>Winter running at its finest [or coldest]

>This morning I woke up at 6AM with a little help from the alarm. Since starting my new job, I’ve been able to get on a decent schedule fast. I’ve been going to sleep around 10:30-11 and getting up at 5:45-6. I had all my running gear laid out last night.

With the forecast being about 13* at 7AM, this is what I wore: two pairs of socks, medium-weight running tights (which I put a hole into this morning.. need new ones. Darn.), pair of stretchy-type workout pants, short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt, stretchy-type jacket. I also had gloves and an earband. (And, I have to say that Under Armour undergarments rock!)

I also had my iPod armband, my running belt (which Aaron bought for me.. sweet), my reflective vest, and Nike+ iPod chip for my shoe. I decided to go without my belt and vest since the sun was up and we were doing only ten miles.

We started out in Gabriela’s neighborhood and took a different route through East Peoria. Honestly, my muscles didn’t seem to warm up until mile 5. At mile 2.5-3 I was taking off my gloves because my hands were roasting. But my layers were perfect. I wasn’t hot or cold. Just right.

We climbed up a hill that we descended down with ease. It took me about half a mile to recoup from that. As much as I was to stop after we crest the top, I say to myself, “Recovery, recovery, recovery.”

The sun rising above the dormant fields and yards covered with snow was beautiful. We passed quite a few gorgeous houses with many cars in the driveway and for a second I was jealous of those people just waking up, getting coffee and enjoying the morning.

The experience of running outside will never ever compare to running in the stale air on the treadmill. I did four miles the other night, and it felt like 15. It was horrible. I would rather trudge through the slush and traffic of Peoria on a Saturday afternoon than run at the gym.

I know it seems absolutely nuts to run in such cold weather. But really, you warm up fast. You train your lungs to breathe the cold air. You train your muscles to not only run a decent pace, but to run through the cold, and sometimes even when they’re numb. Like I said, it took me about five miles to get a pace going. Then I’m focused and in step with my body. My good pace this morning was 9:55-10:10 per mile.

We finished 10.25 miles in 1:47, so an overall pace of about 10:30. Not bad. We’re gonna be kicking butt when the weather warms up and we can run in “normal” conditions.

I am really motivated to kick butt on this upcoming marathon from watching Ada on the Biggest Loser Season 10. She was determined to beat the girls’ record on the marathon of 4:56 and she ran a 4:38! Heck, if she can do it after only three months of training, I can do that after six months of training!

Two things I’m looking forward to:
1) Longer hours of sunlight so I can go running again after work.
2) Warmer temps so my dad and I can go riding again

I’m already thinking about what I want to do after the marathon. I would like to do a sprint triathlon (0.6-mi swim, 12.4-mi bike ride, 3.1-mi run [I think there can be other distances too]), or try P90X. I just know that I have to have a goal in mind otherwise I’ll let myself get lazy. It would also be nice to run a few races with my husband.

It’s possible that I will lose more weight throughout training, so I’ve adjusted my weight goals accordingly on sparkpeople.com. According to the BMI scale, I could lose twenty more pounds and still be in the healthy range. I definitely don’t want to lose that much more though! I promise that I am eating. I LOVE food. But since I have more lean muscle mass, my body metabolizes food like crazy. Some days I’m hungry constantly. Today will be one of those days since I burned around 1100 calories! I also need to make sure I’m doing enough strength training because I don’t want to lose muscle mass. I read that women typically lose about 22% of their muscle mass when they do a weight loss program.

Looking back at the past year, 2010 has been my most successful year yet, even moreso than the year I graduated from college and got married. I’ve become more comfortable in my skin, stronger, leaner, healthier, more confident with living alone. I’ve met all my running goals except for one – run a half marathon. But I am able to run at least twelve miles.

I found a calculator that can kind of predict my time for the marathon based on my current fitness level. Here’s a snip of my predicted times for different distances:

It’s pretty darn accurate for my 10M. Like I said, I felt my best pace was right around 9:55 or so. Looking forward to my progress in 2011. My mileage goal will be I think between 700-900 miles.

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