Sunday, December 28, 2008

Athletic tape & Andes...

This week had it's obstacles. Some beautiful, some annoying and some painful.

(Ice on the twigs I have arranged in the decorative planter on the deck)

More snowfall lead to paths & sidewalks again being blanketed. Which, in addition to the drifting meant it was to much to run through in most places. But, that did not keep me from running. It did however effect my ambition. Knowing that I would enjoy myself once I finally took the first strides & a good group of ladies waiting to hear about my next run(s) pushed me out the door.

A sense of adventure rivaled any qualms I had about making new routes while running on the very edge (gutter, for those of us who ride) of the road. All in all the limited amount of motorists I encountered obliged my efforts & moved aside. I followed the rules, running opposite the direction of the traffic so that they could see me approaching and I them. This served me well as the huff & puff of my breathing through the neck-warmer and the layering of hat & hood tend to muffle a lot of my hearing.

Strong pains in my lower abdomen that I assume to be gas since the pain tends to travel knocked me out at mile 2 of both of my 7mile routes this week. This has happened before. Like the snowy paths it was to much to run through most of the time. Slowing to a walk for a few minutes allowed the air to shift into a more comfortable spot so that I was able to pick up the pace again. Argh.

Whenever I hit a rough spot in training I tell myself that this is the best I might feel during a portion of an Ironman and that I need to learn to work through certain types of pain so that I can be prepared. Yes, I realize how silly this could potentially sound, but I never claimed to be entirely sensible now did I?

Friday was my chance to relish the opportunity I had to shed some layers & breathe bare faced in 30 degree (above!!!) weather. It hadn't hit me just how much weight I have been carrying in clothing on those sub-zero days until I was able to run without some of it. It was so freeing. I'm curious if it will make me stronger come summer when I am able to run in much, much lighter gear.

I was encouraged each time I arrived home and hopped online to check home many miles I had gone. Turns out weaving my way through the city finding what clear paths & roadside I could amounts to more mileage. :) I found a decent way to add another 2miles to my scenic 5mile loop. Something that will come in handy when I continue upping my weekly miles in preparation for the Fargo Marathon.

Soaking in a warm bath is one of the guilty pleasures I indulge in after a long run. Especially in the winter. Staring at my feet at the end of the tub I noticed a rough patch on the top of each of my ankles. Almost like a callus. I still haven't figured out why I have them, but let me say that taking a pumice stone to them is not exactly the answer. Hence the athletic tape. Lotion is a better approach.

Our board bag for the trip to Japan (only a few weeks away) arrived last week and of course pulling Betty out to make sure she fits in the bag with my husbands board (which is taller then I am) had me longing for the slopes. Since we had a buy 1, get 1 discount & knew that getting replacement gear for anything would be incredibly difficult abroad we decided to make an impromptu trip out to Andes Tower Hills yesterday morning to make sure everything was tuned up and in working order.

The 20-30 above temperatures over the weekend actually made the roads worse. Settling fog made everything icy. After totaling our other car in a storm on our way home from Bridger Bowl last winter,road conditions like this have made us both more unsettled then they used to. So we only stayed for a few hours before returning home. Seeing several cars in the ditch confirmed that we had made the right call.

Betty is getting old, eventually she'll have to be replaced, but it's like riding a bike every time I strap the board on for the first time each year. It's comfortingly familiar.

I enjoyed the 20 or so rides I got in. Andes is home turf for me when it comes to riding & it was great to share that with My Beloved. Yesterday I realized though that all of the trips I have been spoiled with in the mountains have made me disenchanted with runs that last under 2minutes from getting off the lift to the bottom of the hill. I tried going in the trees a few times hoping for some adventure, but while the snow may have looked like powder it was as heavy as a brick due to the melting & weighed my board down so much that I eventually came to a halt.

Next week Jeremy & I will be spending a few days over new-years in Bismarck. At some point we'll make our way to the small resort nearby & hopefully help teach a friend who is new to snowboarding.

I am hoping to get at least 10miles of running in before we leave, but we'll see what happens. I just might have to bring my gear with me and enjoy some new scenery on a run up there.

So far I am at 45miles for December (woohoo!!). I'm looking to finish off at 55 for the month. No rest day tomorrow. :) Should be fun!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Well, I've learned a few things since my last post. Some of the trial and error "stuff" to sort through, but such is the territory of winter running. Thankfully I haven't had a completely miserable run yet, which is quite remarkable given the temperatures & weather we have had.

Last week was strong for training. I logged 15.5 miles and am very happy with that.

Jeremy and I joined the morning run with the group at Dick Beardsley's last Thursday. Why they call it "morning" boggles me. That early is technically still night to me. Anywho, as it turns out I am the slowest runner in the 5mile group. If I want a running buddy I either need to speed up or join another group. I know attempting to catch up makes me run faster, which is good. But I've accepted that on these nights I will be primarily running alone. It was disappointing at first though. At least starting off and gathering later with people who share the same passion and effort is it's own reward.

I've reached the point that a 5miler three times per wk. is comfortable and something I look forward to. Eventually I will make the Saturday run a long run. For now I'm more focused on getting a run in. Period.

Moving on to this week,

When temperatures fall below zero you have three choices.

1.) Snuggle up with your down blanket & cup of hot cocoa.

2.) Hop on the dreadmill.


3.) Pile on a ridiculous amount of layers. Michelin style. Stick the ipod in the sports bra so it doesn't freeze up again & leave the water bottle at home. Again because of the freezing.

Since I have this periodic curiosity of what I can handle of the elements, I of course chose the third option.(I say periodic because nothing in my body wanted to leave the apartment yesterday to do anything let alone run.)

