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Monday, January 31, 2011

6 mile run ~ in the snow, thanks to YakTrax!

Apparently Mother Nature knew what I needed to do this morning, because after a week of mostly dry weather, we had a storm last night that brought about conditions ideal for me to do my 6 mile run this morning and try out the YakTrax and Little Hotties hand warmers I was given to review!  Normally, if I'd woken up and seen the roads looking like this, I would have headed right for the treadmill, but today I got to run in it!

I don't know how I haven't gotten my hands (or feet into) some of these sooner!  I used the YakTrax Pro, heavy duty traction devices for running on packed snow and ice.  Basically, the rubber part stretches over your running shoes, with a secure fit and a velcro strap that goes across the top of the foot, these things didn't budge!  The metal coils on the bottom criss-cross and (at least on my shoes) fit slightly into the traction grooves on the the soles of the shoes.  I ran 6 miles, and didn't even feel them on me.  I was easily able to run without the worry of slipping, and without any discomfort or pinching.  They were easy to put on, and they actually do work like they say they do: they gave me a great amount of traction in the snow and ice, and with the road conditions as slick as they were, I was seriously impressed with how well they work!

 I would definitely have to give YakTrax a thumbs-up!  I can't even tell you how happy I am to know that I can go running, no matter what the weather, and not sacrifice my training or running gait, etc. or have to worry about slipping and getting injured.  Now I want to get a pair for my husband...hmmm...Valentine's Day is coming up!

Since it was also very cold this morning, I decided to give my Little Hotties hand warmers a try as well.
I am one of those people who always has cold hands, even after running several miles.  I was concerned that these would get too hot, especially once I got into my run, but they were actually great!  They fit right into the palm of the hand and you can tuck them into a pocket, pouch or into your gloves, which is what I did.  I will definitely be using these when I go on my long runs on cold, windy days.  For some reason, just having warmth in your hands makes your whole body feel warmer.

Anyway, these are a couple of things to make life better for those of us living in cold climates who don't want to sacrifice outdoor runs in the winter!  Happy running!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weekend update.

If I really wanted to be a stickler to my schedule, I would have gotten up (early) this morning and run 4 miles before we had to head out of town to take Sophie to her mini-cheerleading camp, and then go to Noah's basketball game.  Today I didn't feel up to being much of a stickler; my legs are still sore and achy from Thursday's long run.  Instead, when we came home from the game, I did 45 minutes on the treadmill.  Tomorrow is a rest day, thank goodness, and then on Monday I have plans to do my 6 mile run in a new location...
You can't see it well from this picture, but there is a road up on this hill, and I plan to run on it so I can try out my YakTrax!  That is, of course, unless we should happen to have a snowstorm between now and Monday morning that leaves a covering of snow on the roads down here in the valley, which is always entirely possible.  In that case, I will run from home and do one of my usual 6 mile routes.  Right now, even though we still have a lot of snow on the ground, the roads are all clear...I just have to go a couple of miles up the mountain, though, and it's a different story...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Long run.

And I do mean long run!  My schedule had me doing a 14 miler today, but somehow my Garmin got messed up and I didn't noticed that the GPS was turned off until I had already gone almost a mile.  Once I got it running properly, it was fine, but by then my distance and time were not accurate for what I had done.  I did an out and back run, turning around at the halfway point, but since I wasn't too sure of the distance, I just estimated and in the end of my run I had actually done just under 15 miles.  It wasn't my intention to extend my run, trust me, but I wanted to be sure to get in at least the 14 miles.  I'm actually just content that I finished the run.  My legs were hurting starting in the first couple of miles.  I was in pain the whole time and had to take frequent walking breaks.  I just tried to minimize the amount of time that I walked, but allowed myself to slow to a walk whenever I felt the need.  I surprised myself with my mental fortitude on this run, because my body definitely did NOT want to run today.  It was rebelling in every way, but I just kept talking to myself, saying any positive thing I could think of to just get me through the run.  Besides my legs aching and my hip hurting, I also have 3 toenails on my left foot that are all on the verge of falling off, and they are giving me a little grief right now.  Oh well, it is done now.  I did 10 minutes of Yoga and I can relax for the rest of the day.

In some fun and exciting news, I was contacted through this here blog by a marketing company to try out some YakTrax products, and I got them today!!  I'm so excited to give them a go on my next run (if the snow and ice are still covering the roads), and I'll be posting my review right here, so check back, friends!  :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

6 miles midweek.

