Living and loving life in vermont

Different, but Good

Thank you all so much for your kind and supportive words on Tuesday’s post. I should have known that you’d all be on my side and I didn’t have to worry about negative reactions to taking some time off. I’m still feeling really good about my decision, especially since my lunchtime walks have been SO NICE this week.

While this is the time of year when many runners are really starting to enjoy outdoor running again due to increased daylight hours and warmer temperatures, I’m just now taking time off from running for at least the next three weeks. In an effort to maintain some fitness and still get to spend time outside, I’ve been taking long, rambling walks on my lunch break. Ironically, these walks have been along some of my typical running routes.

Photo Mar 23, 12 17 24 PM

Photo Mar 25, 12 21 18 PM

While in the past this might have served to make me anxious or resentful about not running, I’m really enjoying the slower pace. I feel more entitled to stop and take pictures because it won’t “mess up my pace.” I can take my time picking my way over icy bits, or stop to pat dogs running by. There’s no pressure to hit a certain distance in a certain time. I can enjoy the sun on my face and the wind on my hair. That’s not to say that I’m just poking along, though; I’m keeping up a pretty brisk pace. I’m naturally a fast walker and I HATE walking slowly. I’m almost physically incapable of taking a “stroll,” something Ben is always harassing me about.

And even though it’s not the same as running, I’m getting a lot of the same happy feelings I get from running. It’s different, but a good different. I think if I keep up with my lunchtime walks, not running won’t be as much of a hardship as it might be otherwise.

When is the last time you took a nice long walk?

In case you missed it in my Manic Monday post, I ended up not running the Spring Fling 10k on Saturday. I’ve been fighting a cold and wasn’t sure I would make it to the starting line. Despite my best intentions, I was so congested on Friday night into Saturday that I was unable to get enough sleep, and made a last-minute decision to skip the race. As I lay in my bed debating the pros and cons of getting up and racing, the strongest argument for going to the race was that I’d have to admit publicly here on the blog that I chose a DNS when I wasn’t injured or deathly ill. I was worried about disappointing people, or letting people down, or embarrassing myself by choosing sleep over a race.

I was on the verge of dragging myself out into the cold and snow when I came to the realization that I shouldn’t be running for anyone but me. Running a race when I’m sick just because I’m worried about what the blogosphere will think is a dumb reason to run a race. Ultimately, I should be running because I want to. Because it’s important to me. Not because I need to approval of the internet. That’s not to say that I don’t value the opinions of my friends and readers, but really, I need to make decisions based on my own priorities, and not on the expectations other people may or may not have for me.

Yes, I was disappointed that I paid $20 for a race that I didn’t run. But I was sick and tired. And ultimately, this race was not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I didn’t miss out on a t-shirt or a medal or an exciting post-race party. I ended up staying in bed until after 10 am, having a leisurely breakfast, and then watching movies and knitting in my pajamas all day. I felt refreshed and relaxed. I had no pangs of guilt or regret about skipping the race.

Now, after a few tough rehearsals this weekend, I’ve had to make another very difficult decision. We’ve reached a point in rehearsals where we are practicing the jump rope number every night, multiple times a night. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been experiencing increasing discomfort and pain in my shins, and I’ve finally come to the decision that if I’m going to stay uninjured throughout the rest of rehearsals, I need to stop running, completely, until the show is over.

I’ve been wearing compression socks or sleeves during and after every jump rope rehearsal and most runs, but I can no longer pretend that I’m OK. At best, I’ve got severe shin splints in both legs. At worst, I’m approaching a stress response/potential stress fracture in my left shin. My ankles hurt. My calves are sore. Trying to keep up with running in addition to the increased jump rope rehearsals is destroying my legs.

While I’m obviously upset about having to make this choice, I know that in the long run it will be in my best interest. I made a commitment to this show and I need to follow through on it. If that means no running in order to stay healthy, so be it. I will attempt to keep up my fitness as much as possible by going for walks on my lunch breaks and continuing to attend CXWORX class when possible, but I need to honor the fact that my body is exhausted. I need to preserve my strength and energy for the rehearsals and shows that I have committed to, so that when the show is over, I will be physically able to go back to running.

