Thursday, February 21, 2013

Too much Treadmill

I haven't run outside in 7 days.

And there is a good reason for that. Well a few good reasons.

First, my best friend and best running buddy is pregnant!  She is about 16 weeks along and she has found that running on the treadmill works better for her.  So in order for us to "run together" I have been visiting the treadmill a bit more often so we can chat while we run.

Best friends and running buddies for life! (Pregnancy photo!)
Second, the weather has been horrible this week.  I refuse to run in winds greater than 20 mph. Combine that with snow and I will definitely not be going outside for a 5am run. 

Beautiful but not the best run conditions
So the treadmill and I have become pretty good friends in the last week.  It has been six days with 46+ miles of treadmill runs and my quads are ready for a break. 

Every winter I hear many other runners complain about how they hate the treadmill and how hard it is to run on it.  And I wouldn't disagree - the treadmill is tough and boring.  But when the roads get snowy or icy and the conditions become dangerous that I worry about getting hit by a car, I prefer to be on the treadmill.  Running on the treadmill is the safer option and is less stressful because then I don't have to worry about dodging cars or losing my footing in the snow.

The gym I belong to that has the treadmills also has TVs in front of each treadmill and I think that is one reason I can stand to run so long.  Having the TV really distracts me from focusing on watching the tenths of miles tick by.  Also having a buddy to talk to while on the treadmill makes the time fly by as well.  Without at least one of these distractions I don't think I would last long on the treadmill. 

Running on the treadmill really is a mental battle. Just like in a race, you have to have your head in the game when running on the treadmill in order to meet your goal. If you go into a treadmill thinking "this is going to be horrible" then it most likely will.  Instead if you think "this isn't ideal, but at least I get to run today" then I bet the treadmill run would go a lot better. Its all about your outlook.  And a treadmill run is still a run and at least you got to run today.

I really do love winter running but sometimes for my safety (and to keep Brian from worrying) I head to the treadmill.  At least for now the weather looks good for the next week so I think I can do most of my runs outside and avoid the treadmill for a while.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Catching a Sunrise

It isn't often that I actually catch a sunrise while running. Most of the time it is while I am in the car driving to work. 

And taking pictures while driving is possibly the hardest thing ever.

But we are slowly entering the time when the sun will actually start to dawn while I am out running during the 5am hour. And I can't wait. 

I don't often run with my camera and so I end up regretting not having it more often than not when the sky slowly transforms from darkness to color.  But this year I have decided to try and run with my camera more often in order to catch the perfect sunrises.

The area around my house is very hilly which on some mornings when I am feeling tired, the hills can be torturous.  But on occasion as I set out in the darkness at 5am, I steadily climb the hills to reach the top and see the dawn peaking just above the horizon. And it breath taking.  Out on the empty (semi) country roads, at the very top of a giant hill I can see out above the city and see the sun rising.

It feels like forever since I have actually caught a sunrise while running.  Soon enough it will be that time of year again.

Meanwhile, I will just catch the sunrise on the my drive into work.  Currently the sunrise is 7:02am which means that dawn is happening as I am driving and it is gorgeous to watch.  This morning especially - the sky was just barely blue with a tinge of red as I left my house, but by the time I has driven 10 minutes, the sky was ablaze with red and orange.  And then by the time I had gotten to work (another 10 minutes), the sky had turned a warm orange.

Red in the morning, Sailors take warning.

And then it started raining an hour later.  Guess the weather lore was correct today. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

A messy morning

Do you ever have a morning or even a full day where bad things just keep happening and it seems like a sign that you should have stayed home that day?

Well that seems to be the kind of day I am having today.

When I woke up at 5:30am this morning, my first thought was "I don't want to go to spin class and I don't want to go to work, I just wanted to stay home today."  But that is a usual thought in my head when my alarm goes off early.

After gorging myself with delicious Italian food (and lots of bread) at last night Valentine's Day dinner, I knew staying in bed would not make me happy so I got up and headed to the gym.  This is when all the trouble began.

As I was pulling out of my driveway, I realized I had left my breakfast in the fridge. I stopped the car, jumped out and went back in the house to grab my hard boiled eggs from the fridge.

As I was driving down my road, I realized I had forgotten my cosmetic bag in the house. I turned the car around and went back and got it.

When I finally reached spin class at the gym, I found out that my friend who usually joins me for spinning wasn't coming to class today.

Half way through spin class, it dawned on me that I had forgotten to pack a belt for my pants.

