Is it ever too cold for running?

Some people will tell you that as long as you have the right gear, it’s never too cold to run. There is a kernel of truth to that statement, but there are truly dangerous conditions when you should either reschedule or take it to the treadmill — or do some other type of inside cardio instead: stationary bike, rowing, rebounding are all good choices if you have the equipment.

If you don’t have any indoor cardio options, all you have to do is turn to the numerous apps available online.

When can it be too dangerous to run?

Blizzard conditions
You may not mind running in the snow — maybe even in deep snow — but you have two choices outside:

  1. Drive to a (hopefully) cleared path
  2. Run in your neighborhood

Both choices are dangerous in a blizzard. Running in your neighborhood might be an option, but then you have to hope that cars don’t go off the run and hit you. Driving somewhere to run (some gyms even have indoor tracks) might work, but then you have to worry about yourself skidding off the road, or getting into an accident.

Not to mention the chance of a fall and injury.

It’s not worth it!

It’s not just the temp, it’s the conditions
Hypothermia can set in even if the temperature is well above freezing — especially if it’s wet and windy. If you can’t stay dry, it’s very cold, and it’s windy — it may be time to reschedule that run. Especially if you’re running solo, because you’re unlikely to realize you’re becoming hypothermic.

Protect the digits . . .
. . . and the feet, nose, and ears. Those are all likely spots for frostbite. You may have your hands and feet covered, probably your ears, too. Your nose can be covered by a mask or well fitting gaiter — but just remember, that frostbite can occur with just half an hour exposure in temps below 0F/-18C.

Ice is definitely the most dangerous condition to run in | Photo by Nadine Wuchenauer on Pexels.com

Icy conditions
There are ways to get better traction in the ice:

  • Trail Shoes (bonus points for waterproof)
  • Screw shoes (read the instructions here)
  • Yaktrax or Nanospikes

I have used all of the above. They will definitely help, but none of the options available can 100% protect you from slipping and injuring yourself. You still have to weigh the danger from drivers whether you stay in your neighborhood or drive somewhere.

Final Thoughts
Yes, you can, with the proper gear, run in almost any weather, but sometimes you have to ask yourself is it really worth it? What am I risking if I reschedule my run? What am I risking if I fall and injure myself?

Runners are a stubborn lot, and yes, I’ve run in some pretty bad weather conditions. Definitely some I shouldn’t have run in. Just know before you go and weigh the risk vs reward for you. Don’t be swayed by your running friends if your gut is just telling you it’s not the right day for you.

How low will YOU go?
Have you ever had frostbite? I’m happy to say I haven’t!
What’s your favorite gear for staying upright in slippery conditions?

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Move More, Exercise Less

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Yes, I totally stole the subject “move more, exercise less” from a Peloton instructor. No, I don’t know which one. I embraced it in 2021, too. Which meant that while it was one of my lowest mileage years in running miles — although not the lowest — I still kept busy moving.

Pacing
I pace around while my tea is brewing (3 minutes for green, 5 for herbal) and I drink a lot of tea. You’d be surprised how many steps you can get in by doing that! Most of the time I will pace while talking on the phone, too. Some days I get in roughly half my steps just by pacing.

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Walking/Hiking
We walk Bandit almost every day. When it was warmer we actually tried to walk him twice a day. It’s not long or fast, but a short run and a Dogwalk will always put me over my steps goal for the day.

I don’t do crazy long hikes because I just don’t have the time (or I’m with Bandit and the hubs). Even just a 2 or 3 mile hike can rack up a lot of steps, though.

Strength Training
Strength Training generally doesn’t get me a lot of steps, although I do enjoy walking with lighter weights with Pahla B (good to do at my moms when the weather is bad, too — see her YouTube channel here). It isn’t about the steps, but it is about movement — as well as trying to retain as much muscle as I can.

Yoga
Yoga most certainly isn’t about steps, but it is about movement. I am on my mat daily, sometimes a few times a day, almost 365 days a year.

underwater photography of swimmer
It won’t get you steps, but it will work your heart & the rest of your body | Photo by Heart Rules on Pexels.com

Swimming
Swimming was a victim of the loss of a community center and the pandemic, although thanks to a friend I did get to swim quite a few times this Summer and it felt so good (thank you Running Buddy J!). I hope someday when we move there is a place for me to swim.

