Lessons learned from a habitual outdoor runner

Month: December 2018 Page 1 of 2

Various December weather challenges

turned on clear light bulbs

Photo by Sindre Strøm on Pexels.com

This morning (12/28/18) it was 51 degrees at 4am, by the time I arrived home from the morning run, it was 36 with a windchill in the upper 20’s. Yesterday, it was in the ’40s, raining, with wind-gusts over 25 mph. We’re all over the board for the weather in December!

Yes, I know, it’s winter, get over it! I’m not complaining, I just have to find the right clothes to wear. I’m fortunate to have a space to manage my running “wardrobe” and make selections as each day brings its own variation.

I love it when my choice of “gear” actually aligns with the situation. In the windy-rainy scenario yesterday, it was warm enough as the standing air temp was around 45, yet it was raining, and the windchill was in the ’30s. I desire to be warm and dry around the head and torso as long as possible. The legs and feet just have to accept collateral impact and are not usually a problem if the upper body is well kept. How wet the feet get is a potential problem and has to be continuously monitored.

Screenshot from 2018-12-28 12-01-03

Moisture management – the rainy day in the ’40s presents the challenge of not getting too sweaty, needing to stay appropriately warm, and not let the cold wind and rain in. I selected a sleeveless cotton layer first, then a polyester short-sleeve, covered by a polyester long-sleeved shirt. Then externally with a St. Jude ballcap (reduces rain on face), UnderArmor gloves, and my Work n’ Sports Waterproof jacket. I was ready as I stepped into the blustery darkness.

8.8 miles later I arrived home with a comfortable torso and really wet feet and hands. The beautiful thing was that the external polyester shirt did a great job as a moisture barrier, the cotton shirt was wet from sweat, and the middle polyester layer was almost dry. This jacket has done a great job against the elements and has held up well with all the arm motion and activity.

Enjoy the outdoors and find ways to stay comfortable while facing the various elements.

Southern Indiana: No straight roads

Screenshot from 2018-12-23 13-49-05

In Central Illinois the roads are grids, most of the property layout is in one-mile squares. Running in Southern Indiana, it’s hard to find a straight path! It begs the question: Did they just pave the old horse trails? Even US HWY 150 between Shoals and West Baden has so many twists you may need Dramamine. It could be fun on a motorcycle!

The map above is one of the routes I’ve established for my 8-9 mile daily run. It’s quiet and beautiful country through the woods, farms, cottages, and fields. Very little traffic and an occasional horse or Amish vehicle can be seen. Actually, the Amish wheels and horseshoes do make enough noise on the quiet country pavement to hear them coming about the same distance as a motorized vehicle.

If I have to identify a few obstacles, they would be dogs and hills, with dogs really being the obstacle, the hills are exercise-variety.

Being able to break from the daily routine routes is motivational. Regardless of straight grids, hills or country twists and turns, I am grateful to be able to experience the outdoors while running!

Run for life

We’ve heard this said numerous ways, as in:

  • I’m running for my life (being chased?)
  • I want to run for my entire life (accomplishment)
  • Running is my life (or focus)
  • Do these things, and you can run more/longer (competitive)

For me, running is one of the key elements that keeps me vital. Genetics, poor life choices, time, and circumstance are all influencing my physical presence and yours. Running has proven to be a significant asset in my journey to live out my purpose.

Several studies have pointed out the benefits of gut health and the impact on our longevity based on our personal diet (which is what works best for our body). Similarly, there have been studies showing that physical exercise like running can actually extend (rebuild) the age shrinking telomeres in our DNA structures.

I see running as my fountain of youth, regardless of what life brings, I’m doing what I can with the body I have to keep up with the changes and challenges being thrown at it.

Lead Leg Day

Lead – as in the metal! The… heavy… metal.

Most people use the term “leg day” as the day to work the legs. They were working alright!

Have you ever had a run where your legs are just heavy? It seems that each throw of the leg is a chore! This morning’s run was like that. Of course, I have to evaluate the reason why.

It rained overnight, so I wore an older pair of shoes expecting to get wet, I didn’t. Old shoes have less spring and support adding a little more stress and less comfort.

There was customer impacting systems problems at work that I woke up to… it was on my mind as the team started heading toward the issue.

The temps were in the hard-to-dress-for range. Where the standing temp is in the mid-’40s but the unpredictable wind-chill is in the mid-’30s. Oh, and don’t forget the probable chance of rain… which didn’t happen.

There were no stars or sunrise to look at, no planes tracking across the sky… just gloomy clouds.

I started out late due to the above-noted work issue and had an early meeting on my calendar forcing me to shorten the run for time sake. Grr.

Stress is a downer, a distraction, a burden. If you can shed it before the run, it may surprise you how much better things go. Yes, running does relieve some stress, but on days like this, not enough!

I know… poor, poor, little ‘ol me. Nah, I am blessed! I get to run each day, what a gift! I am just sharing how life can make running a little tougher. I still ran over 8 miles at a 9:08 pace which was way better than I assumed it would be while out there.

Have a blessed day!


Mind performance impact

The mind has so much influence on physical performance. My switch to the Garmin Forerunner 25 reminded me of some new personal records.

Apparently, the watches themselves keep track of the personal best times and do not check with the profile history on Connect. That’s ok as it is nice to feel the “new records” appear on the watch as I have those better days.

As I look back on my current personal records in the 5k, 10k, and half-marathon, I am reminded most of those were accomplished when I had some exciting things happening in life. There were new challenges and adventures on several fronts which apparently provided some additional motivation.

I’m still working through the book, Running Flow, and many of the examples and research points are very relatable, and it is good to read the stories of other runners.

Now, to work on freeing my mind so I can run free of mental obstacles!

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