After I picked up coffee from Tim Horton's for my coworker and myself, I managed to spill said coffee not once, but TWICE and run over a curb while trying to save said coffee.

Once I arrived at my office and started reading my emails, I found out that my co-worker on my project wasn't coming in today due to the brakes going out on her car.

As I went to my 9am meeting at a different building, I couldn't find a parking spot in the usual "inter-plant parking area" and had to park at the very back of the regular parking lot.

Any one of these alone doesn't seem so bad but when they all componded together I just did not have a good morning.  Thankfully that was where the problems ended and the rest of the day has been uneventful. In fact, I found a little surprise in my pocket which really brightened my day - a leftover jolly rancher my friend had given me the last time I wore my jeans.

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Giving up Facebook

 This is just a mini peak into my life outside of running....

Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school from grade 7 through 12 and even though I haven't always been big on giving something up for Lent, I thought this year might be a time for a change.

2013 seems to be the year of doing things differently.  Most years I have started off by training for a race but not this year.  Most years I have tried to plan my way through each week and month but not this year.

I am trying to get my Type A personality to take a back seat and be more flexible.  Over the weekend as I thought about the season of Lent and preparing for Easter, I decided that I needed to make some more changes in my life.  

First off, I know that I spend way too much time on Facebook.  Usually when I am bored I tend to pull out my phone and open the Facebook app.  I don't even post that much on Facebook, I just scroll through the news feed and read everyone else's random posts as something to fill the time.  I do not need to be checking that 1500 times a day.  When I stopped and thought about it, I knew I could be spending my time more wisely.  Like reading a book or printing out pictures from my wedding which I haven't done yet (opps) or writing blog posts. So I decided I needed to limit my Facebook viewing time and eventually try to give it up as much as possible.

Of course giving up Facebook is easier said than done.  I started on Monday to limit myself from checking Facebook mindlessly and found that the first step to making this successful was to log out of the app on my phone. (I feel like deleting the app would have provided a similar result but I wasn't ready for that drastic of a step).  This helped so much that I managed to only check Facebook once that day while I was at home.  Tuesday was very similar; not having immediate access on my phone helped me to only view Facebook once.  Today I am trying to stay away from Facebook all together.

So far this seems to be working out well for me. In fact, I actually got more done Monday and Tuesday night at home than usual.  I just felt more productive and I am sure Brian appreciated having all his white clothes washed.  

Besides limiting my Facebook, I also decided to give up wine.  In fact this was a new years' resolution for me too, but I broke that last weekend.  Every time I have wine I end up having stomach issues the next morning.  Better to not drink it at all so I am recommitting myself to that.

The third thing I decided to change in my life was trying to be more flexible. Like I said I have a type A personality that sometimes gets in the way of me being spontaneous and fun.  I am going to work on being more flexible with my schedule (especially since I am not training for any races).

They say it takes 21 days to break/form a new habit and Lent is 40 days long.  We will see how this goes!

How much time do you spend on Facebook? Would it be hard for you to give it up?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Winter Wear + Summer Giveaway

I have received a few questions about what gloves I wear while running since I do have Raynaud's and keeping my hands warm while running is a priority.

As long as I wear appropriate gloves for the weather, I don't have a problem.  It is usually the cold steering wheel that I touch post run to drive home (without gloves on) that causes the problem.

To keep my hands from getting cold while running I wear a pair of old Woolrich gloves I took from my mom's house over 4 years ago.  These gloves have been with me for a long time and they really are great.  They are thick but not too bulky and are the glove/mitten combo which really helps me to be able to start and stop my watch easily without taking off my gloves.

These gloves have to be at least 7 years old and I am not sure where my mom got them but they were most likely a pair that she used often to cross country ski or snowshoe or walk during the winter.  I am just thankful she let me keep them!

I do have a MANY other pairs of gloves that I rotate through and wear thicker or lighter gloves depending on the weather.  For any weather below 40F, I will wear my thicker Woolrich gloves or the two other pairs of thicker winter gloves I have.  I ONLY wear my woolrich gloves for long runs in the winter, otherwise my hands will freeze since I am usually out for at least 1.5 to 2 hours.  (Referring to the gloves pictured below in the back row, and the pair on the right in the first row.

For runs when its warmer but not quite warm enough to go glove-less, I wear the two different pairs in the first row (left and middle). These are very light gloves and often do not help to keep my fingers warm.  I ONLY wear those two pairs of gloves when the temperature is between 40F and 55F.   I also had a pair of Nike gloves but I seemed to have misplaced one glove so I haven't been able to wear them.  I can usually stand to run glove-less when the temperature is above 55F, but sometimes it doesn't matter and my hands get cold.

