Ryan and I plan on alternating our years with Christmas in the Midwest (where my family lives) and Christmas in the Pacific Northwest. We celebrated this Christmas just us and took the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s Day off from work.
So what did we do with a full week of free time? We saw some movies (Passengers and Rogue One for the second time), celebrated Charlie’s fourth birthday, and we spent as much time as possible outside: snowboarding, snowshoeing, and of course running!
All of my runs have been 3-5 mile easy runs over the past couple weeks – I’m still taking it easy after CIM. Recovery is more than just a week for me – when I train hard and race hard, I need the mental and physical down time. With the exception of one 5-mile run, all of my runs have been with Ryan and/or Ollie.
The week leading up to Christmas, most of my runs were done in the dark of the early morning. I was extra excited for these runs, because I received the new Knuckle Lights to try (review coming tomorrow!). These Knuckle Lights are BRIGHT – which made running in the dark so much easier. Minus the time when I accidentally blinded Ryan and then myself.
The week between Christmas and New Year afforded us more daylight for our runs, so Ryan and I (and often Ollie) explored some new routes. We also took Ollie to a park and attempted off-leash running for him, which went well until he almost climbed a tree in pursuit of a squirrel.
I finally feel as if my fitness has fully returned to normal after CIM. Even a week or so ago, I didn’t quite have some of my speed back. This week, Ryan and I were able to do a few progression runs and for the first time since the marathon, I saw some mile splits in starting with 7:xx.
I didn’t strength train much the week of Christmas, since snowboarding felt like doing dozens of burpees and that was enough for me. I did squeeze in one mini strength workout after a hilly run. One of the Christmas gifts that Ryan gave me was a medicine ball with handles. I did medicine ball squats and burpees plus some mobility work. Burpees with the med ball are challenging.
I’ll be sharing my quarter one/winter goals later this week, but I want to be more diligent about strength training. It’s easy for me to fall out of the habit in the weeks before/after a goal race or during the holidays.
After our run on Wednesday, we packed the dogs up in the car and headed out into the mountains for snowshoeing. We drive about an hour in good traffic for snowshoeing and snowboarding, but the drive is so pretty and the adventure is always worth it.
This snowshoe adventure was relaxed – we just wanted to let the dogs have fun in the snow with us. We trekked only about 3 miles with gentle climbing and stopped several times for the dogs. Charlie and Ollie enjoy off-leash exercise and playtime in the snow – both those boys love snow and love running as fast as they can.
Snowboarding did not come naturally to me, but I take so much delight in learning how to do it. We took two lessons this week up at one of the slopes in the mountain passes.
Since we hadn’t bought snowboarding gear yet, I bundled up in layers: running tights under my hiking pants, two base layers (including this super warm Mizuno base layer), my Patagonia down jacket, and a rain jacket.
I have skiied before – granted back in high school – but snowboarding felt less clunky and dangerous to me when skiing. It’s so much easier to stand back up after falling when on a single snowboard than two skies! And yes, I fell a lot during our first two sessions of snowboarding.
Ryan and I were both utterly exhausted after our first lesson on Thursday, which included 2.5 hours of learning how to use the board on the Magic Carpet slope. I felt as if I had done a couple hours’ worth of squats, burpees, and push ups – standing back up without unclipping is a workout in itself!
We took our second lesson on Sunday, which was great because more snow had fallen the night before. Since fewer people showed up for lessons on January 1, we had essentially a private lesson. Our instructor started us on the magic carpet and quickly accelerated us to the green slope. We learned how to get on the lift with snowboards and that getting off the lift with a board is probably the most difficult part of snowboarding.
We did a total of three runs down the green slope (each run took probably 15 minutes) and I fell several times each run – but less with each time down. Snowboarding definitely requires learning a new skill, and as a runner it feels awkward to shift from forward motion to lateral motion. But it’s so fun!
Since these are bunny slopes in the mountains (unlike the small hills that Ryan and I both learned to ski on), the green slope proved a challenge for me – but in a good way.
What’s next? This week I plan on ramping back up my mileage and adding in some workouts to train for the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon again at the start of March. We have one more snowboard lesson to go and still months of snow in the mountains!
What did you do for Christmas/New Years?
How was your week in running?
Have you ever been snowboarding or skiing?