Tag: running

For the love of gore-tex

messy roadsTreadmill, oh how I loathe thee.

My sister has trained for whole marathons on a treadmill. I have no idea how.  4 minutes into a treadmill run and I’m looking for my escape. If there’s even a faint possibility of being able to run outside (reasonably safely) in the winter, I seize it.

Luckily, I’ve collected a solid assortment of New England Winter weather gear. Yesterday was mid-20s and quite windy.  Time for the Craft thermal base layer and the Gore Windstopper jacket. This is one of the coldest running outfits I use. After that I add the fleece lined wool hat, neck gator, & additional tank base layer.  After that it’s the treadmill.

The roads were not great. I fit in 7 miles into just over an hour & 5 minutes of running and completely disregarded the “surges”. About a mile of the route would have been safer with Yaktrax, but there were 3+ miles where pavement was exposed, so I felt OK having left them behind.  The wind was freezing on my exposed face, but my core was warm enough. I had waited until lunchtime to run – in order for the sun to be at its highest and strongest. This would provide the day’s maximum ice melting for the roads.  On a crisp fall day, I can cross paths with many runners at lunchtime.  Yesterday I crossed only one – the roads and the mush were ours alone.

December 16: Workout #2: Endurance Run w/ surges
Planned Duration: 1:10
Description:  20 min gradual warm-up Include a 30 sec surge every 15 minutes
Focus on good form with a strong core throughout

Post-activity comments: Decided not to “Focus on good form with a strong core throughout” – opted to focus on black ice, slush puddles, & foot placement. This I did successfully, I’m happy to report.

Am I elfish with all my training?

Jingle elf Jingle Bell Runs rock!     Elf Runs rule!

I don’t know if was all the hot chocolate.  Maybe it was the cold and the snow. Most likely it was the spirit of the 50 or so runners who braved the weather and the storm warnings and came out to run together wearing Santa hats and jingle bells. Maybe it all combined to make the first annual Jingle Bell Run so wonderful. Some of the littlest runners ran 1/4 mile (into the wind), circled the North Pole and headed to the 1/2 mile finish at Marathon Park.  And many more (families & friends) ran the 2+ mile run around Stone Park. I had the honor of running with an ambitious 4th grader, Charlie, who unknowingly ran past the North Pole turnaround and onto the 2 mile course. He beat me on the home stretch. I thoroughly enjoyed my day as the Ashland Jingle Bell Run’s head elf, maybe too much.

Some of my elfish antics…
ugh.
gave an awkward interview to the local paper
taking an elfie w/ delilah
took a bunch of elfies
(north) pole dancing
did some pole dancing
Elf Run meets Turkey Trot?
hung out with a turkey

Trail Running

Trail runningWorkout: Recovery Run (Trail Run)

Planned Duration: 0:30
Description: 5-10 min dynamic warm-up
Easy pace throughout
If you can get on a trail, do it. Trail running is good for your soul AND it helps increase your cadence and strengthen your stabilizing muscles.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve run trails. Several ankle sprains between early 2011 and late 2012 have kept me running on the smoothest surfaces I can find. But after a good year of PT and ankle exercises, I was really looking forward to this workout.

The Ashland Reservoir trails vary from wide, rocky fire roads to rooty, single track (with a strong slope to the water).  I find lots of company on the trails in the afternoon. Much of my company is the furry, four-legged, wagging variety.  And these dogs couldn’t be happier to be outside walking in the woods.  The dogs and their people are consistent wavers and smilers when we cross and share the paths.

It felt good to be back. I do love how I feel when I’m running in the woods.  My coach was right on (again); it’s good for the soul.  I feel like I am part of the forest when I run in the woods.  It’s like I become connected to the trees, the pine needles and the other animals scurrying across the dried leaves. (I’m not running fast enough to be at a scurry pace on this first trip back into the woods.)

