Tag Archives: Winter Warrior

Quit Your Bitchin’!

So anyone who read yesterday’s post can tell I was suffering a hormone-induced depression. A quick run this morning helped burn off the crazy and I’m happy to say I at least feel normal again, not some raw nerve walking around in a cloud of despair.

This morning I looked at my stats on DailyMile to see if I’d even break 100 miles for the month. When looking at my miles for last February I noticed I had logged 167 miles! In the winter! During a Polar Vortex! And divorce and moving! And I was pretty fast, too! How the hell did I manage all of this?

Browsing through my workouts for the month I noticed a few things. One, there were lots of treadmill miles. I was temporarily living with my parents at the time and I made good use of their often forgotten mill. Two, there were lots of miles ran through their neighborhood which was often plowed really well and full of nice people who actually shoveled their sidewalks. Three, my speed could be attributed to more strength training. I was getting good use of my Nike Training Club app last year, at least three workouts a week.

So, using my scientific deducing skills, I have decided upon two things: 1) Run more! 2) Dust off the old Nike Training Club app! Seeing as how it’s Lent and all, I’ve decided upon a Lenten Run Streak Challenge. This will mean at least one mile every day until Easter. Most running streaks I plan fizzle after two days, but this time I have God involved and I’m already on his bad side and trying to earn some Brownie Points. I will also start exploring some of the new workouts on Nike Training club that magically appeared when I updated the app. There are “Race Ready” and “Power Legs” workouts that I hope deliver on their promise.

In the meantime I’ll keep swimming for fun and occasionally do things I’m supposed to do as an adult woman like work, clean, and feed my cat. Sleep is overrated anyway.

 

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New Year, New Training!

We are now 12 days into the new year and I must say, it’s already off to a better start than 2014. Life is so much more enjoyable without divorce drama and a Polar Vortex to contend with. The short time I’ve been here in 2015 has mainly been spent working toward my two main goals this year: Swimming an open-water 5K and PRing the shit out of a Spring marathon, whether it be the Flying Pig or a different, local, race I may or may not register for that takes place at the end of March (*shifty-eyed glance*).

I’ll admit, I’ve been a terrible slacker on my long runs lately. I really have no valid excuse other than “I don’t feel like it.” I have a great guy and fluffy cat at home, making it way to cozy and difficult to take a three-hour run on a Saturday morning. However, now that I have that “sub 4-hour marathon” itch again, I’ll be forcing myself out the door more from now on. You don’t get fast eating caramel corn and perusing Twitter all morning long.

Still beats the treadmill.

Whatever it takes

One area where I have not been slacking is swimming. I logged over four miles of swimming last week, more than I swam in the entire month of December. I really enjoy my swim workouts. I feel my kick getting stronger and my stroke getting more efficient, even though I’m still getting passed by large old men on the regular. Oh well, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I ordered some new goodies on clearance from SwimOutlet.com to reward my new swimming obsession, which included a new pink bathing suit and swim cap. Well, the swim cap already has a hole in it and the suit is cut high on the hips and makes my butt look like biscuit dough exploding out of the canister. Not exactly the motivation I was looking for.

Speaking of my exploding butt, I’ve decided to make a really big concerted effort to cut out the junk. Yesterday at the store I bought a bunch of power greens, berries, lean chicken, sweet potatoes, and other things that I usually buy and throw away after they’ve gone rotten in the fridge. But not this time! I have a new pink bathing suit that I need to fit into (and am too lazy to return)! More dinners at home will be the next step, which is easier when you have a boyfriend who makes amazing homemade chicken noodle soup.

More long runs. More swimming progress. Don’t eat crap. Easier said than done. I get lots of inspiration reading the training plans and progress of others and really enjoy all of your blogs. Hopefully you all can do the same reading my incoherent ramblings. Even if you aren’t inspired, there’s a chance I’ll post a picture of my cat every once in a while.

Thanks for reading!

 

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Random Thoughts: February 2014 Edition

Though the winter weather continues to hold Michigan by the blue, shriveled, balls, at least we can rejoice that we are one month closer to the promise of spring. With so much chaos occurring around me I felt it would do my spirit good to focus on some of the highlights of this past month, in no particular order:

1) Salted Caramel

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Salty and Sweet: the flavor combination of the gods. Those who know me well know that I’m a peanut butter whore and will put it on or in just about anything. However, this winter I was introduced to the wonder that is salted caramel. I first tried it in the form of GU during my long runs, and sorry Peanut Butter GU, but I have a new favorite. The Salted Caramel GU goes down smooth and tastes like melted caramel candies. I’ve been rationing the packets I bought like they were Salted Caramel Crack.

