Friday, December 17, 2010

Run though the Lights

Runs this week have taken place after work in the dark, but it's been fun exploring the city and checking out all the holiday lights & decorations.  I managed runs on Monday night and Wednesday night as scheduled and even followed up the Wednesday night run with an hour on the trainer.  Even made it to early morning spin class on Tuesday and Thursday (we'll see if I'm able to make that happen again next week with the holidays!).
Going to call today a rest day because of dinner plans.  Plan to run tomorrow morning before diving into holiday cookie and candy making (then I won't feel so bad about 'trying' everything!).

Sunday is going to be our 3rd Annual Run through the Lights in Carthage.  At the campus of the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix there is a great 'drive through lights' display that we run through as well as around the square before heading back to our starting point at the YMCA for cocoa and cookies.  Rounds out to be a 6 mile run (or you can head straight back after the lights and it's 3 miles).  It's usually lots of fun and most of the CRC (Carthage Running Club) will be out there as well as some of the SWAT (Southwest area triathletes) and members of RUFUS racing.
It's held on 12/19/2010, meet at Carthage YMCA at 5:45pm, run at 6pm for anyone interested in joining us!  :-)
No fees for the run (you can bring a small donation for the lights if you wish), everyone welcome - just dress warm.  There will be some people walking and some biking along with us as well.

Just for a second I want to go back to the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix.  I wanted to make sure I had the name right for this post so I did some minor research.  We call the place Chi Dòng Đồng Công as it states on the sign (in our English accent, I wouldn't have a clue how you actually say this).  Basically I had worked under the assumption that it is a school for monks - Vietnamese Roman Catholic monks.  I think it's fairly accurate.  It sounds like it is a monastery for mostly Vietnamese monks and I do believe they have a school there.  But, the Chi Dòng Đồng Công part I was still unsure of.  Wikipedia has a link to Chi Dòng Đồng Công Hoa Kỳ and Google translates this to say "The current expenditure of the United States".  Guessing it's a rough translation at best.  Based on Wiki I think the Dòng Đồng Công part is Vietnamese for the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix.  Chi translates to "expenses", but synonyms for expenses are obligation, sacrifice, etc.  Pretty sure Hoa Kỳ is the United States (although I don't remember seeing this on their sign, but I will be looking Sunday).  Overall I think it's the name for the US branch of this religious order.
I do wonder how many people in Carthage know what really goes on there besides the annual Marion Days (and how many people understand what Marion Days celebrates).  I'm glad to know a little bit more about it and hope to continue to learn.  What I do know is they have some pretty amazing gardens within the complex.  We run through them regularly to add 1-1/4 mile onto our run.

Hope to see everyone Sunday - till next time...
Run on!

Forgot the gloves

For some reason I had in my head while I was getting ready that it wasn't as cold out today as it has been.  Turns out that was not an accurate assessment on my part.  It was around 25 degrees when I left the house with only a pair of, let's say normal weight gloves.  Not the barrier gloves I've been wearing.  Big mistake.  My fingers were frozen by the time I got to work (remember only 1 mile so it didn't take long).  Note to self - check the weather - don't go on gut feel alone!

On a happier note, I have been eying this wool trench coat from Express for a week or so.  A couple of days ago they finally put it on sale and I thought about it, but still decided I didn't need it.  Then yesterday they had a coupon for $30 off of $75 purchase - I thought SCORE.  But, the coat was back to original price.  :-(
Today I got the best of both worlds plus free shipping so I indulged.  Now, I have this coming in the mail for me for Christmas:

I think it will be the perfect length to not get caught up in the bike and keep me nice and toasty and looking pretty cute to boot.  :-)

Happy commuting!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Still running, still cold

The weather hasn't completely sidelined me...yet.  I'm still sans a treadmill run on the season (although it's been tempting a few days).  With work travel, fun travel, holidays, family, life, etc. running has been hit and miss.  I'm back on a pretty regular schedule of Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays.  Spinning is Tuesday and Thursday and I've also added yoga a few days a week and the occasional bike ride (or trainer ride if weather is temperamental).  So, feeling pretty good on the exercise front most days.
No big races on the calendar, but there are a couple 5K's:

January 1, 2011 - Chilly 5K Challenge 2011 - it is in Joplin, MO and goes from the Downtown YMCA to the South YMCA.  It doesn't start till 11am so you can still stay up to ring in the new year.  There is a chili cook-off directly after at the South facility (luckily not before).  Should be fun.

