Getting Winter Running Dressing Right


The truth is that how to dress for a run is a highly personal thing. Some runners heat up fast when running, others (myself, for instance) have a higher tolerance for sweat. Not that I enjoy running when it’s hot and humid, mind you.

I swear runners wouldn’t be runners if we weren’t complaining about something!

This post is about how I got it right on a recent run. YMMV (your mileage — or outfit — may (will) vary).

Fairytales and Fitness

Let’s set the stage, shall we?
The temperature is 34F. There is a cold, light, but steady drizzle falling. The sky is gray, but there’s no wind. The kind of day I’d usually opt for the treadmill, but I already knew I’d be on the treadmill later in the week, and I really do try to make an effort to #optoutside as much as I can stand in Winter!

What do I need?
It’s not inviting weather, but knowing what you need to tackle it is half the battle:

  • I need a way to keep the cold, steady drizzle out of my face
  • I need clothes that will at least partially repel said drizzle so I stay at least somewhat dry
  • I need a way to make sure I don’t slip on the road
  • I need a way to keep my hands and my feet dry
Wonder Wool kept me dry, trail shoes helped me stay upright, and the gloves are very warm and actually work on my phone

So what did I choose to meet all those needs?

  • I need a way to keep the cold, steady drizzle out of my face
    I have a hat with an attached gaiter and a brim like a baseball cap, only it’s a Winter hat. I don’t wear it often, but man it made all the difference on that run.
  • I need clothes that will at least partially repel said drizzle so I stay at least somewhat dry
    Skirt Sports Wonder Wool to the rescue! Get my long sleeve top here (I’m a Skirt Sports Ambassador) — it’s not at all itchy, since it’s not 100% wool, but it does help repel water). With my newer coat from the North Face (found at Marshalls) with Thermoball material in a vest like position on your body, but fleece on the sides and arms. The coat did a good job of keeping me warm and almost dry — the Wonder Wool top underneath kept what moisture that got through off of my body.
  • I need a way to make sure I don’t slip on the road
    I chose to wear trail shoes. I think with regular road shoes I might have struggled more with footing, but maybe not.
  • I need a way to keep my hands and my feet dry
    The trail shoes also have the added benefit of keeping your feet pretty dry. I chose my 180s gloves — a bit warm for the temps, but they have wind hoodies that go over the fingers, which helped keep my hands dry, and they’re one of the few tech gloves I have that actually work — even the hoodies seemed to work for swiping through different data screens on the run. Winning!
I don’t wear this hat often, but it works so well to keep my neck warm (attached gaiter) and the snow out of my eyes due to the brim!

Somehow I nailed this outfit
It was pretty perfect. This run could have been totally soul sucking, but instead, it was the strongest I’ve felt on the run in a couple of weeks. I can’t lay that completely on my outfit, but I know if I’d been cold and wet on the run it would definitely have made this run far less enjoyable. Not that I would have minded sunshine and no drizzle!

Final Thoughts

The right clothes can make or break a bad weather run. Know what’s right for your body — and don’t let anyone dissuade you. What to wear is a very personal decision that varies greatly from one person to another. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Does how you dress make a difference on how your run goes?

Have you ever tried wool running clothes?

Recommendation for winter running gloves?

5 Reasons Winter Running is Good


Some people love running in Winter. I am not one of those people. Which seems odd, because I’d rather tackle a cold run than a hot, humid one any day of the week. I decided to try to convince myself that Winter running is actually a good thing.

Fairytales and Fitness


Almost no need for sunscreen
If you live in the Southern states, this isn’t true for you. Up here in the frozen tundra, sunscreen on my face is all I need during Winter — because those rays ain’t penetrating my many layers. No tweaking my back trying to get sunscreen on it.

No chafing (or rarely)
Oh yes, you can chafe. Even when it’s below freezing. Thankfully it’s a relatively rare occurrence. I don’t apply anti chafe gel during Winter and I rarely have to regret that decision.

Beanies keep my hair somewhat presentable

Beanies are kinder to my hair
Seriously, it’s all about the hair. My hair just looks gross in summer when it’s been shoved into a hat or visor. Beanies don’t completely kill my curls. They feel so much more comfortable than a hard brimmed baseball cap, too.

