Friday, December 6, 2013

My Favorite Torture Device

Every year at about this time it gets cold, and every year people act surprised. Same with summertime when it gets hot. Why?? Why so shocked that winter is cold and summer is hot??

Just check out Facebook and you will see a million pictures of thermometers – as if it’s not enough to say it is –25 degrees, you have to PROVE it with a picture or else everyone will clearly think you are lying. I even took one because I like to fit in.

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What the hell is a Vector Vest?

Call me crazy (I would prefer you call me bad ass) – I went out yesterday and today to run in sub zero temperatures. Why did I do this?

1. The challenge was there, taunting me

2. I hate the treadmill

3. I like to prove to myself I can do things

4. I wanted to see if I could get frostbite on this one slice of skin on my forehead

5. Two friends were going and I figured if they could do it, I could do it

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I had to bring out these YakTrax torture devices to make sure I did not break a hip:

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6.5 miles followed by coffee, warm bath. DONE.

By the way, if you need a kick in the pants to get out there, I wrote a post last year called “10 Tips to Shut Up and Run In the Cold.” Go read it.

This morning Heidi and I went out this morning for a few more CAS (cold as shit) miles. She makes for a great co-pilot (yes, Ken that is your truck I am driving. I cleaned up all the hair):

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That bitch (I mean that in the most canine way possible) is a freak in the snow. She could not be happier (or more beautiful, I mean really! No wonder all the dogs on the trail want to hump her).

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Then she spends the rest of the day recovering.

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Every time we do something hard, or something uncomfortable and we don't die, it’s a rush. I like to think there are no barriers or boundaries to what we can do. I know that running in –7 degree weather is not like climbing Mt. Everest, but it is a feat and it makes me know that I don’t have to let the fear of being uncomfortable stop me from doing anything.

Let’s face it, running is very, very hard. My daughter told me the other day that she doesn’t like to run because it is difficult. I explained to her that it is hard for every body. She said, “It’s not hard for you – you run marathons!” WRONG. Running is hard for me every single stinking time I do it. That is part of why I love it and why I find it so cleansing (emotionally, physically and colonically < probably not a word).

My advice is to not be afraid of the struggle. Embrace it. Know it is making you stronger, whether it is one mile or 26.2. Do something that you are not sure you can do or want to do, and relish in the success of having done it. When you are tired or want to give up, remember that pushing oneself is hard for EVERYONE, not just you.

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What are the coldest temps you will run in? Depends on the conditions – if it is sunny with no wind, I will go out in up to –10.

Do you run with your dog? Sometimes. What I’ve realized about Heidi is that she doesn’t do well running on a leash (steady running makes her really tired). So, I need to take her to trails where I can let her off leash because she likes to sprint, explore, roll around, take a dump, then wait. Doing this, she can go for a long time.

SUAR

51 comments:

  1. Great post! I wish I could run with my dog (in any capacity). He, unfortunately, is a beagle and only makes it about 10' before he dead-stops to sniff...

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  2. Reading you blog today really makes me miss my golden!! They are a really special breed. Not that others aren't. I love my dogs, but my golden will always carry a special place in my heart!! She was the most unselfish dog I've every owned.

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    1. Yes, Heidi is the same. She just wants to please. She is the first Golden I've ever had and I couldn't love her more.

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  3. Love it! You inspire me to get my rear in gear and toughen up to venture out in this very very cold weather. It was -14 here this am with hard telling the windchill. Now it is about 4. I worry about running with the dogs, how do Heidi's feet hold up?

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    1. She did fine. I don't think I would keep her out there longer than 45 minutes or so. Towards the end the snow was matting on her pads. But, she loves being cold and being out there. I am amazed at how much more energy she has this time of year vs. the summer.

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  4. Great post! Yeah, I need to HTFU and SUAR... The coldest I like to run is about 40, but I do use treadmill running as a certain type of mental effort training, since I hate it so much. Does that count?

    I have two dogs- one is an Australian Shepherd and he was great for pulling me up hills- I mean running. But he started to get tendonitis in his leg so I had to stop. My other dog is a yellow lab, and she's a bit...special. She can't run in a straight line (typical run: "look..a squirr...look...a bir...look, a pile of dog doo...") so I leave her at home too.