As I drove the kids to school today, I was mindful of the road conditions, hoping it would be decent enough for a run.  The temperature was about 30 degrees, which feels warm considering how cold it has been, but the roads were still covered in a lot of snow, slush and ice, so I decided to do another indoor workout.  After I did 10 minutes on the elliptical to loosen up my hips and knees, I did 6 miles on the treadmill, with some walking at the beginning and end, for a total of about 75 minutes on the treadmill.  After that, I did 35 minutes of Pilates.  Tomorrow I am doing my long run for the week - 14 miles - and I will be doing it out on the road no matter what.  Wish me luck!  :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Back to the "dreadmill" for 8 miles.

I'm so glad I at least got to do my 6 miler yesterday outside, because this morning we woke up to about 8+ inches of new snow.  After doing a few stretches to warm up, I did my 8 miles this morning on the treadmill.  I'm not going to lie, it wasn't my favorite run, but I got it done.  After my run, I continued to walk for a bit to cool down, and by the time I got off the treadmill, I had spent nearly two hours on it.  I just did about 10 minutes of Yoga to stretch after I was finished.

Monday, January 24, 2011

6 miles.

Starting off the new week on the right foot.  I bundled up and headed out for my 6 mile run this morning.  It was about 15 degrees, but the sun was shining brightly and reflecting off the snow, adding a little perceived, if not actual, warmth.  Plus, it just felt so good to soak in some vitamin D!  My run went well and took just a little over an hour.  I felt pretty good for most of it, even surprisingly strong coming up a huge hill on the way back.  At around mile 4.5, my hip started to pinch and it was hurting me for the rest of my run, but I just slowed my pace a little, and did 40 minutes of Yoga when I got home.  I took some ibuprofen also, and I'll probably spend some quality time with the ice pack today, but it felt so good to get out and run!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A little of this and that.

Saturdays are busy for us.  I think it's going to become something a bit regular for me to need to put my long run on a different day of the week.  My schedule had me doing a 6 miler today, but I'm trying to "rest" my hip/leg that is bothering me, so I did something a little easier, and I had to fit it into my busy morning before taking the family to the boys' basketball games.  I got up a bit early, and started out with 45 minutes of walking on the treadmill.  Then I did 45 minutes on the elliptical.  When I do the elliptical, my leg doesn't bother me, so it's a good thing for me to do.  This afternoon when we came back from basketball I was feeling a little restless, so I jumped on the treadmill and did 20 minutes of jogging, then 20 minutes again on the elliptical.

Starting next week I will be starting to make some decent mileage increases, so the past few days I've been mentally preparing myself to feel motivated to get outside for all of my runs.  It's going to be important for me psychologically to do all of my runs according to my schedule from here on out if I'm going to feel prepared for the marathon in May.  I've kind of got this Catch 22 thing going on: I've been feeling a little blah lately, with the cold, gloomy weather and the problems I'm having with pain in my hip, etc., which has kept me from consistently running outside, but the dumb thing is that I know I would feel better if I could just get out there and do it.  For some reason, no matter how long or hard I work out indoors, be it using the treadmill, the elliptical or doing Yoga or Pilates, I don't have the same sense of accomplishment when I'm finished as I do when I come home after a good run on the road.  I need some new motivation.  I think tonight or tomorrow I will spend some time finding some new music for my mp3 player, and looking online for some (very) cheap new running clothes.  That should help.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday workout.

This morning is a crosstraining/rest day.  I decided to do a little time on the treadmill, mainly because I wasn't feeling too motivated to do much else.  I did a walk/run thing for about 65 minutes, then I did 15 minutes on the elliptical and 15 minutes of Yoga.  I'm glad tomorrow is a new day.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another 4.

I warned you this week would be a little boring.  This morning I did another 4 miler indoors.  I actually did a total of 75 minutes on the treadmill, running 4 miles of that and walking the rest.  I was working my way through 2 episodes of Lost.  ;)  After my run, I did 45 minutes of Yoga, and now I'm icing the back of my knee on the side of my hurt hip.  I wore my IT band/knee brace while running today, and it seemed to help because my hip was barely bothering me.  I'm icing because I'm trying to encourage healing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

4 miles.

By yesterday afternoon, a lot of the snow on the ground had melted away and the roads were looking very clear.  But....last night a big winter storm moved in and we woke up to a fresh 3 or 4 inches of snow on the ground, and still it's coming down.  On my training agenda for this morning was a 4 mile run, which I opted to do on the treadmill.  I did some walking to warm up and cool down.  The run was okay, but my hip pain is back today with a vengeance.  I'm really hoping that the reduction in mileage this week will help, because starting next week I face three tough weeks with major mileage increases.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


This morning I began my cross-training workout with 30 minutes on the elliptical.  After that, I moved to walking for 1 hour on the treadmill.  For the first 30 minutes, I held 5 pound hand weights in each hand, and on the next 30 minutes I wore 5 pound ankle weights.  I've been realizing lately that my strength training has been pretty limited, typically to the use of Pilates or Yoga, so I've decided to start using the hand and ankle weights more regularly.  After the hour on the treadmill, I did 45 minutes of Yoga.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Recovery week.

