Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Winter weather

Or not?  This 30, 40, and even the occasional 50 degree weather is just fine by me for winter weather.  I'm biking to work sans coat, running in shorts and actually able to go out for distance on the bike and not freeze my you know what off.  It's pretty rockin'.  
For example I went out to run on Saturday in shorts and a long sleeve tech shirt.  I went out for 10 and ended up running 11 (mostly because I was without my Garmin), but also because it ended up being such great weather for a winter run.  When I started it was raining - which felt cold with temps in the high 30's, but it stopped within 30-40 minutes of the run and thanks to dri-fit technology I was able to carry on and warm right back up.  I met Debbie about this time who was brave enough to come out and run even though it still looked rainy.  We ran 5, with a quick stop at Brooke's just to say Hi since she's unable to run right now :-(.  After Debbie finished I kept going and wanted to make sure I got in my full 10 so I went further then I thought I needed and a quick check on gmaps pedometer confirmed I had - I think it was 11.16.
Sunday the weather was still in the low 40's and drizzling, but we decided to bundle up for a 'gravel grumble'.  I wore thermal tights, long sleeve tech t-shirt, and biking jacket (mid-weight).  I also wore heavy biking gloves, a buff around my neck, fleece hat, and two pair of smart wool socks.  My core warmed right up - within the first 20 minutes I had my jacket unzipped.  My toes got cold and stayed cold, but I think it's more of a physical thing with me than being inappropriately dressed.  As I sit here at my desk my toes are also cold?  They have extremely bad circulation.  Other than that, I think I have dress for biking under control.  We rode gravel trails, road, and also hit a little single track on our cross bikes.  We were filthy with mud by the time we got home, but it was fun.
Yesterday temps got up to 54 I think.  I started my run at 5:30pm so it was already getting dark and cooling off.  I opted for shorts and long sleeve tech shirt again.  Without the rain the long sleeve was unnecessary, I could have made it with short sleeves - possibly a tank, but that might have been pushing it.  I was pretty warm for the first 1/2 of the run and worked my way to comfortable by the end of my 8 mile jaunt.  

This has me hopeful for a good early season.  I never feel prepared for the beginning of the season if I have been rockin' it on treadmills and spinner bikes all winter.  We shall see - who knows what the rest of winter will bring, hopefully I will be ready!  

Run on, Bike on...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mental Mileage Meltdown

Maybe the decision to track my weekly, monthly, yearly mileage wasn't the best - the numbers are much more exciting when you wait until the end of the year, add them all up and SURPRISE - you've accomplished something.  Right now it's a little depressing.  We are on the 2nd week in January and my mileage is basically a marathon - .1 miles short of one actually.  So, to date I have only run the amount that I did in one day twice last year - that hurts a little.  So, to help myself feel better on a separate spreadsheet I am tracking my biking mileage, spinning, yoga, weights, swimming hours as well as my # of crunches.  This makes my overall look a little better - it equals about 12 hours of exercise over 15 days, better, but still not where I want to be.  However, if you take into consideration that I did nothing for 5 of those days because of family commitments and/or sickness it sounds a skosh better.  This week for example I have worked out at least one hour each day (except for Sunday with my super fast 5K race time of 24:37 - lol).  I'm hoping this is the kind of week I needed to get me back into the swing of things.  Next week will test me though with a trip out of town.  I hope to persevere!

Regarding biking - I'm back at it - I've ridden to/from work every day this week.  The weather has been pretty great for it and the roads are finally clear.  :-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekend runs

Although 2 out of 3 runs were on the treadmill it was still a decent weekend for running and exercise in general.  It felt good to be getting back into it a bit.  Friday I met Brooke a they Y and ran 2 miles, followed by 40 minutes on a spin bike then 20 minutes swimming - my own little mini-triathlon right??  ;-)

Saturday I had big intentions of doing 10 miles, but my cold was still kicking my butt pretty good.  I got in 7 before I gave in to the chest pains and overall feelings of crappiness.  I didn't let myself get disappointed though. Those 7 miles were harder than some 12's I've done and I didn't feel the need to push it further.

Sunday was the 19th Annual Erick's Run 5K in Carthage, MO.  Brady and I headed out to support the event.  I was happy to go, but I wasn't feeling like I was going to set anything on fire - I was just hoping not to set a PW. It was about 20 degrees at race start - I had my thermal tights, tank, wind resistant nike top, gloves, under armor ear band, sunglasses, and iPod shuffle (b/c I was planning on being out there a while - lol).  We took off and I reigned myself in right away knowing that taking out too fast could be detrimental for me.  I stayed a few feet behind a man that I thought had a pretty reasonable pace going.  Nearing mile 1 we started picking off all the younger kids that had gone out with too much fire.  It was an out and back course this year due to the road conditions.  Going out we had a nice little downhill.  I enjoyed it, hollering out encouragement to the leaders as I met them - Brady being one of them.  Still following my unofficial pace setter we rounded the cone signifying half-way and started back up the hill.  I don't know if I sped up or he slowed down, but I passed my pacer going uphill a bit before mile 2.  I still felt pretty good although my breathing was heavy.  I tried to just focus on the lady in front of me and stay steady.  It worked, I was able to gain a little on her and on a better day possibly have caught her, but I crossed the finish line with a smile in a time of 24:37.  I'm pretty sure that's led me to set a new goal for 2010 - run a sub 24:00 5K.  Surely that's doable, especially if I can get 'coach Brady' back in action for my speed work drills.

