, I know. I looked like a dork, but I am so glad I opted for the additional body layer around my core. (I am also glad I had a pocket so I could bring my camera!)

Like all of Team Ortho's races, the Polar Dash was a very well-organized race. My friend and I arrived early to pick up her packet and race bib. We tried hanging around indoors as much as we could, but the volunteers were very good at finding our hiding spots and shooing us out to wait in a heated tent. All for good reason -- the Shiner's Hospital for Children wasn't large enough to house the 1,500 registered participants. Fair is fair, so we went out to the heated tent and waited with the others:

All the states representing this run:

My friend and I before the race ... I moved toward the front, she opted to stay near the back.

Many of the other running fools: (The yellow shirts are in honor of a registered runner who recently passed away. You can see her story here.)

The first mile was my personal hell. Despite the two pairs of gloves, my hands were throbbing from being so cold. I couldn't stop thinking about how much they were inflated and on fire. I tried moving them around as much as I could to get the blood flowing, but the more I thought about them, the more they burned. Likewise, my feet literally felt like cement blocks -- square, fat, heavy, and huge. They stung everytime I landed on them, so I tried to take short steps to lessen the impact of landing hard. There were lots of slushy puddles and I did my best to run around them, but there were a few times I landed square in the middle of a puddle and felt the instant freeze on my toes. Hey, at least I was feeling that!?

Mr. Anastos's screen (he would be my Garmin Forerunner) was lagging because it was so cold. I tried tucking it under my sleeve to keep the display warm, so I didn't have ready access to checking my pace or distance. I remember looking at him at 1.14 miles and saw something like 8 minutes, and then I saw 14:46 somewhere before the 2-mile mark.

There was a turnaround after 1.5 miles for the 5k runners while the 10kers branched off another direction. The race directors and volunteers were very helpful at this turnaround. It was very slippery and they warned each and every person to watch their footing. I watched my footing, and of course I still slipped a little -- but I caught my fall before they needed to reach out to grab me.

The second half of the course felt downhill, and it was nice being able to see that there were just a few people in front of me! I was shocked at how many people I was passing left and right ... especially the boys. :) I mostly just wanted to get indoors and heat up my hands and feet. Here are the yellow shirts again after I passed the turnaround.

I saw the finish line with a half-mile to go and knew I was very near the front of the pack. I snapped a picture of myself nearing the finish line, and I noticed when I uploaded my pics that my eyes were freezing over. Sick.
A lady handing out awards to the 10kers congratulated my on my great finish, noting that I was one of the first females to cross the finish line that early. There were no awards -- or even time-recording -- for 5kers. I asked her to take a picture of me with my finisher's medal; thanks, you wonderful, brave volunteer!

Amazingly, I set a new PR by 9 seconds (23:25 v. 23:34 on December 5, 2009). And, I finished in the top 5 women who ran the 5k (I was No. 5). If only I could run every race like this, I may win something for my age category someday! Maybe there is something to running in frigid temperatures...

Bling bling.

My splits: 7:40, 7:39, 7:35, :30
Windchill: -12F (Actual: 4F)