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  5. I always take comfort in hearing that more experienced runners find it hard too. They make it look easy and are often signed up to do multiple runs, so I sometimes jump to the conclusion that it is easier for them. I think part of it is that they have developed a confidence in their abilities. Thanks for the reminder. Tomorrow my daughter and I are signed up for a 5K Santa shuffle. The forecast is for -20 with the wind chill. We are not used to that kind of cold here in Southern BC. Brrr! Love your blog, I always leave with some encouragement or a laugh. Great way to spend part of my day

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    1. Wow, best of luck tomorrow. That is FREAKING cold.

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    2. That is Celsius not Fahrenheit. It was cold!

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  6. I ran a 7-mile trail run with 7500 other idiots the Saturday before Thanksgiving. -7 windchill at the start with 7 creek crossings. And no, not tiptoe across the beautiful stream crossings but slide 7 feet down, trudge through water up to your knees, drag your butt 7 feet back up the hill crossings! I HATE the wind. I will run when it is cold but not if the windchill is horrific. I run with my German Shorthaired Pointer and she is the best. She runs right beside me like it is her job, even if I let her off-lead.

    Jackie in IOwa

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  7. I t.o.t.a.l.l.y. LOVE your blog! In answer to your questions...I don't have a dog (just a hamster), but the three kids are big time trying to convince me we NEED a dog. I live in Iowa and run outside year-round because I also hate the treadmill (mine is named Duh'Mill). I'm currently on day #9 of the streaking challenge and plan to do every run outside, just for the bragging rights of having done so and survived to tell about. Today, it is in the single digits (probably -10 with windchill), and I fought the weather and won. ;-)

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  8. "Let’s face it, running is very, very hard. My daughter told me the other day that she doesn’t like to run because it is difficult. I explained to her that it is hard for every body. She said, “It’s not hard for you – you run marathons!” WRONG. Running is hard for me every single stinking time I do it. That is part of why I love it and why I find it so cleansing (emotionally, physically and colonically < probably not a word)." Favorite part of this post.


    It never gets quite as cold over here in Seattle but it's pretty cold for us these days - in the 20's, 30's? Don't laugh... I will run in it though. Love cold weather running.

    I would run with my dog if he didn't stop every 5 minutes to shart... So I guess the answer is no?

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  9. I love Heidi! And your blog, too.

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  10. I heart Heidi! She's so beautiful. My dog doesn't like to run with me on his leash for the same reasons. There's too many trees to piss on!!

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  11. It really never gets below 30 in Florida and thats rare but I'd still run in it. And Heidi runs just like I do, sprint, explore, roll around, take a dump, then wait. I kind of like that. I have 2 dogs a black lab and a dachshund, the lab has had multiple surgeries and can't run and the dachshund runs like a deer and dusts me every time. I lost my best friend and running partner, my Walker Hound, Miss Ruby Doo, in April. We ran together religously every day for almost 9 years until she got sick...she's running in heaven now.

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  12. My vet said not to run with my Golden until she was a year old so we have 3 more months but she LOVES the cold. It's been icing here today and every time I let her out she just runs laps around the backyard like she couldn't be happier. I can't wait until I can take her out with me.

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  13. I love Heidi!! She is so beautiful:)

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  14. I ran regularly at temperatures down to -20 when I lived in Alaska. I probably wouldn't do that now. I warm up ok except for my feet. Heidi is very cute.

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  15. I am originally from Wisconsin and I ran through their winters multiple times.... even when you were told to stay indoors. I put ice spikes on my shoes and head out as well- just adjusted my pace based on the conditions and the thickness of ice, I've never been a great ice skater ;)

    As for the dog- I don't have one but I am working on it :)

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  16. Cold temperatures don't bother me, but a cold wind will keep me home.
    My 25 pound mutt is my favorite running partner. He drops a load at mile 2, but is then good to go for up to 13 miles. I think he'd be fine to go more, but I can only carry so much food and water on me! Musher's Secret is great for keeping snow and salt from bothering his paws.

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  17. There is no lower limit temperature-wise, for me. If it is sunny and no wind, I'm there. Even sunny and breezy. Like you, running in this weather makes me feel like I can do anything, even if it makes me uncomfortable. Plus I need the natural light. Helps keep seasonal depression at bay. Giving myself a pep talk for tomorrow's run. Can you tell?

    I don't run with my 21 pound cocker spaniel. Even tho she's still spunky at 10 1/2, she's a sprinter, not a distance runner. She's so happy to see me when I get back from a run...work...or taking the garbage out, that's good enough for me!

