Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Running Hurdles

After my 5K on Thanksgiving, I was euphoric because I had discovered that I actually enjoyed running outside. I remember hitting the 3 mile mark of the race and thinking, "I could keep doing this for a while." Haha, saying that I could run "forever" would be pushing it, even in my state of exhilaration. After the race, my shins felt a little sore, but that was it--I felt fine. And then two days after the race, I had another great 2.5 mile run with my dad, where I barely even got out of breath. At that point, I decided I wanted to be a runner and started to plan for a 10K in the spring.

Since then, I have become somewhat disheartened about my dreams of becoming a runner. Here is what has happened:

1. I chose to start running outside at the end of November/ early December. While I technically live in the South (Richmond, VA) it still gets pretty cold this time of year.

2. I have a full time job that requires me to be at work (or on transit to work) from 7am-5pm. And this time of year it gets dark at exactly 5pm.

3. I am overweight and my knees can definitely feel the extra pounds. My right knee in particular has been stiff and sore after my runs.

4. I live in the city and it feels a tad bit unsafe to run by myself in the dark. Not to mention, it's a little easier to get hit by a car.

5. This is the biggest set-back: this morning I had an asthma attack in the middle of my run. (Note: I haven't had any asthma symptoms in years and was not carrying an inhaler.) I basically had to walk a mile home very, very slowly. I did some research and apparently cold air can bring on Exercise Induced Asthma.

Okay, I know that I can brainstorm some solutions to my hurdles. For one thing, I can take the inhaler before I run. I can wear warmer clothes. And I can (maybe) run outside near my work, so that I can fit in my run at 4:30 pm, as opposed to 5pm. I can also plan to run at least one day during the weekend. Worse case scenario, I can obviously go back to the gym and run on the treadmill/ work out on the elliptical.

How do all you runners/ outside exercisers deal with the hurdles of winter?

Oh, and by the way, I know I'm the most contrary person in the world. Of course, I decided to work out indoors during the beautiful months of the spring and summer, and now I want to run outside during the fall/ winter. I can't help it--it's just who I am. For example, in high school, I insisted on wearing dress pants. Now that I have a professional job, I own (at least) seven pairs of jeans and two pairs of dress pants.

I should have been named Mary =)


  1. I'm kind of a wuss with the colder weather and have been working out almost exclusively indoors. The only time I really run outside in the cold is for races, and for those, I have fleece lined running tights which make a huge difference. Gloves are essential, and if you're going to be running outside when its dark, make sure you get some reflective gear. I'm in a similar situation with the full-time job and being tied up during most of the hours of light (besides the ungodly early ones) but if I'm going to run outside, I usually try to get up early enough that I can do it before work. As you know, that doesn't happen much. :)

  2. I have the same issue living in MN. It gets dark very early and it is very cold here. I haven't ran outside for a few weeks because I'm a wuss as well! The last time I ran was on Sunday on a treadmill and I only made it 1.65 miles. My face started to burn/tingle up by my check bones and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why. It was bothering me & I wasn't sure how red my face was becoming so I stopped to check it out. It was a little more red than usual but nothing major. First time I had that happen to me. I really want to be a runner but some days I just hate it and other days I feel like I could run forever.

    Katie & Beth,
    When you run do you breath out of your nose or do you breath out of your mouth? For me I have to breath out of my mouth and in the winter that can make for dry/chapped lips. Do either of you experience this? Sunday I put on lip balm before running and that seemed to help some.

  3. Amanda, I try to breathe out of my nose more (it regulates my breathing) but I often end up breathing out of my mouth, which tends to make me more out of breath.