After a relatively mild start to winter, a polar vortex descended upon the Great Lakes region this week. On Wednesday, the actual temperature did not reach above zero and the wind chill reached dangerous levels at -40. Granted, I selfishly loved this because Ryan’s work encouraged their employees to work from home. I loved having his company on Monday through Thursday!
I went into this week with no plan. The treadmill and indoor track are wonderful tools, but I can never plan out my runs too rigidly on them. Sometimes the indoor track feels terribly hot and dry, sometimes the treadmill makes my hips feel tight and my brain feel numbed with boredom. But some days, I can get into a good groove with them and cruise along easily for an hour.
I did slack on strength training this week. Running has come back with relative ease after my fracture; the same cannot be said for strength training. I have plenty of resources at my disposal, I have the time, and I have the energy – I just am struggling with getting back into two strength workouts per week.
Monday: 35 minute snowshoe run
Overnight, several inches of fresh snow fell. It was also the warmest morning for the foreseeable forecast. I wagered it was safer to run on my snowshoes (since I can walk to a large park) than drive to the gym, and I really wanted some fresh air before negative temperatures required treadmill or indoor track runs.
Snowshoe running in deep, fresh powder is hard and humbling. Doing a snowshoe run in the middle of a snowstorm on the day after a hard strength workout is even more humbling. I averaged about a 15:30 min/mile pace for this run; I had to walk uphills and some downhills due to the snow depth and my legs didn’t have the power to go too fast. But snowshoe running isn’t about going fast, it’s about working hard at something different.
Overall, this was a good run! By the time I finished, I was caked in snow, happy, and ravenous.
Tuesday: 45 min indoor track run
By Tuesday morning, the wind chill was already well below zero. I simply am not comfortable running in minus zero wind chills, so I bundled up and drove to the Y. I started my run on the indoor track with the intention to split the run between the track and treadmill.
While I ran, I listened to the most recent episode of the Strength Running podcast. I got so wrapped up in listening to Jason interview Sarah Canney about snowshoe running that the first 15 minutes – which are always the most sluggish minutes of a run – passed by quickly. I was feeling good and so I opted to stay on the indoor track.
Even after my headphones died near the halfway point, I still kept up on the indoor track. My run turned into a natural progression until the 40 minute mark/40 laps mark, with my last few laps around 53-54 seconds (~7:15/mile pace). I have realized my Garmin’s accelerometer is not accurate, so I simply use my Garmin as a stopwatch and manually record the laps. This gives me an accurate sense of distance and pace and helps me not lose track. After I finished 40 laps, I cooled down until I reached 45 minutes.
Wednesday: 20 minutes Pilates
According to Accuweather, the wind chill plummeted to minus 50 degrees. The actual temperature was minus 20. Our gym was closed so running was not an option at all. Although honestly, I probably would not have driven to the gym in this weather. Instead of leaving the house, I did Pilates from home.
Thursday: Rest day
So Thursday was warmer, but not much warmer. For a better part of the day, the temperatures were still well below zero with even worse windchills. With the promise of three warmer days (three potential outdoor runs!), I stayed home. I intended to strength train with Ryan but by the time evening reached, I lost all motivation. I am definitely a morning exerciser!
Friday: 55 minute run
The sidewalks and roads were a mess. But this was the first time since Monday I had been outdoors, so I was just happy enough that the temperature was above zero. I set out with no plan for this run. The first 10 minutes were sluggish through the slush, and then things clicked and the run felt really good.
Saturday: 48 minute run
Poor Ollie has spent most of this winter cooped up due to the cold and ice. Ryan and I took him with us on our run, which tired him out for most of the day. The 40 degree temperatures felt warm compared to earlier this week!
Sunday: 30 minute run
Unlike Saturday, Sunday’s weather was a gross 40 degrees, humid, and gray. I made the mistake of overdressing – it’s so easy to do so when the temperatures swing like this! Once I got past some icy patches, this run felt good – an 8:18/mile average! I feel ready to add in some actual structured speedwork this next week.
How was your week in running?
Did you get the polar vortex where you live?