Shredding the Tread

I’ve been a total baby about being outside lately.  Sometimes I’m just so pathetic about it.  My friends are calling me a baby, but honestly, if I wasn’t hitting the gym, I wouldn’t be doing anything.  I stopped running on treadmills for any distance over 4-5 miles because I’d get these blisters on the bottom of my toes.  2Toms to the rescue.  I’ve been using 2Toms as my lube of choice for a while now and figured I’d give it a try on the tootsies.  This has made a world of difference during the crappy New England winters.  We’ve had a very mild winter, but February is my El Guapo and I’d take a treadmill run over sitting on my ass any day.  I’ve also added stationary biking to my workout.  On longer running days like today, I’ll run for 4 miles, add in 10 miles on the bike and then hit 4 more on the mill.  On shorter days, like yesterday, I ran my 4 miles and then finished off with 10 on the bike.  My 10 miles on a stationary bike takes about a half hour and adding that extra cardio is helping in my longer, outdoor, weekend runs.

As for the blog, I’ve decided to close down greyrunner.com and just use this place as my catch all blog.  Starting next week, I’m going to start some new fitness tactics and really try to record them daily.  March tends to go one of two ways.  Shitty, late snow and cold or beautiful early spring.  I’ve been burned too many times thinking positively about the weather, so I plan mentally that it’s going to blow.  That’s why I’m going to make some changes and hit this blog again.

Back On the Horse

With my last race of the year completed and the New England winter approaching, I’m in that spot where sitting at my computer, playing a video game sounds way more appealing than covering up in layers and hitting the trails with a headlamp…  Thanks a ton daylight savings.  This is where I need that little extra push to get my ass out of the house and do some work.  I’ve just started to put together a winter program and plan on incorporating a new diet to help get through the winter doldrums without an all-out depression setting in.  My first race of next year will be the TARC Spring Classic.  This year’s Spring Classic was my first marathon and I’m going for the 50K this year.  I’m adding something new to this winter’s training, a weight goal.  I would like to be around 165 or so by race day.  Over the summer, I’ve put on a little weight.  Some of it is muscle, I definitely feel more strength when climbing hills, but some of it is most certainly from cookouts and beer.  I’m sitting around 180 now, and feel confident that I can shave 15 pounds by April 23.

My main goal for 2016 will be finishing at least one 50 miler and using Ghost Train, at the end of the season, as another experiment to see how far I can go.  I was excited to hit 45 miles this year, but would have liked to have gotten another loop in.  It’s a little odd how excited I am to have these goals, especially the weight loss.  I’ve found that I take my diet and training way more seriously when I put solid, attainable goals out in front of me.

Broken Month

this winter's broken me.

this winter’s broken me.

I’m going to get right into it, I’ve had a real hard time getting out there and putting in the miles.  It’s a total mind-fuck not having the motivation to go do what I love.  This month in New Hampshire has been, without a doubt one of the shittiest I’ve endured.  I’m not sure if it was any colder, but we definitely had more snow and that’s what has absolutely broken me.  This is the first winter I’ve spent as a runner and it’s crushing to not have the trails or even roads passable.  We’ve had such frigid conditions mixed with a ton of precipitation and it’s making for very icy sidewalks and mostly unusable trails.  Where I live there isn’t a great trail system.  There are mainly a couple of rail trails that the snow mobiles use and some remote areas that are just conservation land that isn’t maintained.  This is great in the spring/summer/fall months when you can pretty much run some decent technical stuff all by yourself without worry of dog walkers and bikers, but in the winter, with the snow up past your knees, it sucks for running.

I’ve had some other runners tell me that they tend to do less running and more snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the winter.  Those both sound great, but first it’s not running and second, I have to save up for a new pair of running shoes, I really don’t have the dough to drop on some seasonal gear.  I was using the gym, but after about 4 miles on a treadmill, I always develop blisters, so long runs are out.  I’ve fallen way off my marathon training without a long run in two weeks and that’s taking it’s toll mentally on me.  I moved my schedule around this week so I can get in a full week of running and that’s cleared my head a little.  I’m planning on an 18 miler this weekend and depending on how that goes, I’ll decide if I’ll still run the marathon I planned on in late April.  I’m trying not to beat myself up about it, but it still stings a bit.

