Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Runners! Shit Or Get Off the Pot

I get asked  why I run in all kinds of shitty weather: extreme cold, snow, wind, heat, rain. And, why I run tough trails that involve grueling ascents and dangerous descents. It's not because I love every minute of it. It's because I can be slightly insane and I like a challenge. Also...

It makes me a better runner. 

When I go out in wind, I think, "The resistance is making me stronger." When I go out in heavy and deep snow, I think "I am using different muscles and this is making me stronger." When I go out in the extreme cold or heat I think, "This sucks balls. Why am I doing this? Oh, yeah, maybe it is making me stronger mentally."

It may sound weird, but to me running isn't meant to be all enjoyment. It is meant to be a challenge and a chance to improve performance and to become stronger. It's a chance to think about running form (I do this constantly when I run - Where are my feet landing? How is my posture? Are my arms pumping and at what degree? Does my butt look cute?). 

It's a chance to build a base that will ultimately help me to keep running until I am 94 (I am pretty sure they make running shorts with built-in Depends, If they don't I am inventing them so don't steal my idea. Let's face it, I could probably use those shorts in my life now).

Every single run here in Colorado over the past two weeks has been below freezing. I am trying to keep up my 30-35 miles/week routine until February or so when I will start building mileage for the TransRockies Run (120 miles/6 days). This has given me a lot of time to argue with myself about going out for a run. 

It's freezing.
So what?
I don't want to put on 100 layers.
So what?
I don't want to be cold for an hour.
So what? Is it going to kill you, you pussy?

What I've come to understand is that there are only two secrets to getting out and running in crappy weather.

1. Having the right gear
2. Having the right mind set

There are all types of crappy weather situations, but I'm going to talk snow and cold since that is my reality.

The Gear

When I first started running I had no clue what to wear in the cold. I contemplated a down coat. For real. I just didn't realize how warmed up you get when you run. It took me a long time to trust that, yes, I would warm up and that, no, I did not need as many clothes as I thought I would need. Here are the essentials:

Warm jacket. I have two jackets I wear when it gets below 20 degrees:

This one from Eddie Bauer (usually $129, now $77!):

And, this one from Target (I don't think they sell it anymore, I got it two years ago):

I put one base layer underneath, usually a long sleeve technical running shirt.


I love these fleece-lined tights from Pearl Izumi. I only wear these when it is really cold (also under 20 degrees). My legs never get that cold, it is mostly my ass that suffers. 


I don't see the need for super heavy gloves because once my blood gets moving, it passes onto my hands. For the first mile or so, I have to ball up my fists within my gloves. Then they get warm and actually start to sweat and I can put them back into the fingers. I use these from Athleta (but I'm not sure they sell them anymore).

Hat: I wear a heavier hat form Columbia. I also have one from Eddie Bauer I like with a pony tail hole (see first pic above).

Socks: Last year I won these socks from Wigwam at a trail race. They have some wool in them and are a bit thicker. I also like that they go up above my ankle.  I love them for really cold days.

Shoes: On snowy days I will wear my trail shoes on the road for more traction. I have two pairs of these:

BTW, Lots of people have asked me about YakTrax. I was sent a pair of the "Run" YakTrax this year (they are lighter and mold really well onto our running shoes). My opinion on YT is that they are wonderful...but only for certain conditions. They will not keep you from slipping on the ice. They work best on snow that can be gripped onto (does that make sense)? I will only wear them if I know my entire route will be snowy, because I don't like using the YT on pavement because of the way the wires feel on the road/sidewalk. 

The Mindset

Let's get real. We all know that finding your motivation and successfully getting out the door is all about a shit-or-get-off-the-pot attitude. That's why I call this blog Shut Up and Run. I got so sick of hearing myself and lots of other people making excuses about why they weren't doing the things they wanted to do, so I came up with the name. Running, like anything else, is a DECISION. It's not an argument or a negotiation or anything else. You make running a part of your routine and you GO. That is all. 

Some pointers:

