Monday Motivation: Look For the Good in Every Run

Hey everyone!  It’s been such a snowy weekend in Philly and I’m loving it!  There is nothing prettier than fresh snow.

20140105-225244.jpgI built a snowman on Friday!  This is what happens when you work from home.

I have a bit of bad news:  on Friday, after spending the day working from home, shoveling snow, and building that cute little snowman, I realized I was tired.  And that my leg was still bothering me from Thursday night’s 1 miler, and I was worried about running on it again.  So I officially stopped the running streak.  I know, I said I wasn’t going to stop for a while!  But my left leg hurt so bad during Thursday night’s treadmill run that I realized that my body probably needs a break.  It’s kind of a miracle that I made it through the entire streak without any injuries, and I wasn’t going to get injured only 2 days after the streak ended!  So for now I’m back to my regular half marathon training schedule, including some much needed rest days.  Sorry streakers!

After taking the day off on Friday, I was feeling slightly better about this weekend’s long run.  I felt like I was ready for another 7 miler, and of course it was going to be in the snow again!  Luckily my awesome husband came along with me and went for a long walk while I was running.  We decided to hit up the Schuylkill River Trail in Valley Forge National Park since we figured the snow would be packed down a bit.  I was more nervous about the low temps than I was about the snow – the wind chill was only at 13 degrees and was dropping fast!  I wore my usual fleece lined running clothes, with my Buff as extra face protection.  And of course I wore my Yaktrax Run shoe covers!

20140105-225253.jpgThe snowy trail

The run started out pretty well – the snow was packed down enough for me to run easily, and I ended up doing the first mile in 11:20.  I was surprised because last time I ran in the snow all of my miles were between 12:00-13:00 minutes per mile, but I figured I would keep it up as long as I could.  Around mile 2 a woman passed me on the trail.  She was the only other runner I’d seen that day, so I said hi and commented on how well she was running in the snow.  We ended up running together for an entire mile and it was actually really nice!  I’ve never run with someone else before, and it was cool to talk about running with someone who enjoys it as much as I do.  But I could tell that I was running much faster than normal to keep up with her, and when she turned around at mile 3 I was kind of relieved.  She warned me to be careful running near Norristown, and then turned around to go back to the parking lot.  I ran the extra .5 miles to get to my turnaround point, and realized that I had already made it to Norristown!  I couldn’t believe how far I ran and was pretty pumped to tell Andrew about it.

Unfortunately, at mile 4 I started feeling really thirsty and sick.  I was pretty winded from running so fast in miles 1-3.  The snow was much deeper around this point, and while the other runner had helped distract me from how difficult it was to move in the snow on the way out I was definitely feeling it now.  My stomach started cramping up, so I stopped twice to take a 1 minute walk break.  Somehow in those short breaks my body heat dropped and my slightly sweaty clothes began to freeze.  I was really scared about how cold I was getting, but my stomach hurt so bad that I didn’t think I could make it 2 more miles home.  I almost cried at one point, but realized how painful that would be on my cheeks, so I dug deep and finished the longest, slowest 2 miles of my life.  I can honestly say I’ve never been that cold or scared before.

20140105-225311.jpgIce on the Schuylkill River

Towards the very end, I saw two people walking towards me.  I swear these people were sent to me by the running gods, because as I ran by them they started cheering for me and high fived me as I ran by.  That little boost of energy they gave me carried me to the end.  My husband luckily saw me on the trail and came over to help me to the car.  I was so cold that all of my clothes and eyelashes were frozen.  By the time I got back to the car I was sobbing, and my husband helped me change into dry clothes before wrapping me in blankets and trying to get my body temperature up.  I couldn’t talk and could barely breathe, but I slowly warmed up and eventually was able to drink water and eat a Clif Bar.  I don’t think I was able to fully warm up for at least an hour, but after a hot shower and some hot chocolate I was back to normal again.

I can honestly say that was my worst run ever.  Not only did I start feeling dehydrated and sick while running, I was really cold.  I think wearing more layers would have made it worse, because I would have been sweating more and eventually would have frozen more.  There was a point when my husband actually asked me if I needed to go to the hospital, which made me realize how crazy it was for me to be running for so long in such low temperatures.  I definitely should have fueled better before and during my run, but even if I hadn’t felt so sick I still think it would have been one of the toughest runs ever.  I cried that night because I felt like such a running failure.

