Buried!

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My winter face.

This winter isn’t going to quit!  I just came in from shoveling, snow blowing and plowing some seriously heavy snow.  I called Husband because I had some concerns about areas I should/shouldn’t attempt to plow in the barnyard and he called this the heaviest snow he has ever plowed.  He’s been at this for 13 years.  Eek!!!

So, I’m back inside and ready to recap the last week.  I can happily say I nailed all my runs and hit the following stats:

  • Miles Run: 31.7
  • Number of runs: 5
  • Elevation: 2287 ft.

Most of my mileage was on pavement out of convenience.  The one run I did on trails resulted in me breaking my ass (aka high hamstring strain).  I have since been rolling, stretching and received acupuncture in that area.  It’s healing nicely and didn’t keep me from my Sunday 15 miler.

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Sunday long run required SO many layers.  Check out my list at Instagram.

Those who don’t live in New England need to know the last few weeks have been brutal.  The wind.  The m*&%^r f*&%#n’ wind.  The Sunday long run was brutal for 7.5 miles as we headed directly into the wind.  Thankfully, I had a tailwind for my return to the car.  I’m DONE with the wind, the cold, the layers and THE SNOW.  Did I mention this nor’easter SUCKS?  On the plus side, I discovered that Hostess Cupcakes work as fuel 🙂

I’m done complaining.  Too much great stuff to chat about.  I missed one strength workout last week, but I almost never miss them so I am fine with it.  I religiously attend or complete some form of HIIT or strength work 2x a week and have for nearly two years.  Ben keeps training so interesting and almost never repeats workouts!

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Getting it done at AI

The Wednesday steady state run continues to be the bane of my existence.  I have never been fully invested in a training plan in the same way I have this time around.  Steady state is hard for me because I suck at pacing.  This past week was: 8:58, 8:36, 8:29.  See… sucky pacing!  I wanted to die the whole time and was so stiff.  I blame my desk chair!  Sitting is brutal!  I had a tough time with my Friday hill run too.  I just didn’t feel up to it, but felt myself coming alive halfway through.  THAT is why I consider running my salvation!

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Glad I snapped this… I took this minutes before my dreaded Friday hill run.  I woke up along the way!

In closing, everyone around me is sick.  Again.  Strep.  Stomach bugs.  Ick.  I am doing my best to stay healthy (vitamins, mostly clean eating – see below, acupuncture, lots of sleep and hydration).  Fingers crossed I make it through the next week….

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My guilty pleasure… hiding in my truck with chicken nuggets.  Husband was sick and this was a safe place!

That’s that!  I anticipate a struggle getting workouts in this week, but so it goes when winter smacks us hard.  Going to do my best!  Four months to VT!!!!

I want to take the time to say thank you to Altra Running to not only providing me amazing shoes and clothing, but for motivation from other badass Ambassadors.  I am also loving all of the clothing I have collected from Born Primitive!  Ladies… try their bras.  BEST ever!  Coupon code LIFTNRUN15 for 15% off!

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Born Primitive Rhapsody Bra and Edge Tank

My Essential Gear – Salomon Speedcross 3

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Welcome to my new blog sub-series – My Essential Gear.  Since there are so many pieces of gear that make my runs successful and wonderful, I felt it was about time to show them off!  

I have been running in the same pair of Salomon Speedcross 3s since late fall 2012.  I coveted a pair after seeing a few local runners in them during my first season of trail running and finally got my hands on a pair in time for last winter.  This single set of shoes has seen well over 500 miles, has had only one set of replaced insoles (Ortholite Fusion recommended my Salomon – great customer service by the way!) and have seen everything from multiple 4,000 footers in New Hampshire, the mud at the Pineland Farms 25K (2013), the snow covered mountains of the Belknap Range and the lovely sea level trails of Great Bay.  These shoes are diverse, incredibly comfortable and my go-to for many runs.  I have worn them in every season and they have not only held up well, but continue to be so comfortable!  I have chosen to break this review down to several categories for your reading enjoyment.

Quality:  These shoes cost me about $100 with discounts and such from Road Runner Sports.  They have an incredibly comfortable footbed that feels like you are walking and running on a cloud.  Despite the many types of terrain I have tested these sneakers on, I don’t have so much as a loose thread or tear on either shoe.  Only con:  The insole decided to fold up on me on one shoe after getting soaked in a creek on a 4,000 footer hike.  I temporarily fixed it with double-sided tape but when it happened again, I wrote to Salomon to ask their suggestion for replacement.  They responded quickly and suggested the Ortholite Fusion insoles.  I spent the money to replace them and they shoes have been fantastic ever since, wet or dry.