  1. Shut Up and Run. Did you think I’d start this list anywhere else? Stop being a baby. Provided you are not vomiting, wheezing, injured, or about to become injured, ditch the excuses for why you aren’t running and go do it. The longer you give your brain time to talk your body out of going for a run, the better the chances are you won’t do it. Don’t over-think things. Lace up your shoes and go.
  2. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane. Think of the last time you didn’t want to run but went anyway. Remember how you felt after the run. 99 out of 100 people say they feel better after a run and never regret having done it. Those are pretty good odds. The leftover person who did not feel better doesn’t count because they were probably lying.
  3. Spice It Up. There is nothing wrong with giving yourself a couple of incentives to get out there. Let’s face it, even if you really love to do something, you can have off days. That’s why there are books like “Adding Spice in the Bedroom.” So – add some spice to your run. Put a few new tunes on your iPod. Plan a small reward for yourself once you finish the run (Cinnamon Dolce Latte perhaps?). Wear a new piece of running clothing.
  4. Change Your Attitude. Listen you whiner, you get to run. There are many people who can’t even walk. There are some people, like babies, who can’t even crawl. Take a look around: half the blogging world is injured. Be grateful you can get out there and stop your bitching. Not that I would know anything about being injured.
  5. Take 10. If all else fails, give yourself permission to head out for ten minutes and to turn around if you cannot take another step because you are just that unmotivated. Something physiologically and mentally happens when you start to run. This transformation is so powerful and immediate that you usually want to keep running. Odds are you will not turn for home after ten minutes, but if you do, at least know you tried. Then email me and I will berate you for a half hour (JK).
Now get out there and don't be pussy your whole life.

Any other tips for getting out there in crappy weather?


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

If We Were Having a Glass of Spiked Eggnog Together...

Let's pretend we are hanging out over drinks like long time friends. Here's what I'd say.

If we were having a glass of spiked eggnog right now (or chardonnay or craft beer or grain alcohol), I would tell you that my running has been a spotty suck-fest lately. Running in snow, ice and cold makes me want to punch people. I am not talking about the beautifully falling sweet snow, but the slushy, grey, dirty snow that takes over once the white fresh powdery stuff starts to fade. I suppose I deserve this for living in Colorado. It is my fault. But, it looked like this outside my back door this morning so whatever.

If we were having a glass or large mug of spiked eggnog I would tell you that my kids can never put their dishes in the dishwasher. It is that extra step that is truly impossible for them. Poor turds.Their lives are so hard and then I ask them to put their dishes away. I am a bitchy, horrible mother.

If we were sharing a large measuring cup full of spiked eggnog right now I would tell you that this time of year always reminds me of when I ruined Santa Clause for our next door neighbor kids. It was 18 years ago. I was young and naive (well, I was 30...) The neighbor dad came to hide a drum kit in the basement of our house so that he could come get it on Christmas Eve to give to his kids from Santa. Shortly after Christmas, I saw those young kids outside and said something really cool like, "Hey that was fun how your dad hid your drum set in our basement!! I hope you liked it!! Merry Christmas." I am an idiot. I don't think before I speak much of the time. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's offensive and sometimes it ruins children's lives.

If we were having a mixing bowl full of spiked eggnog right now I would tell you that my son, Sam, got into George Washington University this week on early decision. I am THRILLED for him in every way, except for two ways. One: my baby will be at GWU, which is exactly 2,568 miles from Longmont and two: how do these colleges get off raping you of all your money? How can anyone pay for college without selling themselves on the street? Hmmm...that would make for some good blogging material.

If we were having a bucket full of spiked eggnog right now I'd tell you that Heidi keeps going into my closet when I am asleep and playing dress up. Seriously, Heidi? Get a life.

Golden Retriever Swag

If we were sharing a 2nd bucket full of spiked eggnog right now (I don't even like eggnog. Why is this happening?) I would tell you that my favorite thing in the world is having my family all at home, in our pajamas, by the fire, drinking wine (well 2 out of 4 of us) and just being together. This doesn't happen enough, but when the craziness of the day ends and we are all here it makes my heart smile.

And, lastly...if we were sharing a couple mugs of spiked eggnog right now I would tell you to have a wonderful, spectacular holiday. I know I've been blogging less and less, but I am not going away anytime soon. Thanks for hanging with me.

Reminder: take in every minute of time with people who make your heart smile. We never know what is around the corner, so soak it up, love it and be PRESENT. No regrets allowed.

What would you tell ME if we were sharing a glass of alcohol (or club soda or whatever) together right now?



Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Stupid Ass Things I Do

I would blame the idiotic things I do on being too busy or overwhelmed, but the truth is I'm just not so bright sometimes.

First dense {as shit} thing I did this week:

I ordered our Christmas cards. We always do a picture card -  you know those cheap-o ones that everyone sends. I threw something together last minute and went to pick them up. I was pretty proud of myself for getting them done at all, you know with shopping and working and cooking and napping.

Don't be jealous of my fashion sense

As I opened the pack of 60 cards I noticed something strange. Can you catch it?

Yup. I did not change the default message. We are not the Walkers. We are the Risdons. There is no one in our family named Grace, Andrew, James or Cooper. I am sure they are very nice people, but they are not us.  I have 60 cards from not-our-family. I will send them anyways just to confuse people. Screw it. That's what Sharpies are for.

