Tag Archives: RWRunStreak

Day 35 of Holiday Run Streak – Happy New Year & 5 Things I Learned from the Run Streak

Jan 1st, 2014 Run via Instaweather

Pleasant weather for the last day of the Holiday Run Streak.

Happy first day of 2014 and happy last day of the Holiday Run Streak!!!  I managed to run at least one mile every day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.  Here are 5 things I learned.

 

  1. It’s not so bad running in cold weather.  With the proper gear, I learned that even 9 miles in 20-degree snow is totally do-able.  The hardest thing to run on is ice, and I still don’t have a great solution to that, but usually you can find some surface without ice (grass or city sidewalks) for a short outdoor winter run.
  2. It’s probably easier to do a run streak in cold weather than hot.  Since this is my first Run Streak, I can’t speak to streaking in the summer, but I do know it’s a lot easier and quicker to pull on tights and a jacket than it is to slather on sunblock, plus in cold weather you don’t (necessarily) come home drenched in sweat, and you can run any time of day without fear of heatstroke.
  3. Even on busy days, it’s possible to squeeze in a 12 minute run.  I definitely abused the 1-mile minimum, only running more than 1 mile on 2 days out of 35, but that was mostly because of my knee pain, not because of time.  However, even on days where I was travelling for 12 hours, I managed to squeeze in that 1 mile.
  4. On short runs, gear & route matter less and less.  I used to religiously apply anti-chafe on my feet before every run, but now I haven’t used it for a month.  I ran in eyeglasses for the first (few) times, and even though it made my eyes water, for one mile it was fine.  I’ve run in terrible tights that sag with every step and socks so thin you could almost see through them, but it didn’t matter because it was only for 12 minutes.  Concrete sidewalks and even waiting for lights at intersections aren’t so bad for a short run.  As a gear junkie and Central Park devotee, this was actually an eye-opener for me.  The best part of the Run Streak is that it’s made me less rigid about both gear and route.  I hope to hold onto this simplification of running into the future.
  5. You can be really lazy even running every day.  I started this challenge because I thought it would get me running more during the yucky winter weather and the busy holiday season.  I also thought I’d learn something (as you almost always do when you try new things), and I thought I might improve my fitness and reduce my procrastination habit.  Well, I certainly learned things, but one of the things I learned was that I can be incredibly lazy even when I run every day.  I still procrastinated my runs, and since I only ran one mile each day, I probably ran fewer miles than I would have had I not done the streak and stuck to my “standard” training of a couple 3-mile runs plus one longer run per week.  I also totally dropped any and all cross-training, and haven’t done a push-up or plank since before Thanksgiving.  I also almost entirely stopped warming up before running, and I don’t stretch after anymore, either.  I’m pretty sure I’m less fit now than I was before Thanksgiving, but I might have gotten less fit regardless of attempting the streak, anyway.  Either way, ending the streak means I’m going to have to pay more attention to my training and belatedly get ready for my next marathon (only 8 weeks away!).

 

Cool bird I saw on my run this morning.

Cool bird I saw on my run this morning.  I’m no birder, so “cool bird” is as species-specific as I can get.

I was more than ready for the end of my first ever RWRunStreak, since I was still just knocking out the one mile and my knee is still acting up, plus I felt I wasn’t getting as much out of it as I was in the beginning.  But now that it’s over, I’m sure I’ll miss it just a tiny bit.  Does that mean I’ll be out running this Thursday or Friday when a big snowstorm is expected?  No way.  I will happily sit on my couch and figure out how I’m going to go back to “normal” running of more than one mile.

 

Are you happy your RWRunStreak is finished?  What does the New Year hold in store for you?  Have you seen the Perfect Bacon Bowl ad?  (I couldn’t look away.)  Share in the comments!

Day 25 of Holiday Run Streak – Whistler While You Run

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The closest I’ll ever get to the Olympics.

I’ve crossed the border into Canada, and am currently enjoying beautiful Whistler, BC. My knee, however, is not enjoying it back. Today was the one day I was going to go snowboarding (after I don’t know how many years of not snowboarding), but my joints had other plans.

