Oh, what a week it has been! Most everyone in the country has been affected, but we in the Midwest, and especially you in the Northeast, got quite the hard weather hit this past week. Here in the Chicago area, we woke up on New Year’s Day to a temperature of 6 degrees BELOW ZERO. And that doesn’t include our infamous wind chill! All I can say is Brrrr! If you read my most recent post, you know I’ve fallen off the running train since my Ragnar race in November. New Year’s Day was not the day to get back on it.
The following day, Tuesday, was no better. I worked a 12-hour shift and when I left for work at 6:00 a.m., the local temperature was -9º. Did someone say Brrrr? Despite my 12-hour work day and the below-zero temperature, this was the start of the Strava Lululemon 40|80 challenge, where we are challenged to run either 40K or 80K over a 14-day period, from January 2nd to January 15th. If you know me, you know I am always up for a challenge, so of course I signed up for this dead-of-winter challenge! What better motivation to get back into running? So on my lunch break I layered up over my scrubs and took a 3-mile trot around the medical center. It was slow-going as I weaved around the constant flow of traffic in and out of the many buildings on our campus, but I got three miles in and I was on my way.
By late Wednesday morning, the temperature had risen to a balmy 10º! I had the time and the gear, so I bundled up like a kid on a toboggan ride and hit the road. Another slow go of it, but I managed to add six miles to the challenge. I was bundled up so well I could barely move, but I felt comfortably warm the entire time, so that right there made it a successful run for me.
Thursday was a little cooler, but by the time I got out the door, it was back up to 10º. I know that sounds absolutely insane to those of you who are not used to cold climates, but here in the Midwest, we deal. It helps immensely when the sun is shining, and most of the week was beautifully bright and clear. It actually felt fantastic to be out there. There were tons of kids out sledding, people walking their dogs, and several other runners on the road. For me, there were another 5.2 miles to add to the challenge.
After a lazy holiday week, I had tons of e-mails and business to catch up on, so I decided to take the day off of running on Friday. I knew we were expecting warmer weather over the weekend, so I decided I’d get me runs in then.
Saturday came and I was happy to see the temperature rise to 15° by early afternoon. I logged 7.3 additional miles toward the challenge. My son Michael gave me a new Garmin for Christmas, and though I was moving slow in all my layers, I cracked up when my watch showed this was my fastest run to date. Forget the fact that it is was only my 4th run with the new watch, but I’m happy to be setting new PRs so early in the year. It can only get better from here!
Sunday was predicted to be the warmest day in weeks, but with the warmer temperatures comes precipitation. The forecast called for rain and sleet by early afternoon. I knew that was the case, but I also wanted to see my youngest son, David off to school for his second semester of his junior year at IU. He pulled out of the driveway at 12:30 p.m. and a few minutes later I was out the door. It was lightly drizzling by that time, and I knew it would be bad when I saw the sheet of ice starting to form on the windshield of the car in our driveway. Still, I wanted to get my miles in. The sidewalks were absolutely treacherous, between all the walks people didn’t bother to shovel in the previous days (seriously, people, how about being considerate toward your neighbors or ~ ahem ~ complying with the law?) The walks that were cleared (thank you dear neighbors) were starting to ice over. No bueno. The streets were a little better, but as I was skidding and slipping with cars heading toward me, I decided that was even less bueno. So I diverted my run to weave through a neighboring subdivision where there would be less traffic and I can stick to the streets.
Stick, however, is the absolute opposite of what I did. I slipped and skidded numerous times, but luckily I never fell. I was engaging muscles I never knew I had just to stay upright! I wasn’t sure how far I would go as it was intermittently drizzling the entire time. In the end, I logged 6.2 miles. Not as many as I had hoped for, but enough to get me a little past the halfway mark in the Strava Lululemon challenge. I’ve logged a total of 27.7 miles (or 44.6 kilometers) in the first six days of this 14-day challenge, so I am well on my way to completing the 80K!
So, not a bad start to the new year. This was my highest mileage week in almost two months. I’m hoping to keep this up, along with a few other goals for the coming year. I will highlight those in my next post.