From what I've read, it's during recovery that your body makes it's physiological gains from all the work you've put in during the harder training.   So this week I get to make gains!  I will still be running and cross-training, but just less in quantity and intensity.  This morning I did 10 minutes of Yoga before heading out for a 4 mile run.  I went to the park again because the running path is clear, and the roads are very muddy and slushy right now.  My legs felt like lead today and I really had to force myself to run the whole time; it felt like I was seriously dragging.  Sometimes it's these runs when I feel the worst physically and have the hardest time with that I feel the most proud of myself afterwards, just knowing that I did it and didn't allow myself to be weak or give up.  When I got home, I did 45 minutes of Yoga to stretch and relax.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Something different.

Today on the schedule was a four mile run, which I had switched from Thursday in order to fit in my long run earlier in the week.  Unfortunately I had to get up early to get ready to take the boys to their basketball games and it was too dark to go running.  So, instead I did 40 minutes on the elliptical this morning, then this afternoon when we got home, I geared up and went for my run.  The roads were a wet, slushy mess and my shoes, socks and feet were soaked when I was done, but the balmy 40 degree temperatures made up for it.  It seemed kind of weird to run in the middle of the day, but it felt good to get it done.  My hip is only minimally bothering me today.  I think having yesterday as a running rest day helped, although I did do 45 minutes on the elliptical yesterday also.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

12 long miles.

Normally I would do my long run on Saturday, but when I learned that my boys have their basketball games starting early on Saturday, I had to switch up my schedule a little bit.  So that meant today I needed to do my long run of 12 miles.  Starting out I was optimistic; the thermometer read 28 degrees - what the...?  Awesome, I thought, until I got to the windy area again.  I chugged through the first 7 miles without too much trouble, other than my hip is really hurting me.  But then I came to a point in my route where the road is not maintained well and for about 4 miles I was slipping and sliding and trying my best to run in about 4 inches of slushy snow.  I mean, there was no where for me to go to even find a little gravel or a couple of inches of pavement for me to run on.  At one point a huge snow plow was coming my direction and I thought I was for sure going to take a hit or have to dive into the snowbank to the left of me.  Luckily, the driver saw me in time and with no cars coming the other way he was able to move over for me....I gave him a big wave.

Anyway, I made it the whole 12 miles, but my hip is throbbing right now.  I am so glad today is a rest day, and then one more short run this week before I get to enjoy a recovery week.  Yep, my schedule for next week includes just three 4 mile runs and a 6 miler.  I hope it helps.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

6 miles.

Well, it was a whole 18 degrees this morning, so I figured that was tolerable enough for a run.  Unfortunately the roads are still completely snow and ice covered, so I headed to the park where the city workers have been kind enough to keep the track plowed.  My 6 mile run took me just over an hour, and it was fun to be outside.  My hip was bothering me quite a bit after a couple of miles, but I just pushed through it.  Last night I did do an additional 40 minutes on the treadmill, and I'm thinking that may be why my hip hurt.  I did 15 minutes of Yoga after my run this morning, and I'm hoping to get in a little Pilates later today.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Run for time.

This morning I did 80 minutes of jogging on the treadmill.  I say "jogging" because I didn't focus on my speed at all and just did a pace that felt comfortable - slow.  :)  I was feeling tired and heavy in my legs, so I just did what I could and didn't worry about how far I did, mileage wise.  Normally, if I were running on the road, 80 minutes would get me about 7 or 8 miles.  Today is one of the days I would usually double up on my workouts, so tonight after dinner I will do another treadmill run, and hopefully by then I will be feeling a little more energetic.  I also did just 10 minutes of Yoga to stretch when I finished on the treadmill.

Monday, January 10, 2011

7 miles.

