Tag Archives: wind

Bellingham Bay Half-Marathon Race Recap

Lots of things to say about yesterday’s race. For a quick minute in there, I was disappointed that I was (spoiler) only 20 seconds off my PR. I was also disappointed for an instant that my watch (along with those of several around me) read a long course and not a true 13.1. However, after those thoughts subsided and I thought back on the race that I’d run, I landed in the spot I am today: both very pleased and very encouraged.

I went into this race with some trepidation about the conditions (blustery and rainy) but also with a lot of gusto to run a good race. Relatively speaking, I hadn’t raced in a while, and I was ready to see what my legs could do. I rested all day Saturday (a new approach for me), hydrated well, slept well, and treated the run like a real race.

photo 1

Low and behold, race morning comes, and the drive up to Bellingham was…ominous. It was pouring, windy, and the perfect conditions for sleeping in and hot coffee…not running 13.1 miles in spandex and a tank top. But I kept my spirits high, and after an easy bib pick-up and some dynamic stretching, I forgot about the weather and tried to get in the zone. Spotting some fellow Oiselle teammates helped kindle my excitement, and I felt proud to be wearing the same singlet as such fast women.

Before I knew it, the countdown was on, and boom…we were running a half marathon. Tried and true to the start of any race, I a) felt incredible and b) knew I was going too fast. A look down at my watch about a half mile in would verify that my 7:00 “easy” pace was certainly not the way to start off a distance race, so I tried to tug back. Ugh, why is this always so hard? Every time I swear to myself I’ll follow the rules and hold back at the start, and every time I cross a start line I abandon all those good intentions. But, I forgave myself, let a faster mile 1 clock in, and prepared to reel in the reigns.

I felt so good during these first few miles. Like, better than I’ve felt running in a long long time. Isn’t that what we hope to feel during races? Anyway, I alternated between sharing paces with others, pulling back when they surged, and going ahead when they fell behind. Generally, it just felt great to be racing, and I let that mindset and momentum carry me through the early miles:

Mile 1: 7:14

Mile 2: 7:22

Mile 3: 7:23

In terms of pacing for this race, my goal was to stick to 7:30s for the first half and open it up if I could during the second half. So, once I reentered the 7:20s, I considered it okay and just went with it. I also knew that there was an incline coming up in mile 4 which would get things back in line.

That incline came and I already knew that my legs were in for a hard race, should I keep this pace up. My breathing sped up and my HR surged a little, reminding me that I was—in fact—racing. But, per usual after a hill reclines to a flat grade, my legs started turning over again and invited the steady downhill that would come in the next few miles.

Mile 4: 7:47

I knew that miles 5-7 were on a downhill, and I’d planned ahead of time to use those miles to my advantage. What I hadn’t considered, though, was that these miles would also change the direction of the course directly into the forecasted wind. These miles were also pretty exposed, which made the wind even more difficult to avoid, but nonetheless…I tried to gun it a little.

Mile 5: 7:18

Mile 6: 7:06

Mile 7: 7:01

There was a bit in there where my watch read 6:xx, which both horrified and exhilarated me. I’d never seen a pace in the 6s during a half marathon, and it was a definite confidence booster to see that pop up.

The course flattened out after this, and the headwind seemed to take a turn directly into our faces. I tore open my gel around this point too and held it for the next few miles, taking drags from it whenever I felt steady. We reentered downtown Bellingham, and there were a few twisty inclines that definitely slowed me down and reminded me of the miles I’d already logged. My energy started waning a little around miles 9-10, and looking back on the elevation profile of the course, it’s obvious that those mini hills took their toll.

Mile 8: 7:34

Mile 9: 7:45

Mile 10: 7:40

We were on a dirt path along the bay at this point, which was warmly welcomed after all the pavement pounding. Although my watch had been a little off the whole race, it was really off once I got to mile 10, which was a little discouraging. My miles were beeping at least 2/10 of a mile before the mile markers, and a fellow racer confirmed that her Garmin was at the same distance as mine. Admittedly, I fumed about this for a bit, considering I thought a PR was within reach should the course be 13.1, but I put that thought out of my mind and tried to just run the race I was running and enjoy it as much as I could.