Next obtuse thing I did:

Person after person has been telling me to read the book The Boys in the Boat. It's not the kind of book that really interested me. I'm not deeply into rowing or historical non fiction or boys (<Thank God or that would be creepy).

But, I did break down and decided to read the book since when people like a book they pretty much shame you until you read the book. I loaded it onto my Kindle and got to work. I liked it pretty well, but kept wondering when all the boys were going to show up and start training for the US Olympic team. I read on and on, not at all understanding where the book was going and what it was about some little poor Irish boy. That's when I realized I was reading this:

The Boy in the Boat

Just so you know, the BOY IN THE BOAT and the BOYS IN THE BOAT are not at all the same book. You see, for the sake of people like me, there should not be books that have such close titles.

And the last dumb thing I did? I am stubborn as hell and as you know I hate the treadmill. When we got a half foot of snow on Tuesday, I didn't run:

But, yesterday I was damned if I would miss my run. I put on my Yaktrax and headed out.

 Not only was it 10 degrees but it was icy with lots of spots of deep snow. People, it took me 41 minutes to go 4 miles and I was exhausted. Not to mention that I almost broke my ass on the ice (that's why I have a crack in it!! Haha!!). Today I didn't want to be so dumb. I did not want to risk making my crack any bigger and maybe breaking bones so I did the unthinkable.

I dusted off our treadmill, which has not been used in over a year. I ran 5 miles on that piece of shit machine. I sweated. I ran in a sports bra.I did not love it, but I did it and it was better than the alternative.

What a lovely spot for a treadmill. Tucked in between the Broncos
cheerleaders poster and my 18 year old's man cave. It's a wonder I don't get on here more often.
There you have it. Confessions of stupidity. I would say it is because I am blond, but really I'm gray under all these years of highlights, so that doesn't count.

What's the last stupid thing you did? Entertain me please. 


Friday, December 11, 2015

Party Time and a Sweet Giveaway You Do NOT Want to Miss

Last night we had Ken’s office Christmas party.

Eyes up here Walker Texas Ranger/Chuck Norris!

"Hey there's a booger in your beard"

Which one of these is a lie about what happened last night?

  • I got hypnotized
  • I got stuck in the bathroom stall
  • I wore underwear

(answer at the bottom*)

So…the holiday season is clearly upon us. I don’t know what to buy anyone anymore.

Everyone I know (well, most people) are almost 50 or over 50 and they have everything or they say they don’t want anything except world peace or some bullshit like that.  Okay, it’s not bullshit, it is a legitimate wish, but I don't want that answer when I ask what someone wants.

The thing is, gifts are supposed to be personal and thoughtful, right? So giving something like a gift card is basically like saying, “I don’t really know you at all so here is some money in the form of a card. Go shopping like you do all the time at the same place you go all the time. ” Don’t get me wrong. I actually LOVE a gift card because it feels like a treat, but you know what I mean. So, if you were going to send me a gift card, you still can!

I’m annoyed because I don't feel any of my gifts this year are very personal, funny or creative. I did get my nephew a fart machine, so that’s the best gift I have to offer (if you haven’t used a fart machine before you have not fully lived).

All of this to say, I have two gift ideas for you. Running related of course. Not only that, but I am giving away one of each of these.

1.  The “Live Fearlessly” bracelet from Momentum Jewelry. I adore this thing. It is a soft wrap bracelet with one of my favorite mantras. I simply like looking down and seeing this on my wrist. It makes me happy and it reminds me to be brave. There is a lot of other cool stuff on this site as well. MSRP: $18.99.

Don't mind my wrinkly wrist. I am part elephant.

2. The Timex Ironman Run x20 GPS Watch. In the day and age when all electronics have gotten so super fancy that they have become confusing, this watch gives you just the basics. Speed, pace, calories and distance.  This attractive and light weight watch (I love the lime, but it also comes in charcoal, bright blue and magenta) is perfect for the beginning runner or the runner who just wants the basics ma’am and an attractive price tag.  MSRP: $56.00 on Amazon.

I never miss a chance to have Heidi in a shot. My battery is dead. Clearly.

So, there you have it. Short and sweet. Want to win both? Enter below. US addresses only. Giveaway ends on 12/15, just in time to get it to you for Christmas! Or late for Hanukah! Or early for Martin Luther King Day! (scroll through with arrow to jump from one item giveaway to the next).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I got stuck in a bathroom stall = lie

I was sent these two items for review and the giveaway. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Horrible, Terrible, Very Bad Run Is Better Than No Run At All

My body has not been itself this week.