Due to the success of Salted Caramel GU, I decided I should try actual salted caramel in a non-running gel form. Thankfully Sanders here in Birmingham has several salted caramel candies to choose from, including chocolate-covered salted caramel hearts for Valentine’s Day. Holy crap are they amazing. I intend to eat an entire bag the next time PMS rolls around. Salted caramel, will you be mine forever? XOXO

2) Undie Running

Me and Andrea and our totally unplanned matching animal hats

Me and Andrea and our totally unplanned matching animal hats

This past Saturday, despite overloading on salted caramel, I participated in the second annual Cupid’s Undie Run Detroit. Thousands of Detroiters took to Woodward to run one mile in their underwear, in 20 degrees. The event raised over $2 million for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, which is awesome. What’s even more awesome is being able to walk around Detroit in your underwear without getting arrested. Fine, I’ll come out and say it- I hate wearing pants.

Joining me in my undie running adventure was my buddy Andrea who ran with me last year. This year the event was held at the Fillmore in order to hold more people, which did raise more money; however, the house-party in your underpants atmosphere of last year turned into a creepy, club-like setting. I would think twice about running next year without a male escort. All of that aside, RUNNING IN YOUR UNDERPANTS IS THE BEST!

3) The Nike Training Club App

In an attempt to gain a six-pack before the above mentioned Undie Run, I downloaded the Nike Training Club app for my iPhone. There are hundreds of workouts to choose from, ranging from 15-minute ones that target specific muscles (the Sculpted Arms workout hurts so good), to 45-minute long circuit training routines. What I love most about this app is that anyone with a pair of free weights and a few feet of space can get in a killer workout. Every workout you complete earns you points toward different levels, some of which include bonus workouts. One bonus workout I completed was Paula Radlcliffe’s Marathon Prep Workout, which should’ve been titled, “Do Lunges Until You Beg for the Sweet Mercy of Death”. My new goal is to fit in at least three Nike Training Club workouts a week. I may not have a six-pack yet, but I am definitely seeing more definition.

The weather forecast is asking us not to get used to the warmer temperatures coming our way, since the rest of February will be back to polar conditions. I guess this is just the new normal here in Michigan. Oh well, I think with my balaclava, Salted Caramel GU, and burgeoning six-pack, I’ll make it out alive (seriously though, is more snow really all that necessary?).

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Obligatory Post About 2014 Goals

Hello Dear Readers (Wow I have Readers!):

I’m about four weeks into 2014 and already I can tell it’s going to be challenging, Polar Vortex aside. Between life, work, and run-ventures I’m going to have a full year. I have a lot to look forward to and much to stress over as well, which makes every day an odd mix of excitement and anxiety. Below I’ll try to make sense of the days that lie ahead in 2014 by outlining my two major goals for the year:

1) Live on my own and enjoy it: In a month or so I’ll be moving in to my own place, all by myself, for the first time, EVER. I’ll only have myself to depend on financially and all the bills I’ll be paying out of my less-than-stellar income sure have been a wake-up call. I’m not afraid to work two jobs if need be but I’d also like to be able to enjoy time out with my friends and my hobbies. Finances aside, the freedom involved in living alone will be fun. I can run when I want, watch what I want, cook what I want, or just walk around in my underwear with the radio on full blast like I usually do when I have to house to myself.

Speaking of my less-than-stellar income, part of this goal is to make myself more marketable, whether by new certifications or by working towards a new degree. First I need to figure out what I’m good at and what I’d enjoy doing for the next 30+ years. I’m getting by, but I’d love to get ahead, and I doubt “Really good at music trivia” is a plus on a resume.

2) Finish four marathons and a 50K: Holy shit what have I done?! Marathon #1 for the year is on Sunday, the Ohio Northern University Polar Bear Indoor Marathon. You read that correctly, 211 laps around an indoor track (I can’t wait to write a race recap!). Marathon #2 will be the Salt Lake City Marathon on April 19th. I’ve pegged this one as my PR Race, and I really hope to finish in 4:15 or less if the elevation doesn’t kill me. Marathon #3 will be the Charlevoix Marathon, which is tradition. If anything I’ll look at it as a training run for my 50K. Speaking of that, I’ll be running the Woodstock 50K on September 6th. Why? I figured if I’m going to run 31+ miles, I might as well do it the year I turn 31. And last but not least, I’ll be running marathon #4 in November, the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. If I don’t meet my time goal in the mountains of SLC, there’s always flat Indiana.

