Half a half

I am writing this post from the warmth and coziness of my own bed, which is where one should be on a Sunday afternoon when it is below freezing. Shane is napping next to me, Basil is asleep on my feet, and Mina is nestled into a comfy spot atop Shane. I think I’ve finally taken the edge off of the cold from this:

Dexter Ann Arbor Road

Dexter Ann Arbor Road

6.5 miles today – half a mile further than my longest run ever, much less this year, much less in the winter. The weather this week was less punishing – it was sunny! and 26! – but the run was more difficult, with more hills, more residual soreness from the week’s workouts, and no magic cinnamon rolls for fuel.

I walked a little at the apex of the hills on the way home. I neglected to bring water or gel, and so broke off an icicle to suck on for part of the run. I paused my Garmin at the 6 mile mark to buy a Powerade, the weight of which compounded my arms’ tiredness on the last half mile. I saw a snow dog:

Snow Dog

Last weekend he was wearing a cheesehead. Today he just looked pleased to see me. I came home, took a hot hot shower, and was back out in the cold within half an hour, waiting to catch the bus downtown so that I could fill my protein window* with a sandwich from Zingerman’s. I had ham, asparagus, and mozzarella on grilled sourdough, and got a little work done until the small room where I was drinking my coffee and working on my laptop became so overrun with people** that I had to leave.

I took the bus home and took a nap. These are the things I did with my day instead of course prep. These are things I did with my day because I ran 6.5 miles.

*Just kidding about the protein window. I actually have no idea about such things, but have enjoyed jokingly using the phrase since reading Microserfs more than a decade ago.
**The room had seating enough for 14: 3 4-tops, 1 2-top. I was seated at the 2-top, and the 4-top directly behind me was occupied by 3 women. When I left, there were 15 people seated at the remaining 2 4-tops, none of whom had ordered food. I think they may have thought it was a full-service restaurant, rather than a deli where you order at the counter. They brought in a birthday cake from Whole Foods. I know Zing is all about customer service, but on a busy Sunday, that’s pretty ridiculous.

12 Degrees, M*****f*****

Yesterday I ran more miles than I have run at any one time in more than a year. In 12 degree weather. While it was snowing. True, I was fueled by magical cinnamon rolls, but still!

Ninja gear

A few people have asked what sort of gear I’m wearing to avoid freezing to death out on the streets. Here’s what I wore yesterday – not a precision kit by any means, but enough to keep me from feeling any serious cold for 50 out of 60 minutes outside:

  • Shane’s windproof hat
  • cowl that I knit in August
  • assorted sports-appropriate undergarments
  • long sleeved thermal-type shirt
  • Comet t-shirt
  • Pearl Izumi cycling jacket
  • armwarmers
  • fleece gloves
  • running tights
  • thick white hiking-type socks
  • Nike Frees

And this is what I looked like after running, then discovering that our houseguest had left, locking me out of the house.  I called Shane at the shop, then remembered that the set of keys we were sharing was locked IN the house, not with him at the shop.  And then I climbed in a window.

Post-run

None the worse for wear – certainly nothing a hot hot shower and a couple of ibuprofen couldn’t fix.  Last week I asked Shane when I became a runner.  He said “I think today”, possibly referring to the fact that I’d been super stressed after work and realized that a good run, despite the cold, would make a world of difference in my mood.  And it did.

Winter is On Notice

Today:
40% oppressive black cloud of poor sleep, heavy snow, and full-body soreness
40% exceptional productivity thanks to Pomodoro, which I will no doubt talk about at great length soon
5% eating giant pastry from Graeter’s
5% rescuing Shane and Julian when they got locked out of Julian’s car

The oppressive cloud finally broke about 25 minutes ago, or 5 minutes into my shred.  It is remarkable the difference that exercise makes once I can force myself to do it.  Tonight that forcing involved the promise of a glass of wine and a hot bath, which is good because despite 30 minutes of jumping around in the basement, I still can’t really feel my toes from my venture out in the cold.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll get around to the 12 Books round up, or maybe I’ll tell you about Pomodoro, or maybe I’ll bring you up to date on my first week of shredding.  For now, though: bath, wine, and zines.  Stat.

Winter running, take 1

Winter running is an entirely different animal, you guys.  I make this statement after two true winter runs, so I’m not the most qualified winter runner blogger, but that’s neither here nor there.

First, it’s effing cold.  It was around 25 when I ran at 4:30pm yesterday – that’s -4 to you Celsius people.  That’s about halfway between the temperature of your fridge and your freezer.  After about the first half-mile, my extremities felt like they were in the freezer, while the rest of me warmed up to fridge temperatures – and my head got sweaty under Shane’s super insulated hat (heretofore known as the sweat hat).  I was less bundled up than last weekend, omitting my neck gaiter (which I missed) and a tank top (which I didn’t).  Prior to putting on my jacket, I looked like a ninja and made suitably hilarious ninja poses for Shane’s enjoyment.  Runner’s World convinced me that my lungs weren’t going to freeze, and I kept reminding myself of that when I felt tired and whiney.  The dry air is a bigger concern than the cold, which is why I missed the neck gaiter.

