Tuesday, December 31, 2013

what to wearing running: it's effing cold edition

I finished my growing up in western Massachusetts (6th - 12th grade) and so I was no stranger to running in 20º, 13º, and even -3º (the day I split my chin wide open after slipping on black ice). But after seven years in temperate Seattle, where 28º qualifies as 'frigid' I've become a huge cold weather wuss.

This Christmas I came home for the first time in over 3 years and was handed the rude awakening of an 7º day. I was on my #rwrunstreak so skipping my daily run was out of the question. I hadn't given my Oiselle apparel the test of an icy run yet either, so that was exciting.

What I wore for 7º, with a slight wind:

The new Lesley Tights under Lux Pant. I have to say, even in 7º this was a little over kill. The Lesley Tights + high ankle socks (or even compression) would have been more comfortable. I'd save the double pants for under 0º.

Next, my base layer was Flyte Long Sleeve. Perfect with the thumbholes, so no skin was exposed. Then I added the Big O hoodie, which has become a favorite running top this holiday. It's fleecy but not stifling. In fact I feel like it's pretty darn perfect as a top layer for an easy cold weather run. 

I should add that I wore mittens and a hat. I also carried my iPhone in a mitten to keep it from shutting down in the cold.  

Bonus layer: I would throw the Flyer Jacket over top the hoodie or double base layers if the 7º had been accompanied by wind or snow. The Flyer Jacket is surprisingly warm, in fact unless it's under 38º I'm just too hot in this jacket. Which is all part of its magic... seriously don't underestimate this guy.

Dressing for the cold can be tricky and you can easily end up being WAY TOO HOT. So remember you shouldn't be warm until a mile in. If you are... you're going to be too hot. And layers are king. 

What are your cold weather running tips?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

if it's not fun, why do it?

After Chicago, my secret goal was to take out my anger on the XC course in Bend Oregon on December 14th and finish as high up as I could get. I pictured just going animalistic insane on that race. Frothing at the mouth, pass out pain face, arghghghgh.

we're going to need more drool….

As I've whined about enough, my body would not let me come back after Chicago. After ridding myself of the month long rib-rattling cough my new goal was finish without embarrassing myself. I started cramming for the race in the last 2 weeks. I jumped in one speed workout. Which just as you might imagine, wasn't smart. During the last furious 400 chasing the imfamous Lesko Legs I pulled/strained/angered the hell out of my hamstring. My goal changed again: start the damn race. This fall it seems the only thing on my menu is humble pie.

It's sounds so stupid outloud. How I harbored secret goals of drooling all over myself to a top(ish) finish, how many times I tried to start training too hard to fast. Luckily, over the past two months on and off the sidelines, washing down humble pie with Merlot, I actually managed to do some thinking.

My conclusion (again): if it's not fun, why do it? I asked myself a lot this summer if I would be upset if I gave up 'xyz' and still didn't make my time. The answer was always no! I was having fun. The time of my life really, despite my body being broken down. But after the marathon, running wasn't fun. I made it ugly. I let bitterness and anger take the place of fun.

go funning!

I conciously made efforts late this fall to find the fun again. I volunteered at a water stop at Seattle Marathon. I was a running buddy for Girls on the Run. I stopped running with my Garmin and joined the Runner's World Runstreak. I haven't written in my training log since October 13th. And after weeks of this faking it, I made it. I found the fun again.

And as Club XC Nationals got closer, I reminded myself that no one cared about my race except me, and I had control over the thoughts that I thought. I could run this for my team and care about each of them as much or more than myself, run with joy, and enjoy the whole mess. Or I could be a bitter Betty thinking about how I wish I was in better shape, internally sulking around like a selfish baby.

team pride

While I did let bitter sneak in for moments, I overwhelmingly felt joy this weekend. I am proud of my race. I am proud of all the Oiselle Teams' races. We scrapped and fought and had so much dirty, painful, cross country fun! And then we had so much sweaty, packed, dancy fun at the Picky Bars party.
finish line hurt box

I got to meet people in this little Twitter running world that I've always wanted to meet like @mohosjo, @number1miler and @leenbug. And shared a sweet little 70s style bungalow with @jenawinger, @sarahoual and @emilysweats. Hung out with the Oiselle Team family. I'll always remember this weekend as one of the best.

so fly...

bird + bros (sally + granato racing)
until next time, bend

Monday, December 2, 2013

long weekend and... I'm streaking!!

The four day weekend is over and while there is never really any true time off for me during the holidays (hello, online retail), it was overall a great holiday. The Oiselle holiday design is my favorite so far, it was so much fun to launch that on Thanksgiving. How our designer brings my loose, crud sketches and ideas to life so beautifully is beyond me. Because… really you should see the sketches. She is a mind reader.

We hosted Thanksgiving here for the first time. It was about how you'd expect. No big disasters, a lot of work, the overwhelming concern of 'is everyone having fun?' and stuffed happy bellies in the end. Plus a toddler dance party that just wouldn't quit. Success.

we call this move the starfish

Because of hosting responsibilities, it was the first year I didn't do a turkey trot in many years. Turky trotting has been a MacKay tradition for my entire running life. And in the past three years I've looped Owen into the fun! It's my favorite part of Thanksgiving. This year though I just felt stressed thinking about taking the time out of hosting prep to race.

Luckily I did find a way to run off some of the holiday stress thanks to Meghan who texted me the night before, in the midst of my pre-email-blast-send-insomnia. She had one last workout before CIM and was going to hit Roosevelt Track in the AM for 4x200, 8x1000. I jumped in. My booty is still sore.

Friday was spent lolling around and obsessively checking that the web codes were working for Oiselle shoppers online. Saturday we started some shopping but ultimately ended up going to the movies (Dallas Buyer's Club: strongly recommend) and eating a delicious dinner at Capitol Cider.

Sunday morning I woke up at 5:45a to get ready for the Seattle Marathon. Not to run but for water station duty in the I90 tunnel! I've been wanting to volunteer for a race ever since I got into half marathons and marathons. The water station is so crucial, and it's amazing to me that people would give up hours of their Sunday mornings to support racers like me. I wanted to pay it forward.

water! ga-tor-ade!
I arrived at the mouth of the I90 express lanes at 6:40am and followed three figures in the dark along the edge of the highway lane and into the tunnel. Everyone was already working. And immediately I got started doing what I saw everyone else doing: opening liter water bottles and dumping them into double lined trash bags. Yep. Stirring up Gatorade with giant spoons. And filling layer after layer of cups.

We finished filling our third tier of tiny Gatorade cups around 7:35am, got the pep talk and within minutes the elite half marathon men were flying past. I yelled "Ga-tor-ade!!!" for approximately the next 2 hours of my life. There were surges of people, hands flying in from everywhere. There were lulls. There were really kind people with 'thank you's. There were cwanky people with grabby hands and annoyed faces. It was like standing in a stream full of fish, if the fish were all completely different fascinating characters.

It made me love the marathon all over again. And it was the nail in my running-slump's coffin. Well the water stop and the #RWRunStreak! Which is so rad. Just run at least one mile a day everyday from Thanksgiving and January 1st. There's an awesome community getting out there everyday. Just search for #rwrunstreak on Twitter and Facebook. Instant inspiration! Didn't run one of the last 5 days? I'm easy, join up now! Let's go!