My Fall/Winter Wishlist…Because why not?

Since racing Twin Cities and receiving my confirmation for Boston 2013, I’ve quickly come to the realization that I will need to stock up on fall/winter running gear in the very near future. I’ve never committed to a marathon training cycle during the winter, as both of my marathons have been in the fall. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m a complete wuss when it comes to the cold, but ask me again in February or March when I’m battling the Chicago wind chill along the lake or getting creative with my training just to avoid the cold.

I already have some favorite winter running gear, but I don’t have nearly enough to go a week without doing a load of laundry dedicated to running clothes. So, if budget weren’t an issue and I could buy anything I want to get my through this next training cycle, I’d choose these items:

Saucony Women’s NMD Jacket $110

I haven’t invested in a nice running jacket and I think it’s about time I did. I typically layer a Saucony ViziPro half zip with other lighter long sleeve shirts, but I have a feeling the wind is going to be a big factor this winter.

Women’s Vertis Ex Hoody $90

I don’t think I’d wear this during a run, but it looks nice and snuggly for a post-run afternoon on the couch.

Saucony DryLete Loose Fit Beanie $22

I almost bought this hat last year and I honestly don’t know why I didn’t press ‘purchase’ and check out immediately. Looks comfy and I actually like that it’s a looser option, unlike my other more ‘snug’ hats.

Nike Element Half Zip $60

I’m a fan of half-zips for temperature control during the winter. Think “V neck”, not crew neck.

SmartWool Neck Gaiter $25

Ok, this seriously made me laugh out loud. And, for some strange reason, Running Warehouse thinks all neckwarmers or gaiters are only men’s products because they only had one listed in the women’s merchandise. This one looks small enough that I could comfortably wear it around my neck while running or flip it up onto my head to look like a hooligan.

Sugoi Women’s SubZero Zap Tightย $80

The warmest tights I own are the standard Nike Thermal tights so I’ll definitely need to get some tights that are meant for really cold temperatures. These look comfy and I actually like the contrast piping.

Zoot ThermoMegaHeat Tight $85

Again, these look really comfortable. And both tights say they’re meant for temperatures below 30 degrees. That should do it for me, right?

What’s your favorite running gear? Do you have anything on your wishlist that I should add to mine for fall/winter running? This “cold weather wuss” (kinda) needs your help!

I Beat the Heat This Week

It’s been so HOT this week, that’s it’s hard to even imagine a temperature below 80 anymore. With the increased heat and humidity, it’s more difficult to get off your butt and running out the door. It’s Friday afternoon and I found myself wondering how I beat the heat and still managed to get some quality runs in. I made it through the heat the following ways:

  • I got my first shipment of Nuun last week and I think I’m officially in love with “electrolyte enhanced drink tabs”. The citrus fruit flavor is absolutely delicious–a mixture of orange and grapefruit. Yummmmm! Each tube has 12 drink tabs and they’re handy enough to throw in your purse or gym bag and add to a bottle of water. I’m keeping a roll or two at my desk at work from now on.

  • Short hair–I chopped my hair off a few months ago and have recently become more grateful for it. I used to have hair that was long enough to get caught in my purse handles and my armpits on hot summer days haha. So glad I decided to cut 6+ inches off and go short for the summer!
  • My favorite Saucony singlet. It’s lightweight and fits in all the right places. It’s not too wide and not too short. Love it! Running a speed workout is much easier when you get to wear running clothing that is virtually weightless.

  • Free concerts in Millenium Park! Despite the heat, Manny and I decided to go see Blonde Readhead for the free concert at Millenium Park on Wednesday night. Summer nights in the city are absolutely amazing when you’ve got a free event to go to. We snagged a spot on the side of the stage to see most of the show and enjoyed a few cold Goose Island brews to stay cold ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay cool and relax this weekend! For those of you who have a long run scheduled, get up early so that you can enjoy a big brunch and nap afterwards ๐Ÿ™‚

-J

Just a little bit o’ precipitation

Wow, how time flies. I can’t believe Memorial Day has come and gone. After this week, I have completed 4 months of base-building and preliminary training for the Chicago Marathon. I have run 3 races (after this weekend, 4), PR’d several times, met a lot of great people, and realized that any schedule can accommodate this type of training. It’s honestly all a bit nerve-wracking when you begin to consider that you’re that much closer to the mother of all races, the marathon. My countdown app on my phone keeps ticking down to zero. Just 130 days until the big day.

This weekend I did a whole lot of nothing and a whole lot of something at the same time. My boss surprised everyone in the office with a company-wide e-mail at 11 am on Friday saying that we were free to leave around 3 pm to start the holiday weekend. Great surprise! Manny and I walked downtown and did a bit of vacation shopping. I got a cute cover-up to wear poolside, grey-slip on shoes to wear through airport security, and (finally) a pair of aviators that actually fit my face. Manny was able to find some board shorts at Nordstrom Rack too. That’s really all we’ll need once we get there right?…Bathing suits?! Yes! Friday night was random and fun. Manny and I were feeling uninspired when it came to going out that night so we decided to have people over. Our friends never seem to disappoint–it’s always a good time when you get people together that know how to have a good time. Needless to say, we didn’t get to bed at a decent time and I knew my long distance run the following day would probably not become a reality.

…And it didn’t. I spent all day Saturday lounging in the apartment, watching movies, reading a book, and thinking about absolutely nothing. Apparently it was needed because I didn’t get that ‘cabin fever’ I typically get after spending the whole day in the house (minus walking the dog briefly, of course). I was feeling a bit guilty about not going for my run that day, but I knew I’d rather be rested, hydrated, and motivated to have a good run than slosh through it toward home.

