Goodbye polar vortex, hello…spring? Here in the Midwest the weather has been anything but consistent. Mid week we had temperatures of -27 degrees with windchill near -50 and this weekend we had highs in the 40’s! I am hopeful that the groundhog’s prediction of an early spring holds true so I can get in many more quality miles outdoors.
Sunday’s long run topped out at 10.1 miles and it felt AWESOME. I ran outside, looping through my neighborhood and the subdivisions next to it. The temperature was in the mid 40’s with slight mist/drizzle. All of the snow is melting with the warmers temperatures, so I was dodging puddles along the route.
Here are the highlights:
- Average Pace: 8:18/mile – I wanted this run to be at a pace that was comfortable as I was focused on completing the longer distance rather than speed. I checked my watch every 2 miles just to get a general sense of how long I’d been going. I wasn’t sure how my pace would hold up through this run since I’ve been doing shorter runs on the treadmill. I am pleasantly surprised with how comfortable this pace felt for this long of a distance. I think that the extra strength training I have been incorporating is making a difference in my running.
- Hills – Call be crazy, but I LOVE incorporating hills into my routes whenever possible. In northern Illinois, it can be a challenge to find what I consider to be actual hills! [I’m from southeastern Ohio where the hills are no joke!] The neighboring subdivision has a few longer inclines that I took advantage of on my route. I love the burn it creates in my legs as they power me up the hill and the sense of accomplishment once the climb is conquered.
- Weather – I used to be a fair weather outdoor runner but am finding that I was really missing out! As long as I am dressed appropriately, I quite enjoy running in light rain. For this run, it was a toss up between a mist and light drizzle. Last fall I purchased a running rain jacket second hand. This jacket is PERFECT for conditions like I ran in today. It is waterproof, light-weight and breathable. I also wear a visor to help keep the rain off of my face. If I had to choose, I think I’d take a rainy day over a humid sunny day for running!
- Warm-up – I ACTUALLY DID A SOLID WARM UP. I hadn’t done a run this long in a little over a month. I wanted to make sure my body was ready for the workout ahead. Warming up has been a focus point for me recently, as I used to do absolutely nothing in terms of preparing by body for the run ahead. I would literally walk out the front door and take off. Today, I walked on the treadmill for half a mile and did some dynamic stretching prior to starting the main workout. It had my body feeling ready for the miles ahead!
- Podcast – I recently found the C Tolle Run podcast by Olympian Carrie Tollefson. On my commute to work and on long runs like this one, the message from the runners she interviews inspires me and keeps me focused. While Carrie does talk to them about running, the podcast also has a lot of ‘real talk’ which allows listeners to connect with pro athletes on a human level! In reality, the guests on the show have been through highs and lows, just like anyone else. This run was powered by her interviews with Lauren Fleshman (Episode 88) and Alexi Papas (Episode 16)
All in all, the 10 miles flew by! I am so thankful that I was able to get outside for this run and to breath the fresh air into my lungs. I’m hoping for another month of solid outdoor running, but you never quite know what you’ll get in northern Illinois! These winter miles are the base builder to my spring half marathon and fall marathon training. Chicago 2019 here I come!!