Monday, 23 November 2015

Winter Running

I hate treadmill running and I don’t particularly like winter running which leaves me a bit of a log jam considering I live in Calgary and we get cold and we get snow.  Sometime a lot of cold + snow and sometimes not so much.  And thankfully we have chinooks.  I love chinooks!! Chinooks are good for running outside.
Last Friday, I had every intention of running outside.  The night before, Greg got out my ice pick things that attach to my shoes, I laid out all of my winter running gear so that I didn’t have to go looking for it.  I woke up got dressed in my running gear and took the girls to school.  It wasn’t too cold but the wind was cold and by the time I got home from dropping them off, my face felt like it might fall off and I couldn’t much feel my legs.  So I made the decision to stay home and run on my treadmill.  My goal was to be 90 minutes. 
It’s kinda funny that I hate treadmill running so much considering that outside of races, I never ever ran outside.  I loved my treadmill and everything it represented.  But when I decided that I was going to run a half marathon, Greg said that I would need to start running outside.  At first I was hesitant as I loved my treadmill so much but the more I started running outside, the more I loved it.  Last year all my runs were outside until we hit mid-October and I retreated to my basement treadmill.  I was not happy with this transition but I wasn’t committed enough to my running to run in the winter.  Example: In October, November + December of 2014, I ran a total of 41.87 km both outside and on my treadmill.  So far, I have ran almost 98km in October and November and I still have 5 weeks until the end of December.  It’s still down significantly from my warmer weather runs as I usually averaged 100km per month but overall I am happy with it.
So I switched out of my winter running clothes and into shorts and a tank and grabbed my iPad.  I opened netflix and tried to decide what to watch.  I originally selected Suits but I realized watching a new show where I had to pay attention was not a good thing so I decided to watch Along Came Polly which I hadn’t seen in years.  It was funny enough so it should keep me engaged.  My first 15 minutes were great, I was confident that I might, just might, make it to the 90 minute mark.  Unfortunately by the time I reached 30 minutes I was done.  So I quit and promised myself that Sunday I would run outside no matter the temperature.
I set my alarm on Sunday for 6:15am.  Sunrise was scheduled for 8:01 and Greg figured it would start getting light out around 7am.  This gave me enough time to kinda wake up, get dressed and drive to Fish Creek where I do the majority of my runs.  I got there just before 7 and it was still dark but I had a headlamp so I wasn’t too too worried about running because I knew it would be light out.  I had lucked out in the weather department because at 7am, it was plus 8 celsius out!  Bonus!!!  The parking lot looked pretty slick so I grabbed the ice crampons and put them on.  I started running and like 2 minutes into my run the headlight charge went dead and I realized I hated running in crampons and so I headed back to the car where I disposed of the crampons, headlamp and my running mitts and neck warmer.  I probably should have ditched my running vest but it was holding my iPhone and keys and I didn’t feel like switching everything around.  Once I got rid of the extras, I was ready to go.
When running at Fish Creek and you park at Sikome lake, there are a few options you can take.  I decided to head towards the creek and into deer run where I normally do my longer runs.  I was happy to see that the running path I run on had been completed and was no longer running into the creek.  When we got hit with the devastating flood in June 2013, the original pathway fell into the creek and since then the end of the path had been fenced off with a makeshift path that was mostly mud was what we used to get to the connecting path.  It will be nice to be running on pavement and not mud and dirt.  And as you can see, it was starting to get light out. In the fall and winter, you don’t see a lot of runners out as early as me until I get back to my car and then it gets busy.  But I like running really early and so far, I haven’t had any problems running early alone in fish creek.
This was my view at my turn around point. It was amazing.  This photo doesn’t even do the colours in the sky any justice.  One of my favourite things about running so early is getting to see the sky open up in such brilliant colours.  About 5km from the Sikome parking lot is one of the best views around.  The weather was perfect but there were some icy and snowy patches on the trails.  Most of them had spots where I could run through that weren’t too bad but some I had no choice but to run over them and I wonder if that changed the way I run because my calves and ankles were sore after my run and when I woke up this morning my calves were still sore.  I noticed that after I finished my run on the treadmill, they were also sore.  Thankfully I have a massage appointment on Thursday to fix my hip and now my calves will get a good work out too.  I finished the day with a 10km run with an average pace of 6:53/km which is a bit slower then what I was running but still pretty good considering I haven’t ran much the last 10 days or so!  Tomorrow is supposed to be really cold and that will perhaps test my true winter running ability.  You should look for a post about that in the near future…hahahah.

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