At least this is a choice I have the luxury of making. I am choosing not to run. I am choosing to protect my body by backing off on stressful activities, unlike others who are too injured or ill and have no choice but not running (I’m looking at you, Kim!). I will continue to wear compression during and after jump rope rehearsals, and start icing my shins as well, in the hopes that things don’t get worse.

Bloggers, do you sometimes worry about the reactions of your readers?

When is the last time you had to make a tough decision in order to effect a positive outcome?

Photo Dec 30, 12 48 14 PM

A nasty cold really derailed this week. I didn’t run once.

Monday 03/16/15:  Unscheduled Rest Day. This should have been an easy 3 mile run, but I was feeling really yucky after work, so I just ran a few errands before rehearsal, where I did a fair bit of dancing and jumping rope. I also did 10 push ups, 10 triceps dips, and a 30 second plank before bed.

Tuesday 03/17/15:  Rest Day. I was still feeling gross, so Ben and I went out for dinner and a movie. I still managed 10 push ups, 10 triceps dips, and a 30ish second plank when we got home. I was in bed, lights out, by 10.

Wednesday 03/18/15:  Unscheduled Rest Day. I developed a nasty cough overnight, so no running, again. :( I had rehearsal and did some jump rope stuff, but was mad to miss another day, especially during race week. But I did my push ups, triceps dips, and plank.

Thursday 03/19/15:  Rest Day.  It was my younger twin sisters’ birthday, so I met up with my parents, one of my sisters (the other one lives in Detroit), and her boyfriend for a drink and some appetizers at Buffalo Wild Wings. I was really proud of myself for only having one beer and a few nibbles before going home to a dinner of brown rice chicken stir fry. Yum!

Friday 03/20/15:  Unscheduled Rest Day. I was still feeling sick, and wanted to reserve all of my energy for rehearsal, since I knew we were going to be working the jump rope number  A LOT. I picked up my bib for Saturday, gassed up the car, and picked up my shoes for the show, then had a long, tiring rehearsal, and went to bed.

Saturday 03/21/15:  Spring Fling 10k. When I went to bed Friday night, I had every intention of getting up to try and at least run, if not “race” the 10k. Unfortunately, I had a miserable night of sleep and my sinuses were full of gunk, so when my alarm went off in the morning, I made the decision to stay in bed and try to get more sleep. I’m gonna talk a bit more about this decision in tomorrow’s post, but in short, I have no regrets. I spent the day watching movies and knitting and it was just what I needed.

Sunday 03/22/15:  4 hours of jumping rope and dancing at Legally Blond rehearsal. It was a good rehearsal, and it really feels like things are coming together. Less than three weeks until opening night!

The goal for this week is just to get healthy. My schedule is only going to get more crazy over the next three weeks, so I need to be taking care of myself.

When is the last time you took a complete lazy, sitting-on-your-butt day?


It’s official–I’m going to Disney World! Those of you who follow me on Instagram or Twitter already saw this, but I was one of the lucky people able to get into the runDisney Wine & Dine half marathon before it sold out. I’m SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED! This will be my first runDisney race, my first destination race/racecation, and I will finally get to meet the ladies of Team Can-Am (minus Lisa, sadface). I feel very fortunate that my bonus this year will pay for the trip in its entirety, so I don’t have to stress about money and can just enjoy myself. I can’t wait!

I still haven’t decided whether or not I’m racing tomorrow. In case you missed yesterday’s post, I’ve got a chest cold. Lots of nasty stuff is stuck in my lungs, my throat hurts, and my sinuses are all plugged up. None of these conditions are great for running a race. I’m feeling a bit better today, but still not sure I’m well enough to run 6.2 miles in the snow/rain. Rehearsal tonight will probably be a good indicator, since we’re doing a ton of jump rope and dance stuff. If I can’t breathe inside in a nice, warm dance studio, it will probably be even worse in the damp and cold.