 

I’ve been faithfully putting in my one mile every morning, despite some knee pain returning over the past several days, and despite a travel schedule that includes early breakfasts and a lot of driving. Today was no different, except that after my (slightly painful) mile on the treadmill, I was going to go check out the awesome Canadian mountain on a snowboard.

 

I got all layered up (wool tights under fleece tights under snow pants, with two long-sleeved running tops under three jackets, plus gloves, goggles, neck gaiter, hat), went through the rental process (boots, board, and helmet for $68), and schlepped myself and my gear to the lift ticket kiosk (one adult for one day $114), to stand in line for the gondola to the top of the mountain. At this point, my knee was already screaming from the boots and the awkward knee-bending stance they give you, and even my good knee got tweaked while walking across the parking lot. Then, it started to rain.

 

I knew the rain in the village was snow on top of the mountain, which meant the conditions were probably awesome, but at the moment I was sweaty, in pain, and waiting in a line that made the TSA lines look like a foot race. After 20 minutes of waiting to get halfway through the line, during which I gave myself endless pep talks that weren’t working, I flexed my knees and went through some of the typical snowboard motions. Nope nope nope. Not happening. I ducked under the metal barrier and sat on the curb. Sunk cost? Should I wait it out and try again later? Should I try a short run off a smaller lift to see how it goes? Should I just try to return everything and skip my one shot at skiing Whistler?

 

I asked myself, how would I feel if I inured my knees, not even so badly as to need surgery, but just enough to take me out of commission for a couple months. That’s when I finally pulled the plug and went back to the rental shop. I explained that my knee was in too much pain to even try boarding and they were nice enough to give me a full refund (it helped that I walked out of the shop seemingly only moments before, and I had obviously not used the gear). I then went to guest services to see if I could get a refund on the lift ticket (not thinking it was likely) but lo and behold, they could tell I never even scanned my ticket (yay technology!), so I got a full refund on that, too.

 

I’m disappointed I couldn’t go snowboarding today, but after squeezing into all my layers and heavy boots, sweating into those heavy layers, (almost) spending a lot of money, waiting in a long line while inching a heavy, sharp-edged board forward, and then returning everything, I feel like I got an authentic ski experience anyway. Plus, I had newfound time to wander the village shops and buy some foreign candy bars I hadn’t yet tried.

 

Eat More Wunderbar Coffee Crisp Cadbury chocolates

I like the instruction on the first candy bar. PS The Wunderbar was delicious.

Crossing my fingers my knee(s) will feel better tomorrow. I did walk a lot today, and it didn’t feel great, but I’m also icing it for the first time since New York, so I hope that helps. I’m so close to the end of this Run Streak I can taste it. And it tastes like a foreign candy bar.

 

How’s your streak going? Have you ever skied Whistler? Want to tell me what I missed? Share in the comments!

Day 22 of Holiday Run Streak – On the Road Again

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Hello Panda, with new sports printing!

The holiday season is in full swing and I’m still eking out my mile per day.  Earlier this week I went on a couple of icy runs in the city, during which I carefully jogged and then even more carefully walked every time I came to an icy patch on the sidewalk.  I looked like that character from that movie who runs down the school hallway and then casually walks past the classroom windows (the names of both the character and the movie escape me, and Googling yields no answers).  Luckily, I never fell during these sidewalk jaunts, but they were the lamest runs ever.  I didn’t think I could make running only one mile even more ridiculous, but trying to run over intermittent patches of black ice and slush while trying to neither fall down nor injure my knee definitely added another layer of absurdity to my winter “running.”

 

I’m now on the west coast to celebrate Christmas with my family and am squeezing in my (still only) one mile to keep up my streak.  My dad has been doing a “walk streak” since the beginning of December, except he actually walks farther than I run. Let’s not dwell on the fact that he’s in his mid-70s and he’s doing higher mileage than me.

 

Since I’m in the part of the West Coast that is cold and rainy instead of full of sunshine and oranges, I’m back on the treadmill for my daily mile.  The good news is that my parents have a treadmill.  The bad news is that my mother is an excellent cook, and I’ve been stuffing myself as if December 20th is some sort of all-you-can-eat holiday wherein the baby Jesus cries if you don’t finish your plate.  My family also takes great joy in visiting supermarkets that sell foods like chocolate-filled pandas, which is basically food that is specifically manufactured for me.  I’d like to think running one mile per day negates the effects of my fun food times, but my jeans think differently.