I've got a bit of a plan going for this week to keep up my momentum.  Running and lifting today, yoga & biking (on trainers) tomorrow, spinning Wednesday (to free up that evening for Mom's b-day), running & lifting thursday, yoga friday, long run on Saturday.  Of course next week just as I'm getting back into a routine I have to leave town on Thursday through the following Friday - that's sure to throw a kink in my plans, but I will make due.

Update on my commuting - with this blasted cold/sinus infection I haven't felt the need to subject myself to the freezing temps so early in the morning.  I hope to get back to it, as soon as tomorrow possibly.  It wasn't in the cards today, even though the temp is at a balmy 33 degrees right now.

Run on.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Being a runner is not just about running

I consider myself a runner, but I don't run every day.  Sometimes I don't even run every other day.  There have been times that I have not run for days or even months, but even then I would say I'm a runner.

I consider myself a runner even though my speed is not a jogging pace for some of the elites in our sport.  I'll never win a marathon, but I've finished 7 (to date).  Asics reps aren't phoning incessantly, but I still consider myself a runner.

This got me to pondering why?  What does being a runner mean?  I think it's a way of life, but how is my life different from any non-runner's life besides the fact I occasionally lace up shoes and move with a gait that propels both feet off the ground at once?  Maybe it's just the fact that I'm active, so rather than a runner, maybe I should call my self an activist??  (Yes, that was a lame attempt at a joke!)  Cyclists are also active (it should be noted here I consider myself a cyclist as well, albeit novice), but I feel there is a difference between saying 'I'm a runner' and 'I'm a cyclist'.  So, it's not just about being active - lots of people are active in various sports - football, baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming, bowling (yep, it's considered a sport), etc., but when they say 'I'm a (insert whatever they are here)', I don't think it means what it does when I say I'm a runner.  Of course I would say that - I'm a runner and we're special!  ;-)

These thoughts all stem from me wanting to update the look of my blog and possibly come up with a name that doesn't make it so 'running exclusive' since I do so many other things.  After my first round of updates (superficial only) I asked a friend to check it out and she questioned my having a non-running pic in the new header.  This is a very legitimate question given the title, but I don't want it to be.  I want this to me about my life as a runner, but other stuff too - as a hiker, as a biker, as a picker, as a grinner (yep, pulling in a little Steve Miller sing along here...).  
These thoughts went even further when my 'Runner Girl' friend found out she can't run for a while - thinking about how our non-running friends wouldn't get that she's upset about this makes me realize even more that there needs to be a definition for us.

I know runners who are thin, fat, tall, short, doctors, teachers, accountants, young, old - there is no mold, but there is a common bond - just bring up the subject and see.

I definitely don't think I'll get my answers to 'what makes someone a runner and why it's so much more than just the running?' today, but I will continue to ponder this.

I'm leaning towards it having something to do with that elation you had as a kid just running and playing - no extras required, not even shoes at that age - just running for the sake of running because you could.  As adults we can still bring a little of that pure joy back with the simple act of running and we maintain it even when we're not running.  Maybe that's why it says something about who we are.  We are people who appreciate the simple pleasures and remember those joys of being a kid - possibly because we haven't quite grown up and to me that is a very good thing.

Feel free to comment on your thoughts about what makes a runner and why we are a special breed.

Till next time - run on.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's that time of year

It's time to get back in it - starting with the review of 2009, and heading into what's on the calendar for 2010!

2009 race recap:
March 7 - Run with the Wind 25K
March 21 - St. Patty's Urban Adventure Race with Brooke
April 26 - OKC Memorial Marathon
May 16 - Ozark Greenways Adventure Race - Durty Nellies team
June 13 - Boom Town Days 1/2 marathon - 1:59
July 25 - Dusk till Dawn with Amy
October 11 - Chicago Marathon

I thought it was going to look much more sparse than that - so I'm OK.  Next up, I figured up my totals for 2009 - I broke it into actual miles ran, actual miles biked, and finished it up with a generic category for hours of other stuff.  This includes 2-12 hour Adventure Races that I was unsure of actual distances for, hours in spinning, yoga, and other miscellaneous run, bikes, hikes that I only logged time for.

Running Miles - 1059.75
Biking Miles - 569.5
Hours of other - 115.5 

Summary for 2009 - overall it was a good year.  There was too much going on personally for me to have had a great year running wise so no major PR's.  But, I'm happy with where I'm at and looking forward to some improvements for 2010.

So, the game plan for 2010...

Run with the Wind 25K - February 27
Planning to tackle the Fat Tire Duathlon Series as a team with Brady - I'll run, he'll bike - there are 3 races - 2 in March, 1 in April
St. Patty's Urban Adventure Race - March 20
St. Louis Marathon - or maybe just 1/2 - April 11
Ozark Greenways Adventure Race - May 22
Mother road Marathon in Joplin - just to support the local race - Oct. 10
Dusk till Dawn Adventure Race - date not announced yet
I'll probably add, remove and tweak heavily between now and then, but it's a start.
So far my mileage for 2010 is not to par because of my severe case of the funk - only 15.5 miles total.  I plan to remedy that this coming week and weekend!  Power of positive thinking will help to get me through this dang cold!

Till then, run on, ride on!