RUNNING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND // STRENGTH GAINS
It’s December in Iowa and that means one thing: Snow.
I never really had an issue with snow until I got super into running outdoors. From that point on, I hated anything and everything that got in the way of me getting in my outdoor “therapy” time. Rain, lightening, thunder, ice, etc. Sure, just looking out the window seeing snow flakes falling from the sky and watching the snow pile up inch by inch on the ground has a picturesque quality to it. However, the minute you step foot outdoors and have to navigate any type of winter terrain, it’s a completely different story. In writing this post, my goal is not to hate on the winter season. Instead, I aim to discuss how it changes running for me.
By some stroke of luck, Eastern Iowa (where I live) did not get hit with the predicted freezing rain or heavy snow fall on Saturday night. So, that meant Sunday’s outdoor long run was a go. Things did start out a little iffy when I walked outdoors to find it rainy fairly heavily. But, running in the rain is nothing new for me and I took off excited to see what the first run of December would bring. Well, it brought a whole lot of wind. Way more wind than I had anticipated and some slower mile times.
For the most part though, I took it in stride. My only goal was to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
The first 2 laps (about 3.3 miles in total) came and went in what felt like no time at all. I felt great physically and was sure that getting in 6 miles was going to be a slam dunk. Which, looking back now a day later, was probably a bit naive of me. It had been a week since my last 6 miler at the time, and the wind was definitely having an impact on my form+pace. Still, I just kept reminding myself during the second half of my run just how cool it was to now (then) be running while it was snowing. By the time I reached the 5 mile mark, heading towards the twisty trail, snow flakes were falling like crazy.
For me, just gazing upwards into the darkened, snow flake filled sky was what kept me going for that last mile. I was tired, cold, and my legs+pelvis were ready to be done running. The idea of having to run a whole ‘nother mile seemed daunting. Somehow, focusing on the falling snow around me took my mind off of all the reasons why I couldn’t run any farther. This distraction also totally explains how I managed to drop my glasses that I had been carrying at the 5.98 mile mark.
Today’s 4 mile run was a whole different kind of winter wonderland; one with snow all over the place and plenty of slippery spots.
Initially, I was hopeful that I would be able to run a fast 4 miler. I really don’t know why, but I just assumed that there would be zero issues running in fresh snow. Looking at the dusting of snow on the road and sidewalks, it didn’t look all that dangerous or menacing. Soon enough I found out that looks can be VERY deceiving. While this run was nothing compared to Friday’s ice rink of a 4 mile run, there were still a decent amount of moments when I felt like I was running on a hamster wheel or something. Trying with all my might, but seemingly running in place.
There really were not a whole lot of “OMG this is so fun and magical” moments during this run. It was more, run carefully and whatever you do DON’T fall and break every bone in your body. One big take away from this run when it comes to strategy, was to run in any car tracks while on the road. For some reason, running in the tire tracks was was less slick than any other area on the road or sidewalk. Other than that, all you really can do is proceed with caution. Because, falling and making a fool of yourself is NOT an option.
The closer it gets to 2019, the more pressure I feel when it comes to increasing my lifting PRs.
This was very apparent in today’s lift. Like, I had zero intention of maxing out on any lifts, but before I knew it the weight just started piling on. There is just something about the idea of goal setting and new year’s resolutions that makes me want to end 2018 on a high note when it comes to fitness and my overall progression for the year. Oh, and jamming out to Cardi B and Ariana Grande while lifting. The weird thing is, it felt good to hit multiple upper body PR’s over the course of one single workout. For once, it felt like all the effort I have been putting into growing my upper body was finally getting me somewhere.
I still have a long way to go and new goals to set for the upcoming new year. Still, I am extremely happy with the progress I am making during the final month of 2018 (so far anyway). This time last year, I never imagined being able to back squat 190 lbs or bench press 100 lbs for 2 reps with zero help from a spotter. In the past, just overhead pressing (OHP) the 45 lb. bar felt difficult, now I’m able to OHP 75 lbs. Never, did I dream of being able to lift up two 45 lb. dumb bells of the rack simultaneously, let alone bench press them. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that we’re all capable of so much more than our minds can possibly fathom. All it takes is a whole lot of effort and believing in yourself.