On Running Despite the Cold

Winter running is a challenge.  You want to be out in the elements to get the most out of your training, but the elements suck. And treadmills for days and days and long runs can get so boring.

Winter has hit my area full-force now.  Freezing temps, biting winds, sharp cold… even sinus infections, the flu, and head colds.

A couple years ago, I ran outside in the winter no matter what -ice, snow, below freezing temps – and my group was beside me through it all.  On one run I rolled my ankle badly three times because the yak-trax I was wearing caught on uneven parts of the roadway and I didn’t have the fluid movement of joint because of the spikes…  Another run was marked by constant slipping in the heaping amounts of snow and ice – up the Flying Pig course and down another steep area.  I came out of that with an injured foot.

They say that running in the summer heat makes for fast fall marathons.

My experience of that concept so far has been true.  Because it’s hard to do speed work or even fast running paces when your feet are sliding on snow and ice.  It’s hard to just run when it’s dark out and you can’t see your path that well.  And, I’ll be honest, even though I enjoy running with my friends, no matter the weather, I really don’t have fun running outside in the winter.

I’ve spent the last week on the treadmill (or “dreadmill”, as I call it) at work.  Its nice in a way because there always seems to be someone from one of the other departments in there with me to chat with a little, and I can plug my music into the speaker system and blast my music.  Bonus, everyone pretty much appreciates my workout mix!  So it’s not lonely all the time, and there is the right amount of ‘left alone’ to let me just ‘tune out the world’.

Sunday I ran my 20 miles…the last long run before my marathon in March- the third race 26.2 or more – of this year.  I’m doing pretty well at keeping up this “one-a-month” challenge I put before myself.

The 20 was all on treadmill.  It was bitter cold Sunday morning while I was at work, and I just started an awful head cold the day before.  I was going through tissues and cold meds like it was my job.  By the time I was off work, it was starting to snow, heavy and hard – and you couldn’t see far ahead at all.  I took the 20 to the treadmill.

How I survived 20 miles on the treadmill:

I broke it up.  I set a timer on my phone for 60 minutes and took a break when it went off… it gave me something beyond the distance counter on the TM to stare at and think about.  Originally I was just going to do 4 sets of 5 miles… but I felt so strong at the time that going for the full hour (Or 7 miles) worked better.  I was able to take it at two sets of 7 and two sets of 3.  This let me stretch and get nutrition in, while shortening the amount I still had ahead of me.  The breaks weren’t long.  I still wanted to really, really train… but I felt that being on the TM meant that a little more break was okay – seeing as it was more repetitious than a normal run.

In all, running time took me 2hours54 minutes.

I felt good, and like I accomplished something!  I had a great runner’s high going and everything.  Granted, it was dampened a little by the stress of trying to drive home among all the ‘non-drivers’ out in the 5 inches of snow that fell while I was running.  I made it home safely, however, and was still riding the happiness of doing something that seemed like it was going to be a struggle, but ended up just being…. wonderful… despite.  Yes.  I called a 20 mile, nearly 3 hour run on the treadmill wonderful.  I probably am mentally ill.

Speaking of mentally ill….

Due to my goal of a marathon a month in 2016, I accidentally signed up for two marathons back-to-back in one weekend.  Yea

How does one do that by accident, you wonder?   Heh.   You clearly don’t know me.  

Hi!  I’m Emily.  I sign up for races without ever looking at what date they are. 

 Normally though, I sign up because a bunch of my running friends tell me, “we’re all doing this and it’s going to be fun and we’re carpooling and you should too!”   

Back in November, I decided to sign up for the Derby Marathon in Kentucky because I ran the half marathon last year and liked it, and it fell in April, so that was one month in 2016 taken care of.  I also figured, it’s technically driving distance, so I could save some money on not needing a hotel if I wanted.  And, of course, for May I signed up for the Flying Pig Marathon.  It’s my home-town race, and I just love the hell outta it!  Seriously.  I’ll brag about it more later, but this is a class A race.

A few months ago someone on the running group page pointed out that the Derby and the Pig were the same weekend (Saturday and Sunday, respectively) and asked if anyone was doing both.  Well.  Damn.  I was.

Once my group knew I was already committed, 6 other people signed up immediately.  So, if you were thinking there’s something wrong with my head, it’s not nearly as bad as my friends!

A couple weeks ago, a local media writer did a story about the running group doing this ‘challenge’ – which is how we posted it as we baited other runners to join us.  Then the story got picked up by a local TV news outlet, so last night I got to stand in the cold and fog, surrounded by snow, talking about my 2016 goal, and how that led to me taking a number of running friends into a 52.4 mile weekend this spring.  It was cool to be interviewed about something I’m doing, and it was great to get to plug our running group and the local races!

This week looks to warm up (to the 60s), so I’m looking forward to some outdoors running and hill work.  I’ll need it.  Asheville Marathon is three weeks away now, and I’m looking forward to the weekend away with my husband.  And to the race.  I hear it’s pretty.



2016 Marathon A Month Challenge:

January – Pistol Ultra
February – Independant Solo Run Marathon
March – Asheville Marathon
April – Derby Marathon
May – Flying Pig Marathon
June – ???  Suggestions?
July – Eagle Creek Urban Trail Marathon
August – ???
September – ????
October – ????
Novemeber – ???? – right now, I’m considering doing 26.2 along-side my friend who is going for a triple (non)ironman on his own.
Decemeber – ????



2 thoughts on “On Running Despite the Cold

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s