Final Thoughts
Would you believe that I’ve never run 1000 miles in a year? It’s true. I’ve come close. My walking + running this year did put me just over 1000 miles (combined).

I don’t really care, either. If it motivates you, that’s great, as long as you stay healthy and uninjured.

There are so many different ways to move — I’ve barely scratched the surface! The beauty of concentrating more on movement, less on exercise, is that if you can’t do one form of exercises, there’s always a way to move.

Recently I read an article in the NY Times about how 10k steps is a really random number and most of us don’t really need that daily. My base is 8k. Most of the time I’m over, occasionally I’m under — there was a time when that bothered me, but I’ve come to realize that for me, anyway, it’s much more about moving to counteract the sitting.

I think I’m a happier person because I don’t really care so much about my steps — I still track them — I’ve just come to realize that pushing myself to some arbitrary goal isn’t always the best thing for me. YMMV (your mileage may vary), as the saying goes.

Are you an exerciser or are you a mover?
How do you get more movement into your day?
Is your yearly mileage important to you?

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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10 Most Viewed Posts in 2021

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I started to work on a “top 10 videos of 2021” video for my YouTube channel, so decided it would be fun to have a look at the top 10 posts on this blog. Only it’s a personal blog, with no plugins, so not so easy to see the most viewed posts from just 2021. Feel free to let me know if you know a way — I searched a bit but didn’t really want to devote that much time to it. Remember, personal site not business site.

You can, look at your Stats and that will give you a list of your most viewed posts this year. It just so happens that many of my most viewed posts (but not all) on that list are quite old!

10: 5 Simple Tips to Sail Through the Holidays
There actually was another Weekly Rundown Post here — and my home page is not surprisingly my most viewed page — this was the runner up for #10. Which surprised me a little considering it’s a recent post. Read the post here.

9:  How I Defeated Achilles Tendonitis
I suppose this should read how I mostly defeated Achilles Tendonitis. It still aches (like a 1 on a scale of 10) once in a while. I noted it didn’t ache at all last week when I mostly didn’t run — although it felt okay after I ran my long-er run after not running for a week. I’ve had a lot of aches like that over the years, and usually at some point they do just disappear completely. Read the post here.

8:  What to Say to a Slow Runner . . .
This post was written in 2018, but I got a very nice comment on it this year! Yes, speed is relative, but things can be different in the BOTP. Read the post here.

7:  Waterfall Chasing
It seems slightly odd that a Weekly Run Down post ended up in my top 10 viewed list this year, but there ya go. Maybe everyone just loves a waterfall! Read the post here.

6:  Brash: Ok or Not Ok?
Another blast from the past that oddly got more views this year than it did when first published in 2018. Read the post here.

5:  5 Tips to Sail Through Your First Colonscopy
We’re all different ages here, but apparently this ended up being a popular post. You’re welcome. Read the post here.

4:  Fearless: A Good Thing or a Bad Thing?
This post goes all the way back to 2016! It was gaining momentum through 2019, and now the views are dropping, but still enough to land it midway in my most viewed posts of 2021 (not sure what that says about my writing in 2021!). Read the post here.

3:  About Me
I haven’t looked at that page since I first wrote it — I guess it’s really time for an update. I waffled a bit whether or not to include non running posts, but I just decided to go with it. Read my About Page here.

2:  Danette May 30 Day Challenge
Another golden oldie (from 2017) that probably also needs an update, has something to do with fitness but not so much running, but because of the large Danette May group perennially gets a lot of views. I still love Danette May, by the way! Read this post here.

Drumroll, my most viewed post of 2021 was:

1:  I Tried It: Peloton Road to 5k
Thanks, Peloton peeps. This post was written in December of 2020, but it’s been gaining momentum all of 2021.  Read this post here.

Final Thoughts
Interesting to see that roughly half the most popular posts are relatively old, while one that’s very recent made the list! It’s a mixed bag, to be sure, but kind of fun to see what people are looking at.

