Sunday, February 3, 2019

Victory over the Vortex


Ahhhh, the sweet taste of Victory!

The polar vortex of 2019 has come and gone, and I'm feeling ever-so-victorious. I've lived in the Midwest all of my life, so cold winters have always been part of my reality. That said, the extreme temps (-25F, with a feels-like of -50F) of late are not an everyday norm during the winter season. 

Being forced to stay inside is not desirable, but it's also not the end of the world (at least as I know it). Thankfully, a severe cold spell such as this is a great time to reflect on the big picture (geesh, I've been saying that a lot lately LOL). It's an opportunity to be grateful for having a warm inside place to hibernate as one awaits for the more desirable weather conditions to return.

Here's how I weathered through (yet) another week of polar vortex reality...  

#nevermissaMonday
Fasted cardio (check). Miles with Milly (check), Never miss a Monday (check). If there's such a thing as a "runner's hat trick," it happened for me. This 2-miler was my fifth consecutive run on the treadmill. I had not run that many indoor runs since I first bought real running shoes, 13.5 years ago. If nothing else, being stuck inside enabled me to appreciate a sense of humor as I worked on my this-too-shall-pass perspective.
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Another run-of-the-'mill Monday
Kind of a #typicalTuesday
I decided to do a short, but sweaty, HIIT workout. After a 20-minute warm-up (courtesy of the elliptical), I did a circuit including:

20 jumping jacks
15 burpees
10 push-ups
15 arm reps (various biceps, triceps, shoulders)
20 lower-body reps (lunges, squats, etc.)
1-minute plank (as a recovery)

Four total sets netted me 80 jacks, 60 burpees, 40 push-ups, 60 upper-body reps, 80 lower-body reps, four (cumulative) minutes of planking...and some serious #sweatequity in the bank. Not bad for 40 minutes of work. Onward!
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Wowza weather Wednesday
So, here's the situation. Most of the state of Iowa (and surrounding states as well) practically shut down for the day. All of the colleges and schools cancelled classes and the US Postal Service halted delivery due to the dangerously cold temps. My town set a new record for the all-time record low, and I believe that was common throughout the Midwest. Alas, I got to enjoy another #5at5 with Milly. 
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My sixth run with Milly in 12 days....
Low-key Thursday
Still stuck inside, I did a quick 20 minutes with Milly (1.5-mile power walk) and called it good before heading to work. BTW, this little thing about your "circle" popped up in my Insta feed this week...an excellent reminder to keep the positive peeps in your midst, and be the kind of person others want in their midst as well.
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Still hanging with Milly
Finally Friday
A lot of people have talked about how long the month of January seemed this year, but I would argue this particular week seemed rather lengthy. Friday arrived, bringing with it an ever-so-bright light at the end of the tunnel (figuratively speaking) as we awaited the polar vortex to pack its bags and head on out. Temps were still cold (sub-ZERO with windchill), but no longer dangerously low. Typically, my Fridays are active recovery days, in that there's not any running, intense HIIT or strength work. I don't think a little bit of cardio is breaking the rules. After all, if it wasn't so cold, I'd be taking Max for a walk anyways.  If I can't get outside for a walk, I find something to do inside....and this morning it was 30 minutes with Ellie. I also did a lot of stretching and some yoga (later) in the evening. 
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Sensational Saturday
The temps early Saturday morning were in the upper 30F's! Believe me, they were incredible! I got out for a 2-mile power walk (the last 1/2-mile was with Max), and I felt like a caged bird set free (see title pic above). After lunch, I reunited with Barb (remember her? my running pal?), and we knocked out almost six gloriously euphoric miles before parting ways. My mileage was just over seven miles by the time I returned home. How fantastic was our run? We ran a solid 10-minute pace and it felt effortless. My legs were ecstatic to not have the confines of the treadmill and the fresh air was intoxicating. Even in the wind, the 42F afternoon temps felt heavenly. So what if I hit a few random puddles? No regrets, no complaints. Every run is a gift.
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ahhhh, finally back in my preferred element...the great outdoors!
A super (bowl) Sunday
How about 50 flights of stairs for breakfast? What if we add a few sides of arm reps, in between each set of 10 flights? Yes? No? Maybe so? Or would you order something else? It's no secret I'm a cardio junkie, and the stairs never disappoint, especially first thing in the (early) morning. 
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All told, I'm happy with how the week played out. Granted, I spent the majority of it indoors, but I managed to stay active with a variety of workouts. Truly, I'm grateful to have several indoor options, all under my roof. This week's running mileage ended at 14, which is a 2019 weekly PR (and Saturday's 7-miler was a 2019 distance PR). As my off-season winds down, the weekly mileage will be increasing as I prepare for some spring races. I didn't have much for walking this week, and my elliptical time was moderate (50 minutes).  Winter is far from over, but with (hopefully) the worst of the cold weather behind us, I'm hoping to get outside for more walking (and less time on the treadmill and elliptical). There's also gonna be a boost in my stair-training (see below). HIIT workouts will continue (hopefully weekly), as will on-going strength-training.
  