I really didn’t think about how the winter here would disrupt my running.  We had such a mild November and December weather wise and then blammo, January and February were the worst, but I’m starting to see the end now.  I’m starting to feel the sun coming up earlier and we get to turn the clocks forward next week, which should help.  It almost feels like the worst is behind us and I’m looking forward to having a full season of running.  The good news is that I’m already miles ahead of where I was when I started last year.  I’m just going to try and make it through the rest of this crap and exhale as soon as I can.

Cold Weather Motivation or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Treadmill (part1)

weather 1.29.15I know it always turns into a pissing contest when folks talk/post/tweet about their local weather.  I am fully aware that it is colder/hotter/snowier/wetter/whatever where you live, yet I will continue.  This is my first winter as a runner and although I have been out in some truly shitty weather, I would say the majority of my mid-week runs have been on a treadmill.  I’ve been trying to get outside for my long runs, but during the week, on the 3-6 mile runs, I’ve been heading to our gym.  Today is looking to be a bit warmer, which is nice.  I’m always excited when the needle gets above freezing, but the temperature isn’t my only concern when it comes to the winter and my motivation to do anything besides drink beer and play video games.

I’ve always had a hell of a time keeping a healthy mind during the winter.  The shorter days and cabin fever tend to put me in a pissy mood and now, I’m realizing, sucks the motivation to run, right-the-cuss out of me.  I’m keeping with my training, staying on my miles, but before I would wake up with excitement to hit the road.  I would fall asleep thinking about what route I would take.  Now, I’m oversleeping and putting off my workout until I absolutely have to go.  I love running first thing in the morning.  My running schedule during the non-winter months was great.  Up at 5, eat a banana, drink some OJ, run at 6.  I loved it.  Now, with it not being light until 7, and the roads in my area not being well lit, and lack of proper cold weather gear, and the temperatures at that time of day usually at or below 0°F…  I know, you can always find an excuse not to run.  I have been running though, just more times than not, at the gym.  I’m not sure if having more gear would make it easier to get out there, but unfortunately, I don’t have unlimited funds dedicated to running gear.  I would love to have road shoes and trail shoes and backups, but I can’t afford it.  Living shoe to shoe here.  I own 1 pair of heavier tights that my wife gave me. 2 long sleeve tech shirts, no running jackets 1 tech hat and some mid temperature running gloves.  I don’t own cold weather socks, I just double up.  I don’t have cold weather pants, I throw sweatpants over the tights.  I’m not trying to bitch here, just wanted to give some insight into my winter kit.

I do try to get outside for my long runs.  It will take a pretty horrible day to get me on a treadmill for 11+ miles.  Last Sunday I ran some local hills and did a bit of hiking through some more slippery climbs near and around a local dam.  There is a fire road that runs along the reservoir that during the dryer months is one of my absolute favorite places to run.  It was a bit slick and mushy with snow, but still a nice place to be mid run.

otterBrookDam

After running through the state park at the end of the fire road, there is a nice little trail that leads to a steep climb through the woods which on Sunday, I had to hike.  The trail is an old road that has since been closed off to vehicles so under the 3-4 inches of snow, there was pristine ice.  It was a pretty shitty climb, but it had it’s views.  The following photo was on a little bridge right before the climb.

otterBrookDam2

Even with these outside runs sprinkled in, I’m feeling like more and more of this winter is being spent on a treadmill and I’m learning to be ok with that.  It’s tough not being able to do my “normal” morning running routine that I fell in love with this summer, but it’s better than sitting on my ass feeling sorry for myself that it’s too cold to run.  Today after I drop the kiddo off at school, I’ll be rocking a short 3 miler and strength training.  We’ll see if I can keep my mind right as we enter the balls of the winter.  I hate February with an unreasonable passion.  Here in New England, it’s always the month that teases you with the idea of spring, all the while dumping snow on you and freezing your nuts off.  So, fuck you February, I’ll see you at the gym.  You better wear your cup, because I fight dirty.