It gets  you outside
If I didn’t have dogs and I didn’t run, I would try to hibernate through Winter. That’s not quite true, I can remember walking a lot in Winter when I lived in VT and we didn’t have dogs then and I certainly didn’t run. I am not a fan of Winter — did you notice? — but I’d rather run outside than on the treadmill, so I get out there on days I definitely wouldn’t if I didn’t need to run.

Tough like strawberries

It toughens you up!
It’s easy to love running when the sun is shining brightly, the temps are just right, and you have the freedom to run in a tank and skirt. Running through Winter takes discipline. It takes grit. It dedication. All those things that you will need to get through your training the rest of the year.

Consistency: the most important bonus!
I have a lot of friends who tend to stop running during Winter. They have their excuses (and it is just that — an excuse!). They also always struggle to get back into running when the weather is nicer, and they tend to struggle with injuries, too, I’ve noticed.

Runners do get injured, whether we take time off or not, but those months off make it difficult to get started again, and often the runners who take the Winter off try to start back at the same level they left off at — a recipe for injury.

I think that consistency is the key to pretty much everything in life. If you want it, show up, do the work, and keep showing up. It isn’t easier, but it’s easier than “I’ll start again on Monday (or when Winter/Summer ends)”.

Do you embrace Winter running?

What do you like about Winter running?

Do you think Winter running toughens you up?

Getting back into running . . .


. . . when you’re not feeling it

I didn’t really take time off running during the last week of my Dad’s life or the following week. I did run less the following week, for obvious reasons. With no big goal races on the horizon, it would have been so easy to just skip running.

There were plenty of excuses:

  • It was too cold
  • It’s too hilly at my mom’s
  • It was too rainy
  • I was tired
  • I’m not training for anything

Fairytales and Fitness

 I wanted to share with you why I keep running, even when I’m just not motivated.

Starting over is Painful
That last one: I’m not training for anything. So why the heck should I run when I wasn’t terribly motivated?

I’ll tell you why: it’s not easy to start over. It’s a lot easier to keep on running than start over after a hiatus. Maybe that means running less than you planned. Maybe that means all easy runs. Just keep moving forward.

Movement makes you feel better
It’s pretty rare to regret getting out there and getting it done. The hard part is getting out there.

Movement gives you energy
Not always, I will admit, but most of the time you feel better once you’ve moved your body. If you’re not into fitness, this seems completely off the wall, but just try it some day. Are you really tired, or are you tired because you’re not moving? Noticing what does and doesn’t give you energy is half the battle!

The 10 minute rule
This works for pretty much everything in life you don’t want to do: cleaning, decluttering, cooking — and yes, running when you really don’t want to run.

Tell yourself you only have to run for 10 minutes. Usually what happens is that you want to keep moving after your 10 minutes are up (because of points 1, 2, & 3) — but if you don’t, that’s okay. You’ve actually gotten in just a smidge of running. The whole point is that you can quit after 10 minutes if you want to — that makes it easier to start, because you can do anything for 10 minutes, right?

Sometimes those 10 minutes can help you get back into your running routine. If it doesn’t you’re still helping your body stay used to running. Someday I guarantee you’re going to want to run longer.

Sometimes you feel closer to a loved one . . . 
. . . when you’re out there doing something hard. I know there’s been times after I’ve lost a beloved furkid when I can actually feel them running with me, even though they’re gone.

I think that it’s actually that time alone, when all you have is the road and your thoughts, that is healing. If you’re struggling through grief, I suggest ditching the headphones. Be alone with the road and your thoughts and just feel your feelings.

Final Thoughts

There is no way around hard things. You need to go through them. The way forward is really the way through. When you bury your feelings, you’re dooming yourself to struggle for a much longer time. Get out there, feel your feelings, and let nature help you heal. — Chocolaterunsjudy

How do you keep motivated to move?

What happens when you hit a roadblock in your training?

What other tips to you have to get back into running when you’re not feeling it?

Did you miss my vlog about Yoga Props? You’ll find it here. Watch out for a new Yin Yoga video to be released tomorrow. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel to be notified when new videos are released! Sign up for my newsletter hereto find out when I add new videos, and you’ll receive a free companion PDF and a bonus Abundance meditation.

Nature finds a way: Runfessions January 2020


I’m runfessing and sipping tea all in one post. There wasn’t a whole lot of running in January, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have things to get off my chest. There always seems to be a steady stream of things to tell you and odd things going on in my life. I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours!

The Vitamix has been christened. It will be used a lot in the coming years!