In case you missed out, here's my posts from last week:
Take that, Winter!
In other  news:
#FridayFashionFlair on Instagram. Did you know Friday was National Wear Red Day, a day to promote awareness of heart disease, especially among women? Heart disease affects most of us, in one capacity or another, whether it's our own health or the struggles of family and/or friends. I opted for a black and red bufffalo plaid blanket scarf/wrap to honor the day. As per usual, please consider joining me...post a pic of a favorite outfit, grab the hashtag (#FridayFashionFlair), and give me a tag(@Runningonthefly)!

A fairly new feature I've seen on Instagram is a "view your post from a year ago." Is it ironic (or a given) that I'd be on the treadmill on the same date a year prior? The notification popped up on Tuesday afternoon, so I opted to wear the same outfit the next morning....wouldn't you?
Now (on left) and then (on right)
Finally, I mentioned upping my game with stair-training. I respect stair-training is not everyone's favorite form of cross-training, but it is an awesome lower-body workout that enhances one's running. The incline of the stairs mimics a hill (though with a steeper grade), and the cardio can be pretty intense depending on how fast the stairs are climbed. As mentioned in my Coffee Post, my place of work is hosting a stair-climbing challenge for the month of February, with a goal of 562 cumulative flights of stairs. Even though I am not able to participate in the Fight for Air Climb this year (since I'll be in DC for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler), I am still going to train in honor of this favorite event of mine. The challenge encompasses 562 flights (over four weeks), but I'm shooting for 1,000.....go big or go home, right? If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you!
Sunday's 50 flights kicked off the stair climb challenge
So, there you have it! The polar vortex has moved on, and so has my off-season. I'm excited to get back to a regular routine as I gradually increase my running. The Cherry Blossom 10-miler (April 7th) is my first long-distance event on the calendar, but there are a few other races of shorter distances happening prior. Bring it!

Did the polar vortex make an appearance in your area? If so, did your fitness suffer as a result, or were you able to alter your routine to stay active? How cold did it get for you?

 I'm linking up with Holly and Wendy and Amy (this week's guest host) for the Weekly WrapThis weekly check-in is such a great place to connect with fellow fitness-minded peeps. Please join us!
WWSki-Orange

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52 comments:

  1. We were cold here but definitely not that cold. I think our coldest might have been "feels like 5" degrees. We were on the cusp of the vortex - I think that saved us. I seriously cannot even imagine what "feels like -50+" is like. I'm so cold all the time anyway. I'd have probably been buried under a mountain of blankets or standing in my kitchen with the oven on all day baking all manner of breads and treats. LOL

    I like that stair climbing challenge. I think that's a great way to motivate people to get a little more movement during their day. I'm a HUGE fan of climbing the stairs, especially since the elevators at my last job had the tendency to break. No. Thank. You. The stairs don't break. Who cares if I worked on the fifth floor? haha! Stairs every day, baby!

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    1. I agree! The stairs are a well-kept secret for lower-body strength AND cardio endurance ;-) Climb on, Sister!!

