Not HIITing It

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Every Winter I go through the same routine, unless I’m training for a mid Winter half: I figure I’m not training for anything, so it’s time to really hit the strength training. Often after months of ST taking a back seat to running.

Fairytales and Fitness

 

These weights will get used the normal amount

Not giving up on ST, but . . .
Not this year. I am strength training, yes, because use it or lose it — those muscles will shrink and you’ll get weaker every year if you don’t keep strength training. It’s important!

Winter isn’t the time to go hard. We are hard wired to want to go inside and rest and recover during the short, snowy (for us!) Winter days. Even though our electricity means we can work out 24/7, it’s still not what our bodies need. I found an interesting read on the hibernation habits of some humans here.

I have been using a lot of Pahla Bowers’ Workouts for Women over 50 (but any age can benefit) found on her Youtube channel here. I’ve followed her for many years, but I love that recently she’s begun to showcase many workouts with cardio and weights — but no jumping. Trust me, you’ll still get a good workout!

I run, and I usually do at least long run a week, and another run that’s speed work or hill repeats. Maintaining my fitness base overall.

I’ll bet you’ve indulged in a few cookies, too

It’s ok to pack on a few pounds
I’m not giving you permission to chow down at every holiday party.  I recently read an article (which alas, I cannot find),  that said yes, we’re hard wired to want to eat more during Winter. It goes back thousands of years to when food was scarce during Winter.

We crave comfort foods: high fat, high sugar, carbs — all foods that can insulate us and give us energy. Deny yourself the foods your body is sure you need, and chances are instead of losing weight, you’ll struggle even more. You can read more about why we may gain weight during Winter — and reasonable things to do about it — here.

What’s a health-minded person to do in Winter?
Does that mean I’m throwing in the towel on maintaining a healthy weight during the Winter? Heck, no! Just as I’m not going to throw in the towel on running during Winter, because I don’t want to have to start over with C25K, neither am I just throwing up my hands & saying what’s the point of eating healthy if my body is just going to fight me anyway?

It’s natural to gain a little bit. Just keep an eye on it and make sure a little bit doesn’t turn into permission to #eatallthefood. Accept that you may be a little fluffier in Winter (what are cozy sweaters for, anyway?), but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to move that fluffier body.

This Winter I’m trying to give in a little. To accept that I’ll be up a few pounds, but to make sure I don’t turn a blind eye about how my clothes are fitting. To continue to move my body, but take it just a little easier on it so that I get a true off season. To try to work with my body and the natural rhythms of the season, instead of fighting nature.

When Spring comes, I’ll be ready to get out there and go hard again after a Winter of semi-hibernation!

To everything there is a season.
— Ecclesiastes 

Do you change your healthy lifestyle with the seasons?

Are you enjoying an off season now?

Does Winter send you running for the comfort food?

Last Run Albany Race Recap 12/7/19

No running through the snow but plenty of snow on the ground made the narrow city  streets even narrower this year for Last Run Albany. Add in icy bits (my racing nemesis lately) and it’s a good thing I always consider Last Run Albany a fun run.

You always think it’s too cold for photos, but then they’re so good!

Packet Pickup
This year they changed the location of packet pickup (same building, just a different location within the building), and it seemed to go much smoother. I caught a ride with friends, but I was one of the few who hadn’t already picked up my packet (one other friend hadn’t).

Both of us who picked up our packets the night of the race left the bags inside and yup, they were waiting for us when we were done.

The new shirts get two thumbs up

Everyone liked the new snowflake logo and the red color of the shirts. We got a $5 coupon to a local co-op food store, and a blinking light — which is more than we’ve received in years past.

All the snow made the streets really narrow (first time there’s been that much snow on the ground for this race, for me)

Plan — what plan?
My plan was simple again this year: have fun. Run by feel. End of story. Some of my friends were walking, but since I’d only run twice that week, I wanted to run. I planned to treat it as a fun run.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 13:04. The first mile of this race is always frustrating, what with the narrow streets, the dark, some cobblestones. Throw in the 2 feet of snow we’d just had, and the frustration was upped: we came to a complete standstill several times this mile; it was a full minute slower than last year.
  2. Mile 2:  11:53. Mile 2 goes through the holiday lights in the park, with some uphills. Unlike last year I decided to walk up one of the hills here. It was my only walk break of the race. Still a minute slower than last year.
  3. Miles 3: 9:56. We all agreed we just love this downhill finish. This mile was slightly faster than last year. One of the course marshals said we only had a half mile to go at some point, and I swear that felt more like a mile than half a mile!
  4. Last .17: 8:57. The sprint to the end was just a teeniest bit faster than last year.