Second, I need to figure out a better route.  I’m interested in trying fartlek training, and in finding 1-2 mile routes that would allow me to do a couple of loops without actually getting far away home in case I fall on the ice.  I mention this because I ran in the neighborhood five days after a heavy snow, and few of the roads were cleared.  The sidewalks were no better.  I’ve heard that running in Yak Trax is the way to go, but I have yet to try it, and as a result spent a good part of my run jumping on and off the sidewalk and very carefully watching where I stepped.

Despite those things, I ran 2 miles in 18 minutes and felt good for 17 of those minutes.  I was cold, shaky, and nauseous when I got home, even after I changed into fresh clothes and ate something.  I did not wipe out on the ice, and I also did not get frostbite.  It was a good start.

1214 Is it spring yet?

Snow Day
Photo by di_the_huntress

I ask because the winter angst is hitting me hard.  Shane picked me up from work and I immediately burrowed under a blanket and refused to come out.  I wouldn’t come out to exercise.  I wouldn’t even come out for Taco Tuesday, not even when Shane offered to brave the cold for Sabor Latino takeout.  I regretted it later when he was enjoying his tacos, but still couldn’t be convinced to come out from under my blanket until Shane consented to turn the heat up a few degrees.

I just can’t handle the cold.  I can’t do it.  I like all the things you do to avoid the cold, though.  I like knee socks and hot chocolate.  I like sweaters.  I like cuddling under blankets in front of a fireplace.  I like coffee, coffee with whiskey, coffee with Bailey’s, coffee with Kahlua, coffee with whipped cream.  I like soup and oatmeal, though not at the same time.  Most of all – perhaps more than any of these other things –  I like taking baths.

So that’s what I did tonight.  I took a long, very hot bath.  I read the August issue of Bon Appetit cover to cover in an attempt to pretend that it was still grilling weather.  I thought warm thoughts, and then I bundled up in my pajamas and read in front of the space heater.

What do you do to cope with the winter?

Who thought this was a good idea exactly?

Heaven help me, I entered the lottery for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler earlier in the week.  I say ‘heaven help me’ because there are three things conspiring against my ability to run such a race.

First, my knee. Between injury and inflammation, I’ve had difficulty maintaining a solid running habit since May – i.e., the key running months.

Second, the distance. Even before my knee flared up, the longest distance I ran in one go was six miles. Ten miles is considerably longer than six miles, in case you weren’t aware.

Third, the months between now and April 3 – the date of the race – are likely to look like this:

Bichon Frise on icey mountain road.
Photo by jack_spellingbacon

So what in the world possessed me to enter the lottery? Who the hell knows. It was probably a fit of madness brought on by a need for solid motivation and a desire to have an excuse to visit DC. At any rate, the high today is 37 – positively tropical compared to the highs this coming week – so I’m off to bundle up like a marshmallow and attempt my first real winter run. Wish me luck (and the avoidance of hypothermia).

Snowey!

Welcome Home, Mr. President!

It snowed today – our first real snow this winter.  In honor of the expected 1-3 inches (with another 1-3 tonight), there were significant school closures, and I’m sincerely hoping for a snow day tomorrow.  Please compare this with two years ago, when the University closed school for snow for the first time since 1979 due to 18 inches overnight, with another 6 inches accumulating during the work day.  While I do miss true winter weather and find DC winters totally strange, I think that we have maybe just enough winter weather so that I can enjoy it without hating it.

Each season seems to have its own signature moment for me – sometimes there’s a new one each year, sometimes they carry over. One of my signature summer moments was swimming in the river two years ago with Eva – it was an unbearably hot June day, and we waded into the river still in our summer dresses. I floated on my back and looked at the clear summer sky, the sun drying my dress while still in the water. Fall is unexpected days off – sick days, usually – spent curled up in blankets on the couch drinking tea and watching bad TV. I was home sick on 9/11, and I remember watching Sweet November on pay per view just to get away from the constant coverage. A moment from this last winter – sitting in bed at Shawn’s, the two of us wearing his button-down long-sleeved shirts to stay warm despite the piles of blankets, reading in bed, playing on his laptop, and drinking coffee. Springtime – the first weekend it was really, really nice – walking from Shawn’s apartment to Aroma, and eating on the patio in the sunshine – people-watching and loving my new home all over again.

It’s still summer but the unseasonably cold weather has got me thinking about fall, about the changing leaves and apple cider and sweaters and curling up with my boy. I’m thinking about sick days on the couch with a mug of cocoa. I’m thinking about fuzzy tights. I’m almost ready to put my sandals away. The summer heat will come back, but I don’t think I want it to – not yet.