Once I got to mile 10.5 or so, I resolved to kick it up in the last 5k, and that mind shift seemed to give me a bit of a second wind as well. I was hurting, but not done yet, and I wanted to finish strong. There was a STEEP boat ramp during mile 11 that felt like I was walking, which took a lot of self-talk to get up and over especially with another hilly ~1.5 miles to go afterward.

Mile 11: 7:17

Mile 12: 7:58

Alas, up I went, and we turned into the homestretch. Something I really like about this race is that it’s an essentially straight shot to this finish, and it seemed like everyone around me was pulling out everything they had to fire their final canons. I’d been leap-frogging with a few men the whole race, and all of us were straightening up and putting on our best race faces during this final stretch. Lots of fun.

However, things were hurting. This last mile was consistently up and down hill, and I was definitely feeling all the changing elevation, despite how minimal it actually was. When my watch beeped “13” I was nowhere near the mile marker, so I made a mental note to check “my” half marathon time in another .1 miles.

Mile 13: 7:12

Eventually, the finish line came into view, and I dug out my final dregs of speed as much as I could—I’ll be damned if that clock changes to 1:39!

photo

Final .32 miles: 6:37

Official finish time: 1:38:47, 16th woman overall

After a momentary feeling of being punched in the gut, I pulled it together, got my medal and space blanket and regaled on what just happened: Was that the fastest I’ve ever run before?

Technically, no. My official half-marathon PR is 22 seconds faster than that. But, in reality…it actually might be.

I am certainly not someone to play the, “But my watch said xx:xx!” card. I believe we all run the same course, the same race, no matter what, and the numbers we clock individually are secondary. But, .2 miles off is significant enough that I’m inclined to look at my pace according to the distance I logged rather than a 13.1 distance. Furthermore, in the case that I ran 13.32 miles in 1:38:47, I ran a 7:24 pace, which is easily faster than I’ve ever run a half marathon before. Take it or leave it, I realize this is a controversial topic, but I’m having a hard time ignoring that figure.

Despite the could-haves and maybes of the off-distance, I certainly had miles during this race that were both unexpected and mini personal-record breaking. The fact that 6.32 miles were under 7:20s is incredibly encouraging, and it brightens my hopes for a 1:35:xx in the (hopefully) not-so-distant future.

photo 3

I also felt like I was able to handle discomfort during this race much better than I’ve been able to before. One of my goals going into it was to keep my head on and not let the pain shadow my confidence. I tried to keep this in the front of my mind during those tougher miles, and I’m happy that I feel like I was able to stay comfortable being uncomfortable. There were some bleak minutes, certainly, but it felt like my resolve to push through was able to suppress those dark voices—which is something I’ve definitely struggled with in the past.

So, all in all, it was a great race. I’m happy that the rain held off (mostly), and despite the comprised conditions, I ran the best race I could. I have high hopes for what’s to come, and a little more gusto in my motivation to start training a little harder. The half-marathon is a fun and tough distance, and I’m excited to see what the next two this year have in store.

And a huge congrats to the other ladies who ran this race! In case I needed a spoonful of humble stew, the other 4 gals I ran with finish in 3, 4, 5, and 7th. Yes, really. Speedy ladies! Super impressive.

Happy Monday all!

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Making a Plan, Changing the Plan

Bad blogger here, poking out from my cocoon of silence…

Hey peeps! Guess what? It’s race week! A race I’ve been anticipating for a while…meaning I’ve already had some nerves and goals running through my head.

As I said last week, I rearranged my sky-high hopes for this race and settled on a “we’ll see” approach. Which is what I was/am still planning on. Essentially, my mission has become:

Race the damn race. Don’t just cruise—get a little uncomfortable. Stay in control, run smart, but make it hurt if I can.

Simplistic. Anddd there might be a few pace numbers thrown in there too. But I won’t bore you with those.

