Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why I hate Winter running

Every winter I complain about the weather, despite living in the midwest my entire life I hate snow, cold, ice, wind, anything to do with winter. I was loving the unseasonable warmth and lack of snow but now mother nature has brought winter with a vengeance.

I never know what to wear and the entire process of getting running tights, turtlenecks and every other piece of required clothing on (and off) is a long process. I'm always worried that I'll be too warm or not warm enough. It seems the older I get the more sensitive I am to the cold, especially my hands and feet. Despite Smart Wool socks (sometimes 2 pairs) and mittens rated to -15F I always end up with cold, weak, painful numb hands/feet to the point that I have self-diagnosed Raynauds.

I live between two park reserves with a combined 30+ miles of paved trails and regional trails leading to even more. Most of the year this is wonderful for training complete with hills, water and bathrooms. This isn't the case in winter, the bathrooms are locked, water off and trails not cleared, so once it snows I lose most of my running routes. And the ice, I hate icy paths after my fall last winter resulting in a broken arm. Luckily the snow is pretty packed so I am still able to get decent footing on about half the paths.

Today I debated the treadmill but headed out in 10F with -3 wind chill to run 18 miles. Started out nice and warm but that changed after about 7 miles when my hands/feet weren't too happy. Later in the run I discovered a new annoyance of winter running, frozen water bottles! I'm not a fan of cold water, I always carry around a bottle of room temperature water during the day so drinking cold water outside during a run is not fun. About 10 miles in I grab an electrolyte chew from my pocket (which is half frozen), finally chew that and grab my water bottle only to discover the top has frozen shut. Despite my best efforts at opening and thawing with my mouth I'm out of luck. My hands are too weak from the cold to even attempt to open the top. Now I'm stuck, no water and an electrolyte chew sitting in my stomach undigested. I momentarily consider a handful of snow, but quickly decide against it with all the animals around. I'm at a point where I could turn off and head home which is only 2 miles, but decide against it, the warm house would be too comfortable and I'd probably stay.

I'm okay for awhile, but soon start to feel the lump of undigested gel sitting in my stomach, yuck! This feeling continues until the urge to vomit around mile 16 takes over. The lack of water isn't helped by the fact that I started my run likely dehydrated. 16 hours earlier 4 glasses of wine sounded like a good idea, not any more. This run really sucks, I want summer back complete with heat, clear paths and water in liquid form.

Slower then expected I finally complete 18.5 miles in about 2:43:00. Only a couple more months to complain about this weather and make the dreaded decision of treadmill v snow and cold for a long run.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Happy Birthday

2 years ago I started this crazy adventure called motherhood. I should have known that based on my own personality and the comment from our fertility doctor at the 6 week ultrasound "this is a stubborn one" that life would be interesting, never a dull moment with her around. At 41 weeks and 1 day with a little help Ophelia finally decided to enter the world, I don't blame her 2010 was a cold and nasty January, who really wanted to go out in that anyways?

Wanting to know what is happening from the first minute, guess I know why she doesn't nap.
Looking back over the last year the changes have been tremendous. I am amazed at what an inquisitive and compassionate little girl she has turned into. She is the first to offer a hug or kiss to make someone feel better or a back rub if your sore. The words just flow from her mouth, so days I'm amazed at the things she says while still continuing to sign (I still say this was one of the best parenting decisions we made). My petite little girl is the eater, everyone comments on the amount and type of foods; every fruit/vegetable, sushi, tofu (which she requests), spicy Indian and Thai foods, lobster and enchiladas with guacamole to her list. No need for a kid's menu here. Yet somehow all the running and climbing she does balances out the eating. She is a nonstop mover (not sure who she gets this from...) and loves to dance, swim, run and jump. She is a true girl loving her dresses, but still wanting to get dirty and play with the boys.

