Letting Go

“Run often. Run long.  But never outrun your joy of running.”-Julie Isphording

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I came across that quote on Pinterest the other day and it got me thinking.  Y’all probably remember that I’m training to run the NYC Runs Frozen Penguin Half in March, but I haven’t been posting weekly recaps, so you might not know that I’m not really sticking to my plan.  I’ve skipped at least one run each week…sometimes due to the weather, sometimes due to soreness and sometimes because I just don’t feel like running.  After reading that quote, it hit me.  I’ve outrun my joy of running.  

Running usually invigorates me, but lately I find myself dreading every mile on my plan.  This weekend, I was really anxious about my long run, which was supposed to be 7 miles total: 5 easy and 2 fast to finish.  Saturday was a mess of snow, ice and rain, so I pushed the run to Sunday, but was worried about the ice and slush and was having major doubts about my paces.  Finally, I made a decision to let it all go.  (“Let it gooooo, let it goooo…can’t hold it back anymore!” Sorry…I get carried away!)  If I’m not enjoying running right now, why am I doing it?  I don’t HAVE to run and I’m lucky that I get to run.  So I decided to change my attitude, ditch my run expectations and just hit the trails for some fresh air and Vitamin D.

image7This was such a brilliant decision!  Skies were clear and blue, the sun was out and the wind wasn’t too bad.  I took my YakTrax out for their first ride and just let myself get lost on some snow packed trails, listening to the Wild audio book.   image1 (1)I’ve been thinking about buying YakTrax for awhile now and finally bit the bullet a few weeks ago, knowing I’d be doing all of my running outdoors this winter.  Let me tell you, after just one run in them, I’m sold!  I felt super confident on all the different surfaces the winter trails were throwing at me: slippery ice, fluffy flakes and super dense snow. 
image3 (1)I know people who just add screws to the bottoms of their shoes for the same effect, but I like that I can add these to any shoes and they go on and off easily.  Yaktrax cost around $30, so the screws are definitely your best bet if you want to save money though.  I also just saw a version of these in Marshall’s for around $10 which might be a good idea if you’re thinking of trying them out.

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As for the run, I covered a little more than 6 miles and it was just the therapy I needed.  Isn’t it crazy how some fresh air and endorphins really help to clear your mind?  
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Somewhere along this run, I also made an important decision: I’m quitting my “official” half marathon training.  I plan to continue running 3-ish days a week, including one long run on the weekends, and will definitely run the half marathon on March 7th.  But I’m done stressing myself out over my plan.  I don’t care about paces or PRs, I’m really enjoying CrossFit, and I don’t want to outrun my joy of running anymore.  Happy running only.  Who’s with me?image2 (1)

Your turn: Do you back off running when it’s no longer fun?  Have you tried YakTrax?  Favorite audio book?  

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A Chilly 6 Miles & My Post-Run Rewards

Good morning, y’all.  I realize it’s Tuesday and the weekend is now long gone, but I wanted to share my long run from Saturday with you anyway.  I’m switching things up this training cycle and instead of posting weekly training recaps, I’m going to share some periodic updates and any especially fun/hard/horrible/kick ass workouts as they happen.  Sound good? 

Last Saturday’s long run was one of these hard but amazing workouts.  With a high-temp for the day of 25* and wind chills bringing it down even lower, I debated pushing my 6 miles to Sunday or even not running at all.  Gasp!  

Then I remembered how amazing it feels to be outside in the fresh air…especially in the winter when we don’t get as much sunshine and Vitamin D.  So I bundled myself up, laced up my Asics and set out.  And guess what?  It was glorious.  


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I knew the trail where I usually run would still be snow covered and might have some icy patches, so I had low expectations for my pace.  Coach had given me 6 miles with 4 easy, 1 @ 9:00 pace and 1 easy.  I was nervous about that “fast” (for me) mile on normal ground..forget adding snow and ice into the mix!  So I told myself I’d take it easy and see how it went.  Turns out, after I warmed up and felt more confident in my footing, I was actually able to push the pace for that one fast mile!  Splits were 10:02, 10:42 (icy hill), 10:10, 9:45, 8:58 and 9:58.  Boom.

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All smiles after a cold but sunny run!

 

During most of my run and particularly during the fast mile, I focused on my post-run reward!  You guys know what I’m talking about…the thing that gets you through a run.  The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  For me in the summer, it’s chocolate milk hands down.  I dream of that salty sweet beverage for miles!  In the winter, I think for a lot of runners the post-run reward is a mug of hot coffee, and I definitely reward myself with a big ole cup of hot tea after winter runs.  But I focus on more than just the tea or even a hot shower.  My cold weather running “reward” is actually a moment.  Bear with me if I sound a little crazy, but my reward is the moment (after that hot tea and gloriously hot shower) when I slip into comfy sweats and fresh socks and plop on the couch.  Even if I have somewhere to be, I take just a few minutes to lounge (and let’s be honest…check twitter/IG) and get all warm and comfy.  It’s brilliant.   This moment is what I envision when I’m cold and don’t feel like running anymore.  Sweats and couch for 5 minutes.  Or if I’m lucky like this weekend, a few hours.  😉

Tell me: Do you run outside all winter or retreat to the treadmill?  What’s your post-run reward?  Does it change in winter/summer?

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