I’m at my desk, which is, you know, indoors. I’m freezing. It seems like everywhere I go, I’m freezing.
Remember when it was 70 degrees?
Oh right. That was Friday.
Oklahoma weather is ridiculous, and I am a 100 percent certified cold-weather wimp. I have been using it as an excuse to skip morning runs. “It’s daaark and cooold! I can’t go today!” Then it occurred to me, it will be dark and cold for all of winter. This doesn’t bode well for a half-marathon at the end of March.
So I have two options: get a gym membership or bundle up like Ralphie’s little brother from “A Christmas Story.” Because I’m being cheap and stubborn, I’m choosing the second option. Here’s what Runner’s World says you should wear in the cold:
50°F and Up
Bottoms: Consider a longer-cut short than you’d wear in the summer, or wear capris.
Tops: A long-sleeve technical shirt, or a short-sleeve shirt and arm warmers. Thin vest.
Add: A lightweight baseball cap–style hat.
Bottoms: Capris or three-quarter-length tights. Alternatively: long tights or pants.
Tops: Layer two long-sleeve shirts, or wear one long-sleeve with a breathable wind- or waterproof jacket, a thicker vest, or a thin midlayer.
Add: A wicking beanie, thin gloves.
Bottoms: Brushed tights or pants; consider a pair of wool underwear. Wear socks high enough to cover any exposed skin.
Tops: Double up on long-sleeve shirts, or wear a long-sleeve shirt with a thin midlayer and thin jacket, or a heavier version of either.
Add: Beanie hat, thicker gloves. Sunglasses protect your eyes from chilly gusts. (Consider clear lenses on cloudy days.)
Bottoms: Brushed, insulated tights or pants made of wind- and water-blocking fabrics.
Tops: A long-sleeve shirt tucked into your bottoms and/or a midlayer that zips up to protect your neck, plus an insulated jacket. Long socks.
Add: A scarf or “gaiter” around your neck that you can pull over your chin and mouth. A warm beanie that covers your ears. Thick gloves that fit snugly. Sunglasses.
You’re kidding, right? Hit the treadmill!
Apparently, people can run in the snow. I would not know this from first-hand experience because I am a huge wimp who’s terrified of slipping and falling and laying stranded somewhere awkward until a random passer-by stops and calls 911. Nevertheless, running in the snow apparently does happen in some locations. Weird.
Here are some tips from Runner’s World on the experience most of us who live in Oklahoma don’t have to mess with but for a few times a year:
- Wear trail shoes.
- Run in fresh snow instead of the packed-down stuff if you can.
- Take teeny tiny steps.
- Run slowly. (Check! I’m super good at this.)
- Don’t run in snow every day. It uses those weird muscles that hibernate until you do some kind of strange exercise. Those are the ones that hurt the most. So run inside and outside – not outside all the time.
- Walk over ice. Seriously. Running on ice is just dumb.
I know, I know. The holidays are crazy. If you’re like me, you probably have been slacking like the slackiest of slackers when it comes to your running schedule because you just – for the love of God! – want to sleep in a little bit. (Do you see all those people dressed like Santa and running like champs? I am not one of them.)
But if nothing else, the holidays are a time to remember to register for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon before the first price jump. Costs go up Jan. 1.
Marathon: $95 to $110.
Half marathon: $65 to $80.
Relay: $250 to $275.
5K: $35 to $40.
5K for age 12 younger: $20 to $25.
But never fear: if you’re doing the Kids Marathon, the price never changes. It’s just $10 for children and $20 for adults running with them.
I took my new shoes out for a test run this morning.
It was awkward.
I’ve only ever had one pair of running shoes. That’s right. I’ve had one pair of running shoes that I’ve used for three half marathons during the past two years. Yikes. Apparently this is bad.
My new Nikes look kind of like these, only they’re dark purple. They’re super light and feel nicer on my back than my Asics. I don’t know yet if that’s because my Asics were so old or if it’s because they’re better for me.
