Tag Archive for winter running

1 mile tonight to keep the run streak alive – recap of March so far (including some shoe thoughts)

7 runs and 36.75 miles into March so far.

1st – 3 miles

2nd – 7.3 miles

3rd – 10 miles

4th – 1 mile

5th – 10 miles

6th – 4.45 miles

7th – 1 mile

I’m 67 days into the 2016 run streak attempt and I am feeling good and running appears to be a habit again. Whoohoo

Now about shoes…

Since October 2014, I have been using solely Hoka One One Cliftons to run outside in – long runs (including my 2 12 hour races and the Dopey Challenge in 2015), short runs and everything in between. But my current set is close to being done according to my mileage tally and the way my legs feel after using them – I would just buy a new pair but Hoka has updated the model and depending on the Clifton fanatic you talk to they are either completely ruined or close to the same. I tried a pair on for myself and I found the toe box to be too tight on the size I wear (the original version is snug for me in the toe box but the new version is way too tight) meaning I would probably need to go up a half size…unfortunately I wear a 12 and I can’t find a 12.5 anywhere so I would have to go up to a 13 which might be too large a change.

I have also managed to burn through my stash of Nike Pegasus 30s that I love and that Nike changed too significantly for me to want to continue with them. I did work through a pair of 31s but they only seemed to be good for me on the treadmill and I didn’t enjoy them outside at all.

So I also needed to find a new indoor shoe. I did some digging and settled on the Nike Vomero 10s and after finding them on sale I bought a set and gave them a try. I found them very close to the ride of the old Pegasus 30s that I loved and I have been using them as my indoor shoes ever since – up to about 200 miles on them now and they still feel great.

While on vacation I found major deals at a Nike Outlet store on Vomero 9s and a big deal on a set of Vomero 10s at Scheel’s in Fargo – in the end I bought 4 pairs for what I would pay for 2 sets up here (even after the exchange on the dollar right now). I ran the Vomero 9s the entire time I was on vacation and found them to be very good, just like the 10s.

With that in mind I decided to try the 9s outside this past weekend back here in Winnipeg on a morning after we had had some fresh snow fall over snow that had melted and re-frozen the night before. What a chore! The 9s just could not sustain traction – I struggled to maintain anything close to 5 mph – it was an exhausting 10 miles! My legs felt great after though so the shoes are good for distance but they just couldn’t handle the slippery conditions.

To make sure that it was the shoes, I ran in the Cliftons last night in sloppy / icy conditions that were arguably worse than the day before – combined with it being dark and me running way too soon after eating supper and I expected I had set myself up for another bad run. But I was easily able to maintain over a mph faster pace without issue even with having to carefully watch where every step was going. Definitely had much better traction…but my ankles are not pleased even the next day and that tells me that those shoes are done…

So what do I do now? We are experiencing a bit of an early spring here so there is a chance the slippery conditions could clear up soon and traction won’t be an issue…but knowing our weather we could also end up with snow for another month or more. Top that off with knowing that I have signed up for a trail 50k in early May, if the Vomeros couldn’t handle snow and ice, will they be able to handle trails if they are even a little bit muddy?

Basically, I expect that means I have 1300-1500 miles of brand new shoes that will be designated for pavement and treadmill – not a bad situation to be in but I need to sort out a shoe with more traction that I can do long distance in…and I have to do it fast as it is about 8.5 weeks until the trail 50k and I will need to make sure they work for me in that time.


Current plan will be to try on a pair of Clifton 2s that are one full size up from what I wear in the original versions. At this point I have to hope that those will work for me, if they don’t I am going to have to come up with different options…maybe hammer nails into the soles of the Vomero 9s?

Ahh running, you always find a way to make things interesting.

4.45 miles on ice and snow this morning – winter is here. A bit of a recap of the last week as well.

It has been an interesting week for weather…

Last Sunday I did 4.45 miles by myself and then another 0.85 miles with the pups. We then took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to spend a few hours wandering around the zoo.

A few days off of running and then 7 miles on the treadmill late Wednesday night with plans to put in more miles the next night.