It is a slightly complicated system.  I always try to air on the side of caution and over dress my hands.  This way my hands will be warm and I won't have a problem.  My hands do sweat when I run with gloves so I either have to wash the gloves or let them dry before my next run.  That is another reason I have multiple pairs - in case one isn't dry from the previous days run.

There you have it - my slightly complicated winter running glove situation! 

And now on to the giveaway!

Albion Fit which offers Women's workout clothing and swimwear contacted me a few weeks ago and wanted to do a giveaway for my readers!  Since I bet a lot of you are sick of winter already, let's start to think about summer and all the cute clothes that come with it.  I had never heard of Albion before this so I was excited to check them out.  Their website has so many colorful and fun clothes plus swimsuits!

I am always searching for cute, colorful workout clothes and I really think Albion has some great options. A locally, family owned company based in Utah, Albion is committed to the environment by striving to make a green manufacturing facility and recycling plant waste by using earth friendly materials in their products. The garments that Albion makes and sells are fashionable but also practical.  They are committed to offering fitness clothes that are not only high performance but also high style which works for me.  Who doesn't love to be comfortable in your workout clothes but also look pretty awesome?! I know my husband Brian is always trying to get me to wear cuter workout clothes and my birthday is coming up, so maybe I should drop some hints to him :-)

One lucky WINNER will have a chance to win the Love Racer from Albion Fit! 

How To Enter

For a chance to win one of Albion Fit's Love Racer in any color, you must "like" Albion Fit on facebook.  Then visit Albion Fit's website and pick out your favorite piece of clothing.  Come back here and leave me a comment telling me your favorite!

Bonus Entries - Leave a comment for each

1. Like Morning Runner on facebook
2. Follow Albion Fit on Pinterest
3. Tell me what you are most looking forward to this summer!

And if you would like to buy anything from Albion, receive $15 off purchases of $50 or more when you use the code morningrunner15 (expires on 2/26/13).

Giveaway is provided by Albion Fit and will end Saturday February 10th, 2013, open to all U.S. residents over 18 years and older. Winner will be chosen at random and contacted through email.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Race fees

Over the past two or three years I have consistently run about 10 races each year.  For me it seems like that is the perfect amount to keep me busy with training and also add in a few fun 5k races.

In 2010 I only ran a fall half marathon along with the Boilermaker 15k and a bunch of small 5k races.

In 2011 I ran a spring half marathon, didn't race during the summer since it was too hot (and I had had bad experience with racing in the heat previously), and then ran a fall 15k race.  Additionally I ran a few 5ks and also a 10k race.

In 2012 I ran a spring half marathon and then a spring marathon.  I didn't race much over the summer except for the Boilermaker 15k.  In the fall I ran a half marathon followed by three 5k races.

My city has a pretty good variety of races so the majority of the time I race very close to home.  The farthest I have ever traveled for a race is the Boilermaker 15k which is within 3 hours of my house. I enjoy sleeping in my own bed the night before a race and going through my normal routine on race morning.

Besides having races close to home, I really enjoy running races that don't cost too much.  I haven't run a big half marathon or full marathon yet and I have hard they are great, but for right now I prefer to stay close to home.  Running the same races every year can get boring but so far there have been enough options close to my home to keep my training fun and exciting.

Last year even with the marathon I kept my race fees fairly low.  In total I spent about $315 dollars on races.  When signing up one race at a time, it doesn't seem like much but the costs do add up.  I am really a saver at heart so its hard for me to spend a lot of money.  In fact, one of my ten races was free last year because it was for my college reunion.

Race fees in 2012
Spring half marathon = 50 dollars
Spring marathon = 70 dollars
Fall half marathon = 60 dollars

For my marathon, I signed up on Decemebr 31st, 2011 even though I didn't know if I would be able to run the marathon since I was still making my comeback from my strained psoas and knee pain.  The only reason I signed up so early was to avoid the fee increase of 5 dollars.

That's the most I have paid for races.  My marathon was the most expensive so far.  I think it would be really hard for me to spend over 100 dollars on a race.  I have a hard enough time spending that on shoes.

Thankfully, most of my 5k races are pretty cheap, ranging from 15 to 25 dollars. Running most of my races locally is also a really nice way to give back to community.  I try to run races that has the money go back to support businesses, charities and running clubs in the area.

How much are you willing to spend in races??