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  18. I cannot wait to run again - stupid knee injury :( Anyway, I am a crazy person and love running in the cold :)

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  19. I'm a big weenie in the cold. I'm not crazy about the treadmill but I've given in to it a few times in the last month or so. It was 80 degrees today in Mississippi, so I'm not sure what my excuse was for not running today :/ Our temps are dropping as I type though. We're supposed to hit 35 by midnight. Yes, a 45 degree drop.
    I do run with my dog; she's a German Shepherd and bigger than I am, so we've had to really train to make sure she follows my lead and doesn't trip me up. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I get really frustrated. I can't let her run off leash in our neighborhood or on the walking trails I use. People see her and immediately think she's a killer dog. It doesn't help that she will bark at you if she things you're getting too close to me :/

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  20. I am running marathon #9 Sunday it is supposed to be below freezing. I love the cold weather. Any last minute advice? I am trying to run under 3:45...thanks for writing and sharing you are such an inspiration. Heidi looks like my Juno :)

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  21. Living in SoCal I feel like running in the cold is a novelty. I gripe about it being cold but then Hubby reminds me that when we visit family in CO I can't wait to get out the door when it's beyond cold. Haha Once I get moving I don't even notice the cold & enjoy the briskness of the morning. I run with our beagle every day & love it (most of the time). We run like we have a severe case of ADD, zigzagging from one mile to the next, but some days it is the perfect thing to keep me out of my head. He can handle about 10 miles on long run days before I have to call someone at home to pick him up. :)

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  22. Thank you for this post. I live in No. MI, -15 "real feel" is my limit. I don't own a treadmill, and would prefer to run outside, but sometimes....... no run is ever easy for me. I am signing up for my first marathon on Sunday. Most of the training miles will be run in cold weather. "Embrace the struggle..." But I am doing it for me and I am excited to do it. It will all pay off in May. :) Thanks for your blog.

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  23. Muji, my GSP will run anywhere, on the road she likes a 9 minute mile pace but will run as fast as 7:30 for a mile or two without complaint. On the trail she runs what she runs I can't keep up nor do I try....she has no off switch. I will run in low teens though it needs to be calm or I need to be deep in the forest. I actually prefer mid 20s as my favorite running conditions

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  24. I am so happy for you that you found your Heidi. I know she will never ever replace Lucky - no dog could, but the fact that every post you include her in shows just how much joy she brings to your life (and how absolutely smitten you are) makes me smile. She is a beauty.

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  25. Wise words, Beth! Thank you for your blog.
    The lowest temperature I was out running was -18°C.

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  26. It was 85 here yesterday... it sucked... but I'm pretty sure I'd die in sub-zero weather.

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  27. I ran yesterday and couldn't remember the last time I had run in single digit weather, it had probably been close to 15-18 years ago. We recently adopted a 5 1/2 year old dog who was truly itching for "good" exercise. Dogs make great cold weather running partners.

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  28. Great post! I love running in the cold - most of the time. You're right, it does make you feel like a bad ass. Running is hard but I wouldn't want to be doing anything else each morning. I run with my dog 95% of the time. He's a yellow lab, 4 years old. He loves the trails and snow as well. Dogs are the best. I use Musher's Secret on his paws as well. I bought a big tub of it on Amazon last year and still have a bunch. It's a paw saver!

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  29. I know I am echoing many other commenters here, but I love the "run with Heidi" posts! Thanks for the adorable pics of her. At 7 months pregnant I'm not running with ours anymore, but when we go for long walks, she actually barks at of other dogs instead of wanting to play, which was so strange as she is an affectionate, loving goofball. We are assuming she is "protecting" pregnant Momma. Noticed this when I was about 4 months - I don't know how she knew, but she does - so magical those Goldens!

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  30. I LOVE to run in the cold and def prefer it over the heat. I agree about the wind chill though. If it's sunny and just freezing I can do -5 or -10. It's all about the GEAR!
    I want a dog in the worst way to be my running partner. However, I have twin boys who are 4 and I don't think I can handle one more thing to feed or worry about pooping and peeing. Maybe next year. Great pics of you and the dog!!! Love seeing all that snow.

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  31. It's 3am here in oz. I have a jumper on but it's probably still 20 degrees C, I know we are just soft down here. Just about to head out on my first 50km event... Great to read this, helped steady my nerves as to why the hell I'm putting myself thru this!

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  32. Ok, I am officially not going to complain about the cold weather here in Italy. Its cold but I dont think its as cold as were you are and we definitely do not have snow or ice. We have some patches of ice but I don't have to use all the winter gear like you. So I think I am going to stop complaining. I ran this morning I was the only one on the trail until about 9:00, Italians hate the cold weather.The were wearing winter coats in september and it was 60 degress. So we will see what happens tomorrow.. Thanks for the great Motivation and the link to running in the cold.. Loved it...