The last couple of 5ks this year wanted to frustrate me. This race will never be a PR — too crowded, too dark in places, and usually some slippery bits to boot. But a course PR? That’d be sweet.

Much like my last 5k, where I came oh-so-close to an actual PR, I think I could’ve snagged that course PR if the first mile hadn’t had so many traffic jams, or if I hadn’t stopped to walk during mile 2.

I was still quite pleased with my time. It wasn’t an easy run for me, but on the other hand, I never really felt like I was running all that hard, except for the last little bit coming into the finish. Not falling is always an accomplishment for this race.

2019: 36:57 (a five way tie)
90 our of 184 F5059
872 our of 1513 runners

2018: 35:39

2017: 54:17 (snowing again!)

2016: 39:35

2015: 37:09

2014 – 34:27

2013: 38:10 (snowing!)

Good friends, good times, some missing, some new additions

The weather & dressing
I have an outfit for this race the last few years: North Face Thermoball, Skirtsports Wonder Wool Tee and Skirtsports Heartbreaker Skirt (I’m a Skirtsports Ambassador), and Mudgear Compression socks with Hannukah socks over them. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

The costumes are always entertaining (how do people run in these things?)

I wore trail shoes because I knew there would be icy/snowy bits, and there were. Not a lot, but at night, it’s really easy to slip and fall.

I felt perfectly comfy in my running outfit, until we stood outside waiting for everyone to finish — then I got really cold!

Same temps as last year, but all that snow!

Was the race well run?
I usually treat this race as a literal fun run. There are fireworks before the start (see my post on IG), and despite the dark I’ve never had any question which way to go. There are refreshments after: nothing too exciting — apples, bananas, and cheese. There is also a raffle for door prizes.

There are medals for AG awards, and no, I didn’t even come close — which I knew I wouldn’t. Here’s the thing, though: one of my friends won her AG, the 70-79 year AG. There were 9 women.

I came in 90 out of 184 in the 50-59 AG! A solid MOTP, which is fine by me. I just looked at the difference in the participants in those two age groups. I hope that I am one of those 9 — or more! — women still running races when I am my friend’s age. I actually expect that there will be more women in that group when I’m that age, since there has been a strong increase in women running since I started.

Albany Last Run is always a good way to bring a year of racing to a close.

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

Wrapping up Racing: 12/2-8 WRD

Last night (yup, night) was probably my last race for 2019. There was a 5k I considered for next weekend, but the weather right now doesn’t look great — of course that can always change. This week was still a bit light in strength training, but I suppose I made up for that with all the shoveling!

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Joining Kim @ Kimrunsonthefly and Deborah @ Confessionsofamotherrunner and again just maintaining my base.

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And linking up with Jenn @ Runswithpugs, Brandi @ Funnerrunner, Anna Louise @ Graciouswarriorprincess, Briana @ Matsmilesmedals, Meghan @ Meghanonthemove, and Elizabeth @ Trainwithbainfor RIOTS(running is our therapy)

Workouts update

  • Monday: Yoga (40 min), TM Soul Stroll, Lots of shoveling
  • Tuesday: Yoga (40 min), Shoveling, 3 TM progressive miles, Yin Yoga (30 min)
  • Wednesday: Yoga (40 min), Dogwalk
  • Thursday: Yoga (40 min), Dogwalk, PB Cardio + Weights (30 min)
  • Friday: Yoga (40 min), 7 mile LSD
  • Saturday: Yoga (40 min), Last Run 5k
  • Sunday: Yoga (40 min), Vin , Practiced Yoga with a friend (60 min)

Mileage: 13 (+1)

JY = Jasyoga
PB = Killer B
TM = Treadmill
YFR = Yoga for Runners*
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
SB = Stationary Bike
YFPR = Yoga for Pain Relief
YTU = Yoga Tune Up Lower Body*

*Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links; I will make a small amount of money if you buy through these links

Running Update

Almost 2 feet of snow, and a bit more on & off later in the week

Tuesday
After a weekend of snow, the roads weren’t really that bad; we know how to handle it up here! I still stayed on my treadmill, from an abundance of caution. It only takes a little ice to take a runner down. I managed to procrastinate getting started even though I wasn’t going outside!

The hardest part of this run was not slipping on the way out of the parking lot

Friday
I still managed to procrastinate a little (well, read blogs & comment on blogs, feed the dogs, etc), which meant that I got out when I planned to get out, rather than a little early (more snow on the way). The predicted snow showed up right on time, basically during my last mile.

