Stroller Running in the Spring

As a runner, I pay far more attention to the weather than those times in my life when I was a non-runner.  I obsess over the hourly forecast, the percentage chance of precipitation, wind chill, humidity, and other details that can affect how I dress for my run and how I expect to feel during my run.  Not to mention the obsession that ensues as soon as a race day enters the 10 day forecast.  Then it becomes full-blown daily stalking of the forecast.

As a stroller-pushing runner, the weather doesn’t just affect me.  I have to make sure my little passenger is dressed appropriately for whatever weather we will encounter.

Happy to run in any weather as long as his personal assistant dresses him accordingly

Once upon a time, when I ran with my arms freely swinging as a I went – and not pushing a 30lb toddler – I loved running in the spring.  The warmth and sunshine as winter faded always reinvigorated my love for running.  And quite honestly, I used to take a hiatus from running when it got too cold so spring would always be my back-to-running season.

Spring is proving to be my least favorite time as a stroller-pushing runner.  Why? Because one day it’s 80 degrees and the next it’s 50.  I can’t stand the back and forth.  But more than anything, it’s the [insert expletive here] wind that ruins it for me! In the mornings, while Zain eats his breakfast, I stare out the window at the trees behind our house to watch for movement.  Okay, they seem to be holding still.  I assess them again 30 minutes later once Zain is done eating and the branches are waving around wildly.  I check my weather app on my phone (probably my most used app) and see that there are 15 to 25mph winds.  Nooooo!

Stop whining mommy and give me more snacks

Running with the stroller in the wind is my personal hell.  I can’t seem to escape it no matter what direction I run.  And it always manages to be the worst when I’m trying to scale a mountain go up a hill with my 30lbs of cargo.  It’s like I’m not evening moving and I’m just running in place.  It flat out sucks.  Knowing how hard my runs will be some days completely zaps my motivation.

It won’t be long before I’m whining about the humidity and the heat, but for now, my biggest runemy (running + enemy; I know, I’m so clever) is the wind.

What is your biggest runemy? Or maybe runstacle (running + obstacle) Maybe it’s time to stop making up words…

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Race Recap: Clyde’s 10K

On Sunday morning, I ran my first ever 10K.  For some reason, I am drawn to the longer races – marathons and half marathons.  I have been neglecting the shorter ones.  I’ve only run a handful of 5Ks and never a 10K.  I was pretty stoked for an automatic PR, but I also had another ambitious goal – to maintain a sub-9 minute pace for the entire race.  I knew the course had the reputation of being hilly, but I stuck with my goal anyway.

At least I didn’t have to push the stroller up those hills

The starting line was packed and there was no designation for approximate paces.  I lined myself up somewhere in the middle of the 2,000 runners and hoped I was in a good spot.  Turns out most people didn’t try to think out their pace logically in the pack like I did so the first mile involved a whole lot of weaving.

Walking to the starting line

Part 1 of my fan club

And part 2!

My legs felt stiff in the beginning and the first mile was mostly uphill.  I thought about throwing my pace goal out the window.  I kept on trucking, reminding myself it was only a little over 6 miles.  After training for 2 marathons back to back, 6 miles doesn’t seem so bad.

That's me in the pink!

That’s me in the pink!

The hills were tough, but I tackled them the best I could and passed quite a few people on each hill.  I was thrilled to see that I was actually maintaining a sub-9 minute splits the whole time.  On the hills, I would see my pace creep back up over 9 so I’d force myself to push a little harder.  For the last mile, I so badly wanted to pull my average pace down into the 7 minute range, but there was yet another hill and it wasn’t happening.  My pace for the last quarter of a mile was 7:01 though!  I’ve never run so hard for a race in my life.  I was glad I made the decision to wear my hydration belt so I didn’t have to bother with stopping at any of the water stations.

This is what running as fast I can looks like

Hubby is an awesome race photographer

My official time was 53:14; an average pace of 8:31 – super fast for me! I don’t know all my finish placement details, but I know I was number 580 out of over 1,700 finishers.  Certainly not a win or anything, but that’s pretty up there for me!

Looking like I’m going to pass out post-race

Super fast!

I found that I really loved the 10K distance.  I definitely want to run more shorter distance races after my next 2 half marathons.  As much as I love distance running, I’m ready for a little break.  Time to focus on shorter distances and faster running!

Time to rehydrate!

After I got home from the race, I went out and ran another 4 miles with Zain in the stroller.  I’ve maintained a streak of running double digits every weekend since the Baltimore Marathon in October and I didn’t want to break it.  I really had to fight to get it done because I was so beat from the race, but I did it!

What’s your favorite race length?

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A forced watchless run

For Easter, I made one of my favorite desserts that I get in Paris – les tartes aux fruit (fruit tarts, in case you can’t figure that out).  My tarts are pretty flippin’ awesome, I must say.  The crust is sweet and crunchy.  The crème pâtissière is like heaven.  And the fruit makes you feel a teensy bit less guilty about eating them.

You know you’re drooling

While taking the tart crusts out of the oven, I managed to burn my wrist.  I’m really talented like that.  The spot on my wrist is right next to where I wear my Garmin.  So that if I were to run wearing my Garmin, it would inevitably rub on my burn.  I know – poor me.

It hurts more than it looks like it would, I promise

Because wearing my watch on my right wrist feels about as comfortable as wearing my running shorts backwards, I opted to go watchless for my run today instead.  My last watchless run was sometime soon after the Baltimore Marathon and I remember that it felt great.  I promised myself I would go watchless more often, but here I am 6 months later finally doing another watchless run.  It was so nice to not obsess over my pace and the distance I’d covered.  It didn’t stop me from thinking several times “I wonder what my pace is.  I bet it’s really slow.  I feel so slow.”  I had to tell my brain to shut up a few times.  I also kept trying to pause my watch when I had to stop to cross the street, but there was no watch on my wrist.  I looked down at my wrist to check my watch no less than 20 times out of habit.

I thought I ran about 5 or 6 miles, but when I mapped it out on Map My Run, I actually ran 6.83.  You know what I thought when I saw that? Man, if I had my watch on, I would have known my distance and could have made it an even 7.  Le sigh.  It’s an obsession!  Even so, I had a great run with Zain.  He talked to me pretty much non-stop which is always entertaining.

Thank you, tarts, for burning me and thus allowing me to have a peaceful run.  I really am going to make an effort to go watchless more often so that I can allow myself to have a more relaxed run.

Do you run watchless? If so, how often do you do it?

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