Tag Archives: winter running

Am I The Weirdo?

I don’t really have many running pet peeves.

Runners tend to be some of the friendliest people, and I totally get that a lot of what we do in regard to running is totally personal.

But, and this is a big BUT, there is one running-related annoyance I can’t tend to shake. It’s really silly and ridiculous…considering it doesn’t even remotely affect me. But no matter how hard I try, the more I see it happen, the more frustrated I become.

I’m talking about the way in which people dress, namely the way people overdress, when they run.

I just don’t get it. I’m fairly certain that my internal temperature is no higher or more tolerant than your average person; in fact, I tend to be cold more often than not. So for the life of me, I don’t understand why— when I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt— there are other people not just wearing pants and long sleeves, but also hats and mittens.

This phenomenon is especially noticeable nowadays, as the weather is a little trickier to gauge than the typical “cold” of winter and “hot” of summer. This in-between mode adds a lot of variety to the attire you see out on a run, and while I understand people are going different speeds, different distances, etc…there are some lines that should be drawn, right?

My petty annoyance with overdressers came to a boiling point this past Saturday (in case you couldn’t tell 🙂 ). It was 52-ish degrees, sunny, without much wind. My interpretation of this is shorts and a short sleeve shirt, no question. Although I might have been chilly for the first mile or so, I knew I’d be perfectly happy in this getup in the end.

The wonderful thing about the sun being out is that it summons runners of all sorts. Sunny days in Seattle are flooded with runners and bikers and walkers and elliptic-goers galore, and Saturday was no exception.

With all this running company, I was able to do a thorough survey of what people were all wearing on this fine spring morning.

And, I kid you not, there were at least 20 people wearing black pants, black long-sleeve tops, and some form of cold-weather accessory.

I don’t understand!!!!

I get so warm when I run, as I’m sure most of us do, so why oh why would you want to weigh down your run with unnecessary clothing baggage???

obviously multiple punctuation marks are necessary in this discussion

But really… it’s not like the majority of these people have never run outside before. Most of them are people that I see out regularly, through all seasons, and some of whom are definitely doing long distances with quick paces. And yet, they’re dressed as if it’s below freezing with sideways sleet and 20 mph winds.

So, after the 30th or so overdressed person I judged witnessed on Saturday, I managed to suppress my unwarranted anger and asked myself the real question:

“Am I the weirdo?”

But seriously…am I?

It seems like the vast majority of people out running are, in my opinion, overdressed. And if this is my opinion, maybe I’m actually the minority and don’t follow the standard “what to wear while running” rules.

So I’m genuinely curious here…what are your temperature minimums/maximums for donning certain attire?

For reference (and so you can help justify if I am actually the freak), here is my own scale of what I’ll wear for varying temperatures.

<30°: capri tights, long sleeves, ear-warmer, and probably gloves

30°-35°: capri tights, long sleeves, possible ear-warmer

35°-40°: shorts, thicker long sleeve top

40°-45°: shorts, thin (tech tee) long sleeves

45°-50°: shorts and short sleeves, possibly a thin long sleeve if I’m going really slow

50°<: shorts and short sleeves, tank top if it’s over 65° or so.

So there’s my scale. I’m really hoping that I can either confirm that a) I’m the one that’s loony with my ensemble choices, b) you all agree with my scale and it’s everyone else that’s crazy, or c) eveyone’s a little different and I just happen to chronically see the people who overdress.

What do you wear for running in various temperatures? Do you think most people under-dress, overdress, or do you not care because really…who should care anyways? Any other unique running pet peeves?

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Running Slow and Running Fast

Hey peeps.

So, obviously I haven’t been blogging too much recently—not because I’m especially busy, but  because I don’t feel like I have much of interest to talk about.

Quality > quantity, that’s my kind of mantra.

Not that most of what I write is especially “quality” to begin with…but I basically don’t want to fill the internet with more pointless jargon.

Moving on. I have been having some good fun running-wise these past few weeks of the new year, namely because I’ve been doing new workouts and I’ve had a running buddy more often!