There is something extremely peaceful about running in falling snow — before it starts sticking to the roads, and I managed to time this perfectly in that respect. The hardest part about this run was getting into and out of the parking lot (pictured above), but I was grateful that at least the parking lot had been cleared.

The lights & the fireworks keep us coming to this race despite cold & snow

Saturday
Last Run is always a fun time, and I posted a video of the fireworks over on IG. First time posting other than ambassador stuff in a long while! Always a fun race, which I’ll recap Tuesday.

Three years ago I’d invited some friends over to my house post race, and despite the snow storm, most of them came. Apparently it’s become a tradition, although other people in our group have opened their homes since the first one at my house. A good time was had by all.

This chickpea granola was tasty!

Favorites of the week
I picked up some chickpea granola at Whole Foods. I’d definitely recommend it. As much as I love oatmeal, I find I just have to be careful about how much I consume to keep my weight in check. Although with the party Saturday night, there was a bit more indulging this week anyway.

I finally upgraded from a free WordPress blog to a paid one, so you don’t have to type quite as much any more (you should be able to reach me at Chocolaterunsjudy.com now). I was a little apprehensive, but I was already at 99.5% of my storage on the free account. The transition appears to have gone smoothly.

I slept in just a tad (like, 6am instead of 4:30 or 5), did my yoga, did some errands, and then practiced yoga with a friend. So I’m late to the link up party tonight!

Any more races for you this year? 

Interesting snack finds? 

How many holiday parties do you have?  

Stranger Things with Alexa: Tea/coffee Date December 2019

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If we were meeting up for a hot beverage today, I’d have a lot of things to tell you. None of them have to do with running. Some of them have to do with animals. Some of them might still involve the treadmill.

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Of course we’d still be talking about the snowstorm, too

Pull up a chair and mug with Coco and Deborah and me for the ultimate coffee tea date, where I tell you about the strange things Lola and Alexa do.

Bandit has been snuggling more than normal lately; guess he’s cold? He wriggles out of sweaters

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I would tell you that last week one evening we were getting food ready for the dogs for Thanksgiving Day: we were dropping them off at the pet sitter for the day, actually decided to leave them overnight so the day could be a *tiny* bit more relaxed for us — too many people in my parent’s small apartment for the dogs.

We’re not quite sure how she got snow all over herself

As I was doing yoga before bed, I heard one of the dogs in their crates. Just circling. And circling. And circling. Being downstairs I wasn’t sure who it was, but by the circling, I should’ve known it was Lola (maybe you saw my video of her searching for a spot to pee on FB?).

Apparently she thought she was getting a second dinner — poor girl! Birthday’s over, we’re working on 15 now, Lola.

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you that your privacy and Alexa are definitely a concern. OTOH, I’m #teamalexa. Still love her. She does do some odd things, though. Like the time she gave a very convincing meow out of the blue. I seriously was looking around to see if a cat had somehow gotten into the house!

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you I declutter when the spirit moves me, and it’s moving me right now. Going through clothes, getting them bagged up to donate. Not because I don’t like them or they don’t fit, but because I’m trying to declutter our living space. In fact, we’re also rearranging and trying to declutter our family/fitness room, which is where I teach yoga.

Since I have someone coming into my home on a weekly basis (and hope for more!), I need to make it a more inviting space. It’s coming along nicely, but not there yet, so no photos.

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you I started a 40 Day Kundalini Kriya. A Kriya is a set of yoga poses. I’m definitely not an expert on Kundalini, so you might want to google it if interested or read the blog post here for a good, in depth explanation, but basically it’s trying to awaken the energy that is supposedly stored at the base of your spine and help you reach your full potential. The Kriya I chose was for disease immunity (figured I could use that at this time of year).

The entire Kriya, with the warm up exercises, takes about 30-40 minutes. I enjoy it, but 40 days straight? Let’s just say it’s been a challenge. Supposedly if you skip a day, you’re supposed to go back to day one and do them all over again for 40 days . . . I suppose it’s the Yogic form of a running streak.

I was just trying to get some steps in!

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I did my Soul Stroll (check out Soul Strolls for free here) on the treadmill because, you know, 2 feet of snow outside. I wore my Vibrams, which I hadn’t worn in a while. With injiji toe socks, because sometimes they irritate my heels.

Then I had some pain on the side of my foot. I swear it developed a callous overnight, and I’ve never had a callous there before. I eventually figured out it was probably the Vibrams — most likely due to the socks I wore with them — that were the problem. I’ve never had problems from them before. Every day is an adventure when it comes to fitness.

Do you ever do an exercise streak that’s not running?

Do you enjoy rearranging furniture in your home?