Thanks goodness I’ll have my favorite training partner Mary Beth to join in on the pain in Salt Lake City and Indianpolis. Why have I signed myself up for such madness? Well, I like the discipline of training for one. Secondly, it gets my mind off of my implosion of a personal life. Thirdly, I love running adventures with friends. The memories and laughs they create are priceless.

I’m thinking these two main goals will be enough to keep me occupied through the rest of the year. There are other smaller goals I’d like to accomplish if I have the time, such as volunteering at some races, swimming and biking more, maybe even completing another sprint triathlon. I’d also like to read more and am toying with the idea of not having a television in my new place (I doubt I’ll be able to afford cable anyway). Despite my whining about money, I am truely rich in love and support from my family and friends. No goal would be possible without them.

What are your 2014 goals? Anyone out there as crazy (or crazier) with their race schedule than I am?

 

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How to Fit Indoor Marathon Training and a Divorce into your Holiday Schedule

When I was a kid I used to joke that I wanted to be a gypsy when I grew up, and as of late, my dream has sort of come true. I don’t get to tell fortunes and travel around Europe in a covered wagon, but I have been bouncing around places to stay in order to avoid conflict. This has made getting ready for Christmas, and my January indoor marathon, next to impossible.

Despite toying with the idea of dropping to the half-marathon (which would have been a smart decision, the type I rarely make), I’ve decided to be stubborn and forge ahead with training for the full Polar Bear Indoor Marathon at Ohio Northern University. Why? With all that’s going on in my life and the robust winter weather, would I subject myself to this torture? I don’t know, I guess I’m trying to prove to myself that I can do it. That I’m not weak. That I won’t fold under stress and adversity.

Let’s not forget that there’s the holidays to prepare for as well. Eventhough ending my marriage was mostly my decision and I know it’s for the best, it still hurts like nothing I’ve ever felt before, and seeing happy Christmas commercials with pretty couples exchanging diamonds just further twists that knife into my fragile heart. There was no tree decorating while watching Christmas movies this year. There was no laughing at the cats for knocking Christmas decorations off of the mantle. I feel as though part of myself is missing this December.

I’ve decided to avoid many family functions and parties this Christmas to avoid the awkward “Where’s your husband?!” questions. Time I’ve taken off of work will be spent mostly alone, training and thinking and preparing for a solo life in the new year. Though most people say I’m crazy, I can’t think of a better way to kick off 2014 than taking a trip to a small town in Ohio with two awesome girlfriends, for the purpose of running 211 laps around an indoor track.

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Paczkis and Undies: A Run-tastic Saturday

Andrea, the Zebra Hat and I at Cupid's Undie Run

Andrea, the Zebra Hat and I at Cupid’s Undie Run

To loosely quote Ernest Hemingway, if people did half the things sober they said they would do while drunk, they would probably quit drinking. The idea of running a mile through Detroit in my underwear was one such idea that struck me as logical one tipsy Saturday night. The Cupid’s Undie Run was the aforementioned race, and when I woke up the next day after registering, I was flooded with regret. Oh well, body issues be damned! This race was for charity afterall, and I was determined to have fun.

A few weeks later I learned of a 5K in Hamtramck the same morning of the Cupid’s Undie Run, the Paczki 5K. Each finisher was promised a paczki and a beer. To tell you the truth, I was more excited about the free beer than the paczki. For those of you who are not aware, paczkis are polish donuts traditionally eaten on Fat Tuesday. They sinfully pack 600-800 calories each. They are a big deal in Detroit, though I view them as nothing more than glorified jelly donuts (though the custard ones are pretty damn good). Since the Paczki 5K was at 10:00am and the Cupid’s Run at 2:30, I could logistically do both races. I registered and looked forward to a Run-Tastic Saturday in Detroit!

Paczki 5K

The temperature on race day morning was below 20 degrees, but it was a beautiful sunny day with no wind. I met up with my buddies Mary Beth and Cara Jo and we danced to warm-up while waiting for the race to begin. The course had some icy spots, but otherwise it was flat and clear. I ran without music and my watch and enjoyed the volunteers, spectators, and scenery. It always brings a smile to my face when residents camp out on their front porches to cheer runners.