I did determine some good ole fashioned A, B, and C goals. So without further ado…

A) PR: I think this is possible if I have a really good day. Ideal conditions, happy legs, etc. A sub-7:30 pace average (what I’d need for a PR) shockingly isn’t as scary as it used to be, which in and of itself is encouraging. Even so, it would take some luck smart racing.

B) Sub-1:40: I became a member of this club on only one occasion, and I feel like it would be nice to affirm my status a little more considering I tend to feel like a poser with my “fluke” 1:38 PR sometimes. No, I don’t feel like I need to prove anything to anyone…except for maybe myself. It would just be nice to feel those race paces again.

C) Keep my head on. This is better than another “sub xx:xx” goal, right? Here’s the deal: I feel like I’m a good racer, but I don’t necessarily feel like I’ve mastered overcoming the mental hurdles that come with tough conditions. Sure, I can press onward, but I feel like I have a tendency to completely count myself out as soon as I feel fatigued. This is especially true in workouts. I’d really like to use this race as an opportunity to keep my game face on straight…or something like that. Having other people to chase after tends to help with this, so I’m excited to execute some playful competition in the name of building confidence.

So, all that’s well and good. But! Of course….but.

Now, I’m not one to whine and complain about race-day conditions. For the most part, I accept them as they are since I know there’s nothing I can do about them. We’ll all have to run in the same weather, right? Right.

But when a race I’ve been looking forward to and anticipating a strong performance at looks like this, my evil eye tends to come out:

Capture

 

Rain doesn’t really phase me. I’m used to the rain, I’ve raced in the rain, whatever with the rain. But rain + wind? Gross. Talk about my least ideal running/living conditions. And 20 mph isn’t a joke…that will make a difference.

So, I suppose for right now I’m trying to accept that some adjustments may need to happen. Goal adjustments, pace adjustments, etc. All in the name of Mother Nature…that saucy little minx. Am I completely discounting those goals above? Absolutely not. Do I think this adds another important variable to consider? Certainly. We’ll see, friends. Expect a very soggy finish line photo, with a side of yummy thigh chafing.

But, no matter the circumstances, I’m excited to run my 9th ( <—lucky number alert!) half-marathon this Sunday. The same half-marathon, in fact, that I ran as my first half 3 years ago. Crazy! This will also be my first official race as a Oiselle team member, clad in the singlet and everything. Let’s hope those new wings know how to sail in the wind!

Who’s racing this weekend? Does weather affect your race-day hype? 

 

Eugene Marathon Training Week #9

Good morning!

I am certain I won’t be saying this for more than week…but currently (please quote me on this later) I’m definitely ready to taper.

I feel like I’ve packed in all the training I could up until now, and it just feels like time to slow down, smooth out the cracks, and mentally prepare for race day.

Too bad that will be a three week process. But for now, I’m feeling more relived than anxious to be entering taper-phase. Part of that reason could be last week…it was a big one (for me).

M: REST

T: 10 miles fast-ish

W: 8 miles easy + Maximum Sculpt

T: 11.3 miles

F: 3500 yd swim ~80 min

S: 22.4 miles

S: 6.5 easy miles + 75 min yoga

Total= 58.2 miles

That right there would be the most miles I’ve run in this training bout. Most of it felt good…with the exception of some not-so-favorable conditions on Saturday’s long run.

*Edited to add: After some archive snooping, I discovered this is actually the most miles I have ever run in one week!

The truth is that I should be really grateful for Saturday. All the weather apps (yes I have more than one) promised “steady rain” and 10+ mph winds all day on Saturday. I whimpered a little bit on Friday night, but resolved that rain or no rain…the run was going to happen, and I needed to suck it up.

Imagine my euphoria, then, when the 7:00 am alarm went off and not only was there no rain on my window, but there were BLUE SKIES. Nothing will get me out of bed to run quicker than a welcomed fault in weather reporting. This optimism didn’t necessarily carry on through the run, unfortunately.