I would tell you . . .
I’d been eyeing a new Vitamix for a few years. Mine is at least 12 years old, maybe older. It sees a lot of use. Mr. Judy found me a good deal, and it sat on the the counter. And it sat . . . and sat . . .

I had soups I wanted to make (I don’t use it as much for smoothies in Winter) but I just never could seem to find the time. I finally made a Potato Leek Soup and the new Vitamix is christened. Now to figure out what to do with the old one  . . . which still runs, by the way.

I runfess . . .
#thestruggleisreal when it comes to getting out the door in Winter. January was actually on the mild side, despite some snow, some freezing rain, and some bitter cold. But mostly it was unseasonably warm, including running in that skirt for one long run!

Finding the skirt? It was not something I expected to need in Winter, so it was packed away. But in which cube? Getting out the door is hard enough without having to go through the Summer running clothes!

I runfess . . .
Running on the treadmill usually means I do a more thorough warm up, because I’m not out there freezing my butt off waiting to get started. Things got intense mid-month, I was stressed, I was busy, I was tired. I realized as I was running on the mill one day that foam rolling never even entered my mind — I runfess that I didn’t do it afterwards, either (because it was already lunchtime and I was hungry!).

I runfess . . .
I did pretty good with food through most of the holidays. Until I spent much of the week between Christmas and New Years at my moms. Of course spending another week with her after my Dad passed was also a struggle, with more eating out and not many healthy choices available some days.

Who knew eating at a senior living community could be such a food struggle?

I shake my head every time I see this. It’s not the only one, either!

I would tell you . . .
We had a planter outside on the deck, and we brought it in knowing it would probably fall apart out there during Winter. It has pots with dead herb plants on it. In those pots, which have not seen a drop of water in months, these seedlings are growing — that’s what the subject of this post refers to. Seriously, how?

Have you ever seen plants growing without any water (other than cacti)? 

Have you had to haul out Summer running clothes this Winter?

Open stuff immediately, whether or not you’re ready to use it?

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


I am also linking up with:


Coco and Deborah for the ultimate coffee tea date.

As well as Fairytales and Fitness

It’s a party this weekend!

Mistakes, I’ve made a few


It’s time to lighten it up around here! Race bloopers, anyone? I’ve made a few, for sure. I know I tend to get kinda serious on the blog, but I do like to laugh at myself occasionally. There’s plenty to laugh about!

Well, this one above was more like cry about. The time I wore a brand new pair of socks — the exact same color and style I’d worn in previous socks. The only time I ever lost a toenail and got a blood blister (so far, knock on wood).

Fairytales and Fitness


The first is always special
My first half marathon was definitely special. What made it just a little more special? Mr. Judy noticing on race day that my timing chip (the old school kind that loops around your laces) . . . well . . . it wasn’t mine.

I’d carefully checked my bib, but it never occurred to me to check the timing chip. We got it squared away, but he was never able to track me.

I know where it starts! Or do I?
This was also a first: my first 10k. I got there early. I started walking . . . and walking . . . and walking. When I didn’t see other runners milling or a start line, I realized I didn’t actually know where the start was.

I literally ran to the start — getting there just in the nick of time to get my timing chip (again, old school!) and line up. I certainly got my warm up that day.

Mugging at the start. I was way overdressed though; the end was a different story. I listened to the forecasters —BIG mistake!

The time I listened to the weather forecasters
Never listen to the forecasters. If you’re traveling (I was) pack for at least 10 degrees more or less than what is forecast. Don’t listen to your husband making fun of how much you’re bringing and bring that extra outfit when you’re traveling by car.

I was so looking forward to my flat, scenic ME half. The forecast was for roughly 50 and cloudy. I awoke to low 60s and not a cloud in the sky. It didn’t help that water stations ran out of both cups and water a couple of times.

Just to add salt to the wound, as we headed home through the mountains the next day it snowed.

The time I left the water bottle on top of the car
Another half we were driving to. At the time I was training using a handheld water bottle. Which I put on top of my car (the one we weren’t taking) as we packed the car we were taking — and it stayed there as we drove away.

It was a small race, in a small town, and nope, I wasn’t able to purchase another water bottle for the race. I relied on the aid stations. Luckily this was a very well run race and despite the unseasonable heat (again!), I PR’d.

Seriously, how does a visor like this hide?

