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 have lots of favorite excuses for not running, but bad weather is one of my absolute favorites. And, lucky for me, it’s winter! Runner’s World has a great story about staying warm while you’re outdoors. They offer 10 tips, but here are my favorite three:
- Make a plan. Meet up with someone who will hold you accountable. If you don’t have a running buddy, tell yourself that you can go back inside after 5 minutes if it’s awful outside. Usually, it won’t be awful. It’s a terrible trick you play on yourself.
- Warm up inside. Do some yoga moves or clean your house. Get your blood pumping before you go outside.
- Change as soon as you get back. Get out of your cold clothes and drink something warm.
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 summer, my mom bought me a jogging stroller so I could take my little girl out on runs with me. Well, it turned out to be the hottest summer this side of Hell. I haven’t taken my daughter out really at all. I took her on a walk here and there, but this weekend I finally took her on a run.
My training schedule called for five miles. At my pace, that’s about a 12-hour run. Or maybe it just feels like it. Mia and I headed down to the trails at the Oklahoma River for our big outing. I stashed a book, a music toy and a stuffed cow in the storage mesh under her seat just in case she needed a distraction.
Lucky me: she didn’t need any kind of distraction. She watched everything with wide eyes. She pointed at the river and the egrets wading in the shallow water. She saw birds flit from tree to tree. She watched grasshoppers bounce across the trail and into the grass.
Until mile four. Then, she was done.
Mia isn’t a whiner or a crier, but I could tell she was ready to go when she tossed her sunglasses over the side of her stroller.
I cut my run a mile short, but it was so fun taking her out. I’m sure I’ll drag her along in the future. On my short runs.
This morning I overslept, so instead of running 3 miles as planned, I had enough time for 1 sad, little mile. (When you’re as slow as I am, there’s a big difference in time between 1 mile and 3.) When I woke up so, so late, I really wanted to give up because I was under a time crunch instead of having lots of time to kick around. I tried to think of all my other excuses, and then I realized I have a list of five favorites.
5. It’s too hot/cold/wet/rainy/windy/bright/dark outside! (If you wait for a perfect, 74-degree day in Oklahoma, you’ll only get to run, like, twice all year.)
4. I don’t know where I want to run. (Sometimes it’s OK to go out and not know your exact route. As a moderate Type A personality, I’m still working on doing this one.)
3. My favorite running pants are in the wash. (The secret to running success is always the pants, right?)
2. I forget how far I’m supposed to go today, and my training plan is at the office/gym/house. I better not go because I don’t want to go the wrong distance. (Running isn’t a math formula. You don’t get it right or wrong.)
And my favorite excuse for not getting up and running …
1. It’s too early. *snooze button* It’s too early. *snooze* Too early. *snooze* Aaah! Now it’s too late! (Cheater.)
What have we learned? No excuse is a good one.
OK, you’re obviously not going to run directly into the area of northeast Oklahoma City that’s on fire. But you might be running in a place where the wind has carried the smoke, even if it’s miles and miles away. Here’s a note from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management:
If you live close to or in the surrounding area, it’s recommended that you refrain from exercising outdoors, especially if you smell smoke or notice eye or throat irritation.
So if you’re in northeast Oklahoma City – or event south Edmond or rural Oklahoma County – it might be wise to switch your runs to the treadmill for the next couple days.
For my past couple of outings, I’ve had to cut my run short because of a pounding headache. I’ve never experienced this before, so it was kind of creepy to be jogging along and then BAM! I don’t get migraines or anything, so I had to do some research. Here are some common reasons runners get headaches.
Well, I have never in my life had a problem eating enough carbs. Ever. And even though I won’t pass up on the chance for a nap, I’m getting enough sleep.
The problem: the heat. My body was getting too hot too quickly.
I thought heat sickness was for the very young, the very old and people who spent all day working outside. Turns out, I’m an idiot. I was ignoring the signs of heat sickness:
- Headache or intense heat buildup in the head.
- Confusion or lack of concentration.
- Loss of muscular control.
- Over-sweating followed by clammy skin and cessation of sweating.
- Hot and cold flashes.
- Upset stomach, muscle cramps, vomiting, dizziness.
Runner’s World offers lots of tips for running during hot weather. These are my favorites:
- Acclimate with care. It takes up to two weeks to acclimate.
- Wear light, loose clothing.
- Start slowly. Lengthen your pace by a few minutes.
- Bag it if it’s too hot. Some days are going to be dangerous. It’s OK to run inside, cross-train or just give it a pass.
Running inside might be better than trying to gut it out when I’m not ready. I’m not a fan of headaches.
I got this wonderful email from a reader that I wanted to share. She emailed me after my column about the race ran May 4.
I thoroughly enjoyed your article about the Oklahoma City Marathon. Actually, I was rolling with laughter as I too was out there walking the 13.1 miles and I was well behind you. I dared not look behind me to see if there was still anyone slower than me (according to my results, there were a few!), as I had a job to do and that of course was to finish the half marathon.
A little background history. This was my first half marathon or for that matter any race, I am 59, a caregiver to my husband who is wheelchair bound from multiple sclerosis, and as most caregivers, out of shape. My young adult daughter encouraged me to start training for this marathon in early January as she was training to run her first full marathon. Many days were spent walking the training schedule in wind, cold, some ice, etc. I thought the training was rough but little did I know what we were in for on the day of the marathon.
I was drenched before I even crossed the starting line. Thirteen miles plus seemed impossible with the day’s miserable weather until I thought of my husband home in a wheelchair (I dare to wimp out when I can walk and he can not?), my daughter who trained so hard and was running twice as far and always encouraged me over the months, and then when I felt close to tears I remembered the purpose of this marathon. It was not suppose to be about me, but to remember those who died, those who survived, and those forever affected by that fateful day of the bombing. I remember that day well and always will.
So, thank you for giving me a good laugh and sharing your embarrassment on how far back you may have been. As the hours wore on and my legs became numb from wet clothes enhanced by a cold northeastern wind, I knew this was a marathon not based on my physical ability but on my mental perseverance. Now knowing that others felt what I did, I may, just may, do it again next year!
And oh, the icing on the cake was the hail coming down as my daughter crossed the finish line!
I’m pretty sure the wind might literally, actually blow away my child. She’s not very heavy. She might actually get knocked over.
Sunday is going to be ridiculous. Here’s an excerpt from our NewsOK weather story:
Winds are expected to gust up to 50 mph by Sunday in central Oklahoma, with slight chances of rain tonight and Saturday night. Rain chances are 30 percent or less.
Come on, Oklahoma. This is just ridiculous. If I run Sunday, I might have to tilt my body to a 45-degree angle. Look at this photo one of our photographers snapped earlier this week. these people are trying to have a nice walk out at Lake Hefner. And Sunday is supposed to be worse.
I love author Jenny Hadfield’s blog on Runner’s World. It’s called Ask Coach Jenny. One of her readers asked her about running in the wind, and she offers some really good advice. While we don’t have a choice about direction when we run official races, we can go whatever direction we choose on our training runs. Here’s some good advice from Coach Jenny:
In the Heat: Reverse it and run with the wind on the way out and against the wind on your way home. Use the wind to cool yourself when your body core temperature is at its highest.
I have another solution to the horrible winds that will ruin my long Sunday run. I’m going on Saturday.