It’s cold outside

So I didn’t end up doing that cross training I was talking about yesterday. . . but I did watch Spirit of the Marathon. That counts for something, right???

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It is very cold here today. Right now it is 21 degrees, which is the warmest it has been all day. But with the windchill, they say it currently feels like 7 degrees outside. Great day for a run? I thought so, too 🙂 When Barry got home from work we headed out. We kept it short and did a little over 3 miles, which is good enough for me. I wore enough layers to keep my body warm, but my face was pretty cold. It felt like a hard effort, but our average pace was 9:42/mile, which is my typical pace for a weekday run. My legs are still feeling sore from my hilly Sunday long run, so I guess that had to do with it.

I have one other thing to share with you, and it is a funny thing that happened on Sunday. I am sharing this with you at my own expense, so you better appreciate it. Here’s the background: we went to the grocery store on Sunday and among other things we bought some house brand apple juice because we had a coupon. We got home, got all the groceries put away, and the fridge was full up with all of our stuff. After a little while I decide I want a glass of apple juice, so I open the fridge and grab the container and pour myself a glass. While I’m sitting at the table drinking my juice, I notice it’s a little funny tasting. I decide to let Barry know that the house brand apple juice we bought tastes weird. He looks at it and says “that’s because you’re drinking white grape juice”. That would explain why the color of the juice looked a little too light, too. Apparently we also bought white grape juice (something I was not privy to) and that’s what I actually grabbed out of the fridge. Lesson learned: always read the label.

A rest day

Random tidbit from yesterday that I forgot to mention: we are on a boil water notice and have been since Saturday morning. The water treatment plant lost power due to the snowstorm, which was the reason for the notice. I have two things to share about this:

1. The water I drank during my long run yesterday was still warm from having been boiled earlier in the morning. Turns out drinking warm water while running in cold air is actually pretty good. You should try it sometime!

2. I am boiling our water in our largest pot, which typically only gets used to make kettle corn. As a result, all of our drinking water tastes slightly like kettle corn!

 

Last night Barry and I watched the movie Looper and I spent the majority of the movie very confused. I can’t even try to explain it on here, but I will tell you Barry had to pause the movie more than once to explain to me what was going on.

 

Today is another day off from work, and I think I may take a rest day after yesterday’s hilly long run. Or maybe I’ll do some kind of cross training this afternoon… I’m trying to be better about cross training on a regular basis. Either way, I leave you with a little inspiration.

Facing the Heat

First things first, I ran 8 miles for my long run today. It was a t-o-u-g-h tough run. I ran on the roads around our house and the hills are just relentless. I wore shorts and a long sleeve fleece jacket, and even though it was 36 degrees outside I got pretty hot with the sun on me. There’s a quote from a book I’ve been reading the past few weeks called A Life Without Limits, by Chrissie Wellington, that says: “some sessions are stars and some are stones, but in the end they are all rocks and we build upon them”. Today was a stone, but it sure was pretty outside:

 

I read an article in the January/February edition of Running Times called Facing the Heat. It discusses the growing number of races that have had to be shut down due to heat, and who is to blame. The article alternately points a finger first at the inexperienced/under-prepared/first-time marathoner, then at the veteran/fast marathoner, and finally at the race directors/officials.


The article begins by referencing the mid-race cancellation of the 2012 Green Bay Marathon. Initially the race director, Sean Ryan, got the brunt of the criticism. Most of the reviews on marathonguide.com blasted Ryan and I read more than one that stated Sean Ryan needs to step down from his position if the race has any hope of restoring faith in future participants. But then in a turn of events, the veteran marathoners turned their criticism on the “first-timers” (those participating not with a time goal, but with a goal to finish) for Ryan’s cautious approach. One reviewer of the marathon went as far to say:


 
“It was the inexperienced runners that didn’t heed the warnings their bodies were giving. I changed my goal from ‘a BQ’ to ‘finish at Lambeau rather than the hospital’. If more runners had done the same, the race would have probably gone off just fine. “
 
 
In addressing the issue of the inexperienced runner, Dave McGillivray, race director for the Boston Marathon, makes the proposal of a qualifying system for marathons.
 