Fatigue. Cramps. Farts (well, that’s normal). Loss of appetite. I knew I must be gearing up for the Parting of the Red Sea, the Surfing of the Crimson Wave and/or the Joining of the Cast of Pad Men. Yes, the old period. (<no, I didn’t make these up. Go HERE to see more hilarity).

Today I am 48 years, 9 months and 14 days old. Yet, I have not the slightest indication yet that this period business is ebbing. It just keeps flowing. I guess that is not surprising since the typical age for menopause is 51 years.

I’ve always sucked at keeping track of when she would arrive (<I’m guessing she’s a she. She has to be. A “he” would be creepy). I know it’s not difficult to count days, but I forget. Most of the time, my body doesn’t react too strongly to getting my period. The cramps are kept at bay and I am not regularly found screaming obscenities at drivers at school pick up even if they’re ass-hats. But, then there are some weeks where I’m begging for mercy.

This was one of those weeks. I can deal with the unpleasantries, but I HATE it when anything fucks with my running. Awhile ago, I did a post on how running affects your period. I can’t honestly remember what I wrote (I am 48 years and 9 months old, you know), but you can read it HERE. I think it was pretty interesting and I actually did quite a bit of research (<uncommon on this blog). I also read a great article this week about why your period can cause so much stomach upset. Read it HERE.

I had a few mediocre runs this week, figuring I’d put in some bigger miles on the weekend. Saturday morning I was still feeling particularly turd-like, but I thought a run would help. We barely made it to the trail head when I had to make a run for it (<even though I’d left the kids at the pool before leaving home. Another fun code phrase!):


I thought all would be good after that, but nope. This was to a be an 8 mile run, cut short to a 6 mile run due to my frequent stops to jump off of the trail.  There was also mud and ice and on Saturday I actually kind of hated running. Yep, I said it. (This is mud, btw).


Today was a new day and I thought I’d try for 10 miles on the road. I felt crappy pretty much the whole run, but I did it and I’m glad I did. I will be forever grateful to my favorite itty bitty store (Purple Door Market) exactly 2.3 miles from my house that put a porta potty out front. In fact, I purchased a time share.


So cozy! And purple!

That is all I have to say. The point of this is that whether it’s your period or something else that derails your running, it’s okay. It always means that the next runs will be better or that they won’t, but you will still be running and that is the point.

In my mind, a horrible run is actually better than no run at all. Plus, the rest of the day I just did this:


My slippers. Heidi taking up the whole couch.

And I WILL tell you something that made my weekend. I woke up to a text Saturday morning from my aunt in Maryland who did her first 5K yesterday at the age of 65. Now THAT put a smile on my face. Go Aunt Donna!

Do you get PMS? Does your period affect your running? When did you first get yours? I was 16!! Late bloomer. I am still waiting to get boobs.

When did you run your first ever race? Bolder Boulder 10K in 2000. Then I took a break for 8 years.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

How to Prevent the Dreaded Ass-icle

I invented a new word this weekend.

Ass + Icicle = Assicle

This is a phenomenon that occurs when you are running in snow and 15 degree temperatures several days in a row and your butt (or at least mine) begins to numb, then freeze. Look! Your water freezes too!


Does looking at this photo just make you cold? Well, it was.


I always thought that since the butt (or at least mine) is mostly pure and lovely fat, it would keep me warm. But, I did some research (i.e., Googling “why does my butt freeze when I run?”) and found out this is SO not the case.

You see, fat may be a great insulator, but it doesn’t carry around blood like muscle does. Therefore, circulation is limited resulting in the dreaded assicle.

You cannot see it, but there is a block of ice between my lower back and my upper thighs.


As you can guess, women are blessed with (as a stereotype) fattier asses than men (not fair, not fair at all), so we tend to freeze up more often. Ken never complains about his ass freezing. Never. But I did use this beard ice for my margarita later on.


I am thinking deeply right now: I bet if Kim Kardashian ran in the cold she would have a monumental assicle. Just sayin’.

Ways to Prevent the Assicle:

  • Stay inside and watch Netflix
  • Build up extreme muscle in your butt (because this is SO very easy to do)
  • Wear an extra layer over your cheeks like a running skirt over tights
  • Run with a quilt tied around your waist
  • Wear a cycling jacket instead of a running jacket. They are longer (and have handy pockets in the back)

Yes, so it does take a bit more motivation and self talk to bundle up on these super cold days. But, the payoff? Peace, beauty and the honor of  labeling yourself a brave and courageous bad-ass. See my post HERE about tips for running in the cold.


How’s the weather where you are? We are beginning to thaw out after almost a week of snow and bitter cold.

Do you get the assicle? If not, what part of your body gets the coldest while running? For me, it’s my face, my hands and my butt. My legs, core and feet are usually pretty warm.