There's a first time for everything. Including forcing yourself out the door in 30 degrees to not only run, but run an actual track workout. In the winter. In Chicago. And actually look forward to it (kind of). When I get a moment to do a solo run, I look at my choices: 1) Long(ish) Run - which these days would be 6-7 miles. Maybe 8 if I had an extra cup of coffee. 2) Speed Workout - which could be anything from quarters, half mile repeats, ladders, tempos, hills (which I never pick but theoretically could), etc. And lately speed sessions have been on the treadmill. 3) Run for a Pocket of Peace - 3-5 miles with no emphasis on speed or distance, outside, unless it's a shitshow out there (which is more often than you'd think during a Chicago Winter). Last week I picked speed. And since a glimmer of sunshine threatened to show itself amidst the overprotective clouds, the outdoors almost appeared welcoming. I donned tights and my three-shirt-layering system reserved for extra cold days (tech tee, long sleeve and jacket). Perhaps a touch over done, but I get cold, people! After a 1.5 mile warm up jog, I started my 4 x 800 workout. I figured I could get the heart pumping / the legs churning and see where I am at speed-wise. I was shooting for something like 7:10 - 7:20 pace for each half mile repeat. Here's the results:
These times are way ahead of where I expected to be in the off season. Yes, I tried. I put effort into this. I ran hard. But there was that this attitude of "it doesn't really matter b/c it's January." It was downright brutal when I faced the headwind - that cold, unpleasant winter breeze turns into a frigid windstorm when you run blazing speeds into its unwelcome arms. Not to mention, that angry biting air finds a way straight down your windpipe and into your lungs causing a shocking burning sensation. Mentally I went easy on myself. But my body had plans of its own. I fought the wind and the cold and the desire to throw up a little (does that feeling ever go away during tough track workouts?) And I was pretty damn proud of my results. Though treadmill workouts are tough, they aren't as tough as the track. You're out in the open, battling the weather elements and there's no auto pace. I needed to see where I was at for real. Not with the aid of a machine. And this was a pleasing result.
This weekend, however, temps rose to a number we typically see in April (or May/June) --> 50 degrees. Saturday morning I got out on a shortie with my friend - which was badass by its own accounts due to our overdone happy hour the previous night. But it's always good to run it out. And Sunday was even warmer. But there was rain. Enough rain to deter me from doing my own run; I was a bit of a lazy bum yesterday. The kids were mostly happy to play at home, but by mid afternoon they were housing more and more energy with no place to put it. So my husband suggested we go run laps in the park. I've never seen my kids put on socks and shoes so fast! They were suited up and laced up in no time, Big Girl clutching the red Team Stick baton from our Woods to Water Relay Race in 2004. She was psyched to run - and possibly practice handoffs.
|happy little runner|
I can't say how far she ran, but it was impressive! She jogged at a smart pace and we even chatted! She thinks she ran a mile. I wouldn't doubt it. We ran into an good friend too - and the two of them took off for a victory lap.
Not pictured: Baby J did a lap too. She sported a smile for most of it, til the very last bit when her little legs got tired. She was too adorable and it's a shame I don't have footage of her.
Moving on to food:
Our original plan for Saturday was roasted duck. But time got short and duck prep/roasting takes up the better portion of an afternoon. So we choose mussels instead. And potatoes glazed with duck fat (from our previous duck). And a porgy. The mussels were awesome but the broth was a bust - too bitter. The potatoes were killer. And the porgy was decently excellent. The wine was crap - perhaps even toxic as it made us feel ill.
Sunday - we dined out at a Mexican Restaurant.
Monday - Roast duck. Which is an obvious choice for a Monday night. Not. (Shit. Do I really have to make a duck on a Monday?! But fresh duck cannot perish..)
Tuesday - chicken Caesar salads (I'll have mine for lunch b/c it's a girls night out dinner)
Wednesday - spiced veggie brown rice (from our vegan indian cookbook)
Thursday - duck ragu over pappardelle (our pot roast ragu a couple weeks ago was killer but I ruined it with edamame noodles - not a fan)
Friday - homemade pizza with olives, feta, red onion and pepperoncinis
And lastly, National Ab Month. Or as it has been dubbed : #fABruary !!
So yeah, I'm planning on doing the ab work. For most of the month. For reasons I will disclose at a later date, I am giving myself a minimum of 8 exemptions this year. Maybe even 10. But I kicked things off today with 3 x 30 second planks. This deal will likely be my go-to. I also aim for 10-30 pushups a day (done in sets of ten). I think pushups are killer for core strength, no?