winter games

Please note: I think I should point out that although I do encourage having fun while running, I am not encouraging anyone to run on ice. Please be careful when running in slippery weather!

It might sound a little silly when I say that I like to play games while I run. Well, I do. It keeps me motivated and gives me something to think about when the run gets long.

It had snowed before one of my last runs and that gave me a chance to try out a new game. I call it “Slippery Sprints”.

I’ve mentioned before that I appreciate it when people take the time to shovel their sidewalk. However, this game only works if you live in a neighborhood with somewhat lazy neighbors. My neighborhood is a bit like that. About half the people shovel in a timely manner, and the rest (Paul included) hope that the sun melts the snow before they have to deal with it.

Anyway, the game is simple: whenever you see an snow/ice patch ahead, sprint to it. When you reach the snow, slow down to a careful jog or walk to avoid falling. Then repeat as you see fit.

There’s really no exact science to the game (that’s why it’s a game), so I don’t recommend doing this in place of real speed work. It’s just a way to pass the time. And it’s kind of like being a kid again. Don’t even try to tell me you didn’t see how far you could slide on the ice as a kid!

How about you? Are there any fun “games” you like to play when you run? I’d love to hear about them!

 

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tread lightly and don’t forget the tissues

It’s cold out again. And slippery. I don’t have a whole to say about my runs this past week. Oh, except that I ran 4 miles the other day! Otherwise, I’ve just been keeping up with training and it’s been going well (just uneventful). My 5K is coming up on Saturday, and I’m starting to look forward to running for running’s sake and taking a break from training.

I do have two things to mention. First, I’d like to thank the people who shovel their sidewalk, even when there isn’t much snow. I’ve started making a game out of running between the shoveled/un-shoveled houses, but it’s not exactly ideal. I very much appreciate when sidewalks are shoveled. I’m sure my fellow sidewalk runners feel the same. It’s dangerous out there.

Secondly, I wanted to express my appreciation to those runners I have crossed paths with these last few days. Especially when it is cold out, I get a huge boost of energy when I see other runners. The other day I did a simple 2 miles and I really wanted to stop around mile 1. I had dropped my tissue and it was cold and I just wasn’t having fun anymore. Then I saw two other runners and I was encouraged to keep going.

Anywho, that’s all for now, here’s the Kiddo!

my week on the mill

This week I’ve been pretty busy, so I haven’t had a lot of time to do much writing. I’ve been doing most of my last few runs on the treadmill because of snow and ice. Yesterday was pretty hard because I had to go 3 miles, but I think I have figured out a way to make the treadmill more enjoyable. Normally I run too hard for the entire run, but yesterday I tried to gradually increase my speed. I started out walking for .25 miles, then increased to a light jog for .75. At 1 mile I increased to a comfortable but relatively fast speed. At mile 2 I slowed back down to a light jog for .75 miles, and walked the last .25. I think it worked out pretty well because I was tired afterwards, but my legs didn’t feel like jell-o and I felt pretty good. I think I’ll be stuck on the treadmill until the weather clears up a bit.

As far as other things keeping me busy this week, I did finish organizing the desk and have been using it everyday. It’s really nice to have a designated spot, rather than sitting on the couch. I feel so much lazier on the couch. I also reupholstered my diningroom chairs. The chairs were very nice, but the fabric was dated. Now I have a nice looking chair to sit in a the desk!

I also started going through my clothes. It’s something that’s needed to be done for a while now, but kept putting off. I decided to go through each room and take care of the things I no longer have any use for. I wasn’t too excited about going through my clothes, but I plan to consign a bunch of stuff, and I’ve already given some items to a friend of mine, so I’m happy about that.

As far as Kiddo goes, he rolled over for the first time last week! I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud (although it might be something weird to be proud of, I didn’t have a whole lot to do with it, he’s just getting bigger). Lately he’s been content to sit in his excersaucer all day and likes to chew on the sides.

Unfortunately, I’m not feeling up for running tonight. I’m disappointed because I only have to run one mile. However, I am not feeling well. I felt fine all day, but around 4:30 I started to feel very tired. I took a short nap, and hoped that would help, but it hasn’t seemed to. Tomorrow is a rest day, so I will go then, as long as I’m feeling up for it.

maiden voyage

So I went ahead and got new shoes. After I reached 300+ miles on my Asics, I decided I needed to try something new. I headed to the mall in search of the right fit.