 

Tomorrow we head up to Seattle and then Canada, so I expect even more tasty food and hotel treadmills in my future.  It also means I might not be posting from the road, so in case I don’t have the interwebs while up north, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas or other assorted holiday time you might be having, and if you’re participating in the Run Streak, I hope you have excellent running weather and understanding family members who don’t mind you disappearing for stretches of time during your get-togethers, and instead buy you nice things.

 

Are you in holiday-mode yet?  Do you know the name of the movie to which I referred to above?  How’s your RWRunStreak going?  Share in the comments!

Where's the Finish Panda

Day 19 of Holiday Run Streak – I also did not want to run today

Yesterday was the day after my 15K, and I was tired, and my calves were sore, and I was playing Candy Crush, and I really didn’t want to go for a run.  But I did.  And then today came around, and after an unpleasant (and expensive, contentious, and ongoing) plumber experience this morning, I was in a bad mood, plus my calves were still sore, plus it was really cold outside, and yet again I didn’t want to go for a run.  But I did.  I’d like to say the run drastically improved my mood, but mostly I’m happier because it means my run for the day is done, and I don’t have to do another 11 minutes of running until tomorrow.

 

But in the spirit of learning (because learning is what it’s all about!), I will say I’ve learned that 30 degree weather isn’t very cold.  I originally thought I felt that way because I was only outside for such a brief period of time, and that helps, too, but even the almost 2 hours I spent in the snowy mid-20s on Saturday wasn’t too bad (save my cold fingers, which was my fault for not wearing proper gloves).  I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that there is no bad weather, only bad clothing, and I’m starting to think that’s true, at least for down to the 20s.  I might change my mind if it ever drops into the teens or single digits, since I think breathing might get difficult then.  But if it’s the cold weather holding you back from your run today (or every day…), don’t let it.  Just use it as an excuse to buy more clothes with all the money you’re saving on sunblock.  And taxi fare.

 

Quick apology to subscribers – the emailed posts sometimes always have messed up photo-formatting, which I hope to fix someday, but until then, if you notice messed up/sideways photos in the email, just visit the site for (hopefully) more properly-oriented photos.  

 

How’s your RWRunStreak going?  Did you have an Inception dream-within-a-dream about Ragnar last night like I did?  What will you do when you win Mega Millions?  Do you have a good plumber in the NYC area to recommend?  Share in the comments!

Ted Corbitt 15K weather results

Day 17 of Holiday Run Streak – 9.3 Miles in the Snowy Snow Snow

Ted Corbitt 15K weather results

This weather description is the biggest lie ever.

“Snowy snow snow” is how my former Ragnar teammate described the weather for this morning’s race, and it could not be more spot-on.  Speaking of Ragnar, my night was filled with anxiety dreams about packing for a relay race I was suddenly doing, and while none of it was true (there is no upcoming relay race, I don’t hang my socks on individual hangers on my closet), like many crazy dreams, I believed it was real as it was happening.

 

What happened this morning was also crazy and might have all been a dream.  The only way I’m pretty sure that I actually ran 9.3 miles in the snow is that my legs feel sore now and I just ate my weight in hot soup, bagels, and chocolate.  Well, eating all that food actually proves nothing, as I often do that sort of thing, but the speed at which I ate it indicates I must have gone on a long run today.

 

I was not super jazzed to go on a run this morning, when my apartment was so cozy and the outside was so dark even at 8:00 am, but I layered up (long-sleeved tech shirt from Target, stretchy quilted running jacket also from Target, fleece headband, running hat with brim, double gloves, and a last-minute switch to some super thick CW-X long tights I didn’t know I owned) and headed out.  It made me feel better to see the 5,000 other crazy people who wanted to run 15K in Central Park through the snow, although it would have made me feel better still if one of those crazy people wanted to carry me.

 

While there were a few flakes in the air as I entered the park, walked past the huge line for baggage check and porta potties, and found my place at the very back of the corrals, just as the gun went off it started snowing in earnest.  This wasn’t the dry, itty-bitty fakey snow (if I were an Eskimo I’d have a better word for this) – this was the real thing, covering the paths and carriage trails with a thin layer of white before I even crossed the one mile mark.  I brought my sunglasses in case the flakes flew into my eyes, but decided not to wear them since I don’t think I would have been able to see with them on.  I did see one spectator wearing ski goggles, but I think that was overkill.

