Sunday, December 11, 2022

Another Runner's High

I don't want to jinx things, but my runs have been feeling really strong lately. I won't discount all that trail running I did during the fall, especially in October for the Mammoth Challenge. But I am definitely giving credit to my strength coach for this heavy strength cycle that we are wrapping up. Earlier this year, I shared that I felt as if she was pushing me too hard and asking me to lift weights which felt scary for me. We had a very difficult discussion surrounding this and she backed off a bit. When we started my strength cycle this fall, I was feeling ready to challenge myself again. For her part, SJ changed up the way I trained and I responded really well to that, both physically and mentally. I have really enjoyed this strength cycle and guess what? I'm going to challenge my 1RM in at least the deadlift and the bench press. I'm still not sure about the back squat, but SJ wants to work on those a little bit longer, so stay tuned for that.

This strength cycle has made me feel better about myself and that confidence has helped me on the road and at my job. On the road, over the past couple of weeks, I've experienced that runner's high several times after a run and it's been a while since I've had that happen! It happened again on Friday. What a great way to set a positive tone for the day!

Friday's mess of a run!
Weekly Rundown
Sunday: trail run 8 miles
Monday: Cross Fit
Tuesday: Fluid Running
Wednesday: trail run 7.3 miles
Thursday: Strength training
Friday: run 6 miles
Saturday: rest

Running

This week, I joined the Trail Sisters Chicago Northwest for their weekly outing at a new-to-me preserve. It was one of the many mostly flat, treeless, limestone trails around here but I had a new pair of Brooks Adrenaline 20s to try out, so I went. It was still cold and breezy but sunny, and only a handful of us was there. But another one of the women wanted to run 8 with me, so we headed out into the wind for a 4 mile out and back. The preserve was mostly flat and my new friend kept me moving at a 10:30m/m pace, which felt really good. I only had to stop to walk up one steep hill but otherwise, we ran the whole thing. The wind was at our backs on the return trip and truly, I felt as if I could have gone farther. Isn't this how it's supposed to feel? We all went out for coffee after our run and talked about plans for 2023.


And those Adrenalines? I haven't run in Adrenalines since I became a RunHappy team member and fell in love with the Ghosts. But the Adrenalines felt so good. As good as I remembered. They will be my forever long distance shoe. 

It was 44 degrees, foggy, and there was NO WIND when I headed out for my trail run on Wednesday. Almost immediately, I encountered 2 does foraging in the woods. They stopped to watch me and after I snapped some photos, one of them dashed off into the woods. I had a lot of fun on this run, enjoying the really nice conditions. I ran into an old friend, the former owner of the CrossFit gym, who was taking some nature photos. After catching up for a bit, I headed back down the trail and into the woods with the hopes of looping around the lake. As I ran deeper into the woods, the buckthorn began to encroach on the trail. At one point, I was trapped by several branches of the plant, which had plunged their thorns into my arms and legs, and yes, my hair. Not only did it hurt, but I also had to pull those thorns out and release myself from their grip. That was enough exploring for me. I retraced my steps and finished up my run without any further problems.


On Friday morning, I woke up to light rain with the promise of sleet and snow. I considered the treadmill, but after a cup of coffee, I got my head on straight and pulled out that Brooks convertible jacket and my Ghost 15 GTX shoes. I headed out with the wind at my back--I had no choice--and had a nicely paced 3 miles as the rain changed over to snow. On the way back, though, that wind had picked up and I was pelted with big, juicy snowflakes. That run into the wind was again about 30 sec/mile slower than the one with the wind at my back. I got home, a little wet but very satisfied, feeling that runner's high again. Twice in one month! Oh, and those Ghosts kept my feet dry!

CrossFit/Strength

On Monday morning, for the strength portion, we did a 10 minute EMOM alternating pistol squats 8-10 total (I did 10 and used a box) and 'perfect pushups' 8-10. I did 5 of those. SJ was pleased. In the past, I wasn't even able to do one. The key to the 'perfect pushup' is that the only thing to touch the floor is your chest. This requires you to lock your core so you can push straight up into a plank position. SJ put a PVC pipe under each of us at the hip flexor region. Once you landed on that, she said, you were done. That was #5 for me on each of the 5 rounds. For the MetCon, we did 3 Tabatas: shuttle runs, slam balls (30#), and ab mat sit-ups. I didn't keep track of my reps but I was working!


I love how Sammy Jo mixes it up for me and Thursday's workout was a great break from all the heavy lifting I've been doing lately. She had me do 4 rounds of barbell rows (65#) x10, 12 GHD situps, 2 laps of a heavy carry (70#), and 8 ring swings. I was definitely feeling fatigued and everything felt hard! but it was a very satisfying workout! I was still feeling sore on Saturday, lol

Off the Road...

On Saturday, we took a ride up to the lake. It was foggy and gloomy, but the hubs made plans for us and my youngest to visit a brewpub in Waunakee (outside of Madison) for lunch and a bourbon tasting at J.Henry and Sons, a family farm where they make award-winning bourbons. This was such a fun surprise. We have driven by the farm many times, but we never considered checking it out until now. We were glad we did. Not only did we learn a lot about the process, but we really enjoyed our tasting. Such a fun day!


How was your week? Are you getting wintery weather? Do you embrace it or do you hit the treadmill? What challenges have you overcome this year?

I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Rundown. 