The time I lost my visor . . . or did I?
We spent a few very happy days in Sedona before my half just outside Phoenix. I went to lay out my running outfit for the next day and  . . . no visor. I went through my bags more than once. I knew it was going to be very sunny and very hot and I needed a visor!

We finally found one (it’s amazing how hard it was to find a visor suitable for running in such a sunny area!). Of course I found the visor I’d brought as soon as we got back to the hotel. I didn’t wear the one we purchased and we returned it (and I didn’t get heat stroke!).

The time I lost my shoelace . . . or did I?
Remember this one, Marcia @ MarciasHealthySlice? Marcia kindly gave me a ride to the buses that bussed us up the mountain for our UT half, so Mr. Judy didn’t have to get up at o’darkthirty. I was all ready, came down on time, checked everything once more and . . . no shoelace.

I was using a hydration vest at the time, and it didn’t fit quite right (but I loved it) and I needed that shoelace to make sure it was closed properly. Marcia patiently waited while I went back to the hotel room. Yup, the shoelace actually was in the hydration vest all the time . . . sorry, Marcia!

The time I video’d . . .
I’m willing to bet most of us have done this one. I run with my phone in the pocket of my skirt. Somehow I managed to put it on video and apparently push the button to start it, too. Yup, I video’d the inside of my pocket for God knows how long!

Final Thoughts
So many of these race bloopers were so anxiety-inducing at the time, but in the end, everything turned out just fine. There’s a moral in that!

Have you done any of these mistakes? Which one/s?

What race mistakes have you made?

What do you look back on that was so important at the time, that you now get a good chuckle over?

Thinking about choosing a word for 2020, or some intentions? I’ve got you covered! There’s a new, short Vinyasa video on my Youtube channel here. Yes, Yin Yoga is not the only type of Yoga I practice! Sign up for my newsletter hereto find out when I add new videos, and you’ll receive a free companion PDF and a bonus Abundance meditation.

5 Reasons you should do speed work . . .


. . . even if you’re not training for anything

I am not training for a race. In fact, I won’t start seriously training for my summer half until about the end of March. I still include some type of speed work into most of my weeks. I’m going to share why you should, too.

Fairytales and Fitness


For some of us, sometimes speedwork means getting on the treadmill

What is the purpose of speed work?
Of course you never have to do speed work if you don’t want to; it’s a completely personal choice. Here are some of the benefits of including speed work in your running:

  1. It can help you increase how quickly you get oxygen to your oxygen hungry muscles, allowing you to run faster.
  2. It can help your body store more glycogen. Hitting the wall? That’s what happens when we use up our glycogen stores (and is why it’s important to take in fuel on longer runs). It’s a no brainer that being able to store more glycogen could be helpful in holding off fatigue longer (even though at some point you will deplete your stored glycogen).
  3. It’s generally accepted that if you want to run faster, guess what? You need to run faster!
  4. It can help you strengthen the muscles that help you run (glutes and hip flexors)
  5. It helps to prevent burn out. I don’t know about you, but running the same distance at the same pace all the time is really boring to me.

A potential bonus benefit: adding in a little speedwork might help you manage your weight. Your body quickly adapts to anything that you do all the time — and that includes those LSDs (long, slow, distance runs) and those easy 3 or 4 milers. You’ve got to shake things up if you want to maintain or lose some weight.

Sometimes it means getting out there to race as training

How often should you incorporate speed work into your running?
One to two speed sessions a week is plenty (it depends on how many days a week you run). You shouldn’t do two hard runs in a row: if you do speed work on Monday and you run Tuesday, it should be an easy run.

Pay close attention to your body, as always. If you find that you’re not recovering well, or if a niggle — and especially a pain! — shows up, either skip you planned speed work or reschedule to later in the week (if you’re feeling better).

Hill repeats, by the way, are speed work in disguise.

Speed work can be playful
Right about now you’re probably thinking — ugh! I don’t want to have to run hard.  Speed work doesn’t always have to be hard, or even long. Add some strides (short, fast intervals — we’re talking maybe 30 seconds) midway in your run or after you’ve completed your scheduled distance.

Consider a Fartlek run (which actually means speed play). I have several routes that are lined by trees. I love to run hard between two trees, easy between the next two, and so on — I just do it until I don’t feel like doing it anymore.

Whether you want to get faster or not. speed work can help you get out of a running rut and put a little more pep in your step. Give it a try and see how you feel!

Do you ever do speed drills?