Star Wars marathon continues tomorrow. Back on Valentine’s Day, Ben and I started a Star Wars marathon with our friends David and Alex, but we only got through two movies. So after the race (if it happens), I’ll snag a hot shower and change of clothes, and then we’ll spend the remainder of the day eating, drinking, and Star Wars-ing. This will be a great consolation prize if I end up not being able to run.

Who else is running Wine and Dine? I’m so excited to possibly meet all of you!

I started writing this post last week, with high hopes for a strong race. Since then, I’ve come down with a nasty chest cold, complete with hacking, wet cough. Now, I’m not even sure I’ll be able to finish the race period, if I decide to start at all. The weather is looking pretty bad, and if it’s freezing cold and raining or snowing, I probably won’t risk getting more sick. As it is, vigorous movement (like jumping rope at rehearsal) is causing my throat to feel like it’s on fire. Needless to say, this is very disheartening, especially when I was feeling so good about things last week. The goals I set out below were goals for when I was healthy and not hacking up a lung. Now, it will be an accomplishment just to finish, so my edits are in italics.

1. Finish healthy and uninjured. After my half in November, I took 6 weeks off due to a mysterious foot injury, and I’d rather not repeat that any time soon. The most important thing is to finish the race without hurting myself. This now also applies to my illness–I need to remember that I have a show in 3 weeks and I need to get healthy ASAP. If I run really hard in the cold and wet, I’m risking prolonging my illness or making it worse. I really don’t need pneumonia right now.

2. Finish under 60 minutes. I know I am perfectly capable of running a sub-60 10k and it’s a fairly comfortable pace for me. If I have a strong recovery in the next 36 hours, I’d say this is still possible, but not likely.

3. Finish under 58:31 (PR).  Technically any 10k race would be a PR just because I’ve never run a true 10k race before, but my virtual 10k PR is 58:31. It would be nice to beat that, but I ran that while I was in the middle of a really strong half marathon training cycle, and this cycle has been all over the place. Unless I have a miraculous complete recovery, this goal has pretty much gone out the window.

Right now I’m feeling really conflicted about what to do. I know that it will likely come down to a last-minute decision on Saturday morning when I wake up and assess how I’m feeling. I just hate not knowing what’s going to happen. I also have a tendency to be overly cautious in situations like this, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a bummer to have paid for a race and then not do it. Only time will tell.

Would you run a race in the rain with a cough?

I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t this the girl who likes the treadmill? Who runs on the treadmill regularly? Who wrote a whole post about why treadmill running actually works for her? Yep. And it’s still true. I still like the treadmill. Honestly, if it weren’t for the treadmill, I don’t know that I would have run at all this winter.

What I’m trying to say here is that while the treadmill is a valid option, and one I clearly can’t live without, running on the treadmill simply does not adequately prepare you for, and does not in any way compare to, running outside. I sort of re-realized this on my long run last Wednesday. Here’s why:

Treadmills keep a consistent speed.

You get on the treadmill, set your speed, and go. You don’t have to think about it, and your body doesn’t have to self regulate. You just move your legs to match the speed of the belt. Outside, the only thing controlling your pace is you, and it’s a lot harder to keep a consistent speed when you are the only motivating factor. Thus, I usually run too fast or too slow outside.

There are no pedestrians to contend with on the treadmill.

Because the weather is getting nicer, there are people EVERYWHERE. Moms with babies in strollers, couples walking hand in hand, people walking to and from work, people walking their dogs. And you have to compete with them for space. Weave around them. Call out “On your left!” to get them to move over. Or do the awkward side-step dance where you keep getting in each other’s way. This definitely slows me down.

There are no obstacles to contend with on the treadmill.

