Week 5 Workouts {Phoenix Half & Green Bay Marathon}

How to describe this week’s workouts?

Surprising. Circular. Snowy. Tiring. Torture. But… Positive.

Sunday
Yoga
I’ve had hip & ITBS trouble in the past, so I’m adding yoga into my weekly routine to help keep me flexible and injury-free. I did this quick 25-minute video I found on runnersworld.com. I typically don’t like doing yoga at home (I get bored, easily distracted) but this “Class 1: Essential Yoga” video was quicker-paced than a traditional yoga video (and none of that zen music in the background to make you feel sleepy). I was a little sore the next day, but in a good way—my shoulders could feel it, so I’m glad they’re getting some strength work from the downward dogs!

Monday
3 miles
On the treadmill. Pretty boring, but checked it off the list.

Tuesday
Rest day

Wednesday
3 miles (tempo)
I did an interval workout on the treadmill that I—gasp—actually enjoyed! I wrote more about it here, but it was a good workout and I felt strong.

Thursday
5 miles easy
I switched things up on Thursday and ran on an indoor track with my friend Liz. One mile = 8 laps on the track. Sooo, 40 laps. While I enjoyed having a friend for company, I have to say I really didn’t like running on the indoor track, which surprised me. I thought the notion of moving would be better than the treadmill, but I found I couldn’t really “zone out” at all, and it just wasn’t relaxing.

We ran between a 10:30-11:15 pace, I think, but it still felt like it wasn’t that easy to me. Maybe because of the speedwork on Wednesday?

Also, probably because the track is just a thin layer of rubber (or whatever it’s made of) on concrete, my knees were kind of bugging me. After 2 miles, I had to stop to stretch, and it’d help for a bit, but then my knees would start getting achy and I’d have to stop again. I tried not to let this worry me, but with the ITBS issues in the past, it was lurking in the back of my mind. I actually stopped ¼ mile early, just ‘cause I didn’t think it was worth pushing it.

Friday
Rest day

Saturday
9 miles (12:15/mile)
Let me preface this with: I try to stay optimistic, and find things to be positive about, even in bad times.

But, if I thought last Saturday was rough, yesterday’s run was ten times worse. I don’t even know what descriptors to use for it that don’t include swear words. All kinds of names ran through my head while I ran it: I could say it was the polar vortex edition of water boarding, perhaps. Whatever, I’ll just say—it was mental torture and physically exhausting.

Sounds like a blast, huh?

When we started at 7am, there was probably 2-3 inches of fresh snow on the roads, sidewalks, everywhere…and no shoveling or plowing to make a way for us. We just ran through the snow and blazed our own trail—for pretty much the entire 9 miles.

running in the snow

Ever run in the sand? Imagine doing that for over 1.5 hours. By the end, I was exhausted, my back and core muscles were sore, and I just wanted to walk. We actually took several walk breaks during the run, as you can see by the awfully increasing mile splits:

020214-long-run-winter-snow-splits

{My Garmin died near the end of the run, which is why it shows only 8.5 miles.}

It was a little warmer this weekend than the past, but running north there was still a good bit of wind to battle. In that wind were tiny, abrasive snowflakes that pelted your face. I’m glad I was able to get a microderm facial while I ran, at least.

running in the snow

The snow would melt on my face, which caused the hood I had on to start chafing my cheeks (!!!) and then, the melted water would re-freeze in my eyebrows so there were ice chunks in them. Beautiful. Actually, now that I reread that and how ridiculous it was, I am laughing to myself.

Does that make me kind of…nuts?

At just 3.5 miles into the run, I was ready to quit. I was, embarrassingly, also ready to cry. On top of everything above, I was having trouble breathing (guess I should have taken my inhaler beforehand, with the cold air). I just wanted to QUIT. Thank goodness my friends June and Patty were running with me. I didn’t even say aloud that I wanted to quit, because I knew they wouldn’t let me. They just kept checking on me, and literally cheered for me the whole way we ran, telling me to keep going and that we would make it just fine. I don’t know what I would have done without them!

That’s what running clubs (and friends) are for: When you think you can’t, when you know you can’t… They show you the way to “can,” cheer you on, and help you get there.

So that’s what we did. We kept going, and we ended up running a little over 9 miles, when all was said and done. They showed me I could do it, after all.