But then winter hit – very icy and snowy with high winds made everything very slick everywhere. And of course I had some piss poor planning and hadn’t gotten winter tires put on the vehicle yet. So I burned what free time I had Thursday night swapping tires – spent way too much time on cold, wet cement buggering up my knees and legs. Always fun. Plus I think the cold aggravated a cough I had been fighting for a few days.

Then swimming lessons for the kids Friday night (glad I got the winter tires on the vehicle for that drive).

And now Saturday morning, it’s not snowing anymore and the wind died down but it was still quite cold – it was interesting to break out my winter running gear. I was tempted not to run but I figured I couldn’t skip my first planned cold weather run – it would set a bad precedent and make it too easy to skip more.

The my lungs weren’t pleased with the cold air, especially with the cough I have had a good portion of the week. I did have to stop a couple times to clean the lungs out but it wasn’t too bad overall.

I did take it slow as well since there were several spots in the residential areas where the side walks were very rough and slippery – I tried to convince myself it was good trail running training…it was a tough sell but actually is probably pretty accurate.

I was under a bit of a time crunch this morning so I only did one neighborhood lap for 4.45 miles and then the cough made me skip doing an after run with the dogs (they were PISSED).

The cough does seem to be getting better so I am hopeful for a longer run tomorrow especially with the temperatures predicted to be a bit warmer. And the pups will get a well deserved run as well – it should be interesting because I haven’t run with them in the snow before. Based on their antics in the backyard they should have a blast.

4.45 miles outside in 35:22 – not bad considering how I felt through the night and most of the morning

I had 9 miles on the schedule for this morning but I woke up around 4 am feeling pretty awful with a headache and stomach issues – I tossed and turned until probably 7 am before I fell asleep, to be promptly woken before 8 by the kids. So considering I probably fell to sleep around 1 there wasn’t much rest last night!

I was still not feeling good when I got up and the wife took the kids to their last curling practice for the season. I had a bit of a bite to eat and took something for my head.

I finally started feeling a bit better about 30 minutes later but by that time there was no time to run before I had to get to the curling rink to pick up the boy to take him to his robotics class.

Still wasn’t feeling that great after that and after lunch but we went out to do some shoe shopping because the boy had outgrown the last of his running shoes. While we were at the store I noticed that they had Nike Pegasus 30s on the shelf…? Odd since the 31s have been out for a year or so. Now I love the 30s but I am not overly fond of the 31s – in my mind they broke them – the 31s aren’t as cushy and the change in the heel to toe ratio is not to my taste. The changes for the 31s were basically my reasons for finally trying Hoka One One Cliftons. I love the Cliftons as well and I am glad I have discovered them because they are great for doing the real long distance runs without destroying my legs. But there is just something about the 30s for shorter runs and halves that just works for me.

I actually decided to retire the last pair of 30s I have last night and my knee started hurting when I did a short run in them. I figure I should have been able to get another 30-50 miles out of them but my knee disagreed.

But now here were 30s….did they have stock in my size? They did! They were also doing a buy one get half off the next pair promotion so got them to check on a second pair… Score! A second pair in my size! Awesome!

This basically means I can use a pair on the treadmill, have a pair for quick runs outside and use my Hokas for longer runs. I am fully equipped again!

So, now we get the shoes home and I am actually feeling ok…I figure I should get out and do one lap around the neighborhood at least so that I got some miles in today. I put on one of the new pairs of Pegasus 30s and off I went. I also decided to wear shorts instead of leggings because even though it is back below freezing again here I am done with winter!

I started off feeling a bit slow but didn’t really know how fast I was going because it took a few minutes before my Garmin finally synced up – apparently I wasn’t going slow after all. In the end I ran one lap (4.45 miles) around the neighborhood in 35:22 – that might be the fastest I have ever done one of those laps. Pretty solid run!

I was starting to get a headache again by the time I finished so hopefully the issues from overnight don’t come back and wreck my scheduled 20 miler for tomorrow morning.