January 2, 2011 - 20th Annual Erick's Run - held in Carthage, MO, starting at the Fair Acres Family YMCA at 2pm.  It's a great event that usually has a good turnout if the weather is above freezing.  I think last year it had to be postponed a week because of ice but it was still a great event.

Hope to see everyone out.  Run on.

Staying warm

The weather in SW MO has been colder than normal.  I understand it is winter and all, but 7 degrees and feels like 0 is not conducive riding weather!  So, I admit I did skip a commute day.  I told myself it was due to fighting a head cold, but it was really because it was just plain cold.  The temps were up today - a balmy 21 degrees when it was time to leave for work so I wore my warm boots, long trench coat, PI barrier gloves, and a balaclava (not to be confused with baklava - so, yummy) and rode on in.  It really was not too bad.  I guess the body is finally adjusting to the cold temps.  NOTE:  I know people ride in a lot colder weather, but it's all relative and for me this is cold!  ;-)

Baretraps boots - mine are very similar to these (just a bit older):
They survived hiking all over Ireland and kept my feet toasty and warm.  I bought 1/2 size up so I could still fit in some heavy wool socks for extra cold days.  

To keep the lower face warm and not wind burnt I either use a balaclava (face mask) like this: 
Or, I also will wrap a Buff around my neck and pull up around my mouth as needed.  It mostly depends on what is clean, but the face mask is a little warmer and stays in place a little better.  

Wherever you are, stay warm and keep riding!  :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Warm feet, happy feet

  Part of commuting for me is riding to and from spin class.  Spin class is at 5:15am in SW MO so it gets a little cold this time of year (it's been mid-20's this week at that time).  I hate my feet being cold and it seems like it takes nothing for this to happen.  In addition I like to wear my Keen Commuter clipless sandals during spin class so it makes sense to just wear them there, but they are definitely not warm.  Even when I completely dork them up and wear socks with them.
NOTE:  I know I said (on a budget) in the title and these are a little pricey regular, but I found this color in my size for 50% off at Sunshine Bike Shop in Springfield, MO so I had to have them.  :-)
They also carry Vibram Five Fingers and have lots of colors and styles in stock.

So, I found another 'on sale' item last summer that has really helped out.  Pearl Izumi Barrier MTB shoe covers.  They are the bomb though.  Maybe not highly attractive, but you're feet stay nice and warm.  Pair them with the Pearl Izumi Barrier gloves and your extremities stay pretty toasty.
My suggestion on all of the cold weather gear is too buy it in the summer.  My gloves aren't as cute as this pic because they are a couple years old, but I got them really reasonable.

One last shout out in cold feet gear that I just tried out over vacation in the Grand Canyon Thanksgiving week were Gore Bike Wear's Gore Tex® Socks.  I know they came from Terry, but I don't think they were on sale - just a great b-day present from my man who knows when my feet are warm I'm happy!  I had these socks on over a pair of SmartWool PhD Trail Running Mini socks as well as a pair of Columbia Bugaboo ski socks.  So, I was prepared, but we did hike through snow, sleet, and rain at below freezing temps.  I guess I should also give some credit to my Salomon XT wings, but they aren't waterproof and my feet stayed comfortably warm and dry for the duration.  And, after a 14 mile hike in 11 hours with 3 kids (ages 8, 9, & 11) I think that's pretty dang good.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Honey Stinger Waffles

Yep, my reason for posting right now is a new fuel.  After so many Adventure Races and runs requiring multiple fueling I've had my fill of bars and gus are getting hit and miss.  I came across Honey Stinger's latest product in the bike shop a few weeks ago - Organic Honey Waffles.  It's not a real waffle, it's flat and crisp and to me it tastes a little like crispy pie crust with honey.  That may not be a good way to describe it, but I do think it's really good.  We'll see if I stay this positive about it after eating 6 or 8 in a day, but right now I'm pretty firm.  It's kind of a solid go to like peanut butter and honey sandwiches, but not quite as messy!  ;-)