Yesterday my legs were a bit sore, but foam rolling and stretching helped me feel a lot better.  So as far as leg muscles go, I think I’m okay.  But I did find out that I also was coming down with a cold, which actually was good news because it made me realize that part of Saturday’s crappy run was due to me coming down with a cold and not even knowing it.  Yay for looking on the bright side (and it helps that I had a sick day today to fully recover!)!  It was at that point that I realized that even though that run had been absolutely horrible, it wasn’t all bad.  Hey, any time I get to go for a run it’s an amazing blessing that I can’t take for granted.  So here is a list of the reasons why Saturday’s run was good:

  • The snow was so pretty
  • I got to wear my new Buff that Andrew got me for Christmas, which kept my face warm for the first half of my run before it froze  🙂
  • I made a running buddy on the trail, who I will probably never see again BUT she did help me power through some tough snowy sections and made me feel like running in that weather wasn’t totally insane (she also did not have fuel or water, so I wasn’t the only one out there not carrying frozen water!)
  • I saw at least 4 or 5 deer out on the trail, which is so rare since I’m in the city all the time
  • I can now say I ran all the way from Valley Forge to Norristown!
  • It meant that I didn’t have to run 7 miles on the treadmill or in Sunday’s freezing rain
  • I ran 7 miles!  Not many people I know can say that they did that this weekend!
  • I didn’t let myself fall off my training plan.  Hal Higdon would be proud.
  • My awesome husband was there to make sure I got warm again (I probably would have called 911 if I had been alone because I was so scared)
  • I was smart enough to bring extra clothes to change into and I had a blanket in the car so I was able to warm up faster
  • I’m now super motivated to learn how to fuel myself next weekend so I have a better experience!
  • Now that I’m not run streaking anymore I can take time to fully recover before running again on Tuesday.  Score!

Given the fact that I still feel pretty crappy, I’m proud of myself for being able to find so much good in that run.  I guess that’s a sign that I’m a true runner!



And before anyone gives me a lecture about all the stuff I did wrong on Saturday, I’m totally aware.  Fueling advice is appreciated, as well as anecdotes on some crazy runs you’ve done in the cold/snow.  But I clearly learned my lesson and won’t put myself in that kind of dehydration or body temperature danger again  🙂  Also, my husband might be coming with me on every run from now on just in case!  So don’t worry about reading any more run recaps like this again!

Have you ever had a terrible run?  Share your story with me!  Did you go out for a run in the cold/snow this weekend?  What motivates you on a tough run?

37 thoughts on “Monday Motivation: Look For the Good in Every Run

  1. That run sounds harsh! I don’t really have any advice…sometimes things just don’t work out no matter how well you plan. Being scared means you pushed outside your comfort zone. You’ll probably find that if you are in a similar situation again you’ll handle it much better, purely because you’ve been there before and survived 🙂

    1. Yep, that is definitely true! I will never run that far away from my car on such a cold day again (I seriously should have run 1 mile out and back until I got to 7, that part of the trail was easiest to run on and I could have gotten help sooner) and I’ll definitely be fueling and bringing water from now on!

    1. Thanks! Reading other blogs, it seems like a lot of people struggled on Sunday so I’m kind of glad I wasn’t the only crazy one out there. The trail was so pretty so that definitely helped me keep going!

  2. I’m sorry you had to end the streak 😦 but you definitely made the right decision for your body. No reason to risk injury just to continue the streak.
    What a crazy run! Good thing your husband was there when you finished to help you change into try clothes and wrap you in a blanket. I can’t imagine toughing that out.
    I had a terrible run over the summer when I was training for my marathon. I had 17 miles on deck, and the first 14 with my running club were fine. But I did the last 3 alone and suffered- I was cramping up and I had forgotten my visor so sweat and salt were dripping into my eyes. It was a miserable, slow finish to my long run. However, you’re right that every run is a blessing- I never regretted that run.

    1. Now that it’s been 2 days, I’m definitely happy I did it. I think giving up would have made me feel just as awful, you know? And stopping the streak sucked at first but then I realized that it’s going to make me follow my half marathon training plan much better and that’s more important to me at this point. And I can’t believe you got through 17 miles in the heat! That is something I will never be able to do!

  3. Oh, you poor thing! Live and learn. I always carry Honey Stinger chews in the pouch of my hydration belt just in case I ever get that weak feeling that accompanies a sugar low.
    My worst run was in the summer. It was 90 degrees and I hadn’t been feeling well for a few days but I had a 14 miler on the training plan so I went out anyway. I got to 10 miles and called my husband to come pick me up. With every step I felt nauseous and I just couldn’t keep running.
    I felt like such a failure and I cried….I found out the next day that I had a sinus and double ear infection.
    Everyone has crappy runs and at some point everyone has feelings of failure. Just don’t let it stop you from trying again.

    1. Wow, that run sounds awful! I’m definitely not giving up – I have 2 half marathons in the spring so I can’t give up now! It’s definitely helped knowing that other people have been through similar things. I will definitely make sure to bring fuel and water from now on!

  4. I’ve definitely had bad runs before. It’s just part of the learning process. They happen, just take them for what they are and move on. I would suggest you start bring a hydration pack or belt for runs over an hour so you don’t have to worry about dehydration or anything like that. Even a handheld water bottle would do the trick too. And definitely be careful stopping a workout when temps are that low. Once your sweat freezes it’s pretty much game over.

    1. Thanks! I feel like that’s the only way to look at it if you’re ever going to get back out there. It was scary and really tough, but I’m glad I finished it and I think it taught me a lot about preparing for future runs!

  5. I am like you, fresh snow is beautiful! I’m jealous you have such amazing trails to get out on, I have been to that part of the country, and I imagine it’s just as much fun in the summer as winter:)

    1. To be honest, these trails are at least a half hour away from me – I’m only a few miles from the Philadelphia border so there’s nowhere safe to run 7 miles around here. It’s definitely worth the drive though! And I really do love running in the snow more than I love running in the summer. I hate heat and humidity!