I’m not really sure if it was the distance, the headwind (they were right about that part), or just the day itself, but I never really fell into a groove during my long run this week. I really dislike when this happens, particularly as it ruins any hope for consistent pacing (my only goal for the run), and I hate having such variance in speed. The second half was infinitely better than the first half (a reprieve from a head wind will do that for you), and my fastest miles turned out to be my final 5 or so. I would upload and post my splits, but I’m a little afraid to look at their lack of symmetry quite yet.

I kind of felt like I hit the wall during this run, which is definitely not awesome during a training run. But. I suppose if I have to take it now or in Eugene, I’d much rather take Saturday.

At one point, I stopped my watch to refill my water bottle (holla for the fountains being back on!), and I forgot to turn it back on for ~.4 miles. Not really a big deal…except that I plum forgot about it until after the run was done, and after I’d completed the Garmin-verified 22.0 mile distance. During a regular run, this wouldn’t have made a difference. But on a 22 mile run, that extra .4 might have been the death of me.

But no matter. I would have liked to finish my longest long run on a more confident note, but you can’t always count on that. I’ve had more than my share of encouraging long runs this training cycle, so those are what I’ll try to focus on.

I spent the rest of Saturday cuddled in a blanket on the couch in the dark. It sounds pathetic, but it was actually rather perfect. And that rain they predicted? It started probably 20 minutes after I walked in the door from my run. I’ll call that a win for the day.

I also slept about 11 hours Saturday night, all of which felt super necessary. Nothing wipes me out quite like a long run, and there is no more delicious sleep than those fueled by miles (and an entire pizza in my stomach 🙂 )

Not too much else from last week is especially note-worthy. Going to yoga yesterday afternoon was one of the best decisions I made all week…and by “going,” I really mean summoning up every morsel of willpower in my being. There is no excuse for why I don’t prioritize going to yoga more, as it never fails to leave me feeling 100% better afterward. It’s just so much easier to choose an hour of sitting on my butt than an hour of downward dog. I can also easily fool myself too into thinking that I’ll just “stretch at home” and it will be just as effective as an expert telling me what to do. Lies.

However, I’m going to try and go at least twice before Eugene. It really is so good for us runners, and when I’m there I can almost hear my pissy muscles thanking me for finally giving them a little TOC.

Other than yoga, there are a few other “running accessories” that I wholeheartedly believe to be effective and helpful, but that’s a post for another day.

I hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Friday Favorites: Girl Scout Cookie Tangent

This morning I ran, and it was excellent.

Well okay back up, pretty much every factor involved in this run was working against me, and I didn’t escape it void of any knee pain…but oh boy, did it feel good to run.

To continue on my bad-blogger theme of talking about the weather, I’ll paint a quick picture of what this morning looked like:

Rain, alternating between heavy sudden downpours and lighter sprinkles. You didn’t really know what you were going to get with the rain this morning, and it delivered a smorgasbord of intensity and directional changes. With that said, there was also my least favorite running element present this morning—wind. I can deal with rain, I can even deal with snow, but let it be known that I hate wind with a fiery loathing passion. So that was neat. It was also quite cold, as demonstrated by the fact that my fingers were completely void of any healthy color once I was done. They were a pale yellow, and I’m pretty sure I could have had someone run over my hand with a bike without me even flinching.

Okay, this is getting boring…maybe weather talk should get the boot. But I am very happy with that fact that I was able to run, and it was only a little bit slower than my normal semi-fast-but-not-too-fast pace. My knee bothered me, but once I was done it felt very normal which was encouraging. I think so long as I keep up my icing and stretching and rolling routine, I’ll be able to pull off runningthrough this bursitis.

It’s nice to have a run under my belt after 4 days of being all Whine Birdie Whine and RICE Birdie RICE. Still being cautious, but feeling optimistic. And let’s get real, who can’t be optimistic on a Friday? Especially when Friday means it’s time for some Friday Favorites!

