Until the last month or so, running this winter actually hasn’t been too bad. It was nice enough that I was able to run outside on the weekend afternoons because the temps were between 30 and 40 degrees. February has been a different story though! I remember the last day I ran outside was Jan. 31. The only reason I remember that is because it was the day before the Super Bowl and the day before a predicted huge snow storm. We got that big snow storm, but luckily not much snow otherwise. What we have gotten though is cold! I won’t run outside when there is still a lot of snow and possibility it is on the sidewalks. I’ve sprained too many ankles to try that. But I don’t run outside below about 25ish degrees. I read on the local news station’s Facebook page that yesterday was the first time the temperature had gotten above freezing for the first time since 9 a.m. Feb. 11. And before Feb. 11… it had been a while as well. I’ve done well getting myself to the gym on work out days even when the temperature was far below zero.
What has been more difficult for running this winter has been my health! For about the last six months, every time I’ve gotten myself back into a good workout routine, I’ve gotten sick or otherwise had some reason to stop working out. That’s included three sinus infections, a couple colds, and sprained ankle and Christmas. I’m in the midst of another cold right now. So far I’ve continued working out. My attitude is that I will keep working out when I’m only slightly sick because when I get really sick I’ll miss a week! Its pretty frustrating. My workout log gets so barren. The main page has a graph of my daily mileage for the past month. When I lose a week, the graph gets very empty.
Running on the treadmill has been hard for me. Its been hard since Peyton was born for some reason. I still haven’t figured out why. I’ve been cross training more and I think that has helped. Lately I think the gym treadmills are to blame. Many times I’ll start running and its like the treadmill will start shaking. I’m not really sure how to describe it. I’m not sure if its the belt or the mechanism the belts runs on (yes, I know the technical terms). The best description I can think of is it feels like I’m trying to run on a boat in the water. While I have certainly had equilibrium issues with recent sinus infections, I do think this is a problem with individual treadmills as there are a few where this doesn’t happen. The gym’s equipment in general is having a rough time right now. Many pieces have out of order signs. In general I know my tendency for shin splints is worse in the winter because of running on treadmills that may not be maintained well. I don’t have much choice though because buying a treadmill is so not in the budget and neither is running outside in sub-zero temps and dark when there’s snow on the ground. So I deal with it and count down to spring!
Luckily most of the time I can get one of the treadmills that works for me or switch to one that works for me. And when I do get on a good one, I have felt like I’ve been improving. I am just doing run/walk intervals right now. When I was getting outside on the weekends I was running well without many walk breaks and with better speed. My intervals are usually 6 minutes running and 2 minutes walking. I’ve been able to increase that to 8 or 10 minutes running more recently and I have increased my distance as well… from 3 to 4 miles more often. Not much, but its a lot for me!
As happens every winter I have the dilemma of whether I should register for a spring half or not. I realized a while ago the Green Bay half wouldn’t work this year because of other commitments in May. I would like to register for the Madison spring half in spite of the humongous hill (affectionately known as Observatory Hill) near the beginning of the course. The prices increase each month and I wanted to make a decision before the end of February. But with being sick and the weather and uncertainty about our budget… the decision may need to wait another month.