I’ve finally convinced BF to hit the roads with me every once in a while and I LOVE it. I always thought I preferred solo running…but there’s something extra fun about having a companion. It feels like killing two birds with one stone…exercise + catch-up time.

Although we don’t necessarily have much to catch up on…considering the whole “living together” thing, but that’s besides the point.

Doing my favorite thing with my favorite person makes me one giddy-happy camper. The other day, he even texted me, “How far are we running tomorrow?”

*swoon*

The other good thing about this arrangement is that my pace is much closer to where I should be running my easier runs. I have the very non-textbook habit of running all my runs at race pace, and then doing one speed-session per week. NOT GOOD. BF’s pace is right where my comfortable/recovery pace should be…and I’ve felt much better because of it.

On the other end of the speed spectrum, I’ve started trying to do more regimented speed work—other than simply “run faster than normal for a few miles.”

In fact, the other day I did 800s for the first time EVER. Really, ever. Well, except for high school track…but nothing really counts from high school. Including my awkwardness.

Albeit, the 800s were on a treadmill (too slick outside), but I think keeping myself exactly on-pace with a simulated belt was actually better as a “beginner.”

Here’s how the workout went down:

1 mile warm-up

4 x 800 @8.5 mph ~3:30 

w/ 800 @ 7.3 in between ~4:07

1 mile cool down

Success! This felt good…they got harder toward the end, but I felt like I could have pulled off one or two more without too much difficulty. I liked this a lot also because it made the whole treadmill experience much more entertaining…the blaring Macklemore Pandora station helped too.

I think I’ll add one more 800 next time I do it…and so on. I’m trying to get used to this whole “planned workout pace” thing because the program I’ll be following for Eugene training is fairly regimented. I like that this will be a whole different approach for me…and I especially like that the short/fast and slow runs are becoming more appealing .

For so long, I was all about medium-long runs at the same speed…all the time. I’m digging the variety nowadays, and I’m realizing that the slower runs are really enabling the faster ones to be more constructive and more comfortable.

So there’s your update. I love running slow, and I love running fast. The two pair together quite nicely. I’m in the final stages of base-building right now before starting my actual training program on February 4th. The week before I start, I’m thinking I’ll be doing little to no running AT ALL, just to rest up, get psyched, and alleviate any soreness before the real work begins.

I can’t wait.

That’s all I’ve got! But here are some questions…

Do you prefer outdoors or the treadmill in the winter?

Outdoors, always. Unless there’s ice/monsoon rain.

Do you like slow long runs or fast short runs more?

Do you prefer running alone or with someone else?

Yukon Do It Half-Marathon Race Recap

Happy New Year!

How is everyone? Getting a start on your resolutions? Giving up on your resolutions? Still hungover from NYE?

This is not a post about my own resolutions. Shock, I know. In a very not-like-me move, I actually did make one this year (I almost never do), but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

I am here to tell you about something else related to New Year’s Eve. So while there was resolution making, drink(s), and midnight fireworks, there was also something extra that made this New Year’s Eve memorable. In fact, it was probably the most memorable NYE to date, because let’s face it…with the exception of pining for a midnight kiss from your crush (which I never got), there isn’t much you can really expect from the night.

But this year, New Year’s Eve doubled as a race day. A perfect race day, in fact.

I call this my “I do this expression in every race photo of me ever taken” face.

I was fairly hush-hush about the Yukon Do It half-marathon. Not because I was especially nervous, but because I didn’t really have a lot of feelings about it.

Going into it, I knew my sparkly sub-1:40  half goal was possible, but I wasn’t necessarily interested in going through a lot of pain for it.

So, my game plan was to start with 7:40s, and if I was feeling good, drop to 7:35s halfway through.

That didn’t exactly happen. In fact, none of what went down during this race was anything I would have expected—for a variety of reasons:

1) The weather. It was bloody cold during this race.

Grown men wore pants and double-layer tops. I wore spandex shorts. However, as I’ve stated before—winter running and I are BFFs. My body enters into a “must warm thyself” panic when it’s cold, which results in faster paces.