Puddles. Mud. Ice. Snow. Dog poop. These are all realities of running outside, and if you want to keep your feet clean and dry for the duration of your run, some maneuvering is definitely necessary. I probably added a quarter of a mile to my run on Wednesday just by swinging wide into peoples’ lawns to avoid the puddles and/or mud that have taken over Burlington sidewalks.

Treadmills are flat.

I mean, unless you change the elevation, of course. But you have sole control of the elevation profile on your treadmill run. I don’t know about you, but 99% of my treadmill runs are flat. I’ve found that running a “hill” on a treadmill is somehow way harder than running an actual hill. They also don’t really simulate downhill well. And then I get outdoors after training on a treadmill for months and wonder why RUNNING IS SUDDENLY SO HARD!!

Treadmills are monotonous. 

Outdoor running is just way more fun. Fresh air, sunshine (or maybe rain), people, birds, animals, scenery… Whereas on the treadmill your eyes are either glued to a TV screen or desperately trying not to make eye contact with the meat head squat grunting or whatever it is he’s doing. Not so much fun.


When you run outside, you experience much more extreme temperatures, and can experience a wide range of temperatures even on a single run. Generally speaking, treadmills are indoors, and you therefore experience a constant, moderate temperature. Also, there’s no rain/hail/snow/sleet on the treadmill. ‘Nuff said. Which means that when you’ve been training on a treadmill all winter and then try to run a race in -6 windchill temps, you’re in for a rude awakening.

As you can see, treadmill running, while a necessary evil, just doesn’t fully prepare you for running outside. And running outside is obviously better.

Did I miss any of the major differences between outdoor and treadmill running?

Do you love or hate the treadmill?

Photo Dec 30, 12 48 14 PM

Another imperfect week, but I’m just trying to roll with it because my schedule sucks. I at least did a speed run and a long run, so I’m feeling really good about the 10k this weekend.

Monday 03/09/15:  4×800 with 1/2 mile warm up and 400 recovery in between.  This ended up being a total of 3.25 miles. It was difficult, I won’t lie. Definitely harder than doing 400s, but since I’m training for a 10k, I figured longer intervals would be more beneficial. I also jump roped a bunch at rehearsal.

Tuesday 03/10/15:  Rest day.  Ben and I cooked dinner together and then relaxed and watched movies until bed time.

Wednesday 03/11/15:  Long run–5 miles.  I switched my long run to Wednesday because it was supposed to be significantly warmer than Friday, and I wanted to run outside. It was sunny and 50 degrees when I set out after work, and while it felt amazing to be outside, outside running is WAY different than treadmill running, and it was very wet and muddy, so my pace wasn’t that great. Oh well.

Thursday 03/12/15:  Unscheduled rest day. This should have been CXWORX, but I’ve still been EXHAUSTED this week. I think it’s a combination of higher mileage, increased rehearsal intensity, and not sleeping well this past weekend, but whatever the cause, I just wasn’t feeling class and went straight home after work.

Friday 03/13/15:  I didn’t have rehearsal until 8:30 pm, so I decided to blow off my recovery run and go run errands, then hang out with Ben and some friends for a little bit. This was a great choice. It was nice to knock a few things off my to-do list and go into the weekend less stressed out. I did do some jumping rope at rehearsal, so this wasn’t a total rest day.

Saturday 03/14/15:  Rest day. Lots of cleaning and rearranging things around the house, and then a game night with friends.

Sunday 03/15/15:  4 hour rehearsal with lots of dancing and jumping rope.

The plan for this week is to gear up for the 10k on Saturday morning. Rest up, hydrate, fuel appropriately, and kick ass! Unfortunately, I’m not feeling 100% health-wise (scratchy, dry throat), so I’m trying to make sure I get to the weekend healthy.

  • Monday: 3 easy miles
  • Tuesday: Rest–birthday drink with my sister
  • Wednesday:  3 easy miles
  • Thursday: CXWORX and date night
  • Friday:  Rest
  • Saturday:  Spring Fling 10k
  • Sunday:  Rest

Who else is racing this weekend?

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