Wednesday, December 3, 2014

You Crazy Canuck Winter Runners!

I would have never believed a year ago I'd be writing about running. But here I am. Last spring I walked my first 5K. After surgery in the fall I walked again in the Walk for the Cure, 5K. Afterwards I got thinking, "That wasn't so hard", and realized I needed to find a bigger challenge.

So I signed up for Runner's World "Learn to Run" following the C25K program (Couch to 5K, get it?). Halfway through the classes, I am running farther and stronger than I had ever imagined! Along the way I learned to dress for the weather including thermal inner wear, dressing in layers, a windbreaker, and cleats for my running shoes.

Last winter I dreaded falling to the ice again. My new agility I swear is turning out to be my best protection against falls.

 My health and fitness discussion board recently had a lively discussion about winter running. The OP despaired being able to run in the cold and the dark, as she lives in frigid Michigan (I seem to recall). Well. I've been out in -30C windchill (-22F) now, and lived to tell the tale. So the northern runners all chimed in on how we do it. A disbelieving poster called us crazy. Here's a selfie to prove it, though I would count today as pretty mild (-8C, 18F). There aren't any icicles forming off my balaclava.

People who haven't seen me for a while must be seeing a miracle. But it has not been like that for me. Truly, it has been incremental changes, small adds to my routine, that have sort of compounded themselves one on the other. The C25K is a gentle introduction to running that is deliberate in its' approach. The first week was one minute run, one minute walk. The second, three and one. The third, three and one, four and one, and this week is three rounds of five minutes ending with a three minute run (one minute walking in between).

It is important not to push too hard so the body has time to adjust. I am a freak about avoiding injury, so this is perfect.

I've learned that boredom is my enemy and the best way to stave it off is to raise the bar. I am grateful for the enthusiasm of my daughter, granddaughter and niece who are supporting me and joining me in this enterprise. As a consequence, I have signed up for a 10K run next June (Underwear Affair) and the 6K Mud Hero in August. I am nervous about the Mud Hero challenge as I will need upper body strength to make it through, and I have none right now.

Well, another goal to work towards. Baby steps.

You can join our team Ells Belles or sponsor to a good cause if you prefer. Come and watch and cheer us on! I've got a few ideas to fun up the runs.

The ultimate dream I have is to participate in the Grande Cache Death Race. That one terrifies me. My niece and I have agreed the smartest approach is to get there in degrees by participating in stronger runs leading up to the event. I also found out that participants who volunteer the preceding year are guaranteed a spot in the following year. So barring injury or unforeseen event, the plan is increasingly difficult runs through 2015/2016, volunteer in 2016, and run in 2017.