2) The course. The elevation map of this course was, well, wrong. It was allegedly an out-and-back with miles 1-4 fairly flat, 5-8 up and then downhill, and 9-13 flat again. No, not true. Details to come.

The way the course was supposed to look...lie.

The way the course was supposed to look…

3) The company. I signed up for this race because a ton of my coworkers were doing it. So, there were about 12 of us…most of whom I’d never met before, and all of whom were relatively fast.

Fun fact: if there is an audience around, I’ll be ready to perform. It’s the Glee-kid in me. Or maybe just the narcissistic competitive brat in me. Whatever. Point is, it was an opportunity to hang with the big dawgs…the big dawgs in this case being stranger men from work.

A few of us from the group!

A few of us from the group! In case you couldn’t spot the only female in the photo, I’m on the top right.

So now that I’ve given way too much information before writing the actual report, let’s get down to it:

With only 300 or so runners doing the half, I was able to line up relatively close to the start line. The gun went off, and I mentally threatened myself to not go out too fast. Just warm up. Just get your pace. So after a half mile of “leisurely” getting started, I checked the Garmin: 7:15.

Fail.

I seriously felt like I was running an 8:30, I think in part to the throngs of fast dudes around me whose effortlessness masked my own speed, and also because of the cold. My feet were numb for the first 1.5 miles, and I think my body was doing everything possible to just thaw my blood.

I chilled out though, decided the first mile could be fast as long as I got my sh*t together for the rest of it.

1-3

No, still didn’t happen. But I didn’t panic. I genuinely felt really good, and I figured as long as I closely monitored how I felt and paid attention to my breathing, I could keep up the speed. Plus, I knew the hill coming up would slow me down and I could save some time for those miles.

There weren’t too many people around me. The leader (who I actually knew and who is ridiculously badass- 1:10 finish, nbd) was way out in front, then there was a decent size pack behind him, then followed myself and some other randoms.

This was the first time I legitimately played leap-frog with other runners the entire race. There were three other females that I kept alternating spots with, which was a combination of helpful, intimidating, and fun. We all knew it was happening, of course we didn’t say anything, but it was an amusing silent competition.

One of those ladies, by the way, was wearing a Boston finisher shirt.

Don't you think your sweet shirt will scare me away...

Don’t you think your sweet shirt will scare me away…

After the first 4.5 miles or so, I expected the promised “ gradual ascent” to start. Alas…we would all learn that the course profile was quite incorrect and misleading.

The flat sections were spot on, and the first four and the last four miles were beautiful and scenic along the waterfront. The middle 5 though? Basically the course traversed up and down the same hills about 6 different times. And these weren’t rollers…they were some pretty significant inclines, with consequentially steep declines. So those miles were filled with grunting (and getting passed) up those hills, and then bombing (and passing others) on the way down.

This is what my Garmin elevation data showed.

This is what my Garmin elevation data showed.

My paces over these miles were all over the place. I’d be logging an 8:30 trudging up a hill, and then it would quickly drop to 7:30 on the downhill. These miles were beautiful, however, as they wove through a super-green forest—which slightly made up for the unexpected course switcheroo.

6-8

The nice thing about an out-and-back, though, is that you know what to expect for the second half. I was starting to feel not-so-awesome around mile 7. The hills were getting to me, and I was ready to head back to the flat lands.

I know this is really not-such-a-big deal in retrospect, and I don’t want to complain, but I thought a more accurate elevation chart would have been helpful beforehand.

Once back on the flatter parts, I felt a second wind coming, and I regained a consistent pace. I gained a bit on a few of the females that were ahead of me during the first part of the race, and I let my racing instinct take over as I passed them.

According to this batch of race photos, I close my eyes a lot while racing. Sleepy? Defense mechanism? Also #LEGS. Gross.

According to this batch of race photos, I close my eyes a lot while racing. Sleepy? Defense mechanism? Also #LEGS. Gross.

Around mile 9, I spotted a coworker who was holding a perfectly steady-yet-fast pace, and I decided to use him as a pacer. I stayed right behind him for a while, which was probably annoying, but he didn’t seem to mind (thanks David!).