Have you ever looked to see what your most popular post are?
Do you ever compile a list of your favorite posts from the last year?
Are you still looking back at 2021 or forward to 2022?

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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7 Charities to Warm a Runner’s Heart

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It’s the end of the year, and maybe your thoughts are turning towards making some last minute donations. Maybe you already have a list of charities that are near and dear to your heart, but if you’re looking for some that have some sort of tie to running (mostly, anyway), I have a few to share with you.

We feel better when we’re doing something for someone else, don’t we?

Team Hoyt
I think most runners have heard of Dick & Rick Hoyt. Dick was the father who ran races pushing his son Rick — over a 1000 races, in fact. Their dedication to each other and to raising awareness about how running could make a difference in the lives of people with health challenges touched the hearts of many, myself included. You can make a donation here.

Soles4Souls
Runners may joke about the amount of running shoes that they own, but in the end, those shoes with many happy miles on them can still make a difference in other people’s lives. Clothes, too. Never wonder about where to donate your new or used shoes or clothing, or just donate money here.

Run for Hospice
Hospice is definitely near and dear to my heart since both my parents are/were on it. There are many local races for Hospice all over the country, you can donate to your local Hospice, or you can donate to Hospice Foundation of America here.

Fisher House Foundation
Fisher House are homes for military families, free of charge, close to hospitals where their loved ones are getting treatment. You can also donate airline miles so that military families do not have to pay to fly to be near their injured loved ones. Donate here.

Jack’s Fund
So many bloggers on these linkups have had lives touched by skin cancer. No matter how vigilant you are, it’s no secret that running is a sport that has us out in the sun year round. Jack’s Fund is dedicated not just to research, but also to education. You can donate here.

The Dempsey Center
Patrick Dempsey’s mother died from Ovarian Cancer, and the actor has worked tirelessly to help cancer patients and their families. There’s a Dempsey Challenge in the Fall in ME (where Patrick grew up). The Challenge is both a bike race and a road race. The friends we visited this year in ME have tirelessly raised funds for the Center for years; they lost a mother/MIL to cancer and the wife is from ME — which is part of why they retired there.. You can donate here.

Judy’s Team in Training Fundraiser
Last but certainly not least, my friend Judy Lynch’s fundraiser for Team in Training. Judy lost her daughter to blood cancer, and she has since worked tirelessly to raise money for Team in Training — with amazing results. I tried to mostly choose lesser known charities because the big ones often get the larger slice of the pie, but I know Judy and her big heart and how much she has turned a tragedy into an opportunity to do good You can donate here.

Final Thoughts
Some of these charities involve running in some way, or fight things that effect runners — others are just good causes. You can’t go wrong with any of these charities if you want to make a difference.

What is your favorite running charity?
What causes are near and dear to your heart? Why?
Do you look at the charity partners of the races you choose?

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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5 Simple Tips for Running through the Holidays

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If you live in the Northern Hemisphere — and in particular a cold, windy, snowy area like I do — running through the holidays can feel like a real challenge. Even if you live in sunny Florida, even in a normal year (and we all know that there’s been no normal years lately!), running through the holidays can still feel like a challenge:

  • Bad weather
  • Short days
  • Buying gifts
  • Cooking holiday food
  • Busy at Work
  • Waning motivation

Add in all the stress we’re all feeling right now, sometimes squeezing in that run is the last thing you want to do. Or you really want to do it but you just can’t find the time! Here are my tips to keep moving when time is short and the you’ve got many things on your to-do list.

Wake up earlier
I know, I know: you’re already overworked, overstressed, and tired! Bear with me though. You don’t necessarily have to wake up hours early! You might want to get up an hour early, but even 10 minutes will make a difference. If you’re like me and you hate being rushed, just decide on how long you want to run and double that time. 

It may seem like heaping even more on your holiday plate, but you’ll find exercise before you start your day will actually give you a little burst of energy. Even just 10 minutes!

Break up your run
You may not feel like you have a whole hour to devote to a run. How about 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at either lunch or after work? Or even 10 minutes twice a day? 