If you’re new, every Friday I like to talk about some of my favorite things, both of the present moment and of all time. Lots of the time they are about food. Other times they are about Glee songs. However, they are all little parts of life that make me smile, and you should play along to! Comment below with some of your favorite things, I love to read them.

Ready…set…go!

My “Look I ran a marathon” Oiselle T-shirt

It took my forever to work up the gall to buy this pretty blue shirt, but I’m so happy I did—and it’s fun having a piece of “runner” clothing that isn’t actually worn during running. Actually, I suppose you could wear it running, but I’d rather wear my permanently smelling old tech tops instead.

I wore this shirt on Monday, when I was feeling particularly down about my dumb knee, and it made me feel the teensiest bit better. I’ve preached the importance of remembering that you’re a runner, even if you’re hurt or in a rut. Wearing this shirt on a downer-day helped me to remember that even if I couldn’t run right then I will be able to again and I was still able to claim the 26.2 title. Thanks, Oiselle. You ladies are awesome.

The Runner’s World Quote of the Day

I’ve gotten in this 21st century habit of checking through all my iPhone gizmos before my eyes are really open in the morning. I really dislike this habit, and although it actually helps me wake up and I find it oddly soothing, I would much rather spend the first ten minutes of my waking day away from technology.

However, the best part about this routine is that I get to start my mornings with a lovely little email from Runner’s World, featuring the “Quote of the Day.” You can sign up to receive them on their website, and it’s really fun/motivating to wake up to the words of wisdom from various runners. Often times the quotes are about running, sometimes they’re about life. Sometimes they’re from Kara Goucher, sometimes their from your Uncle Buck who happens to love running, but no matter the source or the content they always manage to get me started in the right frame of mind.

Also, if I’m about to go for a run, there’s no better motivation than hearing some Yoda of Running jargon beforehand. Or, if I’m feeling lazy—these quotes can be a friendly kick in the butt. I recommend signing up. I don’t recommend playing Words with Friends when you are still half-dreaming.

{A note to all my iPhone game opponents: if you’re wondering why you receive game updates from me before 6 am…this is why. Nice to start my day with you, and yes…I do consider it a disadvantage that I play my moves while still in sleep delirium. Your welcome.}

Girl Scout Cookies

I know I’m preaching to the choir, and by choir I mean the entirety of the United States, when I say that I effing love Girl Scout cookies. Below are my specific reasons, because listing is fun, and I don’t want to bore you with trying-to-be witty prose about the perfect symmetry of Samoas.

  • They are little

As I mentioned last week, I really love little things. These cookies are no exception, particularly because small cookies=more cookies available to eat. People like how Girl Scout cookies are “portion controlled” compared to the normally over-sized nature of other desserts. Sure, this is great, but when I think of something being small, I think, “Oh, that means I can eat MORE of them.” Dessert is more fun when it is divided into 3 or 4 or 8 miniature parts, as opposed to one whole…don’t you think?

  • There are many options

As a cookie savant, my palate is very eclectic…and by eclectic, I mean that I enjoy too many different types of sweets to pick just one. The Girl Scouts of America have recognized this problem, and they have come up with the wonderful solution of providing many flavors that I enjoy, and I consequentially purchase.

If we’re talking specifics…this year I’m into Samoas and Trefoils, although Thin Mints and Tagalongs are long time favorites and have also been purchased.

Also, I hate these new names. When I was a proud GSC seller myself, they were called Caramel Delights, Shortbread, Thin-Mints (no alternative there eh girls?), and Peanut Butter Patties. All kids of the ’90s will agree.

  • They can be stored

I’m actually not a big processed food person, but I do appreciate the fact that you can freeze/store these little gems so that they can be enjoyed for a prolonged period of time.

I think it’s safe to say that for the month-long period of time when Girl Scouts prowl the streets and supermarkets, they are easily the most popular girls in town.

Are you wondering yet why I’m not 200 pounds? Yea, me too.

My “Girl Power” Playlist

I’m into Spotify nowadays, and I like that you can make your own playlists. This past week, I found myself listening to a high number of you-go-girl music and decided to create a femme-centric playlist.