9-11

When I came up beside him with 2 or so miles to go, and apologized for my drafting, he exclaimed that I was on track for a 1:38. Excited by this announcement, and impressed with his mental math, it was just the spark I needed to drop to a sub 7:20 pace. I held with him for a while longer, but after seeing two girls fading ahead of me, I knew I needed to do a little bit of chick-ing.

And seriously…one of them was wearing zebra-print spandex. I realize most of you would love owning something like that, but personally I refused to be beat by someone wearing  those.

Zebra girl, be gone.

By that point, the finish line was in sight. There is nothing more encouraging than seeing the end—and the promise of being finished. A glance at my watch and I knew I was not only looking at a sub-1:40, but a 1:38:xx. Cue: giddy excitement.

12-13

And just like that, I crossed the finish line, heard my name called over the speaker, and knew I’d cinched the coveted sub 1:40 half that I’d been wanting with a 1:38:22 PR finish time.

“Pretty psyched” would be good words to describe the feeling immediately following, although I was mostly focused on how quickly the heat I’d built during the race was quickly escaping my body. At the finish line, I learned that two co-workers had claimed 2nd and 3rd overall, with others in the top 15 as well!

I myself ended up as 4th overall female and 2nd in my age group. And yes, ahead of Boston lady…who congratulated me after as we’d been racing each other for nearly 10 miles.

Neat!

Neat!

After changing into warmer, dryer clothes and collecting ribbons (!), we made a pit stop for a celebratory brew before packing it in and calling it a year.

Running this race was wonderful, and I’m thrilled to have closed with a time I feel like I can hang my hat on for a while. Doing it on the very last day of 2012 was awesome as well—it felt both like a grand finale and a prelude of the year to come.

I don’t have a lot of hindsight about this race…it was cold, beautiful, and a lot of fun. However, in retrospect, I am particularly focused on the fact that while I did run hard and achieved my goal, it actually wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated. Which makes the promise of what’s the come in 2013 all the more intriguing.

Happy New Year!

A Little of This, a Little of That.

Apparently when I’m not posting race reports, being injured, or training for a race, I have nothing to blog about—hence my absentee-ism last week. I still don’t have much in store today, however there are a few fun/random things to point out from this weekend.

Recently, I feel like I’ve been back and forth between do-everything-possible-in-two-days weekends and do absolutely nothing weekends. This weekend was more of the latter, and it was highly enjoyable.

Seriously, I felt like all I did was workout and veg out. Repeat. Which is just fine, because if there’s anything I love more than a long workout on the weekend, it’s the lazy-session that happens afterward.

So here are some highlights from my stellar do-nothing weekend.

16 Mile Run on Saturday

Month-old photo added for detail. I did wear this hat though...

Lie. This is a month-old photo added for detail. I did wear this hat though…and a braid.

16 is the furtherest I go when I’m not marathon training. And guess what? It’s still hard and still takes a long time.

This run was fine. I felt good, with the exception of the strong headwind for over half the run…not to mention the indecisive rain which would start and stop the entire time. I lucked out though…there were very few non-raining periods of time the whole weekend.

Love you Seattle.

Also, I decided it didn’t matter that I was stupid-dehydrated and completely empty-stomached beforehand. Can someone please show up at my house on Saturday mornings and tell me to not be such a huge asshole about proper running necessities?

Finished in 2:14, 8:18 average. Everybody wang chung tonight.

Saturday night, BF and I ventured into the world of real people and decided to see Argo.

01_argo_ipad

Good stuff. Highly recommended…particularly if you’re interested in our ongoing issues in the Middle East. There’s also a strong presence of early ’80s mustaches in the movie, which is apparently all the rage right now.

#hipsterthings

The movie was not seen, however, before injesting some very important sustenance…

My one true love.

Photo lie #2. This is from a year ago, when I was better at taking photos. But this is what I ate on Saturday. Marry me, Chipotle.

Chipotle > everything else.

Sunday was essentially the same scenario, with a few twists added.

And by twists, I really just mean I went to double spin classes and watched my real TV instead of the big screen. Originality people, have to keep things exciting.

Kidding, I kind of suck.