Sometimes it feels easier to do just a little bit at a time. Little bits add up to a lot!

Join a Challenge
Better yet, join a challenge with some friends! Runners love a challenge, and they’re plentiful at this time of year. 

Run through the Holiday Lights
This isn’t always easy when you live in a cold place. Look for some holiday group runs you can join that run in areas that have holiday lights. Even though I’m Jewish, I do love looking at the holiday lights!

Run for a Cause
You may not be motivated to get out and run when it’s cold just for yourself — but maybe if you know your running is helping out a cause near and dear to your heart you’ll find your running motivation.

What’s your favorite way to keep moving through the holidays?

Have you joined a holiday challenge this year? 

What cause would motivate you to run when you don’t feel like it? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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7 Tips for Treadmill Shopping

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It’s been about 20 years since I bought my treadmill. I did a lot of research at the time, even though I was not yet running — not even close. I wanted to be able to walk more during the heat of a TX Summer (and not be eaten up by mosquitoes!).

If you’re shopping for a new treadmill like me this holiday season, here are a few tips on what to look for:

A motor with a CHP of 3
CHP stands for continuous-duty horsepower. The least that you can probably get away with (as a runner) is 2.5 CHP.

Belt Size
Look for around 55″ in length and 22″ in width, although I’ve always found I really don’t need a belt that long, being quite short. If you’re taller, you might want to see if you can find a longer belt around 60″.

Belt Thickness
Look for two or four ply for more durability and a quieter run.

Roller Diameter
Larger rollers put less stress on the motor and help extend belt life: look for about 2.5″.

What accessories do you have to have?
I personally didn’t need a lot of accessories, but many treadmills these days come with bluetooth, a holder for your tablet, sometimes a USB connection so you can charge your tablet/phone while running, and fans.

Many also come with some sort of app and built in screen. They’re often free for maybe a year, and then there’s a monthly fee. I use the Peloton App on my tablet, which quite frankly is way cheaper than paying for it on a Peloton bike or tread. Nordictrack has an app it comes with free at first, too, and then eventually it becomes a monthly charge.

Just figure out what are deal breakers for you!

Delivery/Shipping
Higher end treadmills often don’t include the shipping, so make sure you know how much extra that will be. In addition to shipping being extra — which I suppose is understandable because these things are heavy! — you generally either have to assemble it yourself or pay extra to have someone assemble it for you.

Delivery also doesn’t mean that they will actually bring the treadmill into your home, where ever you want it to live (or at all, really). Usually it means that they’ll get it as close to your homse as possible, and it’s up to you to get everything inside. Did I mention how heavy treadmills are?

In fact, I remember all those years ago that’s exactly what they wanted to do, just leave the treadmill on the driveway, basically. Somehow I managed to sweet talk them into bringing it into the house. Maybe it’s my diminutive stature. There’s occasionally perks to that.

Warranties
A lifetime warranty of the frame and motor is great, but they should at least offer a 10 year warranty on these parts. Look for 5 years on electronics (that’s what had to be replaced on my treadmill — multiple times, but obviously mine is way out of warranty) and 2 years for parts and labor.

You may also like:

Final Thoughts
I know some runners would rather poke needles in their eyes than run on a treadmill, but there are plenty of runners that embrace the occasional treadmill run. It doesn’t make you any less a runner, no matter what people might want you to believe sometimes.

When I bought my first treadmill, I truly had no idea how important it would become for me. There have been multiple times in the last 6 months when I’ve missed having a functioning treadmill I could run on for more than one mile. Now that Winter is truly coming, having a treadmill will allow me to continue to get in my runs while staying safe — some days. I wish I lived in a place where it was always safe to run outside year round, but I don’t.

I still try to get the majority of runs in outside. I don’t judge you if you get all your runs in outside, nor do I judge you if you prefer to get all of your runs done on the treadmill. I hope that if you’re ever in the market for a treadmill, these tips will be handy for you.

What is the exercise equipment you absolutely must have?
Any other tips for the treadmill hunters out there?
What sort of weather prevents you from getting outside to run?