Well, I guess you get what’s coming to you because I spent Sunday morning trying to time my run perfectly in order to avoid severe thunderstorms. After checking the radar and fueling up, I left the house at noon hoping to finish before the really bad part of the storm was to hit at 2 pm. I knew I’d be running through the rain, but I honestly didn’t mind. I love running in the rain and didn’t want to wait to run in the evening (or take a chance on the rain continuing throughout the day). Five minutes after I left the house, the thunderstorm warning sirens sounded. My plan was to run at least 12 miles–approximately 2 mile warm-up, 3 sets of 5ks at an increasing pace, and a 2 mile cooldown. Looking back on it, 12 miles was probably a bit overzealous considering I have another half marathon this weekend. And luckily, Mother Nature knew what was up because I ran into torrential rain just about halfway through the run. This was not a sprinkle–a sprinkle I can handle. I can probably handle even a steady rain and feel pretty good. But this, this was something else entirely. Rain was hitting me sideways, puddle jumping was no longer worthwhile, and I felt like my body weighed 10 pounds more because of all the rain soaked into my clothes. There were rivers flowing across the sidewalk on the Lakeshore Trail and I knew it probably wasn’t wise to go the entire distance, so I made a beeline for the Roosevelt station to find shelter. To get there, I ran under the overpass near Museum Campus. There must have been 100+ people standing there waiting for the rain to stop so that they could spend the day at the museum. And for some reason, right then, the adrenaline kicked in. I took my headphones out of my ears, started to high kick it through the “river” I was running through, and shouted :

“DID YOU KNOW IT’S RAINING?!”

These people must have thought I was absolutely insane. But I kind of like that feeling. I looked like a wet dog after that run, but I honestly could care less. It was invigorating and motivating to know that I’m still crazy enough to run like a maniac. And besides, the rain made me run faster.

-J

It Must Be Springtime

I lied. It’s 35 degrees outside right now…Ok, so maybe it’s not spring just yet, but several things in the past couple of weeks have made me feel like it’s just around the corner. I’ve always said that I don’t have a favorite season of the year, but rather, a favorite period between seasons. It’s an important distinction, really. Especially when it comes to weather in the Midwest, it’s easy to feel like it’s either sweltering hot or bone-chilling cold outside. It’s times like these that give you a hint of one season one day and a hint of the next the following day. Today it was drizzly and foggy when I woke up, but my walk to Whole Foods for lunch (Pizza Wednesday special!) was incredibly pleasant. And to top it all off, I didn’t have to don that heavy winter coat and wish that I had chosen a lighter jacket the rest of the day (that happens quite often in a city with constantly changing weather).

Besides the obvious implication that the weather is changing, the change in seasons has induced other changes. On Monday night, my boyfriend and I decided to rearrange our living room. I’m somewhat notorious for making changes to my apartment, but since I moved in with Manny over 14 months ago, we have only made minor changes like hanging a different painting on a wall or adding knick-knacks somewhere on our shelves (complete with buddhas and lucky elephants). Just as many women do when moving into a bachelor pad environment, I made many small changes when I first moved in, but haven’t really felt the need to do some larger rearrangement since then. SO–with Manny’s motivation, we FLIP FLOPPED the living room. It’s nice to have a different wall to stare at and ponder if I have the energy to go out for a run and the puppy seems to like more floor space to lay around on (that girl is always fighting sleep, I swear). My favorite part of this “new wall” is a small tapestry that used to be my grandmother’s that we hung in the center of an empty gold-painted frame. It reads ‘Uff Da’, which is a Scandinavian phrase that means many things–it can mean “oh my god, what a horrible day”. It can be said when lifting a heavy box. It can be said at times of excitement and anxiousness. It can mean absolutely anything you want it to mean, but I have a feeling it will bring different thoughts to mind each night when I sit on the couch and think about my day.

One of the other changes that has allowed me to alter my life in some way is the ability to run my long distance jog on the weekends outside! YES–outside! Luckily, in the past couple of weeks I’ve had my pick of a fairly mild Saturday or Sunday to dedicated to running 8+ miles around the city. My first escapade outside took me from Pilsen, to Buckingham Fountain along the lake, through downtown and back south to Pilsen. This is a route that I had never run before and it was such a great feeling to allow my body to take me somewhere that might sound far mentally, but is not farther than my body is willing to take me physically. Last week I did an 8-mile loop north to Division, down Western Ave, and back through Pilsen. I’m absolutely loving this mixture of gym time during the week and outdoor freedom on the weekends. The sticky, humid gym with it’s measly treadmill-to-runner ratio makes me thankful for my outdoor runs on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Oh ya, and I don’t [entirely] dread walking the pup at night anymore!!! Those -20 degree windchills froze both me and the pup there for a few weeks and romping in the snow after the blizzard covered BarkLee from head to toe so much that you couldn’t even see her! An evening stroll around the neighborhood is so much more enjoyable when you don’t have to put layers on just to walk around the block. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m looking forward to more spring strolls through the sunset air. Yesterday was probably the first evening when I felt like I wasn’t trudging to the gym through pitch black skies. It was still light out when I got out of work, which made heading to the gym so much easier. Longer days are coming!

The spring is going to put a spring in my step, I can tell. Looking forward to more runs outdoors, more motivation to go out to restaurants I’ve been wanting to try all winter, and either revamping the apartment in a whole new way or looking into moving into a new place altogether. The itch has begun!

-J