After spinning for an incredibly boredom-inducing amount of time, I felt a little unsatisfied, so when BF suggested I come along on his run…I changed from one pair of sweaty clothes to another and hopped right to it. 5.4 miles later, and I was a happy little clam. Apparently being outside is always better than being inside, even when “outside” means wind, rain, cold, and dodging little children and skate-boarding teenagers.

We spent a little time reading and people watching at Starbucks afterward, grocery shopped like champs, and returned to the nest for one of my favorite activities of the entire year…

photo

BF: “Do you want an action shot, or for me to smile at the camera?” RB: “BOTH!”

I know every female screams about loving “the most wonderful time of the year,” but I’m very serious when I say I could majorly throw down in a “who loves the holiday season the most” contest.

(pause for amusing image)

I turn into a giggling, jolly mess during Christmas…and that’s on top of my overly-enthusiastic personality.

Needless to say, last night was the best.

 

image (1)

The finished product! I love our tree. Also, I spy…not one but TWO Belle ornaments.

Seriously, the best.

Congratulations if you’ve made it this far and have now read all about my hum-drum weekend.

Two final things to add are that we’ve decided to go Monday-Friday this week without spending any money. Exceptions are Christmas presents for OTHER people, and I suppose paying any bills and such.

It’s a great exercise…but will be interesting to see the results. I panic if I think I don’t have the ability to buy a snack if needed…

And finally, if you don’t already watch or haven’t heard from the 6,487 people shouting about it…

Homeland.

804_1_0_prm-emmys2012_1024x640

Watch. Now.

If you don’t have Showtime, go buy it and enjoy wasting enhancing the next week of your life watching every episode. Then come and thank me afterwards. Then go and watch all the Dexters while you have the subscription. Best investment you’ll ever make.

Also, where in the world has Claire  Danes been since Romeo and Juliet Leo-style?

Please tell me about the mediocrity in your lives so I can feel that I’m not alone. Argo? Homeland? Run? Rain? Chipotle? If you so much as mention Q’doba…I will find you, and you will regret it.

 

 

 

6 Reasons I’m Psyched for Winter Running

I generally consider myself more of a sun-and-warmth person as opposed to a cold-and-snowy person. I really don’t dislike any seasons, in fact I like little things about them all, but there’s something that’s just so convenient about summer. It’s easier to dress for (sun dresses=one outfit wonder!), it’s easier to plan for, and it’s LIGHTER! I love the light, and the darkness of winter really starts to get to me after a while.

But, the one thing I love about the winter—besides Christmas and pea coats, of course—is THE RUNNING!

I adore running when it’s cold out, and I would choose running with tights and an ear warmer over running in a tank and spandos any day. I know there are a lot of differing opinions on this, and it’s not that I dislike running when it’s warm, there’s just something so satisfying about breaking the winter blues with some miles.

When I played soccer when I was younger, I remember preferring the games that were in the cold. Although I had to wear a turtleneck underneath my jersey and the sidelines were freezing, I can distinctly remember feeling faster and more agile when playing in the cold. This feeling is the same way I feel today about running in the cold—clearly something that never left!

Now, I know this isn’t science…according to the running scientists we run faster and more efficiently in cooler temperatures than warmer. And…duh. Keeping our internal temperature cooler helps elongate our exertion and not feel so drained from sweating (as much).

I definitely notice these effects of running when it’s cooler—but the reasons I love winter running have more to do with the overall package itself, as opposed to the physiology behind it.

With that, I give you…6 reasons why I’m PSYCHED for winter running.

1) Thumb holes. Just like nearly every other runner who doesn’t live in So.Cal or Florida…I’m a big fan of the thumb hole shirt revolution.

Just that little feature seems to add a whole new dimension of warmth—and I often can get away without gloves when I wear a thumbhole shirt. My favorite part, though, is actually when I can remove my thumbs from the loops and roll up the sleeves a bit. This part of a run always indicates that I’ve warmed up enough and gotten into a steady-enough rhythm. I love realizing that, and I love having a tangible indicator.

2) Speed. I notice a very distinct difference in my speed once the temperatures drop.