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Do you need to dress differently for a short run?

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I mean a recovery run — which will be much shorter than even your easy runs. It should be much slower than your easy runs, too. Many runners start streaking at this time of year, trying to make sure they keep up their fitness through the holidays. Often that means quite a few days will be a very short run.

Will that change how you need to dress?

Dressing is a highly individual subject for runners. Some runners hate to be hot, some runners hate to be cold, and some runners fall somewhere in the middle.

I embraced the recovery run this year, and I have run quite a few 1 milers and 2 milers. During the Summer there’s no need to change your dressing. In the cooler months you may — or may not — need to adjust your running.

Why I’ve had to adjust how I dress on recovery runs this Fall
The reason I dress differently for a recovery run in the Fall than I might for an easy run:

The slower pace & reduced distance means that I won’t get warm as quickly

I need to dress warmer than I might if I were running three miles; you may not need to. I still do a quick dynamic warmup while my Garmin gets a signal, and I still include a very short cool down walk.

Final Thoughts
It’s personal, I get that. Just throwing out some food for thought if you decide to do short recovery runs or streak as the weather gets colder (and colder, and colder . . .).

I think we’ve all seen the graphics urging you to dress as if it’s 20 degrees cooler than it actually is (for regular runs). That doesn’t work for me even for regular runs. Maybe it does for you. You might want to experiment with an extra layer that can be taken off when you get too warm but put back on as you go home if very short runs will be in your future.

Does the length of a run make you dress differently?
Have you ever noticed how different the same temperature in different seasons can feel?
Where are all my streakers — any input?

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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My Biggest Takeaway from My Worst Race

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Eight years ago I ran my worst half marathon. It wasn’t just one of my worst finish times, it was hands down the worst half marathon I ever ran — and I’ve run a few doozies! Including the race pictured above. I didn’t injure myself, but I had GI issues, which I never have — except for that one race.

I thought I trained really well for this race. Race day dawned with perfect running weather — and that has happened very rarely in the 20 or so halfs I’ve run. Mr. Judy, Chester, and Lola were with me at the start line — the only race the dogs were able to come to the start. The course was relatively flat for New England.

The catch? Despite what I thought was a great training cycle, two weeks before the race my knee started to hurt. I didn’t seek advice from anyone. I didn’t really have a running support system — I’d only been running halfs for two years and hadn’t had any real major problems before.

I decided on my own to just stop running the two weeks before the race in the hopes that whatever was bothering my knee would simply go away.

Big mistake. Huge.

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A beautiful day & dogs at the start. What could go wrong?

So how’d the race go?
It started out just fine. It continued just fine for the first six miles. I remember running past a house with spectators on the front porch relatively early in the race.

By mile six the pain came back. By mile ten I was walking, and every step was more and more painful. Running was out of the question. I remember coming back by that same house with the same spectators still there, encouraging me to run. Except of course I couldn’t.

I actually called Mr. Judy. Not to come pick me up, but to let him know what was happening and that I would finish much later than expected.

Was it worth it?
In a word: NO!

We had booked an AirBnB on Cape Cod (remember, this is eight years ago!), and Mr. Judy was very excited to go to an ice cream place for a sundae post race. Except you had to walk to it, and I was in way too much pain to walk. No sundae for me.

I remember laying on the couch with Chester, my little shadow, curled up beside me.

It would be months, really, before I was able to run pain free again. I’d signed up to run with a group in the Fall, but I wasn’t signed up for a race. At first I couldn’t even run a mile without pain.

Every week, though, I was able to run a little bit further pain free. By the time I got to a 7 mile run, I knew I could do it and I signed up for a race. It was a redemption race, and I snagged a PR — pain free.

smuttynose
I learned from this race and snagged a PR at the next. Run Happy, indeed!

Final Thoughts
Your running support system is crucial. I should have seen a doctor or a physical therapist, although I actually never did — not for that pain. I should have already been going to a chiropractor for maintenance. I should have at least asked for suggestions online (although that can be a bit dangerous).