The final product: My Elmo Beach Cake
We spent yesterday baking, another of her favorite activities. Apple cupcakes (some with caramel) from the Baby Cakes Cookbook with a few changes and Banana Cornmeal Cake based on This recipe I used maple syrup, whole wheat flour and no need for xanthan or starch. Both were wonderful and at least I can feel like I am feeding my kid and myself healthy desserts. Per her request we also served "noodles" macaroni n' cheese made extra creamy with acorn squash puree, "broccoli" veggies with hummus, bread and "berries" fruit tray.
After a busy morning/afternoon it's time to relax, find a glass of wine and enjoy the silence that now fills my house (my SIL has 4 young boys who tend to produce some chaos wherever they go). Oh and watch the dreaded cold weather come back just in time for an 18 mile run tomorrow morning.

Birthday Princess

Monday, January 23, 2012

Running makes me hungry

I knew today's workout would be tough after along run yesterday, but this was the best way I could fit things into my schedule. After years of running and coaching it took a new coach to tell me something I already knew to make me rethink my training. A few weeks ago he told me that I needed to take advantage of the easy days/days off so I could push harder on the speed/hill/long run days. Duh, I know this, but it finally clicked that yes rest days are important not only for recovery but for the other run days. Thinking about this I wasn't sure how back to back tough runs would turn out. Today's was a hill workout and my best option was to hit the treadmill at nap time. Typically I run "hills" on the treadmill at 3% incline, not today, this workout called for 10% incline, yikes! I kind of had fun...
3 mile warm up
12 hill repeats at marathon pace (7:55): 30 sec hill with 30-60 sec easy in between
3 mile cool down
Total 9.1 miles 1:10:00

What a great workout and how strange my legs felt after the hill repeats I almost felt like I'd be better keeping with the hills. This run lead to my next kitchen experiment. This morning I did a trial of the gingerbread cupcakes for the 2nd birthday party this weekend and wanted to use some of the pumpkin up so here was the result...
Pumpkin/Date Crispy Bars
1 cup dates (soaked)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp sun butter (or any nut butter)
1/2 cup oats
1 cup puffed rice cereal

Puree dates in food processor, add pumpkin, vanilla, spice and sun butter and continue to puree. Stir in coconut, oats and cereal. Press into pan and sprinkle more coconut on top is desired. Placed in refrigerator or freezer to set. Cut in bars after set (made 10 small).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Love/Hate relationship

I have a love hate relationship with my treadmill and today that relationship was as far to the hate end as it could be. After a few days of below zero temperatures I had big plans to get in my long run today (instead of Saturday) but by the time I left work I had the choice of running outside in freezing rain with likely icy sidewalks or staying safe and dry on the treadmill. I reluctantly chose the second option. Armed with my iPod, Reality Bites on DVD, water and gels I headed downstairs to my treadmill. Typically my treadmill runs start out tough and get easier after a few minutes, but not today I think I fought through the mental toughness for nearly half the run. Finally things clicked after about 11 miles, then the movie was done! I switch to my iPod and ended up with a string of 80s/90s music including NKOTB and Beck. Last year was my 15 year reunion being part of the planning committee I had compiled the music from our school years onto my iPod for that night. I typically run with my "running" playlist but today just hit play and was hit with all reunion songs, it's surprising how much Hanging Tough helps speed up the pace! 2:25:14 later I was done with 18.25 miles (7:57 pace).

Now the love side of the relationship. The treadmill has gotten me through many days being at home with an infant and now toddler. Over the past (almost) 2 years I have used my treadmill more then I have in the entire 10 years I've owned it. Without I don't think I'd have been able to train. Nap time is always a perfect time to run and it is just so convenient. And last year after breaking my arm and being told no running on the ice it saved my Boston training. Now that we have a nice snow coating again I think my relationship with the treadmill will be rekindled.