  6. Oh dang girl, that’s a scary experience! I think it sobered me up a little because I’m going to be running in some very chilly temperatures this afternoon and was feeling like it wasn’t a big deal, but this made me realize I need to be careful and think about what I’m about to be doing. Eeep, so glad it turned out okay though and that you have such a positive attitude!

    1. Don’t let this scare you away from your run today! Just maybe bring some water and don’t run too far away from a safe warm place. I totally should have just run 1 mile out and back until I got to my milage, that would have made a huge difference! It’s crazy all the lessons about winter running that I have to learn the hard way 😛 Good luck running in this cold weather!

  7. I am liking this post because you made it through! I am SO SORRY, lady! Ugh that sounds like no fun at all, but you are a rockstar and got it done. Thank goodness for those people that were there to cheer you on at the end!

    I have had a couple of bad trail runs. The first time I went out on the trail I just hated it, but then there was a run later where I wore too many clothes and it ended up being really humid and warm for November. I couldn’t breathe correctly and almost threw up. Not fun.

    When the going gets tough for me, I just daydream about all the fun things I’m going to be able to do once the run is over and even if it hurts at the time, I always feel good for the rest of the day. So it helps to remind myself of that as well.

    1. I know, those people have no idea how much they helped! It wasn’t even a trail run – I just call it a trail because it’s a gravel path through the woods 🙂 and some parts are even paved. I’m way to klutzy for a trail! I did try to distract myself towards the end, but I have to say that I still don’t feel 100% better, mostly because I now have a cold. I’m glad I did it though! Hopefully next weekend it will be warmer and less snowy 🙂

  8. Yep, those bad runs make you appreciate the good runs so much more! I always feel slightly disappointed over a bad run, but there’s always another one to look forward to. I give you props for trudging through the snow!! Definitely a good idea to take a night off if your body is telling you that you need a break. That’s awesome your husband runs with you!! Thanks for linking up to MMMonday today!

    1. I agree, I’m now really looking forward to running tomorrow! And my husband doesn’t run (especially in the cold) but he did offer to come with so I wouldn’t have to go alone. He walked around for a while and he even brought a book so he could read in the car if he got cold. I’m slowly trying to get him into running, he did the Ugly Sweater Run with me in December and said he really liked it! And thanks for hosting today!

  9. We all have had runs like that. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying. I like to take a few sips of water every mile on my long runs, so I usually carry an insulated handheld bottle. Good luck with your next run!

    1. Hmmm I need to hit up Marshalls or TJ Maxx tomorrow to see if I can find one of those. I’m pretty sure a normal water bottle would have froze solid since I was out there for so long! And thanks for the encouragement! It was hard posting this hot mess of a run recap, but I’m glad I did because now I don’t feel so alone 🙂

  10. I think it’s smart to quit the streak if you know that’s whats’s best for your body!

    That run sounds soooo scary!!! I’m so glad you had those people too cheer for you at the hardest part, and I’m glad your husband was there to help you at the end.

  11. Yikes that sounds petrifying! I have such a fear that something will happen to me when I’m out there.. Impressed that you kept trekking home! Hope you’re back to normal speed 🙂

    1. I’m definitely feeling better today! I think it was just a combo of a bunch of annoying things that made it so terrible. I am always going to bring my phone from now on!

  12. What an experience! Running is like everything in life: you have good runs and bad runs. At least you were able to pick out the positives. My run on Saturday was good except for the nagging pain in my knee and my shoes were hurting both my feet, but I was able to keep up a great pace. After that run, I decided that I’ll be taking this week off from running to recoup.

    1. Oh no! I hope you feel better soon! I’m glad at least one of us had a good run on Saturday 🙂 And yeah, I’ve had some bad runs before but that one was pretty crazy! It can only get better from here, right?

  13. I love running in the snow, but I’ve never had any bad experiences like you just did. It’s so good that your husband was there to help you out at the end of your run! Hopefully your cold is gone and you’re able to get back to running soon!

    1. I’m hoping my cold will be gone by tomorrow and I can get back to work! I love winter, but I’m now realizing it’s not really easy to run outside in this season! This weekend it will be in the 50s so I’m pretty sure I can get a good run in!

  14. Such a sweet husband that you have. I’m so glad he was there for you! I tried to run in 0 degree/negative temperatures on Thursday, but I felt like I was getting frost bite, so I came in after 4 miles. Good for you for finishing! I didn’t fuel in the long runs when I went for them while I was in Chicago, but I use VFuel or Island Boost (i love island boost better). I’m still experimenting with fuel, though. I also really like to eat peanut m&ms before I go for a long run. It fills me up a little and the peanuts keep me moving !

    1. Okay, peanut M&Ms are my favorite food so that is awesome! And I’ll have to try out those other ones soon too. Yeah, this cold weather is just too much for my skin once I start sweating! Props to getting in 4 miles outside!

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