It felt strange running in new shoes. It was like a first date – awkward, uncomfortable, weird. My old ones have been with me for so many miles. What do I do with them? I didn’t throw them away or give them away or anything. They’re just in my running bag, looking lonely. I guess I’ll figure out what to do with them later.
The new ones made me feel a little creaky in the knees, but maybe they need some more break-in time. We’ll see. At least thing time I’m going to try not to keep them for two years.
I realized a few weeks before the Williams Route 66 Marathon that there was a time limit on your water stops. If you ran slower than a 15-minute pace, you were out of luck. Too slow? Better carry your own water. I’ll be honest: it made me so mad.
I’m a slow runner. This isn’t modesty talking. I’m so slow, I sometimes get passed by walkers. Really. Once, my husband took a picture of me running, and we later discovered there was a man walking in hiking boots – hiking boots! – who was passing me. I don’t like to talk about my pace because honestly, I’m embarrassed. It’s slower than a 15-minute mile.
So when I realized that there was a limit for the water stops, I was scared. What if I couldn’t make it that quickly? What if ran out of water?
Also, setting a time limit can weed out the walkers and slow people like me. It’s pretty disheartening. Doesn’t my training count? Don’t my miles count? I do all the same miles. I do all the same runs. It just takes me twice as long as some people, even three times as long as the fastest folks. Does that mean it doesn’t count? The more I thought about it, the angrier I got.
I bought a water bottle belt the night before the race and my running buddy, Megan Rolland, gave me some Gu to put in the pocket. (She told me to eat it at Mile 6. I was pretty sure if I didn’t eat it right then, I would collapse on the course.) I wrote the mileage for the water stops at the time limits for a 15-minute pace. If I could make it to the first water stop at Mile 2, then I wouldn’t have to use my water until after then.
I headed out onto the hilly first half of the course with the determination to make it to the first water stop. I checked my watch over and over and over. I squeaked in and drank both water and Gatorade. I kept moving and made it to the next water stop. And then next. And on and on. Finally, I hit the last one – Mile 12 – just as they were packing up. I was there right at the 15-minute pace. Me. I was running a 15-minute pace. It was only 1.1 miles to go and I was spent.
It took me 20 minutes to finish that last bit. I ran a few steps, walked, ran a few steps, walked some more. It took so long.
I crossed the finish line and still didn’t really believe my watch or the time on the clock above. I shuffled through the food tent, my legs dragging. I met up with Megan, who had finished more than an hour an a half earlier, and then found my family. I sat down for a long, long time.
When I finally stood up, my husband took me to the timing tent, where a sweet woman in a cozy sweatshirt printed out a ticket for me. I beat my best time by 20 minutes.
Twenty minutes? Was that even real?
So, thanks, Tulsa. I was running as fast as I could so I wouldn’t dehydrate and die, and I set a personal best. So I guess I’m not that mad at you now.
This morning a friend and I headed out to the Oklahoma River trails, and I achieved a big goal.
I ran at race pace for 3 miles.
OK, so that doesn’t sound like a big deal? I basically have never been able to run at race pace for more than, like, 30 yards. I’m so proud! I have a ridiculously slow pace, and I’m not being modest. My husband photographed me cheerfully running while being passed by a walker during the 2011 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Yeah, you read that right. A walker. In fact, it was a walker wearing hiking boots. I’m so glad we memorialized that moment in time.
So I’ve had this goal in my head of what pace I’d like to run a half marathon at. It’s faster than I’ve done in the past, but maybe I could do it.
I’m registered for the Williams Route 66 Marathon half marathon run in Tulsa in November. I still have 65 days to go, but I realize I probably won’t be able to run at race pace the whole way. But maybe I could set a personal record. Could I? Could that even happen? I mean, I’ve only run two half marathons, so I’ve only got two races to beat. This is as good a time as any, I guess. And 3 miles at pace leaves me only 10.1 miles to go.
OK, I have a confession to make: I don’t do any weight-training.
