Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Countdown to Running at Disney: Cold weather training sucks and other thoughts

From my running blog on Wordpress Run Kimmy, Run.  http://runkimmyrun.wordpress.com/ Posted on Sunday, 12/15. 
 26 days.  Just 26 more days until I run my first official half-marathon!  Holy crap, it seemed so far away 10 months ago.
To say I am excited is a bit of an understatement.  I'm not sure if I'm more excited about the prospect of accomplishing this goal I set for myself less than a year ago, the mini race-cation without my kids but instead, with the girls, or the promise of Florida being warm and sunny.  And by warm, right now I'd take 50 degrees as balmy!
I've printed my race waiver.  I have my bib number and corral placement.  We have our magic bands and ADR's!  We have our fast passes!  It's coming!! Yay!
believe 13.1
Since it's crunch time for training, there is little wiggle room for missing or rescheduling runs, especially the long runs.  The past few weeks of training have been a challenge thanks to Mother Nature, work and the kids' schedules.  Living in New England, there is always the fact it gets cold in December.   I hate the cold.  I'd never choose to run in less than 35-40 degree weather unless I had to and preferably 45-65 as my ideal range. This year it has been downright frigid and unusually wet in December and mostly on the weekends when the long runs must happen!  Add to it the limited daylight and now, the snow and ice, and running outdoors becomes a colossal challenge and not at all fun!
My last two long runs (every other week) have been 11 and 13.1 miles.  The 11 miler was on a Sunday when it was in the upper 20's to low 30's but raining.  I was dressed appropriately and had to run on a major local road.  It was icy in the morning so I delayed my run as long as I could and still be able to finish before dark.  There were a few slick spots when I did venture out early afternoon, but the worst of it was the rain that returned in earnest about half way through my run (and was not supposed to happen!)  Once I got wet, I got really cold, even while running.  My muscles got tighter and my pace slowed.  I was miserable.  I also had a ridiculous number of technological issues that run that added to my frustration.  Runkeeper kept stopping.  My interval timer was not working.  My music kept stopping.  My son called me THREE times about nothing important.  I so wanted to just quit.  But I didn't.  I came home and rewarded myself with a long, hot bath!   Thanks to other weather and life complications, I only ran twice that week.
My 13.1 run was scheduled for today.  However we had a snowstorm last night so I moved it to Friday since I was off.  This meant I missed my short run on Thursday since I can't run on consecutive days.   It was 19 degrees with a wind chill in the lower teens and the sun was in and out when I went out about noon.  I was dressed appropriately for the cold complete with hat with ear flaps, neck gaiter, and fleece gloves.  I wore a fleece jacket over my fleece lined half-zip and running tank (wicking) and got too hot after about 1.5 miles so I tied that around my waist.  In retrospect, one more light layer under the half-zip would have been ideal because the return trip into the wind was a bit chillier but not cold enough for the fleece jacket.  I ran a hillier route and I really felt it by the end.  I normally run in hilly terrain, but again, I've barely gotten in 2 runs a week as of late.  The first 5.5 miles were with a tailwind.  Which meant the rest of them were with a very cold and increasing headwind.  That sucked.  The sun disappeared and flurries began.  By mile 10 my face and hands were cold and stiff even with the gear I had on.  I could feel my pace slowing and my muscles not wanting to work right.  I struggled to get my sport beans out of the bag and into my mouth!  My water was really, really cold!  My clif shots were difficult to manage they were so thick and cold.  As soon as I stopped running at the end it was really, really cold and I put my fleece on.  It barely helped!  The half mile cool down walk back to my car was really cold!  I was hobbling a bit, realizing my SI joint and hip on the right were out of alignment.  The shoulder was icy in spots and I had to alter my stride and cadence a lot throughout the run.  It really impacted my muscles.  Given how I felt, I realized I was not only cold,  tight and injured, but I was also not properly fueled for this run.  Something I've struggled with all along.  A hot shower, some self-massage and stretching and SI mobilization (being a PT has it's benefits) as well as a professional sports massage the next day and an Advil or two, I feel much better now.
Of course now there are 9 inches of snow on the ground and no shoulder to run on safely on my chosen long run roads.  And no, I can't run on a treadmill or around a track like a mouse in a wheel.  I'd lose my mind.
With one more long training run to go, currently scheduled for 12/29 for 14 miles, while I hope for warmer and drier weather, a clear and ice free shoulder to run on and finally getting pre-run fueling right, I know the following:
  1. No matter how cold it is the day of the Disney Half Marathon, no matter how wet it may be, it will be warmer than this last 13.1 I did and since I did that, I can deal with whatever weather Florida has for me on 1/11/14!  (Note to Mother Nature:  I'd sure prefer clear and 50 ish at race start though!)
  2. I've now run 13+ miles 3 times in my life.  None of them were easy, but 5K wasn't easy 2 years ago, either.  One more time is on the docket before I do it for realz.  I know I can do it!
  3. I've given birth to 3 babies, including a set of twins (one breech), all un-medicated.  I buried my 3 year-old daughter 3 days before Christmas (another thing that makes running at this time of year a colossal challenge just from a motivation standpoint alone).  If I can do those things, I can surely run 13.1 in any circumstances.
  4. I am running as Tink.  For my daughter Meggie.  She loved Tink!  She is my inspiration. She is my source of strength.  She'll be with me then and now.  I can do it.
  5. It's Disney!  I'm going to run the WDW Half-Marathon!  It won't be for a P.R.  It will be for me.  For fun.  For Meg.
As for right now.  I'm hoping for a little snow melt on my neighborhood roads so I can go run 5K today. Wish me luck!

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