After I ran the Portland Marathon last year, took a few recovery weeks, and got back on the road again, I started realizing that my splits were dropping. I thought this might be a result of recovering and gaining strength from the marathon, but I’m pretty certain it had more to do with the fact that my training had all been done in the late summer, and I was now running in chillier November. Personally, I know I’m a faster runner when it’s a bit cooler—and I’m planning on focusing heavily on speed during the winter months (more on that in another post!).

3) Showers. I adore the feeling of a shower after a good run. In fact, I actually kind of dislike regular showers, because they aren’t as deliciously satisfying as those done post-run (don’t worry…I still take them…sometimes).

The best kind of showers, though, are the ones after a long, cold, run. I love feeling like I’m thawing out after being in the wind and the cold—it’s such a wonderful dichotomy of having experienced the chilly air and then plunging into a warm shower. I love it—this is perhaps one of my favorite things about running, besides the actually action itself 🙂

4) The quiet. This may all be in my head, but I always feel like winter mornings are so much more silent than the summer. You know?

Less birds chirping, less people around. Not that I dislike those things (obviously I like birds) but I l-o-v-e running when it feels completely quiet. No headphones, no traffic, no people. Just feet and breath (the cold air helps emphasize the breath part of this as well). I get the most jazzed and excited about a run when I walk out the door and I can’t hear a thing—quite contrary to a pump up song or war cry—I prefer the silence, which promises a peaceful, cathartic run with just my legs and my thoughts.

5) The oatmeal. You thought I was going to get all mystical for a minute there, didn’t you?

Much like the point about the hot showers—I LOVE a bowl of hot oatmeal after I run. Some people love waffles, some love mimosas, but I myself love nothing more than a huge bowl of oatmeal post-run, complete with all my staple fixings. However, when it’s warm out—hot food is the last thing I want, and for the past few months I’ve needed to reach for a less-than-thrilling smoothie or yogurt. Cold weather=more oatmeal=happy Robyn.

6) The laziness. Let’s get honest…the only thing most of us want to do after a long weekend run is lay on the couch all day.

The only movement we want to make is between the refrigerator and our cozy setup in front of the TV. Also, football season is during the winter—and I can’t speak for everyone on this—but sometimes I really just like hunkering down on a Sunday with BF to yell at the TV. The winter months cater to this type of behavior…whereas summer I don’t want to miss a minute of sunshine. So although typically I love to be out and about doing as much as possible, after a long run, give me my compression socks and my Snuggie. Actually…it’s not my Snuggie…you can guess who I steal it from, though.

So there you have it! A look at the main reasons I can’t wait to run this winter. I’m guessing it’s a little transparent that I’m also associating the winter with a healthy ankle…which I’ll admit, is helping the argument. But, overall, injury or no injury…I love winter running, and I can’t wait to break out my ear warmer and tights soon!

Now…which do you prefer, winter or summer running? 

To CIM or not to CIM?

Anyone who follows Seattle running bloggers knows that for the past few weeks, a hot topic of conversation has been the California International Marathon on December 2nd. In a not at all surprising move, it was Nicole who initially contacted me asking if I wanted to do it. We both knew there were a lot of bloggers around the country that were committed to going …and slowly but surely, the whole idea exploded into a PNW who, what, when, where discussion forum. There are actual Google doc spreadsheets—this is a serious topic.

Now, I am not typically someone who stresses about race details, especially so far out. If I know there will be someplace to stay, available pasta, and someone there that I know, I don’t get too bugged out about the logistics. I focus more on analyzing the biggest factor of all—running an effing marathon.

So plane tickets, hotels, rental cars, and weather aside…my dilemma right now is simply whether to run or not run the race.

Let’s  play a little game then, called “I tell you what I think, both pros and cons, and you tell me what you think.” Cool? Honestly, I’m in some big time need of practical guidance on this one. This game is also known as, “The price of registration goes up tomorrow, and I still haven’t decided what to do.”

I need help!

So, CIM: A very famous race in California’s capital—in the dead of winter, no less. CIM is popular for a number of reasons, but I would venture to guess that its course—namely its elevation map—has something to do with its cool status.