8.85 miles outside in 1:18:53 – felt good to get outside for a while. Strange that it seemed easier than the treadmill lately.

A couple solid laps around the neighborhood this morning, continuing my push to get back to higher mileage.

There was some fresh snow and a few very uneven areas where some drifts started to melt yesterday and refroze. But other than that winter running conditions were good – not much wind and temperatures were bearable. (that being said the predicted above freezing temperatures for this week are going to be glorious when they get here…)

Ran very well and felt strong. Both laps were fairly consistent for speed and required effort. Surprisingly the speed I was going and effort I was putting into it felt much easier than the equivalents on the treadmill lately. I’m not sure why that is but I my current theory is that the new treadmill is actually set up to provide a workout a bit tougher than the equivalent outdoor run. If it is that would be great – makes that treadmill an even stronger training tool and when I start to get to run outdoors more I might be able to surprise myself!

In the end the 2 laps took my 1:18:53 – not PR pace by any means but still very solid. I’m quite pleased with the run today!

Winnipeg Hypothermic Half Marathon 2015 Race Report

Let me start this post off by giving a big Thank You! to the volunteers who braved the cold today! Awesome job folks!

I signed up for this race at the last minute (like 4 days before race day) to basically kick my butt and get me pushing the training again. It helped that the race starts a couple miles from my house and runs on trails that I have run on several times before. The race takes place every year at the Fort Whyte Alive! Nature Center here in Winnipeg but it was my first time giving it a try.

What didn’t help was that the weather forecast kept dropping the temperatures lower and lower for race day.

In the end it was -45 when I finished up layering on my gear and heading out to my vehicle. I was scheduled in the 2nd of 2 waves and was supposed to start at 8:45 am. Kind of a different start time for me but it meant that the sun was up and I could also watch the Disney World Princess Half Marathon tweets rolling in. Was feeling very envious there (I bet it was much warmer).

The race name of the Hypothermic Half is there a for a bit of chuckle but with the temps the way they were frost bite was a legitimate concern that needed to be watched for!

Gear consisted of 2 pairs of socks, calf sleeves, 2 pairs of thermal leggings, thermal running underwear, thermal running undershirt, long sleeve technical shirt, arm sleeves, Nike Elements winter running jacket with hood, balaclava and 2 pairs of gloves. Plus my Hoka Cliftons. Lots of clothes!

Had about a 6-7 minute walk from my parking spot to the Fort Whyte Nature Center main building, in that short walk I was starting to feel the weather biting already. Not too bad though, so I felt fairly confident that once I got running I would be comfortable…at least mostly.

Once in the building I found the highest concentration of crazy in Winnipeg for the day – lots of runners there and ready to go!

About 10-15 minutes before the race they went over an email / facebook post they had made the night before (that I apparently missed or did not get) talking about course changes they were making due to the extreme temperatures. Basically instead of an outward run with a loop before returning along the same path they would switch to a there and back partial loop that didn’t require crossing any large roads and more importantly would not require crossing a set of train tracks. Can’t imagine getting good and warmed up on the run and then having to stand in the cold for 5 minutes waiting for the train to cross – would have been hell and potentially dangerous as well, which I am sure played into their decision to change the course.

So instead, the lap they marked out would be about 4.6 miles long and anyone completing even one lap would get a time and the medal – safety first! But if you wanted to continue on, 3 laps would get you over the half marathon mark (for a total of 13.8 miles).

That would certainly take some of the pressure off for someone getting beat up by the cold due to gear issues! At this point not finishing the race would not be about not having the endurance, it would be about avoiding losing limbs and appendages.

And then it was time to go back outside and things started to get real.

Line up and off we go! And things are good for about the first mile before we head out of the tree lined trails and out into the open…and I really start to feel the wind biting my thighs, even through 2 layers of thermal leg gear…this could be a long run…

We keep passing runners and walkers from the first wave still out pushing through the cold – awesome! That helped keep me motivated even through the biting cold.

About 2 miles in my Garmin starts chirping about a low battery? It was fully charged before the race…so it doesn’t like the cold either, apparently.