The terrain is hilly, sloped, and leaf covered, so my legs are continuously adjusting to the different surface that each step meets.  Every step of the way I knew that every moment spent balancing on the bosu ball, etc. had been a worthy investment.  My ankles haven’t been this strong at any point in my memory.

I truly enjoy the mental requirements of trail running .  It’s like thought and instinct blend together as I look at the path ahead for the next safe foot landing.  I feel deer-like. My alertness is peaked, but not in a stressful way. It’s very different from my awareness when I’m running on the roads, against traffic. Road awareness feels more defensive, trail alertness feels more inclusive. I don’t feel any increased stress or tension.

This was an exceptional run.  When I returned back to my car, I felt  healthy and fit . This run had restored more energy than it had consumed.

a triathlete’s holiday wishlist

Triathlon ornamentThe catalogs have started arriving in bulk at my house.

My kids are getting hand cramps from circling new Lego sets, rainbow loom accessories, and other bits of colorful plastic.

OK, it’s not just the kids.  It’s me, too.

For some context, my husband and I just celebrated our 13th anniversary.  The traditional gift for 13 years is lace. He gave me new compression tights.  And I was all, “Awww, my husband so gets me.”

When I’m dreaming about new trinkets, I’m thinking gear.  I love gear.  (I think most triathletes love gear.)

I’ve just started, but here’s what I’ve got so far:

stars & stripes gogglesaero mount water bottle* Triathlon bike helmet*

* these are items that still require research – so recommendations & reviews are great! 

What’s on your wishlist?  Please share.  I’m want to compile the “ultimate, crowd-sourced triathlete wishlist”.  Add your wishes in comments. Include a link, so we can all admire your impeccable taste in gear (and to make sure I don’t miss something that should be my list.)

hill. repeat. hill.

Hill elevation profile“What goes up – must come down.
And then go up and come back down, again.”
8 x :30 uphill surge (fast, focus on powering with your butt)/ 3:00 easy

There may be something wrong with me.  I loved everything about this workout.

It was cold. (34 degrees) I needed to layer up in my winter gear.  The first cold run is the hardest.  I always get it too hot or too cold.  I was overdressed – I didn’t need a thermal base layer, yet.  I know that just  2 posts ago I was complaining about having to put on mittens, but I remembered last night that I really enjoy running in the cold.*

It was dark.  I’m not a fan of the short days.  And I’m not quite adjusted. This was not an intentional night run, I forgot. Just poor planning on the timing of the workout.  But off I went with my head lamp and my lovely blinking safety vest. (I’ m threatening my kids with getting one that blinks: “I’m  Will & Hannah’s mom”).

It was hard. In the middle of the second surge uphill I was thinking that 5 repeats might be a little more reasonable to start, but I pushed out all 8.  When I was finished, every bit of my body felt like it had been worked hard.  My arms, core, legs, and butt were fully engaged in the effort.  As was my focus and intention.

The cool down run home, blinking away in the dark, felt glorious.

I think one of the reasons I like cold weather, winter running is that the pollen is finally gone. My asthma and breathing is so much better.  Very cold air can present issues, but I’m good until well below freezing. 

Running Mittens

running mittensWorkout : Endurance Run
Planned Duration: 1:20
Keep your pace exceedingly easy throughout

“Exceedingly easy”is not my favorite.  I find it exceedingly hard to run exceedingly easy. For at least 5 of the 9 miles, I rationalized that this fact negated the entire assignment .
I hate not following my coach’s directions more than I hate running exceedingly easy.  So I toughed it out, but not easily.

The fact that it was also the first mitten run of the 2013-3104 winter training season, probably didn’t improve my running attitude.  I’m not ready for the layers, and they’re coming soon. If I could run harder than “exceedingly easy” I’m sure I’d be able to generate more body warmth.

(OK, that last line may have been a dig for my coach – not that she’s cold right now – in lovely Florida. 🙂 Good luck at Rev3 Venice today, coach!)