Keeping Joy in the Journey

I woke up to another omg-what-do-I-do? winter morning with a 15 mile long run on my agenda. Winter weather conditions have been a challenge for every endurance athlete in the midwest lately. We got snow, it melted, then it was -50 degrees, snow turned into ice, then it snowed more, on top of the ice. The “embrace winter” positive mindset is exhausting for the goal-oriented athlete.

I had/have a goal of breaking four hours in a May marathon. While this goal is attainable and I’ve been putting in the work that I can, I refuse to take joy out of the journey. What this means is, I’m not going to stress about getting mileage on the treadmill. If I can’t get to the gym because of hazardous road conditions, I’m okay with that. Forced training to log arbitrary mileage does not bring joy to me.

I’ve been putting in some great speed work on the treadmill and pushing myself to run at least a 9:20 average in my long runs. This morning the winter conditions forced me to make an exception on that long run pace and soak in the beautiful scenery.

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It was hard to be mad at it with how beautiful it was. And it was really, really hard to run in. Have you ever run in sand, when your feet sink in? It’s like that, but cold and wet.

In the last few years I’ve told myself this story that winter training results in a slow spring marathon for myself. My past race results can prove this story. But my past self also did a lot of long runs dehydrated after a night of drinking booze and not eating well. Now-me fuels this body to work more efficiently. Fifteen really tough miles in these conditions on hilly terrain is coins in the bank for that May marathon. That’s the story I believe in for this round.

Speaking of fuel,…

What I’ve been eating…

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Chopped spinach, red cabbage, red bell pepper, black rice, cilantro & shrimp with maple tahini sauce. This combination works great with chicken instead of shrimp too. Maple tahini sauce recipe can be found here. 

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I’m trying to get better at documenting my nutrition choices since I get asked what I eat so often. I started a What I Eat highlight button on my Instagram account too.

Other habits that are keeping joy in my life…

Dabbling in podcasts: Harder to Kill with Steph Gaudreau, Coffee & Kettlebells, and the Rich Roll podcast.

Team swims! It requires me to pack my breakfast and lunch the night before, along with my morning routine supplies blowdryer, shampoo/conditioner, soap, and clothes for work. So far I have not forgot to pack underwear and it feels great to start the day with driven triathletes swimming laps.

Team indoor rides! It’s always a great start to the weekend, getting in an early Saturday morning ride surrounded by fun and determination.

Group runs! I host a Runner’s Book Club where we read an empowering book and then meet monthly for a short run and then coffee, snacks and chitchat. It’s been challenging but awesome to coordinate my long runs alongside these meet-ups with incredible women.

Declare it Day! This yearly tradition when Fellow Flowers encourages women to put action behind their words in goals beyond New Years Resolutions. Last weekend we met for a girls night out and then an icy, but fiercely united run together around the bay in Madison. I’m so grateful for these supportive women in my life.

Outside adventures with John! When the snow wants to “snow” on our parade, John reminds me that there is adventure to be had. We’ve gone cross country skiing a couple of times this season with our energetic dog Ziggy, and even snow-shoed in our neighborhood recently. I’m so lucky and loved by a guy who gets me!

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Whew! That was a lot of joy to unload!

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2 comments

  1. Joy! YES! This is where it’s at! I’m so happy you are finding balance and allowing more joy in your training this year! We have definitely had our fill of winter this year (and it looks like more is on the way in the next couple of days). Mother Nature sure knows how to “snow” on our parade…we’ve had over 40 inches since January 1. Continue to find joy and balance! It won’t be long and you’ll be in sunny Cali…I’m so envious 🙂

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