Most of all I learned that sometimes, it truly is better to never even start — to DNS. Ignoring problems don’t make them go away. Had I gotten diagnosed, I either would have had the advice to not run the race — or gotten the advice I might have needed to run the race without injuring myself.

Finally I learned that it is definitely possible to come back from a really bad race and have a great next race!

Was there ever a race you toughed out, but shouldn’t have?
What did you learn from your worst race?

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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3 Things Learned from a Great Race

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Five years ago I ran a half marathon with some fellow bloggers in Florida. At the time it was a long awaited PR — it didn’t even feel hard. It also kicked off a year of PRs in halfs.

It was also the start of a lot of turmoil in my life — the ongoing saga of my parents’ decline. At the time they were still living in my childhood home, but it became very clear right around that time that they couldn’t stay there after my mom had some surgery.

It was also not long after we had adopted Bandit, and we were embroiled in the mess that turned out to be. When we adopted him, we had Lola and Gizo, and they all had to be kept separate for months. We couldn’t walk Lola & Bandit together. He was a senior rescue and he had issues — he’s come a long way! — but at the time it was just another stress piled on top of the ongoing stress with my parents, not to mention the many years I’d just spent taking care of sick furkids.

Yet the race, which was in general was an afterthought for me, went well, and I learned a few things.

I learned my sweet spot
Everyone has a sweet spot when it comes to training. A certain weekly mileage they need to hit to be well prepared for a race, or maybe a certain length run — or a few of a certain length run.

Your body needs to be prepared both physically and mentally. I learned that I could definitely do well on lower weekly mileage — as long as I’d been consistently running. Running consistently, training or no, is like money in the bank. It’s the golden ticket to staying strong and (hopefully) uninjured (although many factors go into injury).

I relearned how important Nuun was to keep me running smoothly
If you care to read the recap here (warning: it’s long!) you’ll learn that I had really bad cramping starting at mile 10 and getting steadily worse until the end of the race.

When I started running, I used Nuun. At some point I got away from that — mainly because I don’t like to drink anything sweet on long runs. After this race I went back to Nuun. I won’t say I never cramp, but it’s pretty rare these days. #teamnuun for life!

Those saltstick chews I lost during the race? Yes, those have also become a staple because I’m a salty runner!

pcb1
You may recognize several of these runners. The rest no longer blog.

I learned that it’s not so bad to be one of the slowest runners in a group
Because then you have a built in cheering squad, since the speedy runners have already finished and can cheer you in and take photos of you crossing that finish line.

Final Thoughts
I had been running halfs for about five years at this point. I trained consistently. I did all the things you’re supposed to do. I remained stuck at pretty much the same finish time. Deep down I knew I had a faster finish time in me. I just knew it.

I was right, too. In fact, I have had a lot more PRs since that breakthrough race. Not all the halfs have been PRs, of course, but somehow that one race cascaded into a lot of improvement.

Only it wasn’t really that one race, right? It was all the work I’d put in before that race, and continued to put in after it.

You may also like:

  1. PRs Don’t Just Happen
  2. C is the Most Important Letter
  3. 5 Ways to Take Off Pressure
  4. Can You be Content with Failure?

Have you ever had a breakthrough race?
What did you learn from it?

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Getting the most out of pumpkin!

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Reasons to for runners to eat pumpkin:

  • It’s high in Vitamin A (good for your eyesight)
  • It’s high in antioxidants (helps battle cancers, like skin cancer)
  • It’s high in Potassium, which could make it a great recovery food (move over, bananas!)

Bonus benefit: don’t throw out the seeds (I didn’t!). They are high in phytosterols, which might help lower cholesterol and are also high in magnesium — which just might help you if you’re prone to cramping.

Why cook pie pumpkins?

I don’t usually cook, them, I’ll admit. It’s easier to simply open up a can of pumpkin puree — although did you know that canned “pumpkin” is often a different kind of squash? I digress.

People really into baking would tell you that fresh pumpkin puree tastes much better than canned. I’m not really sure I notice that much difference. We get a veggie box during the Summer, and pie pumpkins were one of our options at the end of the season. I’d read that you could cook pie pumpkins in the Instant Pot — I thought that would help a lot!