I guess… There’s a positive in all of that. 🙂

– – –

This week’s workouts:

Sunday: Yoga
Monday: 3.5 miles easy
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 3 miles speed
Thursday: 5.5 miles
Friday: rest
Saturday: 10 miles

– – –

What’s the toughest run (or workout) you’ve ever done?
What got you through it?

I have to say, I have had a few tough runs and races in my life, but Saturday’s the worst I have had in a LONG time. I’m proud of myself for getting through it.

Week 4 Workouts {Phoenix Half & Green Bay Marathon}

How to sum up this week? A couple good runs, a guilt-ridden but necessary skipped run, and an extra-hard long run to round ‘em all up. Read on.

Monday
Rest

Tuesday
3 mile run
Treadmill time. Ran 3 miles on it, climb-up & back down in speed, 5.5mph to 6.5mph.

Wednesday
3 mile run
Treadmill again. Tried a pre-programmed activity of “rolling hills,” which I expected to mean incline changes, but just jumped me back & forth between 5.5mph and 6mph. Felt strong; good workout.

Thursday
5 mile run DNR
My neck had been hurting me since last Saturday, giving me irritating headaches and pain that ran up and down my neck into my shoulder. Super awesome, let me tell ya. I was feeling out of it, as haven’t been sleeping great, and my neck was still bothering me, so I skipped the run. (Excuses, excuses.)

I tried to make up for it {at least a little] by doing lots of core/hip/leg work while watching TV in the evening.

Friday
Rest
I felt a little guilty for skipping Thursday’s run, until the afternoon when I realized my neck had NOT been hurting anymore! Finally. Taking the day off had actually helped, so I was glad I made that decision after all.

Saturday
8 mile run (8.02mi/11:27 pace)
Ohh, this run. Let me start out with: I am so glad I finished it, as it was yet another lesson in perseverance, and I won’t fall behind on my weekly long runs before my half marathon. I’m grateful to my friend June for running with me; she really pulled me through, even though she probably didn’t realize I was having such a tough time.

But man, this 8 miles was rough. First of all, we had winds at 25mph, gusting up to 40mph. It was 23 degrees when we started, with a “feels like” of 2 degrees. TWO. And the temps actually dropped after that, to below zero. So that was swell.

On top of that, it had snowed several inches overnight, so the roads were mostly not cleared—which meant we were running on a sand-like consistency most of the time. Two miles in, I could tell this would be a hard run, but I tried to push those thoughts out of my mind and just enjoy the fact that I was outside running, and not on a treadmill.

By the time 5 miles had passed, I was plugged into my headphones trying to tune everything out. Running on snow not only makes your legs tired, but it wears on your hips, calves (so sore today!), lower back, core… It’s like a full-body workout. Despite the cold, I was sweating under all my layers, and I was thirsty. Luckily, I had some cash in my pocket, so when we passed by a mini mart, I ducked inside for a bottle of water. That seemed to help a bit.

We kept trudging through the snow back to our starting point, but we were only at 7 miles total, due to a shortcut we had taken on a non-snow covered road on the way back. I was so ready to just be DONE, but June said, “I guess we’ll just run another half mile out and back, right?” Right you are… So we kept going, and got the 8 miles done.

Coffee afterwards never tasted so good. The warmth! We then stopped by the indoor farmer’s market, and everyone was pawning us samples. We must have looked hungry. I picked up some homemade veggie burgers and raspberry jam, and headed home, content, tired, and proud. Nap time.

– – –

Here’s what’s on tap for this week:

Sunday: yoga
Monday: 3 miles easy
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 3 miles tempo
Thursday: 5 miles pace
Friday: rest
Saturday: 9 miles {please, God, better weather!}

– – –

How were your workouts & runs this week?
What do you do when you have an especially tough time, or want to quit?

I just try to remember my goal and how whatever I’m doing will help me to get there—and how it will hurt me if I quit. Setting yourself up for success by running with others always seems to help give that extra push, too.

Last Week’s Workouts

Now that the holidays have passed, it’s nice to get back to working out and feeling healthy again. Here’s how my workouts went this past week:

Monday–Wednesday:
Family in town, didn’t work out.

Thursday, Jan. 2:
20 minutes treadmill (5.5mph-6mph, an “easy” pace)
10 minutes elliptical
15 minutes body strength

I planned to do 30 minutes on the treadmill, but my right knee started acting up at almost 20 minutes. Rather than chance anything, I hopped off onto the elliptical for the last 10 minutes. I don’t know why my knee was bugging me {very slightly}, other than perhaps from sitting all day at my desk and the fact I hadn’t run in 10 days, it was tight?