Comfort:  As I mentioned, these are so comfortable.  They run very neutral with a 9mm drop.  As a runner who lands predominately mid foot, these feel great.  Once they get wet, they shed water and remain comfortable.   I ran the 25K at Pineland Farm in 2013 and literally mud soaked these over nearly 16 miles of trail and fields.  I came out of this race with no blisters or even a hot spot!  My friend wore another shoe brand and quite literally lost chunks of skin from the muckfest.  One thing to note is this shoe has no rock plate.  The longest run I have completed in them is the 25K and the longest hike about 11 miles.  At the end of the 11 mile hike, I could have used a partial rock plate but I certainly was not uncomfortable.  I was still trotting down the trail on that last mile!

Pineland 25K (2013)

Pineland 25K (2013)

Technical Traction and Grip:  Along the same lines as comfort comes the grip.  These shoes literally saved me in the mud shown above!  I remember hitting the top of some nasty downhills in the fields and watching people slide down the hill…. face first, butt first, sideways.  Tony and I just trotted our way down never losing grip.  I didn’t even take these off at all to clean the mud out.  On dry terrain, they are flawless.  Upon initially holding these shoe I thought “yikes, these might be clunky” but I was so wrong!  These handle nicely over technical terrain and I found no difference navigating over roots and rocks as I did in my everyday trail runners.  As far as mountain terrain, I climbed six 4,000 footers and have run several smaller mountains in these shoes.  My only complaint is wet rocks.  It took some getting used to on wet slabs of rock and I found it best to stab my toes into the creases and crevices in the slabs to gain traction.  That being said, no issues at all with toe bruising as they are well protected by the rubber outersole.

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Seasonal Use:  I have to say, I LOVE these sneakers in the winter.  They are a bit thicker than the average trail runner and for that reason seem to be a bit warmer paired with wool socks.  I snowshoe in these, run small mountains all winter and wear them as my everyday shoe when it is snowy out.  Despite being warm in the winter, I do not overheat in the summer.  The breath-ability is fantastic!

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Overall, I absolutely adore these shoes and will continue to have a pair on hand permanently for all types of endeavors.  It was just announced TODAY that Salomon is the primary sponsor of the races at Pineland Farms for 2014.  I am currently in training for the 50K and you better believe I will be packing these shoes!

The cost of winter running

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I know I have mentioned it before, but I am a newbie to this winter sports thingy.  As a former active equestrian, we rode in the snow or we rode inside a covered arena.  That was the extent of my outdoor activity for most of my life (sans a few years in my early 20s – origin of the snow shoes).  Most people have moved indoors to run by now seeing as we have a fair amount of snow on the ground and snow banks covering the safe shoulder of the road.  Plus, many people don’t like to run in the cold.  I’m not judging, but can say this from experience.  Most of my friends DO NOT run the way I have decided to run this year.  It’s northern New England and it can be rough here.  If you are prepared to dress for it, you will reap the rewards!

So what does “snow running cost?”  Here is my primary gear:

– Salomon Speedcross 3 mountain running sneakers (you can see them here).  They really are amazing.  I fell in two “streams” today (busted through the snow before I could stop) and got both feet soaked.  Within a minute or two, I couldn’t tell.  Once my feet were warm, they stay warm even soaked.  I have been using these for running, hiking and snowshoeing.  Best investment ever!  Paid $112.00

YakTrax Run:  These are insane and worth every penny!  I almost didn’t invest in a pair, but run almost every day in them.  They have metal spikes on the front and coils on the back.  Very light and they fit the Speedcross great.  Order up a full size if you put them on an aggressively treaded shoe!  Retail $40.00

– Gaiters: Yup, wore ’em backwards for a few weeks.  I’m an idiot!  A must have for keeping the snow out of your shoes and you calves warm!   Paid $55.00

Bottom line is winter running costs me more than the average runner spends on a pair of road shoes.  That being said, I woke up this morning and needed to RUN.  I love the snow.  I love that there are literally no limits.  I love how toned my legs are getting from this ridiculous sport!  Speaking of my run… 5 miles of amazing.  Actually, when my run partner (check out the freak show here) sent me a text to see how it went, my response was “Fucking awesome!!!!!”  Well, it was!  I am so glad I chomped down a banana and some coffee and went out.  The more I run, the more excited I am getting!  I just broke 13 miles for the week and have a few days left to go.  My legs are great and so is my head.  Winter is being good to me.  Besides, the scenery kicks ass!

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