Monday, January 16, 2012

It’s not the cold, it’s the wind chill

It’s been another successful march towards running, and I’m feeling pretty good.  I’ve continued with my physical therapy, although it was just cut off by my insurance so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep going.  I’ve also kept up with going to the gym (which sometimes requires me to bribe myself with a latte at the Dunkin’ Donuts next door) and I’m continuing to walk as much as I can.  Friday I had a vacation day and spent the afternoon with my friend Joanna hiking in the Douglas State Forest.  The weather started getting pretty wacky with hurricane force winds, hail, and a sharp drop in temperature.  But as they say, “there’s no such thing as strong weather, just weak people”.  Joanna and I weren’t deterred.  We bundled up, kept our heads down, and marched into the wind.
The temperature continued to drop, and Saturday my mother decided it was too cold to ride her horse, so I lured her into hiking with me in the Upton State Forest!  It was just a short three miler, with a wall to climb down and some water to hop over.

Sunday was inhumanely cold.  I was dreading getting out of bed in the morning because I knew I had to go meet up with the running club for our weekly Sunday morning run.  I guessed that a lot of people would bail because of the bitter cold, and I questioned my sanity when I hopped in my car in the 6 degree weather and headed to the run.  I was honestly shocked to see such a huge turnout when I got there!  The house was packed with enthusiastic runners, all preparing to face their frozen fates.  I was getting my gear all sorted out when Anthony came running in the house.  (He had already run several miles before meeting up with everyone).  He came blowing into the house, sweat frozen on his hat, icicles hanging off his ear lobes, and frozen blood dangling from his nose.  This shook my confidence a little, especially since I was only walking and wouldn’t generate enough body heat to warm up.  I headed out on my walk, and the first mile was straight into a headwind.  The sting of the air was brutal, and I periodically wondered if my ear lobes were turning black.  I imagined the people driving by must have thought I was nuts walking in this weather.  Eventually I made it to a trail, where I spent the next 3 miles sheltered from the wind.  That made a huge difference and although my thighs were no doubt turning blue, the rest of my body was fairly comfortable.  Finally, the last mile of the walk back was a tail wind, with a bright warm sun on my face.  By the time I got back to the house 5 miles later the temperature had risen to 12 degrees and if you can believe this, I was actually sweating!
Back at the house all the runners told stories of their runs, into the wind, away from the wind, and how some had to get eye protection to shelter their eyes from the wind.  It’s like we all came back from a war, in the Arctic, and we all had our own windswept stories to tell!  When I got home and looked through the morning news, I found out that although the morning temperature was 6 degrees, it was -15 with the wind chill.  I knew it was colder with the wind in my face!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Miles to go before I sleep

My final act of productivity for this evening is to try updating my blog before I fall asleep.  After the weekend I’ve had, this will be a tight squeeze!
                I’ve gone full swing into resuming many of my activities, and just like before I had gotten injured, I’m documenting all of my activity and constantly trying to outdo myself.  Sure, things are a little different now.  I’m tracking mileage walked rather than mileage ran, and minutes on the bike rather than miles on the bike.  But I’ve also added another column to my tracker for strength training, part of my goal to be a more diverse athlete.
                It’s been great getting back to the gym, but even better has been spending time outside.  Almost every day I have been walking 2+ miles a day on my lunch break, and for the last two weekends in a row I have met my running club for their Sunday morning runs.  (I walked).  That puts my weekly walking mileage at:
Week ending 12/31/11: 16.25 miles
Week ending 1/7/12: 13.25 miles
Not bad considering just weeks ago I was on crutches!  Yesterday I finally felt it was time to incorporate my horse into my walking routine, so I brushed him up, loaded my pockets with cookies, and took him for a walk.  He had a few exciting spaz moves but then settled down into a nice controllable walk.  Rocco became my favorite walking partner, and seemed to enjoy it when I took him out again today.

Will walk for cookies

Rocco’s weekend mileage tally: 3 miles
In other news, I am helping to organize a relay race and had to go measure part of the course.  Honestly, I could have done this a number of ways. 1: have someone else do it. 2: use my car to clock the road portions. 3:  Insist on doing it all myself with a mountain bike.  Naturally I chose option 3.  So yesterday I packed up my mountain bike and headed to the forest.  I felt a little out of practice loading up the bike, and for good reason.  Not only had it been months since I had traveled with the bike, it had been months since I had ridden a bike that was A. not stationary, B. uphill, or C. on gravel.  After a mile my quads were burning.  After two miles my heart was pounding out of my chest, and shortly after that my lungs were on fire.  I stopped after 2.5 miles to catch my breath and seriously contemplated turning back.  But, how would I know how long the course was if I turned back?  Stubbornly I pressed on, and was glad I did because otherwise I never would have seen this goat!

Even the goats were out walking on such a beautiful day

Or these friends!

After my 8 mile debut on the mountain bike, I was spent.  I was so exhausted I almost couldn’t walk myself into bed, and this morning my body protested waking up.  Determined to keep the momentum going though, I headed out this morning to meet up with the running club.  While they all ran, I did a nice 2.5 mile walk around the neighborhood.  When I got home I felt guilty that I walked and Rocco didn’t, so I took him out for another 1.5 mile walk.  Then of course Toby the dog was jealous, so I had to take him for a 1 mile walk. 

Two words: Walk. Me. (Woof)

When I got home from that walk, my mother was jealous that I took Rocco and Toby for walks without her, so then I had to go for another 1 mile walk with her.
Today’s mileage: 6 miles, over 4 separate walks
Now after my “high mileage” weekend, I’m struggling to keep my eyes open long enough to finish this post.  (Confession: I zoned out a couple times).  My legs are tired and sore, but my hip is holding up very well!  I’m feeling very confident that I will be out running, collecting miles, and trotting down the trails in no time.  Robert Frost said it best:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.