Do you preferred structured speed workouts or just inserting a little speed here and there?

What is your favorite type of speed workout?

Hospice: it’s not what you think


Last week we were able to get my Dad onto Hospice. No, my Dad doesn’t have a terminal illness, although he sort of does: it’s called old age. I also pointed out to my sister that dementia actually does kill — people with dementia slowly lose their ability to move, and to eat properly. They are at higher risk for aspiration pneumonia because of this (when food goes down into their lungs).

I know this sounds very sad, and it is, but the fact that Hospice is still available to him gives us hope that his remaining days can be eased at least a little.

Fairytales and Fitness


What is Hospice?
Hospice (you can access the Hospice site here) is covered 100% by Medicare. My parents have Long Term Health Insurance, and that covers part of the Nursing Home expenses — but not all. Not nearly enough, quite frankly. It was a big relief to hear that Hospice won’t be an extra expense.

Hospice is for people who are not expected to live more than 6 months, although people can get better on Hospice, to the point that they are on it much longer. They are re-evaluated every six months.

Hospice adds a whole other layer of care for my Dad, potentially including:

  • A nurse who visits once a week and can help determine what medications will keep him comfortable — and what medications are not necessary (although the family has the final say about all medications)
  • Aides who visit one or two times a week, who feed him, shampoo his hair, shave him, and a lot more
  • A non-denominational minister
  • A social worker
  • Music therapy
  • Pet therapy

Because this is all new to us, we don’t yet know what services will be recommended. There is also a 24/7 hotline that the family can call, even if we just need to talk.

How to know when a dementia patient can be eligible for Hospice?
There are guidelines for whether or not a dementia patient is eligible for Hospice. My Dad was right on the bubble, but thankfully the nurse deemed him eligible. If she had visited him before he entered the nursing home, I don’t think that would have been the case, but in the short amount of time he’s been there there’s been a sharp decline, including being non-verbal and not recognizing family; not even my Mom.

The Hospice Intake Nurse follows the Reisberg Functional Assessment STaging Scale (better known as FAST).

You must be in Stage 7 to be eligible for Hospice

My Dad was definitely Stage 6 prior to going into the nursing home. He was still verbal sometimes. Often he wasn’t, but when he was, he was quite definitively — and not in a good way. Not in a way that he would ever had acted when healthy.

All the stays in rehab, hospital, the moves, the strange caregiver, and now the nursing home . . . change is very bad for a dementia patient. All these changes definitely seem to have driven him into Stage 7, and quite frankly, I thank God for that. The last day I say him (after New Years Day) he didn’t speak and he didn’t seem to recognize me, my sister, or my mother.

He wouldn’t have qualified for Hospice before, and would have spent his days in a recliner by the nursing station, because he gets up and tries to walk and he’s at risk to fall.

Hope for a peaceful ending

Hospice can be hopeful
Of course I am not happy to see my Dad this way. No one is. He doesn’t have cancer, although he does have some serious heart disease, but in the end, mainly what he has is old age. His birthday is the end of March. He will turn 94 if he lives that long, and no one really wants to see him live that long.

He is deeply depressed and unhappy, and has been for a long time. It will blessing for him to pass and be at peace, and I visualize that often.

Hospice is historically underutilized for dementia patients, and that is so sad. We didn’t really know it was an option until recently. I wish I’d known about it for my FIL, who also suffered from dementia for many years. I’m sure both my FIL and my MIL and SIL would have benefited greatly from Hospice care.

That’s why I’m writing this post: I hope that it will help others that are unaware that it’s an option for their loved ones.

Hospice means that my Dad has a whole team trying to make his remaining days as peaceful and comfortable as possible. The nursing home seems very caring and competent, but they can’t give him one on one attention.

My sister visits him often, as she lives close, and might begin to take my Mom on a weekly basis if she wants to go. I will go when I can, but it’s a long trip and the weather during Winter makes it impossible to go on any routine basis.

Hospice can give my Dad that individual attention. Hospice gives me hope that my Dad can finally have some peace.

Do you have loved ones with dementia?

Have you ever known anyone on Hospice?

Do you have any other resources to share for those with dementia, or caregiving for those with dementia?

Thinking about choosing a word for 2020, or some intentions? I’ve got you covered! Check out my new video that can help you do that here. Sign up for my newsletter here to find out when I add new videos, and you’ll receive a free companion PDF and a bonus Abundance meditation.