Friday, January 15, 2016

Learning to Be A Badass

Traditionally, for me, when the temperature out of the doors got below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, I took my running in the doors to a treadmill. Over the last two years, I have gotten much better about it. My first marathon was around 48 degrees at the start, and I only wore 3/4 length capris and a long sleeve turtleneck! In 2015, the marathon was slightly colder and I wore tights, a no-sleeve shirt, and arm warmers that I discarded! (well, and a hat that I discarded and gloves that stayed with me to the bitter end)

My training for marathon #3 (let's call it m3BOOM, because I'm not cool and I know it) officially starts on February 14th. Which means that right now I am base building. And I should not be running all my runs indoors on the hamster wheel. Back in October, when I ran my first half-marathon, and I felt like a real runner, for real, for the first time, I resolved to run outside during the winter. It seemed more and more likely as my training went on that I would qualify for Boston (if you recall, I DID, but not fast enough to actually get in yet). :( Which meant, that if I'm not running outside this winter, I would have to be next winter, as the bulk of Boston training happens during the coldest-as-fudgcicle months. So I better get with it.

However. HOWEVER. Understand something. I HATE the cold. I HATE being cold. I typically spend winter shivering. I own a small space heater that I hide under my desk at work.

Suuuuuuper sneaky. Like a ninja.

I plead with le most excellent boyfriend to turn up the heat at home. I wear gloves whenever I step outside, no matter how briefly. It seems like I am always slightly to extremely colder than everyone else. I complain so much in the winter that I have made the rule no complaining about the weather in any other season whatsoever to balance it out.

 I got a lovely reprieve in December, as it was so warm out that it felt like mid-fall, not early winter. But January has hit, and Tuesday the high was a windy 26 degrees. I ran after work, in the dark, on a bridge over open water. I was genuinely scared before I left the warm lobby of the gym. Was I really capable of being enough of a badass to run in temperatures that cold? Would everything down to my bones hurt?

A friend of mine made a really good, obvious points a few weeks ago. She said that people complain about cold because they don't have the appropriate equipment. And that technology has come a long way. Well, duh. But I suppose my image of comfortable winter dress was a full-body parka circa me @6 years old in 1995. Turns out, I already own comfortable, lightweight, appropriate gear.

Like this jacket I bought two summers ago for an epic rock climbing trip to Wyoming:

Patagonia Women's Nano Puff Jacket

I love Patagonia.

And a hat:
Hehehehe grrrrrr.
It's green, which is my color.

I did the planned 5-mile run on Tuesday night and felt pretty comfortable! My face did freeze, because there was nothing covering it. Also, by the end of the run after running into the wind on the way back, my vision was beginning to malfunction and my eyes were taking a long time to refocus on near/far objects. So today I bought a balaclava.
I'm. Too sexy for my balaclava. Too sexy.
Now I can run even more like NINJA BADASS WIND!!!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Break's Over

The day after the Philadelphia Marathon, my friend and I enthusiastically signed up for the Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon in June. I delightedly made a detailed training plan over Thanksgiving and planned to slowly ease back into running over the next few weeks. My 18-week official training plan starts on February 14th, so I had some time to take a break and build back to a base.

I took the week after the marathon completely off. Then the next week I ran....twice. And the week after that...twice. And the week after that....thrice. And so it has continued. I have done much more easing than running. I have gotten my money's worth out of Netflix. Le most excellent boyfriend and I have leveled up in cuddling.

Part of my unmotivated lackadaisical attitude can be attributed to laziness and mental burnout. But part of it too is that I  haven't felt strong and rested while running since before the marathon. For once in my goddamn life I listened to my body and let it rest. I'm hoping the break will translate to a stronger, healthy, flexible self in the spring.

That being said, I ran 4 miles on the track on Friday in 7:36/mi and 4 miles today on the treadmill in 7:29/mi. I can tell my aerobic fitness and strength has declined, but for the first time in a month and a half, I felt rested and strong. My breath came steadily and I felt the urge again to push faster faster.

So, in the words of President Jed Bartlett from my favorite show The West Wing,


I have 6 weeks to build back to a 36 mile per week base. This week will be comprised of a minimum of three 4 mile runs and one 8 mile run, with an option to do more if I feel good. Time to work like a Frolic Ninja!!!