Chunked pumpkin with seeds scooped out

Only the pie pumpkins we got were too large to fit in our 6 quart Instant Pot. Not to fear, you can still cook them in your Instant Pot — but it will require more work. Cooking the pie pumpkins in your Instant Pot definitely cuts down on the cooking time.

Cooking Pie Pumpkins in the Instant Pot

  1. Place 1 cup of water in the Instant Pot inner container
  2. Place the steamer in the inner container
  3. Cut the pie pumpkin into large chunks (this takes some strength!)
  4. Scoop out the stringy stuff & seeds & put in a strainer over a bowl
  5. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and set it to High Pressure for 5 minutes; press on
  6. After the five minutes are up, let pressure release naturally for 5 minutes (aka do nothing)
  7. After five minutes release the pressure by turning the valve from sealing to venting (make sure to do that with a long spoon so you don’t get burnt by the venting steam!)
  8. Carefully scoop out the pumpkin chunks (I used a fork & spoon) & place on paper towels or a cutting board (we just used the same one that Mr. Judy cut the pie pumpkins on)
  9. Let cool for around 15 minutes — until cool enough to handle
  10. Take a spoon and just scoop the pumpkin off of the skin — it should come off very easily
  11. Put cooked pumpkin in a blender or food processor and puree
  12. Now you’re ready to cook with your pumpkin or put into containers

Scraping out the seeds

Pumpkin seeds draining & stringy stuff

1 cup of water, pumpkin chunks in steamer basket waiting to be cooked, don’t overfill!

Peel with pumpkin scooped off & put into Vitamix to puree

While the steamed pumpkin is cooling, you can run water over the pumpkin seeds to get any stringy stuff off of them.

That mason jar is completely full of pumpkin seeds. I still have plans to make pumpkin seed milk but haven’t yet.

I put a paper towel on a baking cooling rack and just spread the pumpkin seeds out on it to air dry. I haven’t done anything with them . . . yet. Unfortunately they went moldy! I knew I needed a real mason jar, but we didn’t have many available after the great pumpkin massacre.

Mason jars full of warm pumpkin purée — it stays fresh longer because the warm pumpkin creates a good seal

I had two large pie pumpkins and I estimate I got the equivalent of 3-4 cans of pumpkin out of them. Plus a cup of pumpkin seeds. I actually do enjoy pumpkin seeds and use them to top salads or soups, but I’m thinking I might try to make some pumpkin seed milk (which is similar to making almond or cashew milk (see this blog post here) — yes, I still make my own nut milk every week!

What did I do with the pumpkin?

I put the warm pumpkin puree into mason jars — basically, it’s a way to “can” stuff without actually canning. I also do this all Winter with warm soups. Who needs to can anything?

I’ve only made two things so far:

Perfect for cool Fall weather!

Pumpkin Cocoanut Curry Soup
Basically pumpkin and coconut mile and warming fall spices, topped with pumpkin seeds –not the seeds from my pumpkins!

Basically pumpkin pie with no crust

Healthy Pumpkin Custards

I still have a lot of pumpkin! I’ll probably make more pumpkin soup. Maybe some pumpkin chia pudding.  Or maybe pumpkin brownies . . .

When I lived in VT (this is going back almost 30 years) I used to buy pie pumpkins and bake bread pudding right in there. I think I roasted them in the over first, then sliced off the top. Then you just mixed up the bread pudding and poured it into the pumpkin (of course removing the stringy stuff and seeds first) and cooked it until the bread pudding was set. So you’d get some cooked pumpkin with every bite of bread pudding! I used to eat that for breakfast.

Final Thoughts
It was a lot of work, not gonna lie. Luckily pumpkins keep quite well in the fridge for quite some time; I think we had them in there at least three weeks. I put it off until a time I knew I had the energy and the time to deal with it.

Will I get pie pumpkins next year if they’re offered? Not sure! I don’t think it actually saved us money, although maybe a little bit. My guess is I will though — home made is almost always better.

Have you ever tried to cook a pie pumpkin?
What is your favorite Winter squash?


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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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