Back to the treadmill this morning, but at least I had a beautiful view through the windows of the snow falling while I worked out!  I spent 90 minutes total on the treadmill, with a warm up and cool down period at the beginning and end, and intervals in between going from 4.0 mph to 6.0 mph.  The total mileage I did ended up being roughly 7 miles, with the speed fluctuations.  After I finished on the treadmill, I did 20 minutes of Yoga.  My legs have been sore and tight ever since my 10 mile run on Saturday, which I attribute to the fact that I did that run outside after being resigned to the treadmill for a week.  I'm hoping that I can toughen up and get in at least one of my runs a week outside while the weather continues this way.  Most likely it will end up being my longest run of the week, but I may try to do one other run on the road, too.  We'll see how it goes...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

10 Miles ~ on the road!!

Well, I finally got my butt out the door for my run.  I had to sneak out early this morning, before my husband tried to talk me out of it.  He's worried about me getting hit by a car because the roads are still icy, slick and messy.  It actually wasn't too bad, though a bit slippery at times and still snowing.  I felt really good on the first half, with the wind at my back and my legs and lungs feeling strong.  I had bundled up, since it was pretty cold out there, and I was fine until I turned at 5 miles to double back and then had the wind in my face.  I pushed through it this time, and only stopped to walk for a few minutes at around 7.5 miles when I hit a big hill and my legs were really feeling the strain.  Then I started running again and made it all the way home.  Even though I feel a bit like crap right now physically, I am loving the boost of confidence and mental energy my run outside has given me today!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

4 miles.

This morning I did a 4 mile run on the treadmill.  When I finished, I also did 20 minutes of Yoga.  I'm hoping to get outside for short run, maybe 2 or 3 miles, this afternoon after the day is warmed up a little and before my husband leaves for work.  We'll see if that happens.  I really just want to get my "sea legs" back, so to speak, and feel what it's like to run outside again, but the mornings are just too darn cold!!  Otherwise I may end up back on the treadmill for a walk this evening.  I've been "doubling up" on about 3 days a week, doing some form of workout in the evenings, either Yoga, Pilates, walking or jogging on the treadmill for about an hour or so.  I want to be in really good shape when spring comes...:)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

7 miles.

Well, the temperatures have warmed up a bit, but the roads are still super icy, so I opted once again for a treadmill workout.  I did a little over 7 miles in total, and I used some of my time to do speed intervals, pushing the speed up and down between 5.0mph and 6.0 mph for about 2 minutes at a time for 6 or 7 repetitions.  Geesh, that is a good workout!  I don't know why, but when I run at 6.0 mph on the treadmill, it feels like I'm sprinting.  I think it has something to do with the fact that my legs are short anyway, and when I'm on the treadmill I tend to shorten my stride a lot from how I run on the road.  I also think that may be contributing to my hamstring issues lately.  I'm really hoping that using the treadmill in this way will help me when I'm able to get back out on the road.  The last time I did 6 miles outside, I averaged 10 minute miles for the whole run, which is fast for me - a huge improvement - and I attribute it to my speed intervals on the treadmill.  It doesn't feel like I'm going as fast when I'm running outside, because there is such a variance in pace as you run up and down hills, etc.  Anyway, I'm being realistic in realizing that spring-like weather is a long way off, and I might as well use the treadmill to train to the best of my ability, even though it's so not the same as running outside!
After I finished my run, I did 10 minutes of Yoga for stretching and relaxation.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back in the game, for 8 miles.

I feel better today, at least my stomach feels better.  I'm still tired and a little lethargic since I didn't eat much yesterday and couldn't hold anything down if I did.  At any rate I felt well enough this morning to do my run as scheduled.  I used the treadmill again, and did 8 miles.  It felt like a looonnggg run.  I am seriously looking forward some "warmer" temperatures that have been predicted for later this week.  I'd much rather run on the road.  For now, I need to go fuel my body, before I pass out. ;)

Monday, January 3, 2011

The best laid plans of mice and men...

Well, so much for starting the new year and my new schedule off with a bang.  I woke up this morning with the danged stomach flu.  I guess I knew it was probably coming; my kids have all had it several times in cycles over the past couple of months.  I'm ready to be done with it though.  Yuck.  I'm lying in bed right now, feeling grateful that I have plenty of time to train appropriately for my May marathon.  (In all honesty, I wasn't particularly excited about doing a 6 miler on the treadmill this morning anyway...it was -1 this morning, not exactly ideal running temperatures.)

Tomorrow is a new day and I really hope I'm feeling better soon, 'cause this is awful.  At least my husband is home from work to help with the youngest and the three older kids are back in school, so I should be able to get enough rest.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's still too cold for me today.  I started out doing 30 minutes of Yoga, still working on stretching out my hamstrings.  Then I did 40 minutes on the treadmill, doing a walk/run alternating.  Tomorrow I will get to rest, and on Monday I am officially starting my "new and improved" marathon training schedule.