 
I am not opposed to this idea. I think it would help address the growing number of “inexperienced” participants that full marathons are seeing. However, Phil Stewart, director of the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and publisher of Road Race Management newsletter, makes a good point that the recent growth of half marathons is actually beginning to address this problem.
 
 
Maybe within the next few years, the marathon will not see so many participants, as the popularity of the half marathon continues to grow exponentially. So if the “first-timers” are to blame, it is because they rely too much on course support/aid stations and are quick to blame race officials when something goes wrong. But what if the inexperienced runner is not to blame for these race cancellations?
 
What if it’s the fast/veteran marathoners? The article goes on to discuss faster, finish time-oriented runners who are unwilling to adjust their goals to the conditions.
 
 
They go on to cite last year’s Boston Marathon, which allowed participants to defer to 2013 due to expected record high temperatures. Around 2,200 runners chose to defer, but many others chose to participate and did not do so cautiously. Out of the field of veterans, 2,000 ended up in the medical tent and 200 had to be transported to the hospital, according to the article. So if the veteran marathoners are to blame, it is because they are unwilling to adapt their goals and strive to achieve them at all cost.  
 

Finally, the article turns it’s pointed finger on the race directors. It is true that with the growth of the sport and influx of slower-paced runners, they have become more cautious. But who can blame them? No one wants to be the one that put a “black eye” on the sport due to some major disaster. If we are to blame the race director/officials, it is because they have become overly cautious with the growth of the sport.
 
 
McGillivray sums it up nicely when he states that it really is a shared responsibility, and the blame cannot be put on one individual group. It is the job of race directors to be there when you do get in trouble, but it is the responsibility of the participant to be well-prepared and realistic. As someone who hopes to complete her first full marathon (possibly in the near future… hint, hint), I will be adequately prepared to complete the distance. I am not a fast runner, so I guess that puts me in the category of “finishers”. But I do not feel that means I should not be allowed to participate in the event. After all, every veteran marathoner had to run a first marathon before there could be a second, right?
 



A rest day and Mary Poppins

Today is a rest day before my long run tomorrow morning. The chimney sweep guy came to inspect/clean our chimney today. I am sad to report that having your chimney swept in real life is not as exciting as they lead you to believe in Mary Poppins. Just wanted to save you the disappointment.

 


We use a woodstove to help heat our house but have been unable to use it the past few weeks due to a problem with the chimney. The sweep was able to get the chimney cleared and the woodstove is back up and running!

I am planning to do my long run over at the same trail that we ran at last night. Hopefully the sun and wamer (upper 40’s) temp’s we had today helped to clear it off somewhat. Otherwise it could be a pretty interesting run tomorrow.

Snowy run

Good news! We never lost power last night, thank goodness! We did end up with a total of close to 10 inches of snow. Here’s a view from our back deck this morning:

This evening I went for a run with Barry after he got home from work. We drove over to the biking trail in town, and ran 3 miles at a pretty slow pace. The trail was covered in snow (at times as deep as my shins) and had some icy patches, which made it difficult to run. There were also several downed trees and limbs across the trail that we had to climb under/over. Barry snapped a picture of me at the entrance to the trail and we tried to get one of a tree across the trail. It was already dark outside, and we took them with a cell phone, so they didn’t come out very good.

Today I was off work, since it’s a state holiday (Lee-Jackson Day). I had a low-key morning and spent time getting the house clean, doing the dishes, and watching this week’s episode of Dance Moms.

This show is so ridiculous, but it entertains me. I’m pretty sure at least 80% of it is scripted, but whatever. It’s fun to play “rate the crazy” and rate stuff from the show on a scale of 1 to 10. You gotta love those guilty pleasure shows.

"I've opted for fun in this lifetime" -Jerry Garcia