Winter Polor Vortex and my new best friend, the Dreadmill

 Anyone who has lived or visited Wisconsin in the winter is aware of the beauty and crispness of a new fallen snow.  They also have knowledge of the bone chilling cold that we are blessed with on more than a few occasions during the winter.

Frozen eggs!

This year is a harsh exception.  They called it a Polar Vortex… I just know it has been really cold! We have had more below zero days in the last 2 months than I can recall in the 15 years I have lived through Wisconsin winters.  Of course, the 25 years before that, I lived in Michigan, so I am no stranger to cold, snowy winters.  The schools in the area have closed more this winter due to frigid temperatures than they normally do for snow days. In fact on one one of these “Cold Days” off from school, my 15 year old decided to freeze an egg outside… took less than 15 minutes!  We have gotten into the habit at work of going out to start our cars a few items during the day just so that we know that we will be able to start our vehicles to get home in the evening!

This year is the first winter that I have attempted to keep my miles up through the winter.  In the last, I did all my running in the summer and by the time the Turkey Trot rolled around, I was ready to hang up my running shoes for the winter.  There were a few years that I did do the Noodleini 5k and the Seroogey’s Valentines run, but this was definitely not my desired running environment.   After all of the miles that I logged over the summer, I made a vow to myself that I was going to keep the miles going through the winter… and I was going to try and run outside as much as I could.  I did not want to face the Dreadmill!  However, Mother Nature had other plans!  running outside when temps hit the mid 20’s is one thing.  Sub zero temps in an entirely different beast.

After 6 mile training run

In January when the Cellcom Marathon training runs started I had plans to get out and run with everyone else.  The first Saturday morning training run, Green Bay was covered with a thick blanket of ice from the storm the night before.  I hit the dreadmill for a few miles before heading to the gym for a food cardio circuit.  The following weekend, despite sub zero temps, I headed out for the training run.  It was nice to get out and see many friends on the course but when you finish a run with icicles on your eye lashes, you know it was cold!  But I survived… and then went to the gym to warm up with a good cardio circuit!

My mornings and/or evenings have been spent with short visits to the Dreadmill and I was still struggling to get beyond 3-3.5 miles.  The treadmill has never been my first choice when it comes to running, but I knew this is what I had to do.  Fast forward to the end of January… 7 mile training run at 7am.  When you wake up at 5am and the temp outside is -9, there is no getting out of bed for that! After 45 minutes, it did warm “up” to -4 but with 30mph winds, running outside was out of the question.

I finally came to the harsh realization that this winter there was not going to be as much running outside as I wanted.  I needed to learn to get past my hatred of the treadmill and just suck it up.  I really have no reason to not enjoy these runs just as much as my outside runs.  I have a TV with cable, Netfix and a DVD player right in front of the treadmill so I can watch what I want.  My headphones still work inside, so I can still have my music.  Plus, there is a bathroom less than 10 feel from my treadmill so I can take a quick break when I need to, without having to find the next park or gas station to find a bathroom.

Since we were up in Michigan at the Eben Ice Caves last Saturday, I had no choice but the miss the training run and had to do my 8 miles solo.  These solo miles ended up being on Sunday morning, before the Super Bowl festivities started at our house.  I knew I had to do the miles and needed to get past the negative thoughts I have about the treadmill.

It was tough.  I wanted to quit.  I had to walk part of the time, but I finally broke that 3.5 mile barrier on the treadmill.  I finished my 8 miles inside on the treadmill!  I have no excuses anymore!  Winter may have thrown me a curve ball and changed my running plans, but I’m not going to let that stop me!

Now that I know I can do the miles on my treadmill, time to kick it up a notch and start some more intervals and hills on my treadmill!!  This weekend is the Seroogy’s Valentines Run.  Instead of doing the regular training run, I opted for this 15k.  I get chocolate and cookies at the end of this one!  My first official race of 2014 and it promises to be a memorable one – I’m just hoping that the weather forecast changes at least to be a little warmer before 8am Saturday morning rolls around!

2 thoughts on “Winter Polor Vortex and my new best friend, the Dreadmill

  1. At least your still motivated.I set a goal of running the half marathon in Traverse City in May. In September I learned graduation fell on the same weekend. I lost my motivation and haven't ran since.

    1. Tina – find another race instead! I have found that as long as I have another run to train for, it keeps me going! Plus finding new races to run changes the scenery!

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