I finished the race in 27:31, technically a PR, but only by 10 seconds. Oh well, I was happy nonetheless! The free beer was especially delicious; something about drinking before 11:00am just makes beer that much more enjoyable. Afterwards I joined Mary Beth, Cara Jo, and some of their friends for brunch, which consisted of more mimosas than food. I was having such a blast it was difficult to leave, but there was more running to be done…

The Cupid’s Undie Run

I met my friend Andrea at Cheli’s Chili Bar, the race headquarters. We immediatley said “to hell with it” and stripped down to our bras and boxer shorts. Andrea had bought us beads to wear and temporary tatoos. I brought nothing to the party, except the sight of my awesome zebra-head hat.

There were many model-perfect bodies walking around us in lacy pink undies without a trace of cellulite, so Andrea and I promptly got to work drinking away our shame and inhibitions. The combination of alcohol and the sun made the race suprisingly warm, and we had a blast running and cheering past bewildered spectators. There were many cops along the course, and I can only imagine this was either the greatest or worst assignment of their lives. There were all different shapes and sizes, but the one thing in common was that every single runner was having the time of their lives.

After our mile run Andrea and I went to the club upstairs to drink more and dance our barely-covered asses off. Desite the absense of clothing, there were no creeps to be found. It was oddly freeing being around strangers in nothing but a bra and shorts.

After a recovery meal of cheese tortellini I made my way back home to regail Randy with tales of my Run-Tastic Saturday. Andrea texted me later that night to alert me that a clip of us running had made it onto the news. Yikes! Well, that’s the risk you take running through the streets in your underwear I suppose.

Run-Tastic Saturday was a rousing success. I haven’t had that much fun running and being with friends in a long time. Next race- the Corktown 5K on March 10th, which is without exaggeration my favorite day of the year. Any day that combines running, Jameson, parades, and friends makes me a happy girl.

 

 

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Race Report! The Snowmans Half Marathon: Snow & Sluts 2013

The day of after Christmas this past year I was in a funk. There was some minor drama occurring between me and certain family members which had me feeling lonely and depressed. To cheer myself up, I turned to the internet, looking for some retail therapy. New boots would surely heal my wounds. Instead, I saw a post on Facebook about the Snowmans Half Marathon on in Mt. Pleasant, MI. The race was part of a series of three, each occurring during winter months promising runs through snow, slush, and mud. Instead of boots, I found salvation in a half marathon. In January. In Michigan.

Thankfully Randy was super supportive in my decision to run a half marathon in potential blizzard conditions. “Whatever makes you happy,” was his response. Right on! Michigan experienced one snow storm early on and then conditions became mild, melting most of the snow and ice off of the sidewalks which made running conditions optimal. I was running record high mileage during this usually abysmal month. Then, the week before my half, the snow fell and the mercury plummeted. We experienced sub-zero wind chills and suddenly I was more frightened of frostbite than running on ice.

When the morning of January 26th rolled around, it was a sunny 17 degrees in Mt. Pleasant, a relative heat wave. Randy and I had rolled into town the night before in a white-knuckle drive that saw five cars in the ditches. Mt. Pleasant is the home of Central Michigan University, and our packet pick-up was in a bar called The Wayside. The place smelled of stale beer and broken condoms. Dancing cages and stripper poles were placed throughout the dance floor. Runners warmed up by shaking their stuff. “The men’s room is nothing but a toilet with no stall around it,” I overheard. Oh college, how I’ve missed you.

Now on to the race. I debated wearing my Yak Trax. In the end I decided to spare my feet and run without them, and I’m thankful I did. Though the course was completely covered in snow and/or slush, it was compact enough so I didn’t slip around too much. The course itself went through Central’s campus and through some country roads. I saw horses and alpacas. I ran cautiously without a goal time, and in the end completed the half marathon in 2 hours 15 minutes. Not my best, but not my worst either. Randy was of course there at the finish line with a camera and a smile on his face. Has he ever taken a picture of me finishing that turned out well? No, not even close. But I look forward to it all the same.

After receiving my medal I cleaned up to go enjoy my free drink coupon at a local pub. My calves and hamstrings took a beating in the snow and the Bacardi helped sooth the pain. Despite the conditions, The Snowmans Half felt pretty effortless and it felt great to know I was in the kind of shape to just get up and run a half marathon without months of preparation. It got me fired up for my next half in March, which I hope to complete in 2:05.

I have to say that the more races I run, the more I appreciate the small town races with the smaller price tags. The frills may be few but what they lack in swag, they make up for in charm and camaraderie. If you live in Michigan and love running in whatever Mother Nature throws at you, I highly suggest you run the remaining two half marathons in the Winter Warriors Series- The Ice Cube on February 16th or the Mud Dog on March 23rd. Both races are in Mt. Pleasant.

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