 

The first 3 1/2 miles were beautiful and, dare I say, fun.  The colorful runners and the thick, white flakes made the park festive and looking its best.  But as I was nearing the end of the first loop, I was getting wet (from some minor sweat but mostly from the snow melting all over my face and running down my neck), and the leaders were finishing the entire race, and it seemed like an excellent time to stop running.  If only I were an elite, I could have finished then, too!  Instead, I had 5 more miles to run, and it seemed to be getting colder.

 

I learned two important lessons in today’s run.  One, I’ve really got to put more thought into my glove strategy.  I layered two different types of gloves (cheap stretchy fabric, cotton maybe? and synthetic fleece) and while it worked for about 5 miles, the last several miles my fingers were so cold I was running with them against my body until I finally stretched the sleeves of my jacket enough to just barely cover them if I kept them in tight fists.  Definitely not ideal.  I even skipped the last several water stations because I couldn’t bring myself to unclench my fists from their warm jacket prison.

 

Two, Gatorade chews (and probably any gummy or chew) freeze if they are kept in an outer pocket of your jacket where your body heat doesn’t reach.  This made them about 500 times more difficult to eat than normal.  Luckily, I wasn’t super-starving since I had a big breakfast of granola and cereal, but if I ever had to run a marathon in 25 degree weather, I’d have to re-think how I carry my fuel just stop me.  Unless it’s on Antartica, in which case the penguins will keep me and my gummies warm.

 

Finishing today was pretty sweet, since I don’t think I deserved it what with my ridiculous almost-not-running Run Streak I’ve been doing.  I definitely think it helps that I’ve been running random marathons without proper training for almost 10 years now, and my body is probably, “oh, ok, this again, fine, we will get you across that finish line but no promises what hell we bring tomorrow.”  I did constantly monitor my body for any signs of pain or cramping, and while my calves got a little tight near the end, I felt pretty much great (not counting frozen fingers) for the whole race.

 

Frozen fingers and frozen gummies aside, I was thrilled to cross that finish line and help myself to a giant, carby bagel and some water.  All the waters at the end had a crust of ice with snow on top, and when you grabbed and crushed it, it turned into an icy slushy.  I drank as much as I could until I drank a huge shard of ice, at which point I thought I’d just hydrate at home.  Today was the first day that scalding hot tea was my recovery drink.

 

I took a taxi to the start and back home at the end, so today I spent my “running-earned taxi money” on actual taxis.  In fact, I was so desperate for a taxi at the end I almost knifed the woman who tried to steal my cab.  I would have, but I had no knife.  Plus I don’t think my frozen hands would have worked to hold a knife.  (I felt like Jon Snow, flexing his injured hands so he could defend the Wall in the coming winter… Since all I do is read before I sleep, you’d think I’d have a proper Game of Thrones dream instead of stupid sock dream, but no – anxiety packing dreams always trump cool dragon dreams.  Go figure.)

 

Did you run the Ted Corbitt 15K today?  How many hot beverages did you consume afterwards?  Share in the comments!

Day 16 of Holiday Run Streak – Three Times the Run, plus New Backpack!

NYRR headquarters

NYRR HQ, with holiday flair

I did it!  I ran more than a mile today!  It was a balmy mid-30s so I decided to run both to and from NYRR to pick up my race packet for tomorrow.  It was a solid 3-mile roundtrip, which is ridiculously short in grand terms but three times the amount I’ve run for 16 days, so that’s impressive, right?

 

15k shirt and Hi-Chew candies

The race shirt and the Hi-Chew candies I “earned” with my run today

Since I saved on cab fare by running home, I spent my taxi money on Hi-Chew candies. Extra running and Hi-Chew?  Sign me up every day.  In fact, this makes me think all running should be rewarded in terms of cab fare saved.  Ran 2 miles?  You deserve a small Pinkberry.  Ran a half marathon?  Get yourself a new hat.  Full marathon?  Tech shirt time.  FYI, this game is a lot less fun with subway fare.