Obviously, this is one fast course. Even Bart Yasso says so. The race is known for spoon feeding PRs and handing out BQs like free smoothie samples. It’s also during a time when there aren’t many races at all, and because it’s in California…the winter climate could make for ideal racing conditions.

If I had a clear schedule, this would be a no brainer. I love the idea of a winter race, and I love the idea of traveling, cheering, eating, and celebrating with fellow runners. However, there is this teeny tiny detail that’s throwing a wrench into the mix—you know, that thing I’ve been talking about for two months.

The Chicago Marathon is on October 7th, just seven weeks before CIM.

Now, if I was one of those hardcore, seasoned marathoners, two months between marathons wouldn’t be a big deal. I am not, however, and although two months is definitely a good amount of time—I’m still hesitant. I would essentially be nonstop training from now until December 2nd—and presuming I would still be alive/not yet checked myself into an insane asylum after that, there are the questions of injury, burnout, and a loathing hatred of anything to do with Brooks and Gu to consider.

So, now that I’ve laid out the logistics, let’s take a look at the two scenarios—and what each entails in terms of good stuff and bad stuff.

Scenario #1: CIM is a go.

If I do register for CIM, it will more pressure off of Chicago. I already decreed that I want to have a fun, more relaxed approach to Chicago training. A good finish time would be great, a BQ would be better, but I’m not really focusing on that. And I love it. I love that I’ve reacquainted with the joys of just running as opposed to focusing on 3:34:59 over and over and over again. So, if I add CIM to my calendar just two months after Chicago, I’ll probably focus even more on taking that race a bit easier and finishing with some steam left instead of going all out.

This approach would pave the way for some big opportunities at CIM. I’ll have to recover for a week or two, however coming off of Chicago will put me in an ideal place in terms of high-mileage race prep for CIM. I can hit in pretty hard once I’m recovered and presumably go into CIM with even more hay in the barn (thank you Ali) than ever before.

In that case…I’ll be in a great position to go for that all elusive BQ that I’ve been eyeing since I first started marathoning. I may choose not to (I don’t want to throw that out there yet), however given the ample training I’ll have and the quick course at CIM—I would really be looking at ideal conditions.

PLUS: Lots of lady bloggers, so many runnerd opportunities, Christmas shopping, food, drinks, merriment.

It would be a party.

Now, that’s all well and good…but let’s look at the other scenario:

Scenario #2: I play it safe, and don’t do CIM.

As demonstrated during my last jaunt at 26.2 miles, marathons wear you down. I was slapped in the face with injury after Tacoma, and I was forced to own the fact that I had pushed it too hard.

Running is a frickin’ roulette sport, man. No matter how many things you do right, injuries can be inevitable. As someone who has wasted more money than I care to share on DNS registrations, I really don’t like the idea of signing myself up for another unclaimed race packet.

Injury is really my primary concern when it comes to the CIM decision. The fact is, I know I might burn out a bit on running after it all, but I’m much less concerned with that. Running burnout requires a few weeks off, a few veg-sessions complete with beer, sweatpants, and chick flicks, and just like that…the desire comes back. I know myself well enough to know that my love for running can withstand many months of continuous training. The constant icing, stretching, fueling, hydrating, etc. is what gets to me more—but it’s something I’m prepared to deal with. Just kidding! I love the fueling.

If I don’t do CIM, I’ll have more options available after Chicago as well. Do I go for that half marathon PR that I’ve resisted committing to for so long? Do I stick to shorter races? Do I sit on my butt until Spring? Truthfully, I do have some big 2013 endurance racing plans in the works, and so some time to breath between Chicago and then would be helpful.

So which do I do? If you know me, you know that I never shy away from an aggressive training regimine, and I really love the intensity of a big challenge. But, in the same breath, I don’t want to be injured or worn down.

Obviously, I haven’t made up my mind, and I have until midnight tonight to decide. And by midnight, I mean like 8:30…because that’s when I start to get ready for bed. I rage.

I technically can register after tomorrow. But, with the price increase happening and the need for training decisions to be made…I’ve self-designated today as my do or die deadline.