For my body strengthening, I just did a bunch of core exercises, some push-ups, squats and my hip exercises.

Friday:
Off, rest day before long run.

Saturday:
5 mile long run
Hip exercises

I’m starting my long runs for my half marathon training schedule. {I’ll post my full schedule for you to see soon.} I was only going to run 4 miles, but I joined up with my running club to run yesterday morning, and my friend Tom talked me up to 5 miles instead.

The run was challenging, but good. It was “feels like” 8 degrees out with the wind chill, but with the right clothes it wasn’t bad at all. {See my “what to wear for winter running” post!}

You know it’s windy out when the flags are blowing straight out…

flags in windy winter weather

The toughest part of the run was the varying road conditions. Forget the sidewalks—a lot weren’t even shoveled—so we were relegated to the roads. Some parts were clear, some had slush, but the worst parts still had about an inch of snow on them.

snowy roads for winter running

The snow wasn’t slippery, but it felt like running in sand! Phew, what a workout. Those parts definitely slowed me down, and towards the end of the run, I just wanted to walk through them, but I kept chugging along.

Despite all that, it sure was pretty out…

010514-winter-running-lake

I was definitely spent after the run, but it felt good to be out in the fresh air, chatting with some friends, and getting in a good run…all before 9am!

010514-stay-warm

{I need to get better at my selfie skills. ha!}

After my run, I came home and did some foam rolling (owww) and some hip exercises to help keep my knees happy.

– – –

What were your workouts this week?
Would you bundle up and run in those conditions? 

What To Wear for Winter Running

The weekend is here!

I’m grateful for two days off, with nothing to do besides take down our dried up Christmas tree and decorations. {Which I’m a tad sad about—didn’t we just put them up?} We haven’t had a weekend without plans or a mile-long to-do list to tackle in so long—maybe since before Thanksgiving—so I will enjoy the R&R.

I started off my Saturday morning by making a comeback at my running club. I haven’t been able to run with them in weeks, so it was fun to be reunited!

With the wind chill, it “felt like” 8 degrees out, so I was all bundled up. What do you wear when it’s that cold out? It’s actually not too bad, if you dress properly. Even I was surprised! Here’s what I wore to stay warm in the super cold winter weather.

what to wear for winter running

• Underwear + baselayer shorts

• Thicker, weather-resistant running pants

Nike Element Shield Running Pants for cold weather running

You need thicker pants, or lined pants, in general to stay warmer. If you can find some with waterproof or weather-resistant fabric panels, they really help to shield your muscles from the cold wind, rain and snow. You could try something like this {pictured above} from Nike.

• Moisture-wicking t-shirt and long sleeve shirt
You want both shirts to be breathable and moisture-wicking, so that your sweat won’t make your clothes too damp—that will make you colder. Also, layering is key. You can wear both shirts to stay warmer, but maybe after a few miles you’re really warmed up and too warm? Then you can remove the long sleeve shirt and tie it around your waist. Done.

• Waterproof, lightweight jacket
Nike Sequence Jacket
My sister got me a waterproof jacket several years ago for Christmas, and it’s key to the cold workouts! Because it’s waterproof, it keeps out the snow, and also helps shield from the cold. It doesn’t have to be a heavy coat, it’s just the waterproof layer that makes the difference. Mine also has a drawstring hood, so if it’s super windy, I can pull the hood up and tighten it around my face. Sure, I probably look like a freak, but most people probably think I am a freak already for running out in the wind/snow/sleet/rain, so it works. You could try something like this jacket {pictured above), or even keep an eye out at Marshalls/TJ Maxx, as I’ve seen some there before.

• Gloves

• Ear warmers + hat
Since my hat doesn’t cover my ears fully, the ear warmers make sure they’re toasty, and the hat keeps more heat in covering my whole head.

• Scarf
Wrap this around your neck to keep it warm, and pull it up around the bottom of your face if you need to. I used it to help shield my face, with that wind yesterday.

• Tall compression socks
I don’t normally wear compression socks, but since they come up all the way to the knee, I thought they’d help keep my legs warmer. All my other socks are no-show, so my ankles always get cold. Any tall sock would work well.

• Shoes
If you have vented shoes, make sure your socks are nice and thick. Better yet, I saw someone yesterday who had taped around the toe box of their shoes with masking tape, to help keep out the cold air and flying slush. Smart!

It looks like a long list, and I guess it is—but it definitely made running in the “feels like” 8 degree weather not suck.