After receiving NO help at Foot Locker, I stopped at a smaller shoe store in our mall. Unfortunately, neither store had the specific Mizuno model I was looking for (Wave Inspire 8). The guy I talked to at the smaller store was much more helpful and had me try on the Precision 11 model. I’m not sure if he was hitting on me on purpose or if it was part of his sales strategy (I needed the ego boost either way). I really liked how the shoes felt. They offer a lot of support, but you can still wiggle your toes. My Asics have given me blisters on long runs, so hopefully that won’t be a problem with these.

Of course I wanted to think about it some more before buying the shoes, so I checked another shoe store and looked around online a bit. I compared the Precision 11 with the Precision 12, and ultimately ended up buying the 11s because of the price. Since this is my first pair of Mizunos I wanted to make sure I liked them before I spend over $100 on shoes. I figure I can train in the 11s for a while and switch to the 12s if I feel I need a back up shoe. Right now my Asics will have to remain my back up. They still have a few miles left in them and I think they’ll do better in the snow.

My first run in the new shoes was a treadmill run. I wanted to wait until the snow melted before taking them outside. I should have gone out yesterday afternoon, because it was sunny and the snow had melted, but it wasn’t logistically possible with Kiddo. It snowed again this morning, so the new shoes will have to remain treadmill shoes for a bit longer. On Sunday it’s supposed to be 50º, so maybe it will be possible to go outside then. Either way I’m happy to have a new pair of shoes. It seems to give me more motivation!

And speaking of snow…Kiddo and I have been enjoying watching it fall all morning. I’m sure he doesn’t know what to think of it!

morning treadmill run

Well it finally happened. Since Kiddo came along I swore I wouldn’t have to get up in the morning before 8:00 7:30 7:00, but today I was up at 6:00. There are two reasons for this. This week we are rabbit sitting and I decided it would be best to check on them before Kiddo wakes up at 7:00 so that Paul could be home with him. (Rebecca, in case you’re reading, the rabbits are doing well. I gave them carrots and they were very happy about that). I also decided that I could get my run done during that time before Kiddo woke up.

That last part didn’t happen exactly as I planned. I was all geared up to head straight down to the treadmill as soon as I got home. I was actually happy to run on the treadmill today, even though I usually prefer to run outside. I finally got new shoes and wanted to give them a try. It snowed a bit last week and I wanted to wait until it had cleared out before taking them on the road, so I was happy to give the treadmill a go.

However, when I walked in the door at 6:40, someone was crying. It was probably for the best. One thing I had not anticipated was the more endowed physical features my body takes on first thing in the morning. Sorry if that’s not descriptive enough. Basically, since I had not fed Kiddo at this point, I was looking a bit more like Pamela Anderson than usual. So, I decided to feed him first, then we headed downstairs and hit the ‘mill.

Today also marked the first day of 5K training. I decided start from scratch since it’s been awhile since I’ve run consistently. Today’s plan was for 1.5 miles at an easy run/walk pace. I don’t know if it’s me or the treadmill, but I never do very well on it. Of course today wasn’t much of an exception and, although I ran the whole time, it still took me 18:15 to complete the run.

After my run I got the cat out from under the treadmill and we headed back upstairs to get ready for nap time. I decided to try making an iced-coffee-protein-shake since it was breakfast time, but I had just finished running (and we don’t have any chocolate milk). I don’t really have a recipe, but here are the ingredients:

  • Coffee, brewed and cold
  • Protein powder (I tried half vanilla/half chocolate, but I think I’d do just vanilla next time)
  • Milk or coffee creamer
  • Sugar or sweetener

Mix it all in the blender and voilà – look at all that foamy goodness! I actually made quite a lot so next time I won’t make so much, because I don’t think I’ll be able to finish it all.

holiday running

I hope everyone has been having a great holiday season! I managed to get two runs in this week. We’re visiting family, so I had extra people to keep an eye on Kiddo while I went for a run. Normally I like to plan out my route before I leave the house, but I was actually looking forward to running without having a plan. Both runs only ended up being about 2 miles long, but they were enjoyable. It wasn’t really cold enough for it, but I got new running clothes, so I thought I’d try them out.

Kiddo got to experience his first real snow before we left home. He was an excellent traveler and slept most of the 4 hour ride. I sat in the back seat with him and I think that helped. We also brought the cat along with us, so we pretty much exploded into my parents house when we got there.