What was the best bargain you found so far? 

I am also linking up with the  Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness from Fairytales & Fitness.

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5 Reasons Strong is My 2020 Word

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Every year I choose a word to focus on; a word of the year, if you like. Unlike some years Strong didn’t just pop into my mind, but I have a feeling that I’m going to need to be Strong in 2020. Of course we always need to be strong, but I have a feeling it will be a challenging year, which seems to be my norm for the last few years.

Previous words:
Love
Believe
Patience
Respect

Strong for Family

Strong for family
Although we brought my Dad home, it has not been going well. His dementia continues to worsen, and he continues to try to walk on his own, which has resulted in many falls. Even with an aide, it’s just too much for my 91-year-old mother and we are looking to move him to a nursing home. Somehow I will have to find the way to tell him that he needs to be there, and I’m not sure how I will do it; he will not understand.

Strong in Patience
This one is tied to dealing with my family. It takes a lot of patience. Patient with my Dad. Patient with my mom, who needs someone to vent to and someone to help her make decisions she doesn’t want to make. Essentially she has already lost the great love of her life, even though he is physically there. Patient with my sister, who is also tired of being the point person when there are hospital trips.

Strong for Friends

Strong for friends
I have a few friends going through tough times. Some struggling through some of the same issues as me, some through illnesses.

Strong in confidence
I am planning to start up a Youtube channel. At first I thought I’d wait until 2020, but I realized that that’s just fear of putting myself out there. It is definitely scary. I have some things I’d like to get out for people to use during the month of December, so it’s time to bite the bullet and just do it.

Strong & Determined

Strong in determination
I have plans and dreams and it will take strong determination to bring them to fruition.

Have you ever picked a word to concentrate on for a year?

Do you have a 2020 word? What is it?

Have you ever had to work on the fear of putting yourself out there?

Adding Georgia to my states

 

Looking back and forward
There was only one half in 2019. There may only be one half in 2020. Running was on the back burner for much of the year, but running continued to be strong with PRs here and there (and really close almost PRs!). No injuries, knock on wood. One trip to the ER. Completing my YTT (Yoga Teacher Training) and teaching some yoga.

After being very sick in the Spring, I felt I needed to work on my running endurance so I stopped using run/walk intervals. I walk each mile to drink water and eat something on long runs. I still run/walk up steeper hills, because I’ve found that works better for me than running up them. Sometimes I just walk towards the end because I’m tired — and I always regret it when I do that!

One mile felt really long at first. Heck, some days it still feels really long!  I seem to be doing well with it, though. I didn’t run a half after I’d ditched the intervals, so I’m not sure what I will do when that day comes again.

My sweet boy, always in my heart

We lost Gizmo at the beginning of 2019, but he had a good, long life and was only seriously ill a short time before we helped him cross the rainbow bridge. I told my brother early in 2019 that I felt my Dad was going downhill, slowly but surely. He still is, obviously. It’s been a very stressful time for the whole family.

Here was my prediction for 2019:

Here’s what I believe about 2019: no matter what happens in 2019, with the right attitude, I will love 2019, I will accept the highs and the lows, and no matter what life throws at me, this too shall pass.

Strong as life ebbs & flows

2019 was a hard year. I don’t think I can say I really loved it, but I did accept the highs and the lows, and yes, there was both. I believe that my Dad most likely won’t see 2021, and that is a blessing; and if that is the case, I hope it’s peaceful.

I know no matter what 2020 will be a difficult year, again filled with highs and lows, and again, I will do my best to be strong for my loved ones — and for myself. I will rejoice in the highs and accept the lows and what they may have to teach me. I will take whatever curveballs life throws at me and become a stronger person because of them.

btuesdaytopics

Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

It’s bad when they name the storm: 11/25-12/1 WRD

Thanksgiving was spent with my parents, my sister and her kids, plus one of the couples my parents eat with on a regular basis. It wasn’t horrible and it wasn’t great, and I have a strong feeling it might be my Dad’s last Thanksgiving, but only time will tell. Not a whole lot of activity this week, but there’s going to be a lot of shoveling (potentially) the next couple of days.