HELP!

I want honest opinions here…don’t spare me your sarcasm, bluntness, or “Girl you cray” comments. But, if you are an eternal optimist and believe running is magic, I’d like to hear from you too.

GO!

Cocoon of Cross-Training

I had the full intention of writing a post today about how I’m feeling lazy, I’m cheating on running too often, and how I’m complaining but I shouldn’t be complaining because my life could be worse and blah blah blahhh.

However, the sun came out, my productivity has been stellar, and just like that my writing has switched gears.

Mostly.

I will admit that I have been cheating on running a bit too much recently, and while cross-training is great— it isn’t necessarily beneficial to increase the XT while decreasing the miles when marathon training. I think my problem is that I’m not actually following a strict running schedule for this bout of training, so I’m taking advantage of the mornings where I’d rather be inside than tromping around in the cold rain.

It’s silly really. I love running, and once I stop being such a baby and get my butt on the road I am always happier than when I decide to sit on a spin bike instead. However, the ability to constantly check the weather report and the promise of a hot and sweaty spin session from my favorite instructor seems to have derailed my undying love for the run.

You see, I live in Seattle. You knew that, and if not…let me fill you in on some of the facts I face on a day to day basis:

-It is dark

-It is rainy

-It is windy

-It is humid

(These are mostly only true for the winter months, but that’s where we’re at, so go with it)

These four factors make my strong willed runner self curl up in a pathetic “I don’t wanna!” fetal position. Okay, I’m exaggerating. I do normally (wo)man up and hit the road, but not without an internal grumble fest every time the temperature is below 40 and there is the potential for a little rain.

These past two weeks I’ve been really bad about it, and I’ve been swapping a few runs for a spin class/stair stepper workout that I (admittedly) love. It’s hard workout, I’m dripping by the end of it, and I can always tell myself that “it’s good cross training.” I also like that with spin, I don’t really have to will myself any further than getting on the bike seat. Once the class starts, I don’t really have to think and I just follow Jeoff’s militaristic screaming encouraging instructions.

However, I’m getting to the point where the only way I’m going to really up my mileage and get into serious marathon mode is by foregoing a bit of my cocoon of cross training. Sure, it is really good to alternate running with some other activities, but not necessarily when those activities are starting to replace runs. I think part of this has to do with the brain games my mind plays on me. If I know I have a 20 mile run on the weekend, I don’t want any part of me to dread doing it, so I save up my “running energy” in order to ensure that I can commit to the long run 100%.

Again, silly. I’m always happiest when I’m running more often. I think I get scared though that there will be a feeling of apathy toward running that I can’t shake. I love to thoroughly enjoy every run I go on, so I think I set myself up to make sure I’m anxious and ready to run every time. This is probably a good strategy for a non-training routine, however it’s time to get down to business.

So, to my mindless spin bike, my sweaty stair stepper, and my calming pool, I need to put you guys aside a bit. I’ll still hang out with you every so often, however running and I need to spend more  quality time with one another if my goals for Eugene are going to happen.

In other news, Lent starts today, and while I’m not Catholic—BF is, and he’s committing to do what I consider the impossible: He’s giving up sweets.

I think the only thing harder for me to give up than sweets would be giving up peanut butter, and I think this yearly practice of Lent just reminds me to hold on even tighter to the things I love. So much for sacrifice, huh? But I don’t like to think of the things I love as vices. I do have self-control, and there have been periods of time when I’ve given up these things for the sake of my health, so I know it’s do-able. Also, BF’s lack of sweets consumption will lower my own just by default, based on the fact that I have zero willpower when someone says, “Let’s get dessert” as my all-knowing, loving boyfriend often does.

So, I’ll look forward to when BF and I can once again go on late-night fro yo dates. But until then…

Girl Scouts are the February equivalent of Santa

Sorry babe. I guess I’ll have to make this a solo mission.

I hope you have a great Wednesday! Remember, tomorrow’s Thursday, which pretty much means it’s the weekend. Right? Good.

Questions: Do you worry about getting in a running rut? What types of cross training do you like to do? What is your favorite kind of Girl Scout Cookie?