Today I ran in -5 degree weather for nearly 5miles. Finding a clear path was difficult after the wknd's blizzard & 40+ mph winds. The aftermath was beautiful, but I definitely have compassion for those plowing and hauling away the snow.

Given the right technical gear and proper layering I'm feeling very confident about running through the winter. My only regret is not doing it last year. No I wont be making any PRs in training and yes sometimes my eye lashes freeze together, but there is something invigorating about getting out when most people wouldn't consider it. The brisk air no longer chills me, it refreshes me. I was hoping to get a before and after shot of the ice build up on my face warmer and eye lashes, but it melted by the time I grabbed the camera. So ^ that's all I've got.

Tomorrow I get my ink retouched. There are a few spots in the solid area under the camel that need more filling in. Which is normal with that much solid area. Hopefully it wont effect my running to much. There is no avoiding wearing something over the tattoo this time of the year so I will have to be brave.

Once that is all healed up I will be able to hit the pool again. Something I desparately need to do. Most of the triathlons we will do this summer will be Olympic distance with one 1/2 iron (hopefully) in there. Right now swimming 1/2 mile wears me out, that has to change by June. I'm determined to swim the 1.2mile needed for the HIM. Lots of training leading up to that though.

As we near the end of this year I'm finding myself setting goals for '09. Trying to be optimistic and realistic at the same time is challenging. Staying focused on what is truly important gets even more challenging. My passion and drive for tris & running allows me to worship my God in a uniquely powerful way, but I also don't want it to become a distraction. Living actively is a gift. I just want to be sure I use it wisely & to His glory in whatever way He should lead.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Triathlete's Wife...

Being married to a triathlete and being one myself has incurred some changes in our relationship. Let me point out that most of those changes have been positive ones. In fact the only real downside at this point is the extra load of tech-gear that piles up in our laundry room each week & budgeting for gear, but that's a necessary evil.

Today it hit me when I opened up the parcel my Beloved said would be coming in the mail with a surprise for me in it that those sweet gifts we give one another when we feel the need to spoil just aren't the same.

For most married couples the husband's idea of gifting ranges from going out to buy flowers, a box of chocolates or some time at the spa. Not my hubby. He has always been an awesome "gifter" and yes I've been spoiled with all the things I listed prior, but now his gift ideas have shifted to tech. Technical gear that is.

These were in the box.... :) Don't pay any mind to how white my legs are. Please. Thanks.

They will last longer then flowers or chocolates. Especially chocolates. And I absolutely love them!

I haven't run in them yet. That should happen tomorrow, but so far just walking around the house has been very comfy in the Injinji socks. Adjusting to actual toe socks is a little weird, but I think I'll like it. If nothing else it will creep some people out. Can't beat NuWool either.

Other then that, yesterdays run was a bit difficult in areas. Most of the paths I ran on were covered in at least 2-3" with 6" in spots where the plow or drifting had piled up the snow. It takes a lot more leg work to keep sure footing and not hurt an ankle on the uneven surfaces. I am a little stiff today, but not to bad. Will definitely be using my new route again. It is away from the road & more scenic for about 3 miles of a 5.3 mile run.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Round two of the plague monkey battle has seemingly come to an end. I am no longer taking the Devil's Ju-ju to stop coughing long enough to get & stay asleep. All of the kleenex in the house has been used up and for now I don't feel the need to go out shopping to replace it.

Despite feeling incredibly lazy for doing so, I took advantage of every possible hour of sleep I could grasp. Judging by how I've felt the last few days it looks to have cured me. For the most part.

While I may have been sick that didn't keep my mind from longing for a run, pool-time, bike training, something. In addition to watching "Spirit of the Marathon" I at times this week found myself following the you-tube rabbit trail of Ironman clips. This is a dangerous trail for me. It makes my heart beat faster and has me tip-toeing the fine line of moderation.

In my more idleness physically, mentally it was a toss-up of trying to fit the training puzzle pieces together of how to make the best use of the winter months & still giving my body a recovery season. There is commitment and then there's having a sport become like a job. I know reaching the fitness level for the full marathon & Ironman will take a lot of commitment, time & sacrifice, but I'm hoping to train smart enough to avoid it becoming a drudgerous (That might be a word.) job.

This afternoon I put on what I felt would be the necessary amount of layers for a run in 5degree weather. It's still a test of trial and error, but today my gear was close to perfect.

I would like to introduce a new ( but needed) member to my already copious amount of jackets. No, it is not my desire to have my winter apparel be a cornucopia of Burton prints, but for a fleece-lined, wind-breaking jacket at only $20 I'm pretty "stoked". I was worried the houndstooth print would bug my astigmatism when running. Fortunately it didn't and as far as the technical aspect, it performed even better then I hoped. :)

My running performance however was in one word: Challenging. Breathing through a face warmer is kinda tricky and when my breathing rhythm is out of sync it really messes with my pacing. I wasn't so much concerned about time, I didn't wear a watch this run, but the time it took for the run to become comfortable could've been better. Once I reached that point it was a joy run though. Great views of the setting sun reflecting across the crystal frozen ponds in our neighborhood & the perfect instrumental techno flowing out of my ipod. Until the battery got to cold and it shut off. That was only a few yards from the end of my run though so I can't complain.

I will have to fill my water bottle ahead of time with warmer water so that the nozzle doesn't freeze up and probably put the ipod (if I use it, zen running is good too) in the pocket of my jacket for anything over 3 miles.

Hopefully I'll be back to 3 runs a week routine starting Monday. We shall see.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Ju-Ju...

This week can be summed up in the above image. View Large. (Yes, I play in photoshop when I'm sick & have free-time.)

Beautiful snowfall today has me excited to be able to run again, I might try tomorrow. Depends on how I'm feeling.