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  33. It never really gets that cold here (Cornwall, UK) and my dog is rubbish at running! I get the same comments 'oh you find it easy to run' and I always thought I was the only runner that actually finds running hard work. Now I know different :) phew I'm normal!

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  34. I've run in as cold as -11.
    Completely unrelated, but I saw this on Amazon and immediately thought of you -
    http://www.amazon.com/The-WineRack-200-008-Wine-Medium/dp/B001FYZZI2/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386517760&sr=8-1-fkmr2&keywords=wine+chest+bra

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    1. Hahah!! Actually I think Mindy wore one of those on the Mindy Project this week! I didn't know it was a real thing...

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    2. I will run in anything subzero. It doesn't usually get below -5 or so here but I'm good with going out in that. I simply hate the mill. The number one most annoying question I get is, "Doesn't it hurt your lungs?" NO it doesn't and if it did I would continue to do it anyway. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

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  35. I live in MN and hate the treadmill, so yes I run in the cold. Down to about -10F has been my limit so far. And yes I run with my dog and she absolutely LOVES it, but I won't take her if it's less than +10F or over 80F, and I won't take her on runs longer than about 6 miles. She's a Rottweiler so not really a running breed, but she's small & light for her breed and the vet said she's the fittest Rott he's ever seen. I'm gonna have to check out that Musher's Secret that a few people have mentioned, then maybe I can lower her +10F limit just a bit. She still wants to go with no matter how cold it is, but I can tell it's hard on her paws when it gets too cold. Yesterday was about 0F so she didn't get to go :( And I always run with her on leash because she's a killer breed that chews people's faces off and eats babies, or at least it seems that's what most non-dog people think (in reality she's a sweetheart and gets along great with all people and dogs she's met so far). Love your blog!

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  36. It was 37 yesterday when I went out to run and I whimped out after 1 1/2 miles because I couldn't feel my toes! I guess I'll wear 2 pairs of socks next time.

    I did the couch to 5k with my dog and he loved it! He is terrified of other dogs though so sometimes it's a lot of work to hold on to him when he sees them barking at him through the fences.

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    1. Or...try hand/foot warmers. They really do the trick for cold hands and feet - I have Reynauds so I have to be really careful about that too.

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  37. Also in Minnesota, so running in cold is pretty much a given for half the year. I was out this weekend for a couple of miles in subzero temps with my dog a (Lab + Golden + something-tall mixed breed) and he was happy as can be. I think his freakishly ginormous paws act like snowshoes so he doesn't have the snow matting problem.

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  38. And those 3 paragraphs are simply why yours is the only blog I'm loyal too. I went out every single day (and counting) in this shit. My left IT band is angry about it, but I'm not dead. You laid it out there why I went and will continue to go. Plus, those miles won't run themselves.

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  39. Have you considered crosscountry skiing? It is a popular runners' alternative here in Europe. You still get the great cardio outdoors without the risks of breaking your leg on the ice :)
    I used to run with my dog (Russian tsvetnaya bolonka). We used to do 10K together and she loved it, even being on the leash. We were a sort of comedian duo in our local forrest, because the dog is so small and we looked quite funny. I even had a special t-shirt for the bikers with written "watch out for the dog, it is small" on my back. But now she got lazy and she hates cold weather.
    Jana

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  40. I'm Canadian. So I run in Celsius. I went to check what -40C is (the coldest temperature in which I have ever run.) It's -40F. Did I mention that I am Canadian?

    I run almost exclusively with a dog. Mr. Fergus, my Aussie Shepherd/Border Collie mix, was made to be an athlete. He is my running partner. He's so great because he doesn't expect me to talk to him, doesn't give me lip about where I want to go, will go as far or as not-far as I want to go, and barks really loud to keep scary dudes away from me in the dark. I still haven't found a human to do that for me....

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  41. This is my first winter running in the cold, and so far I'm loving it. Coldest was -3 this past Wednesday (Denver). It was invigorating. We've got three dogs, but I don't run with any, sadly. I got too into it before it occurred to me to start taking one of them. The biggest/most in need is our year-old English Bulldog/Boxer mix, and because of her mix her legs are all weird - I'm not sure that running would be very good for her structure. I'll probably charge one of my kids with getting the middle dog up to speed, in the Spring.

    Love your blog, love your Heidi!

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  42. I am ok with temps in the 20s with 20ish mph winds here in Oklahoma. We usually run only east and west when it's like that.

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