Paul and I actually had a chance to go out alone while my parents and sisters watched Kiddo. After getting lost downtown, we finally found an amazing Indian restaurant. Paul received a new camera lens for Christmas and wanted to take some pictures at night, so we walked around an area that I knew would be perfect. Anybody know where we went?

All in all, I’d say it was a pretty good ending to a pretty good year!

no-fun run

Yesterday I had my first postpartum no-fun run. I went running last Thursday and really enjoyed the run. However, yesterday it didn’t go as well as I had hoped. At first my iPhone started acting funny and I had to stop and fix it. That really made me wish I could run without it. I really like to know how I did and I need to listen to music or I focus too much on how tired I am, so I’m stuck taking it with me. It’s really amazing how one little screw up early on can mess up a whole run.

I don’t know about other runners, but I really enjoy looking at (and inside) the houses as I run by. I’m pretty nosy, so I claim I’m just looking inside to get decorating ideas, but I really just want to see what other people are doing. For this reason, I have curtains on all my windows and I try to keep them closed all the time. I especially like this time of the year, because people get a little crazy with the Christmas decorations, and a lot of people are proud of their trees, so they display them right by the window.

I was totally looking forward to getting to see some awful decorations, and I did, but non of my pictures turned out well. So I ended up stopping to take pictures for no reason. I think there must be something about running in the snow that makes bad decorations even better anyway.

At one point my shoulder started to hurt. This tends to happen when it’s cold outside because I shrug my shoulders a lot when I’m cold and it really bothers me when I run. I decided to cut the run short and go home at that point. Therefore, I only did 2 miles, rather than 3, which is what I set out to do.

Bad run aside, the week has been pretty good. We decided to eliminate meat at home, so I’m getting used to making more vegetarian dishes. I’m not entirely opposed to eating meat, but I decided it was better for us to stop. I was also making lasagna and the ground beef looked really unappetizing. This week we’ve been trying to eat up whatever meat we had in the freezer. Today I made myself scrambled eggs with onions, peppers, and spinach for lunch. It was pretty tasty. I hadn’t been too creative, so I have been mostly eating salads this week and I was happy for a change.

Kiddo has started constantly sucking his thumb. I’m not entirely against it, but I’m not really sure if I’m for it. It’s nice that he always has his thumbs with him and it does a pretty good job of comforting him when I can’t be there right away. Judging by how furiously he goes at it, though, it seems like it might become a problem when he’s older. It’s probably a little early to determine if it will be a problem or not. Either way, he looks cute doing it!

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

OK, I wasn’t being too creative when I came up with that title, but I found it fitting. Tonight I ran (almost) 2.5 miles – in the snow! There really wasn’t that much snow, but it was more than I usually run in. I realized that I have been making excuses not to run. First it rained, then it snowed a little. Then I decided I needed to find my gloves, but never started looking. Today I decided I would just go.

As I got going, though, I thought to myself, “This is very enjoyable”. It was the exact opposite reaction I was expecting. I’m not really a fan of being cold or wet (and definitely not at the same time). I didn’t even know it was snowing until I went outside. The snow hit my face perfectly – just cold enough that you know it’s there, but not so cold and wet that you’re miserable. It wasn’t too windy either and I think that helped. Enough about the weather.

Running at night was also a different experience for me. I liked the peaceful quiet of running at night. Even though it was sometime around 6:00PM it seemed much later. All the houses were dark and a bunch had their Christmas lights up. I had put on my usual running playlist before I left, but I wished I had chosen Christmas music instead. Another great thing I discovered about night running – nobody can tell when you’re singing along to the Spice Girls!

I did end up cutting the run short, which is why I didn’t quite make 2.5 miles (more like 2.4). By the time I got to the 2 mile corner where I have to decide to continue on or head home, my phone was telling me I had been out for 27 minutes (and I call myself a runner?) already. Really I’m not too disappointed. I figure it’s better to go slow than not go at all. However, I was also starting to feel a bit tired, so I thought it’d be better to head home.

I also made a decision while I was running tonight. I am going to challenge myself to run (outside – the treadmill doesn’t count) once a week this winter. That might not sound like anything to most runners, but I usually hibernate during the winter. I think this challenge can only make me a better runner. Or I’ll slip on some ice and break my neck. We’ll just have to see what happens!