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Joining Kim @ Kimrunsonthefly and Deborah @ Confessionsofamotherrunner and again just maintaining my base.

briots

And linking up with Jenn @ Runswithpugs, Brandi @ Funnerrunner, Anna Louise @ Graciouswarriorprincess, Briana @ Matsmilesmedals, Meghan @ Meghanonthemove, and Elizabeth @ Trainwithbainfor RIOTS(running is our therapy)

Workouts update

  • Monday: Yoga (40 min), 3 miles easy
  • Tuesday: Yoga (40 min), Cardio + Weights (45 min), Dogwalk, Yin Yoga (45 min)
  • Wednesday: Yoga (40 min), Dogwalk
  • Thursday: Yoga (30 min), 3 mile progressive TM
  • Friday: Yoga (40 min), Chilly Dogwalk
  • Saturday: Yoga (40 min), 6 miles LSD
  • Sunday: Yoga (40 min), Vin + Yin Studio (60 min), Dogwalk

Mileage: 12 (-2)

JY = Jasyoga
PB = Killer B
TM = Treadmill
YFR = Yoga for Runners*
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
SB = Stationary Bike
YFPR = Yoga for Pain Relief
YTU = Yoga Tune Up Lower Body*

*Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links; I will make a small amount of money if you buy through these links

Running Update

This path will be buried in snow soon, so took advantage of it while it’s clear

Monday
I arranged my run around errands again. I also had trouble making up my mind when I actually wanted to run, and while today was relatively warm, it was also gray. Guess I better suck it up because that describes a lot of our winter! 3 easy miles; nothing terribly remarkable, but I guess I did okay because it nudged my VO2 up a point. No cats. 🙂

Thursday
We had to leave by 9am so the treadmill it was for 3 progressive miles. Thanksgiving was . . . ok. No big drama (not til much later that night, or actually early Friday morning, long after we’d left).

Cold, but thankfully little wind & sun for the win

Saturday
A very chilly 6 miles with friends. Not too much wind and sunshine, though, so it really wasn’t bad, and I actually had company the whole six miles. Been a long time since I actually ran with someone!

Horrible Bald Eagle specs — but he was a beauty! Or she?

Favorites of the week
I spotted this Bald Eagle during one of our walk breaks. Although we do have eagles in the area, and I’ve actually seen them on the path in a different town once (also on a run with friends), I had never seen one on this particular path (which is the end of Mowhawk Hudson Half/Marathon — you never know what you might see!).

Ford vs Ferrari. I have zero interest in cars (as you might be able to tell from my 19 year old Honda Civic) or car racing, but this was a terrific movie and I highly recommend it.

Do you like cars and/or car racing? 

Favorite Thanksgiving memory? 

Any other new movies you’d recommend?  

Racing Thoughts: Runfessions November 2019

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I’m mining my 15k and my 5k for a few November Runfessions today. The Holidays are going to be pretty low key around here. Thanksgiving at my parents Senior Living Community (please God no drama), we celebrate Hannukah, which is not a big deal. So not a whole lot to runfess when it comes to the holidays. I hope wherever you are and whatever you celebrate, you enjoy this time with friends and family.

I runfess . . .
I seriously gave consideration to running another half marathon this year. After training for a 15k, I knew I was pretty much there. I got as far as looking a few up, trying to judge the drive.

I decided that even though I was pretty much trained, the stress of the travel — the potential for crappy weather on that travel — just wasn’t the right thing for me right now. I am both sad that I don’t get to see where I’m at, but thinking maybe my body needs this longer break right now (even though it feels pretty good).

Would I soldier on in pain in a half or DNF?

I runfess . . .
I also wondered after that 15k just what would I have done if it had been a half? The pain started before the halfway mark of a half. It was slowly but surely changing my gait — never a good sign. Would I have had the sense to DNF or would I have been stubborn and finished, risking a real injury?

When the sun is shining it’s easier to get out the door — but we don’t get a lot of sun here

I runfess . . .
I am forever procrastinating on getting out the door once the weather dips down into the 30s (and below). Sometimes it seems really cold in our house — or maybe I just imagine it? Then I step outside and it really isn’t so bad and I kick myself for waiting so long. Although sometimes it really is that cold!

Yup, I ran in these sunglasses one day & didn’t even realize it

I runfess . . .
I got done with a run one day this week, got to the car, and went to take off my running sunglasses to put on my driving sunglasses. Only I’d never actually put on my running sunglasses. I didn’t even realize it!

Well, good to know I can run in those, although kind of scary how bad my short term memory is lately.

My friends didn’t know I was out here running this

I runfess . . .
I kept my 5k last week (read about it here) on the down-lo from my friends. I didn’t tell my running friends beforehand (with one exception). I knew they weren’t interested in running it and sometimes I just want to go and do my own thing, I guess.

Do you procrastinate on getting out the door in Winter? 

Do you only race with friends or do you sometimes go solo?

Ever got back to the car after a run & realized something was odd about your outfit?

What do you have to runfess from November? Come join us

Runfessions

I am also linking up with: