Applied Behavior Science for Health and Happiness
Boston Marathon Training Week Eight: I H8 Snow
Boston Marathon Training Week Eight: I H8 Snow

Boston Marathon Training Week Eight: I H8 Snow

Boston Marathon TrainingI know I said I didn’t want to complain endlessly about the weather in my marathon training updates, but COME ON. The amount of snow New England has experienced recently is truly exceptional, and exceptionally bad for outdoor distance running. And it’s not stopping any time soon!

All I can say is I am truly earning that finish line.

Here’s how Week Eight went:

Cross-Training

Keeping warm at yoga class with some locally made, cozy socks. I try to live up to the name.
Keeping warm at yoga class with some locally made, cozy socks. I try to live up to the name (“darn tough”).

Cross-training was pretty good this week. I went to yoga on Monday night, which always helps alleviate muscle soreness and stiffness. The teacher instructed people into a crazy arm balance pose (I think it was this one), which obviously led to me collapsing on the floor in an uncoordinated heap. I did do some mean forward folding.

On Tuesday I hit up Flywheel for a spin class before leaving town for a work trip.

Midweek Runs

Look! Capri running pants! Green grass instead of gray slush!
Look! Capri running pants! Green grass instead of gray slush!

Oh man, my midweek runs were the best. I was in Portland, Oregon for work, where it was a beautiful and temperate 45 degrees. There wasn’t even a bit of snow on the ground! I ran outside in capri pants with only a light shirt and jacket! All while marveling that this same temperature just a few short months ago would have felt quite cold.

Portland is known to be a good city for runners. Just like Boston, they have a protected pedestrian and bike path along their river’s waterfront, so I took my run down there. I got in 6.45 miles on both Wednesday and Thursday along with some fantastic people-watching and the joy of ground that is green and not gray.

I have never found 45 degrees so lovely in my life. On Thursday it even rained during my whole run, but still felt so pleasant compared to what I’m used to.

Here's hoping my snazzy special effects distract you from the crappy photo. On the Willamette River.
Here’s hoping my snazzy special effects distract you from the crappy photo. On the Willamette River.

Special Mid-Week Home Alone-Style Sprint (A Slightly Off-Topic Rant)

On my flight out to Portland, I laid over in Minneapolis. My flight from Boston was delayed on the ground due to guess what, snow, and then our landing in Minneapolis was also pushed back. I guess they got snow too. So by the time we pulled up to the gate, it was exactly the time my flight to PDX was supposed to be taking off. I decided it was worth trying to catch it anyway.

Re-enactment for dramatic purposes only.
Re-enactment for dramatic purposes only.

So I got my luggage, dashed off the plane, and began a mad sprint to the PDX flight gate. The flight attendant on the plane had told me it was a quick walk, but she was wrong. I’m not sure precisely how far it is, but iFly estimates it as a 15 minute walk. And I had zero minutes. I ran as fast as I could. I arrived at the PDX gate panting and covered in sweat.

They had closed the boarding door.

Noooooooo!

However, because of the snow on the ground, the plane was still at the gate. The gate agents called down and they agreed to re-open the door. As this negotiation was going on, a few other Boston passengers began to arrive. One of them, an older man, physically put himself between me and the gate agent so he could board before me.

“I’m in First,” he said loudly. Then he said it again, perhaps because nobody fell prostrate at his magnificence. “I’m in First.”

Still sweaty after boarding the plane, and not very good at avoiding crazy eyes in a selfie.
Still sweaty after boarding the plane, and not very good at avoiding crazy eyes in a selfie.

It was a good thing I had gone to yoga the night before, because I needed all the zen I could get in that moment. It didn’t get any better as he tried to argue over not giving up his bag (the overhead space was gone, naturally) while the person manning the boarding door frantically urged us to hurry before they had to close it for good. If I had missed the flight due to Mr. First Class I’m not sure I would have controlled my temper. Especially since there was NO WAY he would have made the plane if not for my ridiculous sprinting.

I burned additional calories during the flight composing angry speeches for Mr. First Class in my head.

Saturday Long Run with DFMC

Once again, the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge relocated our Saturday long run to the parking garage at Boston College. The roads in the area where they had originally planned for us to start were so icy and snowy that they were unsafe for runners. The area around Heartbreak Hill has a carriage road that is mostly only accessed by residents, so it’s much safer to run on. So that’s what we did.

Me and two of the DFMC volunteers manning a water and fuel station in Newton. They are so awesome. Poor photo quality is from the cold fogging my camera lens!
Me and two of the DFMC volunteers manning a water and fuel station in Newton. They are so awesome. Poor photo quality is from the cold fogging my camera lens!

I ran 16.19 miles, which involved running out of Boston College into Newton (down Heartbreak Hill) to the Wellesley border, then back up. Then I did the whole thing again. The hardest part of the run was mental, knowing I had to turn around and repeat a really tough stretch of road immediately after conquering it.

Elevation profile from my long run. FUN.
Elevation profile from my long run. FUN.

There were tons of runners out from all different charity teams trekking up and down the hill. As much as it was cold (although warmer than it was last week! Double digit temperatures!) and slushy, being surrounded by other runners and sharing smiles, high fives, and snot rockets helped add some fun.

One thing I’ve noticed on all of my long runs above, say, 15 miles is that there comes a point where I really have to stop thinking about what I’m doing and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’m sure elite runners are more strategic about their long runs, but for me it’s really about keeping going until it’s time to stop. What helps me is to almost dissociate my mind from my body. I think about things totally unrelated to running, or concentrate on people-watching.

Post-run Raynaud's fingers.
Post-run Raynaud’s fingers.

The best part of the long run, as always, was the long hot shower afterwards. I have cozy new DFMC sweatpants I bought from a teammate that both keep me warm after my run and remind me that my legs are aching for a great cause.

Couching it.
Couching it.

Sunday Attempt at A Shake-It-Out Run

Beautiful but slippery river running trail.
Beautiful but slippery river running trail.

On Sunday I decided to try a short run to get the aches out of my legs. It had snowed some overnight, but I was hoping it wouldn’t be too bad. I was thwarted, though. Even though it had only snowed a few inches, not many shovels and plows had been through, and the sidewalks were a mess. I made it down to the river to discover only sporadic plowing there, too. I eked out 2.48 miles in slippery conditions before crying uncle and heading home. Plus side? I think I got some good core work in trying to stay upright on the slippery ground.

Support my Boston Marathon run for Dana-Farber!

It’s not too late to support my run for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute by donating at my DFMC page here. I hope my tales of hard winter running show how important I believe Dana-Farber’s work is and how much I’m willing to give for it. I appreciate any help.