Happy {warm} running, friends!

– – –

What do you wear for cold-weather running?
Any favorite items, like pants or jackets that you recommend?

Happy Thanksgiving + Run Streaking

Happy Thanksgiving!

Before the celebrating, eating and merriment of the day takes over, I want to thank all YOU readers out there! I have sure loved writing here over the last several months, and I’m so thankful to have an outlet for my creativity and passion for life, love, food & running. And that some people out in the world are finding it useful and entertaining, too. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!

I began my Thanksgiving Day by being thankful for my comfy bed—and not wanting to get out of it. But it was time to let the run streaking begin…

I have travel plans today, so I needed to get my first official Runners World “run streak” run done first thing this morning. I got up at 6:30, but it was still pretty dark out, so I made some coffee and got some packing done while I waited. I don’t like running in the dark alone; I always feel like behind every tree/bush/mailbox/lawn gnome is someone waiting to spring out at me. Plus, the other night I heard a pack of coyotes barking and howling just outside (!!!) so I definitely wanted to wait ‘til I could see the day in all its glory.

Once it was light enough, I pulled on several layers of clothes (the “feels like” temp was only 16 degrees out!) and laced up my shoes. I only had time to run a little over a mile, but since the Runners World Run Streak ‘rules’ are that you only have to run at least one mile a day, from today (Thanksgiving) to New Years Day, it would still be official.

There was still a little dusting of snow on the ground. Pretty.

112813_snow

Even though I hate the thought of the cold, once I’m out in it, I love how the crisp air feels with every lungful of breath. It feels so fresh and freeing. I’m definitely thankful for all of the positive ways running makes me feel, and how it lets me enjoy the world.

112813_view

I’m thankful for this wonderful lake scenery, and the home we were able to buy this year that lets us see it so often.

I’m thankful these ol’ feet don’t hate me yet.

112813_feet

Probably because I dress them up in such pretty colors. 🙂

112813_workout

Day #1 of the #RWRunStreak complete!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Enjoy the day, eats lots of yummy food, and take a moment to remember what you’re grateful for.

Much love!

Winter Is Coming

We flipped our calendars to September and suddenly, it seems the world has decided it’s fall.

I went on a bike ride yesterday and couldn’t help but notice that slight bite in the air… Not fully there yet, but enough of a brisk nibble to make me take my post-workout stretching inside.

And then, there was that crunch-crunch of leaves already littering the street as my tires rolled over them. Where did those crispy leaves come from? Why aren’t they a zealous green, still attached to those sprawling branches above?

Everyone is so excited for fall to be here, but to me it only means one thing:

WINTER is coming.*

Seriously.

I love pumpkin-flavored anything as much as the next person. I love throwing on a sweatshirt after dinner and going for a walk, taking crisp gulps of fresh air. It feels cleansing.

I love snuggling up under blankets to watch a movie before bed, because it’s already dark out at 7pm.

I love soft, chunky knit sweaters. I love the leather jacket I just bought (ooh, so can’t wait to wear it). I LOVE scarves, kinda obsessed.

I love boots. Well, the ones that my enormous runner calves can fit into, anyway. #RunnerProbs

But, fall is like a gateway drug, people. It means one thing:

SNOW IS NEXT.

And that—nope, I am just NOT ready for.

Sure, I’m stoked for cooler runs and less humidity. Perhaps even waking up leisurely on a Saturday morning, not worrying about starting my run at the crack of dawn, because it will still be cool come 8am. And, I suppose I have to admit that though I hate the fact that football literally infects my ENTIRE Sunday (yes, infects, it’s a bit like a disease), I do like that I get to treat it with a healthy dose of game day snacks and maybe a microbrew. Or two. Or three.

There are so many things to look forward to during the fall season. But, the days will get shorter, the sunshine will wane, and snow will soon begin its descent…

Okay, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic here. But really, we could have snow in two months. TWOOOOO months.

Good thing we decided when we moved in to our new house that the husband-to-be is the lucky one on snow removal duty.

Forever.

I suppose I can handle it when I think of it that way… 😉

Are you excited for Fall? What’s the best part of the season? How do you feel about winter?

*Har, har. Any Game of Thrones fans out there?

P.S. Excuse this random post. I’m merely taking my mind off the fact that I go see the physical therapist in a half hour. I’m hoping that she has a miracle, or the answers to life, a.k.a. what is wrong with my knee so I can go run again. Pleeeease. Update soon!