Running Through Winter

So it’s been a while… Two months to be exact, and I’m not quite sure where to start, so I will start back where we left off with December 2013 and do a little catching up on how I have been running through winter (often times feeling my head has been chopped off).

December 2013

December was on of the craziest and busiest months of my life. It was three weeks of finals for my first semester of law school. It was also the month where my co authors and I presented a white paper at a round table in the middle of finals (that I finished my portion of at 2am the morning of a final – that one hurt). It was also winter vacation back I the frozen tundra and the time I PRed without really being prepared in the half marathon.

So law school exams. They were intense, stressful, and three weeks long. Yes I had about five to seven days between my exams, but when they are law school exams, you need like two weeks between each exam and even that may not be enough. I was mostly happy with my performances on my exams and grades but know there is room for improvement this semester so I am definitely putting the plow in the ground and hitting the books hard.

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Then there was that paper we presented. I had given presentations on research proposals before but had never had a written paper, that professors, scholars and experts in the field had read, thought was interesting and gave feedback on. It was intense but so exciting! And although my co authors and I have a lot of work ahead of us, I know we will have a great paper when we are finished.

I was lucky enough to go home for about ten days after finals. I hadn’t really been in the frozen tundra (MN) since last Xmas, and it was great to have the whole family together. I got to spend time with my parents, siblings and niece all while freezing my buns off. What more could I have asked for?! Oh right, to have had Xmas at my sister’s in Florida where it was 70 not -10. But all in all we had a great time… In our #xmasjammies (oh yes that happened).

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Then there was the winter running. Lots of it happened. And while most of it (admittedly) happened on a TM I did manage a few good runs outside.

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First I ran Run With Santa 5k, and while there were no PRs (it was cold, snowy and slippery) I had a ton of fun with a bunch of my coworkers at the running store. And then I ran a half marathon very last minute. So last minute the name is escaping me, but it was an out and back on a muddy and icy trail…but I still got a PR! 1:44:06! It was by no means my best race (I fell completely apart in the last two miles, but I know that my goals for 2014 are in reach!

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So lots of running happened and life was looking pretty good. And then came January 2014…

January 2014

And life got even better. Didn’t think it was possible, but it did.

I gained a super cute study buddy (no, he is not mine, but sometimes I pretend) and my grades came back mostly positive. So here’s to a good outlooks for semester 2!

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And while I have had a minor foot injury that has set me back in terms of marathoning this spring, I am taking it in stride, and instead focusing on Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and hopefully a spring half marathon back in sunny Santa Cruz after finals are over in May! You know what I’m talking about… The fabulous Capitola Half Marathon!

Also, today I discovered I was one of four featured bloggers on Active Life DC for a panel on how to get out of a fitness rut. Check it out for some great Dc blogs and tips on how myself and the other bloggers keep exercising interesting and fun…and how awkward I can be. It’s so incredibly awkward it’s awesome.

So that’s a little update on my life. I have been very busy but am planning a few posts to come in the next few weeks, and I promise it won’t be another two months.

How has 2014 been treating you so far? Set any fitness or running goals?
Mine is to be as uninsured as possible, hopefully be healthy enough to complete a marathon and to get back into triathlons! Already looking at a few in late August/early September!

A Moment of Silence

The past few weeks, my town has experienced a number of serious crimes, from murders to rape, to burglary and yesterday this all culminated in the shooting of two police officers — the first two ever lost in the line of duty in Santa Cruz.  I don’t know if this is the end of a set of tragic crimes, or just the beginning.  But I’d like to ask everyone — far and near — to take a moment of silence today for the families, friends and community of these officers.

To say this has hit home, is an understatement.  Many of these crimes have happened within just a few miles of my home — and the rape happened very close to where I spend most of my time on campus.  I run through the locations of crime on a weekly basis, and its terrifying to think that it could have been me or one of my running friends.  Its been a reminder that although I live in ‘paradise,’ I need to remember to be safe when I’m out and about — especially while running.

Fellow SFM Ambassador Meg, who is one of my favorite running buddies and lives just a few miles away from me, also had these crimes hit home.  And she just wrote her latest blog post on Running Safe for the SF Marathon.  I recommend checking it out for some ideas of things you can do to ensure your own safety while doing what you love.  And I’d love to hear some of your tips:

What do you do to ensure that you run or train safely?

3rd Annual Xmas Day 5k

I’ve run the Xmas Day 5k in St. Paul, Minnesota for three years straight.  Its one of very few in the United States, its the furthest north (aka the coldest) and its the largest.  Three cheers for MinneSNOWta!  I’m still never quite sure why I run it.  I sign up in October, all excited and then Xmas Eve arrives, and I start realizing that its like 10 degrees out, and have a hard time convincing myself to go to bed so I can run in ridiculously cold temperatures the next day.

This year was no different…oh wait, yes it was.  It was MUCH colder than it has been any of the two previous years.  The predicted temp for race time (10am) was 6 degrees on Xmas Eve, with -15 degrees windchill (making it feel like -9 degrees).  Well, that would’ve been balmy, given that it only hit 3 degrees by race time with -15 degree windchill.  Yeah.

Nevertheless, I don’t like DNSing a race unless absolutely 100% necessary.  So, I “bundled up” Xmas Day and headed out with my sister, who was running her 2nd annual Xmas Day 5k — and the race that started her running last year.  I threw on my running pants, Pro Compression holiday socks (love!), a long sleeve top, a running jacket, my down vest (I wasn’t planning on running in it — but I’m SO happy that I did), my gloves (that did nothing for me), my neck gator and a headband.  In hindisght, I wish I had put on long underwear…but we always have 20/20 vision looking back.

P1030735All bundled up — BRRRRR!

Anyway, my sister grabbed our bibs, and then waited in the car for the race to start.  (Okay I hung out in the bathroom half the time…but we won’t get into details: TMI).  10am finally rolled around, and we were off.  My first half the race was speedy: 11 minutes flat.  Unfortunately it was around the half way mark that I thought I was going really fast, and then looked down to realize I was running an 8 minute mile.

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Coming through the first time! (2 loop course)

And then when I tried to pick it up, because I didn’t feel like I was pushing it, I realized I couldn’t feel my legs.  And therefore I couldn’t engage my muscles to run any faster.  So I did what I could, and decided to just enjoy (hahahaha) running in the cold.

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Hang 10 after finishing (I really wanted to be in Cali at this point)

I finished with a 23:25 — faster than the race last year (and the year before?), but not the 22:xx I was hoping for. But, when it feels like -10 out, I will happily take that time.  Happily.

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My sister finishing!

My sister finished faster than her first 5k last year, with a time of 33:33 — and then after a quick photo shoot, we hurried back to the car, to head home to open gifts with my niece from Santa.

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How did you spend Holidays?  Were you able to get your run on?