The Garmin settles out and starts acting normally about 20 minutes later and seems to be ok – I finish the first lap at around the 39 minute mark. I do have some confusion with the turn around to go back out for the second lap…so I end up crossing the finish line (hopefully that doesn’t count as my official time – edit: unfortunately it did) before getting righted and heading back out on the trail.

The second lap is a bugger with the wind really biting my upper thighs and face. At this point the liquid I brought with me is frozen solid and things like my balaclava are rigid and I can’t adjust them anymore.  Things are very real at this point and I have to start watching to make sure the pain in my legs doesn’t slip to numbness – which would be a real sign that things have gone bad and I would have to withdraw to avoid damage. The frozen drink pretty much also means I am doing the rest of this race without fuel.

At about an hour in my Garmin up and called it. I was over 6.7 miles at that point and still had energy but was very concerned about my legs. I decided at about the 3 mile marker of the 2nd lap (7.6 miles in) that I was going to have to call it when I got the lap done.

But as I continued running into the sun with the wind at my back, I actually started to get faster and started passing a few runners that had passed me earlier in the lap. And I started to feel pretty good, obviously the cold was impacting my brain at this point. That and the sun on my black thermal running pants warmed my legs up pretty decently.

When I finished the 2nd lap, I decided I had to try and continue – I was feeling strong and the cold bite on my legs had faded (and not into numbness luckily). So the journey of crazy continues…9.2 miles down

Either the temps had come up a little or the wind wasn’t quite as bad through this lap as I didn’t start to feel the pain in my thighs again. They were definitely cold but they weren’t starting to scream – so that was nice (taking the positives wherever I can find them at this point).

Kept pushing pretty decently on the last lap and managed to stay pretty focused. I did take a couple 30 second walk breaks around the 12 and 12.5 mile points to recover some energy.

I apparently missed the 4 mile marker on the last lap (would have been 13.2 miles total) – I kept looking for it (I know it was there because I saw it on the other 2 laps) but I obviously was past it before I started looking. So I was starting to get concerned I was going to fall apart because once I hit that marker I probably still had about 6 minutes of running to go and I wasn’t sure what I had left considering I hadn’t fueled or taken in liquids the whole race. (They had water at the turn around point but the idea of water that cold was not a pleasant thought at that point)

But, yay! The finish line! I survived and kept all limbs and bits!!

Got the very cool medal, snapped a quick selfie and went in to grab something to eat at the included brunch. (dig the frost on the eyelashes!)

2015-02-22 10.55.19 2015-02-22 11.16.45 2015-02-22 11.16.53

The brunch was pretty good (yay protein!! Not just carbs) but I realized fairly quickly that I should have given it a miss and kept walking out to my vehicle instead of stopping.

Once I stopped and had a chance for my gear to unfreeze, I noticed I was soaked and things like my balaclava and gloves couldn’t be worn outside again because they would start to freeze immediately against my skin.

So the walk (and run because holy crap it was cold and walking took too long) out to my vehicle was pretty awful – I was shivering and shaking by the time I got in the vehicle to the point that I had to wait for a few minutes under a blanket until I felt steady enough to drive!

But I got home ok and I survived with no permanent damage done…and did more than a standard 13.1 mile half marathon in the end as well.

I would say I am glad I did the race…or that I am glad that I had the perseverance and the drive to finish what I started…but I can’t imagine doing that again in that kind of cold.

Kudos to the folks at the Running Room and the Fort Whyte Alive! Nature Center for a well organized race and again a big thank you to the volunteers stuck standing out in the cold to keep the crazies safe!

Not sure how it took in the end to do the 13.8 miles but based on the time of my finish line selfy and the scheduled start time, I must have been right around 2:10 if we started on time. I might not get a good official time in the end either because of confusion and crossing the finish line after the first lap. But I would say I was pretty close to 2 hours for the actual half marathon distance – which considering the weather, the lack of fuel and the many extra layers of gear is not too bad.

I’ll take it!