 

Front view of Mountain Hardwear's Fluid 6 backpack

Front view of Mountain Hardwear’s Fluid 6 backpack

 

 

The other exciting thing that happened today was that I developed an instant love of my new Mountain Hardwear Fluid 6 backpack (retail price $70, but you can find it on sale around the web).  Now, I didn’t load it up, and I’ve only taken it on one run while wearing a jacket (so it might be less comfortable in a thin t-shirt, but I wouldn’t know yet), but so far signs point to it being awesome gear.  It’s incredibly lightweight (online specs say 9.9 oz) and holds more than just a water reservoir (365 cu in/6 liter total capacity (hence the name), plenty big enough for both a water bladder and a light jacket plus a few random accessories like gloves and your phone).  Note that the backpack does not come with a water reservoir/hydration bladder, so you have to get that separately if you need one.

 

Fluid 6 backpack open

Inside view of the Fluid 6 – you can see the pocket for the hydration bladder, but there are no other internal pockets.

 

Today I skipped the hydration bladder and instead threw in a small water bottle (to test bounce), my phone, and my level flip belt (and on the way back, a long-sleeved t-shirt and race bib) – and it wasn’t remotely full with these items.  The bag has a stretchy compression cord on the front to cinch down the load, plus two chest clips to further reduce bounce.  I’ve barely used any of the features yet (like the little pockets on the front straps), but I’m excited to use this as my new go-to hydration backpack when I actually start running more than one mile at a time.  Also, while it doesn’t have its own self-compression pocket, it does compress down into a tiny package (see photo below), so it’ll be easy to take on travels.

 

 

MH Fluid 6 strap view

Strap and back view of the Fluid 6 – lots of jazz going on there, including one open and one zippered pocket.

 

While today was a successful running day, I can’t even believe I have a 15K race tomorrow.  I will have to repeatedly tell myself that I can always stop at any time, especially if I feel knee pain.  I’d like to think the biggest hurdle will be getting out of bed and out the door in the morning, but I fear that it will actually be running the 9 miles in the cold.  Luckily, the snow isn’t supposed to be heavy until the afternoon, at which point I hope to be finished running.

MH Fluid 6 backpack in a baggie

The Fluid 6 compressed into a quart-sized ziplock baggie (water bottle for scale).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying the 10 degree temperature increase?  Running in the snow tomorrow?  Share in the comments!

Where's the Finish Panda

Day 15 of Holiday Run Streak – Baby, It’s C-c-c-cold Outside

Of all the days I normally would have skipped running, today has got to be in the top 5.  The high in the city today was 27, but that was brief and measured without wind.  I like to think that bitterly cold weather is Mother Nature’s way to tell me to drink hot tea and munch Kit Kats while knitting a shawl.  I did do those things today, but I also went outside for a run.

 

I layered like my life depended on it, since it kind of did.  My thick Zella tights worked great, but the two shirts plus jacket turned out to be overkill.  I even wore a buff over my face like a bandit for the first half mile, until I felt confident my face would not crack off in the cold.  It actually wasn’t so bad (for 12 minutes).  I do think if I stayed out longer I would have had issues with cold fingers and toes, so that’s something I’ll have to work on for Saturday’s 15K, which, by the way, I’m perfectly prepared to DNF, since I’m in no shape to run 9 miles.  Luckily, it’s loops in Central Park, so I can peel off at anytime and just head home.  I will try to feel no shame in that, although it will be my first DNF.  Holiday Run Streak is a time of firsts, anyway, right?

 

But for now I’m back in my toasty apartment, icing my knee, and thinking about how I’m going to get my race packet tomorrow (NYRR is on the east side of the park, so I might run over there and take a taxi back – god-forbid I run the entire 3 miles there and back…).  I’ll try out a new backpack tomorrow and let you know how that goes.  Maybe it will help keep my back warm?

 

Did you run outside today?  How do you dress for temps in the 20s?  Share in the comments!

Where's the Finish Panda

Day 13/14 of Holiday Run Streak – Running in Glasses

I haven’t been posting too much during this Runner’s World Holiday Run Streak Challenge, but I have been faithfully knocking out one mile every day.  Yes, it’s still only a mile, although there has been some improvement on the knee – I just don’t want to push my luck.  Besides, I have that 15K this Saturday, and weather.com says there’s a 70% chance of snow, so I have that to look forward to.