It pumps me up, it keeps me entertained, and it inspires me. Thanks Katy, Lana, and Kelly. You make me want to run and spin and climb Everest and fight the good fight.

Boom! Favorites completed. Sorry for that tangent about my obsession with cookies…that was unplanned, I swear. Maybe I have inspired you to contribute $4 to the adorable badge-clad chickies at your local grocery store next time you’re there. I hear the new lemon ones are all the rage…just rumors though.

Please tell me what you are digging today, and because now I’m curious…what’s your favorite kind of GS cookie? Are you doing a St. Patrick’s Day race? A corned beef and cabbage cook-off? A Guiness keg stand? I don’t recommend this last one…stick to the lighter brews, but if you are doing this…tell me how you accomplished such a feat. You must be Irish.

Magnuson Series MLK 10k Relay

So, Saturday’s race was really, really effing cold.

The combination of snow/rain/wind/frigid temps made running perhaps the least desirable thing for any rational person to go and partake in. BF and I, however, are not rational and decided that despite it all—we would uphold our race day commitment.

The Magnuson Series is a set of races held every month in Magnuson Park, Seattle. The park is 3.1 miles around, therefore each month on race day you can choose to run a 5, 10, or 15k depending on your preference. It’s a great idea, a good course, and an easy way to keep up your racing mojo every month.

As part of a stocking-stuffer Christmas gift, BF signed us up for a 10k relay team, meaning that each of us would run a 5k, and then they would total our times together.

We arrived dressed in somewhat wintery running gear (which means instead of shorts and a t-shirt I was wearing a long-sleeved tech jersey), and we soon discovered that starting a race next to a lake when the wind is whipping in a big snow storm is somewhat equivalent to the definition of misery. We sat in the car until the last possible second, got out for a quick warm up jog, and positioned ourselves at the start line.

ready to run!

The race couldn’t have started soon enough. My toes, fingers, and ears were all freezing cold, and I had to have my hat strapped on super tight just to prevent it from coming off in the wind. I really had no clue how fast I was going during the first mile, as I was so distracted by the cold conditions, but when we got to the Mile 1 marker and I saw 6:59 on my watch, I was pumped. Doing the race at 7 minute miles was my goal, although I wasn’t saying it out loud. As I reached the second mile marker, I was still hovering around 14:00, though the pace had slowed down a tad. At the end, I ended up finishing unofficially around 21:57, which in 5k terms means I was running 7:05 minute miles.

New PR!

Not long after I grabbed a water cup and tried to regain control of my winded/frozen lungs, I saw BF finish strongly with a 24:49, giving the “Grizzly Birds” (our obviously awesome team name) a 10k finish time of 46:46!

We both agreed the course was good, the weather sucked, and we’d definitely be doing these races again soon.

Doing 5ks are a great way to practice speed, and I highly encourage everyone, of all racing levels, to sign up for one whenever they can. I know I’ll be bulking up my marathon training with plenty of shorter races, as they’re great practice for racing strategy and general racing atmosphere.

Question: What are the worst conditions you’ve ever run or raced in?

Mother Nature and Mental Battles

You know that Winnie the Pooh movie about the blustery day, where the characters are flying all over the place and such?

Am I really embarrassing myself right now? Probably.

Yea, that would be the perfect example of the weather in Seattle today.

There is a storm rolling in that has promised snow in the mountains and (possibly!) down in the main Seattle area. I love snow, and although I’m slightly horrified to try driving down the huge hill by my house with any amount of ice present, I appreciate the seasonality of falling snow.

Anyway, for now the day has just been filled with a bitter, blustery(there really isn’t a better word, thanks A.A. Milne) wind and ominous clouds overhead. This lead to some interesting elements during this morning’s run, and it got me thinking about all the weather variables involved in this sport—namely, in the winter.

So there I was at 6 am: laying in my warm bed, silencing my snooze alarm (for the second time), and listening to the whistling wind outside. Now, wind happens to be my LEAST favorite weather condition. It makes the cold colder, and the rain and snow much more unpleasant. Needless to say, running in the wind is not favorable for me .