After a week of vacation it's back to training...
Marathon training week 5:
M: 9.1 miles with 2 mile w/u 5 miles at half marathon pace 2 mile c/d
T: morning 45 min bike trainer and evening weights
W: 10.3 mile temp run
T: 1 mile w/u easy run + 1 hour strength with trainer
F: 45 min bike trainer
S: 8.3 miles easy
S: 18.25 miles at marathon pace

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The end of an era

23 months and 2 weeks, wow! That is how long I breastfed, over the past week of vacation all the excitement of the days and exhausted toddler at night most nights meant she didn't even think about asking for her nightly milk. I am surprised and thrilled that we made it this long especially considering all the issues I had in the beginning and the number of times I nearly gave up. After the low milk supply, newborn with 15% weight loss in the first 3 days of life and concerns for her health and considerations of hospitalization. We made it, I still look back on the sleepless nights, my countless hours attached to a breast pump, supplementing, course of Reglan and gallons of fenugreek tea and stress. I knew at the time I was making every attempt to do what I felt was best for my daughter.

Despite taking a breastfeeding class during my pregnancy I went into it completely naive, expecting that everything just worked out. It is a natural thing, right? so why not. These are the things no one really tells you, the tough side of breastfeeding, pain, tears and feelings of inadequacy when you can't give your newborn what they need to survive. I wish I had known all this in the beginning. Something that seems so natural and simple isn't that way for many women. It amazes me how many women have problems breastfeeding but never say anything until someone else talks first. I remember being at a wedding about 1 1/2 years ago and talking with other new moms and the conversation turned to breastfeeding and how some had quit early due to problems, some only pumped and we were all suprised at the "secret" kept from new moms regarding the difficulty with breastfeeding.

These early days I counted down every moment until I would quit and never left the house during feeding times without a bottle in hand, then it all clicked. My supply was great and she just got it :-) I still only planned and expected to make it 1 year at the most, that came and went and I retired the pumping at work. Boy was I ready for that thing to be gone! I knew it would end eventually (never planned on being the woman breastfeeding a 5 year old) and let her take the lead and it just worked. Part of me is happy that she no longer needs this and I have my body completely back but another small part of me is a little sad to see this bonding experience end.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Great start to 2012

Finally getting myself back into morning workouts and eating better after the holiday food is gone. It is amazing what better eating does for one's body. The fatigue and headaches of the past couple weeks are gone. I hope this is an indication of what's coming this year. Week 2 of Boston training shaped up to be a good one. Only 99 more days until race day...

Sunday: 6 miles easy + strength/core
Monday: 9 miles (3 mile w/u 6 x 2min at 5K pace 3 mile c/d)
Tuesday: morning 45 min bike / evening strength + core
Wednesday: morning 45 min bike / evening 8.5 miles (2 mile w/u 2 x 2 mile at half marathon pace 2.5 mile c/d)
Thursday: morning 45 min bike / afternoon 1.5 mile run + 1 hour strength/core with trainer
Friday: 9 miles easy run
Saturday: 16.5 miles LSD run

This weather has helped greatly with training too, now to remind myself that I still need to bring water on long runs in the Winter and determine my best race fueling plan.

Friday, January 6, 2012

What month is this?

January is the midwest usually means snow, wind and below freezing temperatures. Not this year, it is truly Spring like outside. All this week (and part of December) we've experienced record highs of 50s, minimal snow (which is now mostly gone) and lots of sunshine. It feels more like Spring then Winter.

Open water!
I normally dread this time of year, suffer fatigue, sluggishness, and just blahs from lack of sun and time outside. This year has been great, my attitude I so much better. I walked out of work yesterday to sun and 50F, didn't need a jacket and felt such a happiness. It is amazing what this weather does for one's attitude and mood. Running outside is perfect, trails are clear and no risk of falling on the ice. I think I have only needed my tights once so far. I'm loving this, well minus the fact that the city has decided that between the months of November and March no one needs to use a restroom while they are out on the running/walking trails. I am almost tempted to put on sundress, grab a glass of sauvignon blanc and hit the deck, but maybe I'll save that. This year I can handle living here in the Winter, I won't be requesting to move daily.