 

As to the RWRunStreak, I’m still learning a lot from getting out there every day, even if only for 12 minutes.  Yesterday I ran for the first time ever in glasses – not sunglasses, but glasses glasses – the dorky kind you need to see.  I don’t know if my contacts usually protect me from the wind, or if my granny glasses somehow created some sort of windtunnel effect on my face, but my eyes were watering much more than usual.  I can’t blame the weather, either.  Despite the forecast calling for 2 to 4 inches of snow, and despite it actually snowing for many, many hours, there wasn’t even a dusting of snow on the ground (only on the trash bags – very NYC).  I still never would have run if not for the Run Streak, since that light snow provided a typical good excuse to stay inside.

 

And while the Run Streak is getting me out the door every day, I still find myself procrastinating my run and blaming it on waiting for the weather to warm up (mid 20’s in the morning, up to 30 in the afternoon?  well, I’ll just wait till it’s warmer, then!).  But the absolute best thing about the Run Streak is that with only having to run one mile, it doesn’t matter if the weather sucks and you’re wearing the wrong thing and your glasses are fogging up and you’re running on sidewalks and waiting for traffic lights to change, because it’s just a mile and you’re back at your doorstep in no more than 15 minutes.  That’s about the same amount of time it takes me to wash my face and brush/floss at night (although I do have an extensive oral hygiene routine).

 

If not for the Run Streak, I know I would be skipping countless runs and building up a bundle of nerves about running in the cold.  Instead, it’s now (almost) routine to get out there, I still feel connected to running despite doing very low mileage, and I realize that the weather doesn’t really matter (again, for short periods of time).  Now to just learn how to run more than one mile!

 

Will I see you at the 15K in Central Park this Saturday?  Share in the comments!

Day 8 of Holiday Run Streak – Back Home and Lazy

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It doesn’t look like midtown, but it’s in there.

I’m back in NYC and good news is I just saved $2.50 by running to midtown. The bad news is my knee still hurts (worse?) and I feel like the Run Streak is actually making me lazier.

 

Because my knee hurts, and because I only have to run a mile, I only run a mile. Granted, I’ve been running every day, but my weekly mileage of 7 is lower than even my laziest weeks this summer. The only thing this Run Streak is guaranteeing is that I take a shower each day and have a lot more laundry than usual.

 

I will keep icing, and stay positive, and not think too much about that 15K I have next weekend. I don’t know the metric system very well, but I think 15K is more than a mile…

 

How’s your RWRunStreak going? Running more than a mile? Share in the comments!

Day 3 of Holiday Run Streak – And the Knee Pain Continues

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Ridiculously staged photo, but then I actually sat like this while I wrote this whole post.

I’ve made it through Day 3 of the Holiday Run Streak, doing one mile each day (although today I covered 1.2 miles, or my “long run” as my sister said). I’m already so used to running only 1 mile that even tacking on that extra .2 felt a bit of a burden. I hope it’s because I’ve been doing my miles on a treadmill, which I rarely use and mostly hate, but I fear it’s also because the knee pain is back with increasing strength. Not crippling, but instead of taking a post-run stroll on the beach with my sis, I opted to ice my knee on the couch.

The other bad habit I’ve fallen into is skipping any dynamic warm-up or cool down stretch. That’s been because the first two days I was quite rushed for time, but today I have no excuse. I’ve also forgotten to put anti-chafe on my poor feet, but they’ve held up well when only about 11 minutes of running are required.

 

I’m trying not to turn this into a “one mile” run streak, but until I get back home and figure my knee out, it might just be that. The runner’s gluttony continues, however, as I try to get my money’s worth from the all-inclusive buffet. Did they really expect I would not eat the free, self-replenishing, king-sized peanut M&Ms in the mini fridge, in addition to the breakfast ice cream, lunchtime pudding, tea time cake, plated dinner dessert, and turn-down chocolates? You know me better than that, readers. You know me better than that.

 

Do you know of any resorts that stock free Pop Tarts in the minibar? How is your RWRunStreak going? Share in the comments!