Luckily, I was conscious enough to remember I really wanted to do a long run this morning, and I knew it would be much less likely to happen in the afternoon. So, clad in gloves, leggings, and a long sleeve tech shirt—away I went in the dark, cold, and blowing wind.

[An aside to lululemon: mark my words if I had a closet full of your fantastic RUN apparel, getting dressed for runs would be the best part of my day.]

Surprisingly, the only unpleasant part of my run was the strong headwind I faced during the first few miles. My running route follows the edge of a peninsula called Alki beach, and while 99% of the time I bask in how beautiful my training grounds are, this morning I felt quite the opposite. Ocean + wind+ cold= BRRRRRRR. The waves were surf-able(word?), and for anyone living in the area, you know that waves this big are rare. During this blast of headwind, I kept one optimistic thought in mind….tailwind on the way back, please oh please.

My wish was granted, and during the second half of the run, I did begin to recognize how beautiful the radical weather had made the surrounding area. The water looked magical, the sky was a gorgeous sunrise pink, yellow, and blue, and the clouds were smeared across the sky from the higher winds. Yes, even in compromised conditions, running can bring out the beauty in anything. I removed my headphones for the second half and enjoyed the sounds of the blowing trees, my steady breath, and my footsteps.

It’s always comforting for me to recognize how running can bring out an alternative perspective on a seemingly negative situation.

12 miles on the dot, and after some easy lifting/ab work at my gym, I was pretty pumped to jump in my warm shower and get my feet into some wool socks. Yes, I’m wearing two pairs right now—I have circulation issues.

Anyway, winter is indeed upon us—and for runners, this means a whole new strategy for our sport. I’m a little pitiful when it comes to proper weather-appropriate gear. Exhibit A: My gloves are the $2 Target kind that make your hands start to sweat within minutes of any physical exertion.

There are so many fancy cold weather remedies out there, and I get a bit overwhelmed with what I actually need. However, I am a big believer that less is typically more when it comes to running. Yes, in the winter you might be convinced after stepping outside that you need to be wearing sweatpants and a fleece, however in my experience you begin to warm up very quickly once you get going. Rarely have I regretted not wearing enough at the end of a run, and normally when I have layered, I end up removing something pretty quickly.

Running warms your core pretty quickly, and so while your ears and hands might stay cold for a bit, it’s a safe bet that although running shorts may seem unthinkable when you check the 6 am temperature, you’ll probably be happier by the end of those miles. A good rule of thumb: gloves, a hat, and warm socks will get you through any cold scenario. Seriously, you could probably be naked otherwise.

Awkward, kinda.

The hardest part of winter running, however, isn’t normally the actual running. Sure, sometimes there’s ice, snow, and the temperature isn’t ideal, however I’ve found that the mental part of running during these months is much more tolling than the actual act.

Personally, the darkness is the hardest part. Getting out of bed at 6 am when it’s bright and sunny outside is no problem for me during the summer; I pop right up with the enthusiasm of an annoying cartoon fairy, ready to sprinkle my day with sweat and happiness. Then, when daylight savings time hits and the thermometer drops, 6 am starts to feel a lottt earlier. I have to mentally pry myself out of bed in the winter for my usual morning workouts, and until I actual get them started a big part of me wants to scurry back to my pjs and a bowl of oatmeal.

I do appreciate the strengthening of my mental grit, because I feel like my dedication is truly tested when the conditions are less than favorable. I guess what I’m trying to say is that…at the end of the day, I’m thankful to have my commitment tested, because it helps me appreciate the rewards that much more.

I’d love to hear any mental tricks or helpful preparation for taking on winter running!! With a spring marathon in the works, my cold weather training is going to be interesting…

Long post, but I didn’t have time yesterday, so there’s excessive running thoughts stored in my head 🙂

Now, let’s see if I can talk BF into something warm and yummy for dinner….

Cheers!

rb