32 comments :

  1. We're definitely having wintry weather here in Ireland right now, and I'm totally NOT embracing it. My fitness week has been poor but I'm very happy with both strength training sessions with my personal trainer - next week (which won't offer running weather either as it seems) I'll do some more strength work at home.
    That's great that you could come back to challenging yourself with heavier lifting, it certainly makes a difference! And it looks like you're doing really well with it.
    You mention something I've been thinking about lately - how the strength training boosts your self-confidence, I've realised that during the autumn and especially since I started doing more training sessions per week, and with some recent progress I've made with my lifting. I've found I have some kind of "base" confidence that I didn't have before, and that I care less about what people might think about me in other areas.

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    1. I don't think I'll ever drop my need to be liked and/or approved of, but I'm definitely less affected by mean people and critics when I'm feeling good about myself!

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  2. That push-up!! It does look perfect! I will have to try that out later on.
    The other day we were doing push-ups and the instructor pushed an ab mat under me and said my chest should touch it. I clearly wasn't going low enough, ha!
    So happy that running is going well! You are right, the heavy strength training is making you a very strong runner.
    Is your white top in the 3rd photo from Nike? It looks good!

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    1. That white top is from Athleta, a few years ago. It's a favorite, that is for sure!!

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  3. Gotta love a runner's high!
    I had a really strong week with 4 runs. I spotted bloody paw prints (a lot of them!) on my Thursday run. The general consensus was it was a raccoon. Pretty sure the poor guy did not survive whatever took place, just hoping he didn't suffer too much.
    We're having "winter" weather - cool temps (even dipped in the 30s) and rain. I will take as much rain as we can get. Saw some green grass poking up on the trail yesterday.

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    1. I'm grateful I haven't seen anything bloody on my trail runs. It's bad enough seeing all the deer carnage along the roads in Wisconsin!

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  4. Ouch- your photo of the perfect pushup made my wrist hurt! I'm going to ask my son if he can do those. Overall sounds like you had a great week. It's interesting that you said the confidence you got from your strength training helped your running AND is helping you at work. Lifting weights is a great thing.
    It was cool-ish (in the 60s) and foggy for my trail run today- which was so different from normal, I loved it. So when you said Saturday was "foggy and gloomy" I could totally picture it! Sounds like a really fun excursion with your son though.

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    1. I may have mentioned it, but I do use those yoga jellies under my hands--they give a little extra support to my wrists, which get pretty angry with push-ups!

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  5. I have not been running substantial distances to "earn" that runner's high (since the summer???), but Tuesday's full moon 4-miler gave me a very healthy "fix." Our recent temps have felt like "mild winter," with a hint of spring (LOL), but I know that's all gonna change before long.

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  6. Bourbon made in Wisconsin! I love it. What a fun little outing.

    Your strength program seems to be suiting you well!

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    1. I love all the little fun things we are finding around Madison and Lake Wisconsin. It sure helps ease the pain of not going to Door County anymore.

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  7. It's great to be finishing the year strong! I'm sure the variety of your workouts has something to do with it.
    Now out of blue I have had PF rear it's ugly head -- That's got to be from wearing dress shoes because I did not log many miles last week. Argh!

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    1. I get twinges of PF in my arches from time to time and I always panic, lol!!!

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  8. FAMILY - Outstanding Last Photo There - In Fact, I Throughly Enjoyed All The Photos - You Are Running Well Because Of All The Effort Over The Years - You So Rock Little Wendy - Well Done

    Cheers
    P.S. Will This Posts?? Who Knows There With These Internet Gremlins

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  9. Yes, I Dropped A Comment - Yes, It Never Published - Yup , The Joys Of Communicating

    Absolutely Loved The Last Photo There - In Fact, Throughly Enjoyed All The Photos - Your Running Well Because Of The Years Of Effort On Your Part - Well Done Little W

    Stay Strong,
    Cheers

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    1. I found you in my spam folder, so there you go! Hopefully, you will be free from the spam folder for good!

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  10. Just love that first picture and the title of this post!!

    My challenge is working from home and then not... can't get into a routine for running. NOPE on the treadmill.

    We got and are getting snow... hopefully not too much since I want to run tomorrow due to a travel week.

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    1. You always seem to find a way to get your runs in! Flexibility, am i right?

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  11. Love hearing how this strength cycle has paid off for you! We got our first taste of snow overnight and I'm ready to embrace it as long as the roads stay ice-free.

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    1. There was more snow up in Wisconsin than what we got here. I was shocked at the challenge of running in it, though!

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  12. Well it's wintering all over us at the moment. It's all fun until you have to shovel it! So much for my planned rest day tomorrow.

    Glad to hear you've been coming back really "strong"!

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  13. I saw enjoy that runner's high as long as you can!
    It's currently snowing now - our first snow of the season. Hoping it's not too bad so I can get to my OTF class in the morning.

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  14. We've had some cold days, but no snow yet here (there was snow on the ground the morning I left the farm in mid-November). I definitely prefer running in the snow to the treadmill as long as the snow's on a couple of inches deep and there aren't slick spots my Yaktrax can't handle.

    How fun for your husband to plan a bourbon tasting tour for you and your youngest son!

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    1. It was a lot of fun--and they sell some local maple syrup that is cured in bourbon barrels. Oh, is that delish!

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  15. That's great how everything is coming full circle for you! Strength in one area really does reflect in other areas. Happy for you!!

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  16. What a lovely post, it's given me a lift to read it and see the lovely pictures! We have had snow and ice and freezing temps this week and it's been quite challenging - our running club run last night probably shouldn't have gone ahead as there was a mile of thick ice on the pavements! It's been down to 26 degrees in your money, which is cold for her. But bright with blue skies!

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