My other major hobby aside from triathlons is video games. One of my best friends, indeed the best man at my recent wedding, is the editor-in-chief for Gaming Nexus. I have been helping write reviews for the site for the past several years. I find it allows me to do more than just enjoy my hobby, but share my enjoyment with others, and have my experiences help those who read my work make good decisions on what games to buy.
“Sparky” Anderson, the first manager to win a World Series as head of both an American and National League team once attempted to motivate one of his star players with the line “Pain don’t hurt”. Well, no offense to Sparky, but baseball is a summer sport, and you don’t have to go outside in winter to prepare for it.
It’s late December and it’s no surprise that it’s cold. But this is a serious kind of cold. Last night it was 12 degrees with a wind chill that makes it feel like -6. This wouldn’t be a big deal except that the BU FitRec, the gym Rach and I belong to, is on a limited schedule because of the holidays. So, between our work schedules, dinner, and getting some stuff done around the house, the gym has been basically off limits.
But time waits for no man, especially with a race coming up in 3 days. So, out into the cold I went. I had a 55 minute workout planned initially, but I knew I wouldn’t get through that. I was shooting for 20 minutes, and wound up at 22. And, I was able to manage a 13:15 pace, which is pretty good considering the conditions.
A key point to working out in the cold is of course proper clothing. Layers and protect from the wind are key, while still being able to wick away sweat from the body. I hadn’t given much thought to my outfit for the New Year’s Day race. But last night in my attempt to protect myself from the wind, I may have found just the right combination:
- UnderArmour Cold Gear long sleeve top: Very warm top with sweat wicking capabilities
- Nike Pro Running Tights: For being thin, these are quite warm. Also, I got them at Marshall’s for a mere $12!
- Columbia Sportswear parka shell – Windproof and breathable! My most important christmas present for winter workouts, keeps me warm and lets some excess heat out
- Tooks Sportec Skully – One of my sponsors, and my parents bought me the “Took” I most wanted as a Christmas present! I’ll be talking more about this in a later post.
- Balaclava – While the Tooks skully is great and let’s me wear headphones in the cold, it doesn’t protect the face. I got the balaclava last year for christmas, but wore it only sparingly as Ohio winters haven’t been this cold. It’s going to be a staple of my running gear for the foreseeable future
- gloves – I have a pair of tech gloves from 180 that I wear for running. Not the warmest, but they stop me from getting too hot.
- warm socks – especially if there’s any chance of rain or snow. Shoes are not windproof and the breathability leads to a lot of air passing through. Thick socks keep your feet warm, and can make you more comfortable.
We’re supposed to swim today, but I’m also going back into the cold to get the rest of that run in from yesterday. Now that I know I’ve got the right wardrobe picked out, it shouldn’t be a problem.
The blog has been dark the past few days as I visited with in-laws in Wisconsin and ate my way to about a 10 pound gain (yep, last night the scale read 340). Nothing like Christmas holidays in the land of cheese, beef, and beer to expand the waistline. Of course, it was worth it to have a week to just enjoy yourself with family around you.
Winter running sucks.
Think about it: freezing winds, ice on the roads, mud muddles where there isn’t ice, and just general inhospitable conditions. Plus, this close to Christmas, drivers are in a hurry so they aren’t as willing to share the road.
But while there are many things made worse or harder by being a bigger athlete, winter running isn’t really one of them. While I’m slow, I might still be slow when I’m skinny (we’ll see). But being big also keeps me warm. I was in running tights and an UnderArmour ColdGear top and an thin UA shirt as an outer layer, just for the pockets to put my iPod in.
What doesn’t get better or worse with the cold right now is my time. I did 4 miles today, and it took me damn near an hour. It took a lot of time, but I just haven’t been running the miles I need. Plus, I think I slow down automatically when I know I’m going for a longer run.
The thing is, I am so proud of myself for going. Here we are, visiting my family, eating holiday style (bad things in large quantities), and I talked myself not just into running, but into going around the block (4 sq miles). Plus I didn’t turn back when faced with a nasty headwind.
My wife, runner that she is, did 4 miles in about 35 minutes. She’s barely out there long enough to get cold! I am really going to have to work on my running if I want to keep my run short enough that she won’t be able to blow me away after the bike section of Timberman.
Yesterday while I was on the track, I came up with a great topic for the blog. Then I forgot it before I could get back to the house. Instead, I’m going to offer up some of the random musings that I’ve had throughout the week:
There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing someone do something you want to do. And by inspiration, I mean pure unadulterated jealousy. This afternoon we watched the “Made for TV” version of the 2009 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. The race was actually held in October, and we watched a live feed on Universal Sports that day.
Last week, when my wife started telling me about our training plan for the coming season I was a little concerned. While I’m not in great shape, I also have had enough experience over the past few years of racing to recognize when I am not training enough. I also have learned when I am training too much. And the training plan she had selected screamed that it was too much training. But it wasn’t until it started putting us on the bike for 80 minutes tonight, during the first week of training that I figured it must be a full Ironman training program.
The holiday season and the price discounts it brings with it make this the perfect time of year for giving (whether to others or yourself) gear. Being that 2010 will be only my second season and Rachelle’s first, we stocked up this holiday season.
Yesterday, I learned that Fuji Bicycles had begun sponsoring athletes of all levels who are fans of the brand and want to be involved. The idea is that while it will be a team, being a top competitor isn’t the only thing (or even the primary thing) they’re looking for. Cyclists and other athletes of all levels ride Fuji, from Matty Reed and his D-6 RC all the way down to me with my entry level Absolute 4.0. Fuji is looking to tap into that to increase market share, and well, help some folks pimp their rides along the way.