A Beautiful Day for a Run

It was, I kid you not, a beautiful day for a run. By the time I hit the trail after school, the sun was low on the horizon, sending golden streams of light flowing across the snow. Absolutely beautiful. Purple and blue shadows pooled behind trees and bushes. Lovely.

The questions was…why were there so few people out there?

No question really. -17 degrees and just a hint of a breeze. Brrrr.

So although my phone died because of the cold and I have no pictures to show of the beauty, I was not the only living creature enjoying the late afternoon.

My friends included…

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One of the coolest things about these big black birds is the amazing variety of noises they make. Listen to just one sample and know they croak; they knock; they click; they mimic other noises. I enjoy listening for them on the trails.

 

red poll

 

 

 

The red poll is another one of those cheery little birds that hangs around all winter making the day a little brighter.

chickadeeBut my absolute favourite has always been the chickadees. How these tiny birds survive the coldest winter weather is a mystery to me, and seeing them when I’m on the trail always perks me up. Even when they’re invisible, hearing their call makes my day.

Thanks to my friends online for the pix – I wasn’t kidding about my phone freezing. It took almost 3 miles before my hands warmed up, and I was very happy for a mug of tea when I got home again.

Only one thing left to say… See you on the trails, pals. Hopefully when it warms up a bit.

Wimpervals

Remember… You read it here first. Wimpervals. My newest variation on intervals, that old standby that you can rely on to work its magic.

Wimpervals, on the other hand.

Yes. It was one of those runs. Came home from school chanting my mantra. “I love to run. I get to run. I can’t wait to run.” Ha. Lies. I was tired and draggy and just wanted to curl up with tea and a good book. But it’s Tuesday and you know what that means. Go for your darned run.

With a maximum of complaining and whining (just ask Phil), I did actually head out. And if it had been +10 outside instead of -10, I would have been seriously tempted to simply lie down by the side of the trail and have a little nap. It was THAT good of a run.

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That bench right there. Perfect for a brief nap.

I was tired. My legs were heavy. It took everything I had to just keep moving forward. But, about those wimpervals.

Intervals, as you already know, are short intense efforts followed by equal or slightly longer slower recovery time jogs. If you’re working to increase your speed, intervals are a very good way to go. Run hard, easy, hard, easy, hard easy. And you’ll improve your endurance, speed, form, and coordination.

When you’re running wimpervals, however, you run short bursts (?) of slow interspersed with longer, even slower efforts. Run slow, slower, slow, slower, slow, slower. The question becomes, how slow can you go and still call it “running”?

I don’t actually have an answer for that. It’s completely subjective and depends entirely on your own perspective. Today it was pretty darned slow.

On the bright side, I did do my little loop. I earned my tea. And I’ll sleep well tonight.

See you on the trails, pals.

Happy B-day Phil

So…I might be one of those people…I like to finish my Christmas shopping by October. (It may not actually happen, but I LIKE to try.) And this year I will be able to finish birthday shopping for Phil at least four months before the actual day. How’s THAT for clever?

The plan? Just a little run in the mountains. Good thing we have some respectable hills here to practice on. And of course he’s decided that he wants to run the full marathon on his big day. There may have been a bit of pressure from a certain runner of your acquaintance.

Of course this means it’s time to move out of winter running (read survival) mode and into actual training. And today’s the day. Day 1. Layers on. Hat on. Shoes on. And let’s go.

Ok. It was snowing so I procrastinated. Waited till the sun came out just after lunch. And had a very nice run. If a little hard because of the fluffy fresh snow on the trail.

See you on the trails, pals.

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It’s all about the GEAR

Went out cross-training with friends again this morning. (Read snowshoeing at the lake.) It was a perfect morning for it…3 degrees. No wind. Great company.

Because it was such a lovely warm morning, I chose not to wear my very heavy, very bulky, very waterproof Bogs. I opted instead to wear my lighter, more flexible, and sadly much less waterproof little black boots. Oops. Rookie mistake here.

An hour or so later my feet were sodden. The snow was melting enthusiastically over, under and around my snowshoes and had completely soaked my boots. Ordinarily that would make for a cold, miserable outdoor winter experience. Very, very miserable.

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But today I squelched along happily, not minding at all. Why?

These beauties, my friends. Actual real life wool socks. They can get wet. Very, very wet. And still keep your feet warm. Wool. A miracle of nature.

So….go outside. Have fun. But be smart and wear the right gear for the weather.

See you on the trails, pals.

Cross-Training

So…we all know we should be cross-training. But we also all know that it kind of sucks. (Or is that just me?)

Whenever I’ve attempted to practice this virtue in the past it’s been a major fail. I can’t swim. I don’t own a bike. And I don’t like going to the gym. Those three strikes mean that I pretty much only ever run. And run some more.

Until today. Today I discovered winter cross-training for champions.

Snowshoeing.

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I was seriously overdressed. Good to know for next time.

Even Runner’s World says so. Read a little and find that snowshoeing is great for building strength and endurance. So although the town here is very good about keeping my little 4-mile trail cleared and runnable in the winter, I think I’ll be heading north to the lake on weekends for more snowshoeing fun.

Today, in only 90 minutes, we heard birds sing, walked on water, hiked around fallen trees and met friendly skiers on the trail. For our first attempt, it was a complete success. The only question that still remains… Will I be able to walk in the morning?

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My new favourite winter footwear.

And I just discovered that there are snowshoe RACES in the winter. See you in the mountains, pals.

Hello 2017

So apparently I survived Christmas. And, as always, the next challenge is New Year’s. Eve and Day.

Eve? I have to avoid temptation. Not too many sweets. Or drinks. Or spicy snacks. Or whatever. Happily since I’m a runner, my “too many” is really quite a few.

Day? I still have to avoid temptation. Here it’s the temptation to make too many resolutions, realistic or unrealistic. Hate to be buried under the weight of them.

Today my motto has been,

“Begin as you mean to go on.”

         Charles Spurgeon

Begin this lovely new year however I want to continue it. And that, pals, has made for a very nice day.

My recipe for the new year? Begin with coffee. Hot. Strong. And with just a splash of milk. Laze on the couch in your jammies until at least one pot has been disappeared. Eat a bagel. Complete with lox and cream cheese if at all possible. Read. Nap. Knit. Then…

Go for a run. (Surprised anyone?)

Today’s run was a slow, slow, slow four miles. At least half of my usual loop was under 7-ish centimetres of snow so regardless of how slowly I trundled along, it was a good workout. It was also about -12 C. So I was bundled as I trundled. And I had a lovely time. It started to snow again as I was finishing and now, looking out the window, I’m very glad I went out when I did.

Rewarded myself with nachos, a warm mug of tea and a new novel. Can it get better than that?

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Home again.

Like my new hat? It’s very special. It’s actually a balaclava so I can pull down the mask to cover my mouth and nose when it’s really cold. Brilliant. Even if I have to say so myself.

And even though I felt very brave going out into the January afternoon, I had company at many points along my route. Kids were out sledding, skating, playing in the snow. There was even one hardy couple playing with their Labrador at the dog park.

I love living here.

Have a fabulous 2017, pals. Hope to hear all about it.