I heart my Valentine’s Day run

This weekend has been a holiday treat with Valentines Day today, President’s Day tomorrow and the start of the Olympic winter games on Friday. Well the Olympics games aren’t really a holiday but they are fun. My kids are off all next week from school so they are pretty happy right now. This morning we celebrated Valentines Day with a pancake breakfast, cards and small gifts.  In the spirit of good eating I sprinkled Chia into my pancake mix. I still don’t know if this stuff provides any noticeable benefits but, if nothing else, it is a great source of Omega fatty acids. My kids shared their holiday treats and I probably exceeded my daily sugar intake by 8:00 AM. I can only hope that the Chia works the way it’s described by isolating simple carbohydrates in the system and delaying their conversion to sugar and fat.

The other thing that helps burn off sugar’s effects is exercise and running is my workout of choice. I decided that the noisy treadmill was too much to bear today so I suited up in layers and headed outside. The temperatures have remained cold since last week’s blizzard so most of the snow we got is still on the ground. That made me slightly concerned because many sidewalks – my escape route from cars – are still snow-covered. The streets themselves are completely clear and I figured that I could always jump onto a roadside snowbank if I needed to. I wore my reflective running vest over my thermal zip top (it was about 32 degrees when I went out) as an extra precaution.

My goal was to run 30 minutes through the neighborhood at whatever pace felt natural and comfortable. It may be the fact that I’m still on the tail end of my recovery that I care much less about pace than I did two months ago. All the same, when I resumed running after my illness, I was happy to see my paces go from low 11:00 minute to mid-9:00 miles. I really don’t know if I’m hitting mid-foot or not and today I didn’t care. My Brooks GTS-9’s felt great and, like yesterday, I ran my distance with no discomfort, only the pleasant feeling of floating along. Well most of the time anyway. The wind was sharply blowing from the north and that made for some chilly times. By the end of my run I was happy to have that cold air to cool me off.

It’s been a very nice Valentine’s Day and there’s plenty left to do. My weekly mileage is starting to build and my average distance has been increasing about 10% each week. I’m pleased with my progress and very glad I got outside today.

Nearing the finish line

Today is the last day I’ll be in the office until January. Like many businesses, my company effectively shuts down for the week between Christmas and New Years. We still have some staff in and we’re producing content and closing the books but the feeling is different than other times of the year. I’ve always liked this end-of-the-year time. Until the economy tanked we always had office decorating contests and lots of holiday food from suppliers. I’m fine with the way it is now. Christmas treats, no matter how good, are one temptation I’m happy to avoid.

With the windchill adjusted temperature hovering around 10 degrees this morning I decided to do another treadmill workout. I smartened up bit and started slower than yesterday. That made a big difference in terms of experience. Instead of my run being a frantic and hard charging effort, today felt more like (dare I say it?) a jog. The minutes went by much quicker and around 2/3 through the run I stepped up the speed and really pushed it for the last three minutes. Still, I was almost a minute per mile slower than yesterday’s overall pace. What really mattered is that I got my workout done and I had the sweat to show for it. I’m hoping to return to the street tomorrow if conditions turn favorable. Otherwise it’s back to the elliptical or treadmill. They’re not my first choice but it’s nice, at least, to have a choice.

By the way, check out new stuff from Adventure Girl who is on a skiing tour of NY state, northern Vermont and eastern Quebec. Sedentary Man has a new column about Steampunk, a style genre that he explained to me at last weeks holiday party that I still don’t quite get but there’s some cool looking stuff!