Well, let me correct myself. I guess I do some weight training. If I happen to be running in the gym and I need to walk across the room to change the TV, I might do some random reps as I pass through the jungle of equipment. Then I proudly check off weight training. “Check! Good job, Carrie!”
But as I prepare for the half marathon in Tulsa this November, I’ve decided to actually do some lifting on purpuse.
So I turned to my favorite personal trainer, Google, and put together a little list of some basic hand weights moves and a pair of ab exercises, or, as I like to call them, ab things. My husband and I gave it a go last night for the first time, and it was so fun! We did it in our bedroom after our daughter had gone to sleep. And then his dog came and stood right next to him. I couldn’t stop laughing because she was so awkward. I love it.
Anyway, here’s our list:
Do two sets of 15 reps. Use dumbbells: 5 pounds at first, 10 pounds later. Go through the list until you hit 30 minutes.
- Dumbbell chest press (chest) — Lie on a bench, elbows bent 90 degrees out to sides; straighten arms up and return.
- One-arm dumbbell row (upper back) — Stand with legs hip-width apart and place one hand on bench, opposite arm holding weight; draw elbow up toward ribs and lower.
- Biceps curl (biceps) — Stand with arms extended, palms up, and curl weights toward shoulders.
- Triceps extension (triceps) — Stand with legs hip-width apart. Lean forward from waist, elbows bent 90 degrees at your sides; straighten arms behind you.
- Lateral raise (shoulders) — Stand with arms down by your sides, palms in; raise straight arms to shoulder height.
- Basic squat (legs/butt)
- Front lunge (legs/butt)
- Bicycle (abs) — Lie face-up on floor, bend opposite elbow to knee, then switch sides.
- Superman (lower back) — Lie facedown on floor and lift opposite arm/leg; switch sides.
Here’s information about the free women’s safety forum at 10 a.m. Saturday at Redline Jiu Jitsu, 745 Enterprise Drive, Suite 190, in Edmond.
The Oklahoma City Metro area has encountered a recent outbreak of attacks on women runners. Reports of stalking have increased alarmingly as well. runhers is partnering with Jennifer Gray; a women’s safety and self-defense expert to hold at free one hour forum at Redline Jiu Jtsu in Edmond on Saturday Morning. The forum is limited to the first 100 women. Women can join the event though the runhers Facebook site.
runhers Director of Special Projects Sheila Kidder states, “This is a very serious issue. We get calls from the local media and reports all the time of women out training, getting harassed, verbally abused and even stalked, not only while running, but out on daily activities as well. Our forum allows women to be aware of what to look for, along with tips for how to get away in case the unspeakable does occur. We help them develop their own personal protection plan – based on how much risk they think they are exposed to.”
Jennifer Gray with Redline says, “We want women empowered. We want them to be able to quickly assess if there may be a threat – and what to do all the way through the encounter; even with a physical encounter, God forbid that should happen. Knowledge is everything and this will be a great forum to answer the many safety questions women have.”
runhers has posted a more detailed article on women’s safety at http://runhers.com/2012/07/personal-safety-%e2%80%93-are-you-prepared/
About runhers® women’s association
runhers is a dynamic and creative women’s lifestyle organization. runhers is built on the belief that women must move to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. We produce lifestyle programs, trainings, creative forums, entertainment & amazing events. If you can imagine a better you, we can help you create it. To engage more, please visit us at www.runhers.com or facebook.com/runhers – twitter @runhers – email firstname.lastname@example.org
So I know I want to run a race in December-ish. This is all I know.
Choosing a race is so difficult.
For me, the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is a built-in goal. Everybody around town who runs is usually running at it. A bunch of non-runners are volunteering for it. It’s for an important cause. It’s an easy pick to say the least.
But now that I’d like to do a mid-year half-marathon, I’m feeling a little intimidated. The Williams Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa would be a great fit, but I don’t know for sure yet if I’ll be ready that weekend (Nov. 17-18). So I either amp up my training or I start with a blank slate. Darn it. I guess I’ll spend more time looking than actually training this week.
Why is this so hard?