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  2. you did a fantastic job this week of getting it done despite the crazy temps. Hopefully none of us will those extremes again this winter. Have a great week!

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    1. I know it's still gonna be cold, but hopefully we've seen (and felt) the worst of it.

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  3. I love the names you have for your workout equipment :) I was extra thankful for my treadmill this past week (and the week prior with sick kids). Being outside is always best, but sometimes it needs to be indoors to get the run done! -59F windchill was the lowest temp I saw and it was honestly a bit creepy. The fact that frostbite can happen in just 5 minutes in that weather makes me thankful for a warm house and running furnace!

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    1. Frostbite is really scary! I have extremely sensitive and dry skin, so I wasn't about to take any risks on exposing it.

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  4. I'm so glad to see some warmer temperatures. We're supposed to go back to "normal" but that sounds great to me!

    I haven't seen that IG feature. I feel like IG is becoming just like FB (which makes sense since they own IG).

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    1. Normal winter temps are gonna feel (almost) tropical, and I'm quite alright with that!

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  5. Way to get it done! We were not as cold, but still damn cold -- yesterday I really thought we would finally be able to walk the dogs. Waited to the warmest part of the day, then looked & while it was 22, with the wind chill it was 10. Nope, they had to wait til today.

    Enjoy the warm weather while it's here cause it won't stick around long!

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    1. Oh, I know the cold is gonna return. I am just hopeful it won't be as extreme ;-)

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  6. I don't think I can claim victory, and we didn't have weather nearly as cold as you. I'm crying uncle and thankful for warmer days ahead.

    [Google is eating my comment unless I post with my Google account again. :-/]

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    1. Not sure what is up with Google (??), my tech skills are very bleak. This weekend felt so nice in comparison to the previous two ;-)

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  7. Love that you didn't let the polar vortex get you down! I am happy that the weather next week looks much better. On Tuesday it's going to be almost 60 degrees here!

    Nice job on all your workouts - especially the stair workout and your run on Saturday!

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    1. Saturday's run was phenomenal. I wish they all could feel so good!

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  8. That's a great circle post on IG. I've heard a similar concept before - drawing a 1 inch x 1 inch box and filling it with names of people whose opinion you care about. The point being that only the important people in life matter and you can't let every random person influence you. Glad you stayed warm this week - this 40 degree weekend was a heatwave!

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    1. I have not seen the 1-inch box thing...that would really tell an important story!

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  9. My run was 43 degrees today. I was all confused on what to wear!! It felt like spring for sure.

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    1. It is tough to know (or remember) what to wear when the temps swing so drastically

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  10. Cute Saturday outfit -- and I love your victory jump pic.

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    1. thanks! The victory jump just kind of happened ;-)

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  11. I give you major props for sticking to your routine on the treadmill. I have about a one run tolerance for the treadmill before I start skipping runs. And I sure as heck wouldn't be able to get up at 5 and run inside! That's some dedication there!

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    1. ha ha ha...and I'll probably getting up at 5:00 to do it all over again (on the 'mill) tomorrow LOL

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  12. No polar vortex here although it did go very cold for us over the weekend. Fortunately dry and no snow so not too much ice.

    I love your workouts and the way you kept going in the confines of indoors! I do like the stair workouts, however our stairs are only a wall away from next door's so when they have sold the house and people live there again, that will curtail my stair workouts. Wah!

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    1. Thankfully, my stairs are for my own enjoyment (well, they are probably funny for the dog to watch).

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  13. While we were crazy cold, I believe we missed our all-time record low on one of the days by one degree. I was in college when that insanity happened and I well remember it. I completely missed Wear Red day. Ugh.

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    1. Yes, this was our coldest day on record...not sure I want to re-live it again LOL

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  14. I actually managed to run outside 4 times this week. I don't like the cold but do it. It's better than the treadmill.

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    1. I'm not sure how I managed to do those six runs on the 'mill...maybe I'm growing up (or getting forgetful) LOL

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  15. You did a great job staying active indoors - that's a lot of time with Milly! We are getting a cold front this week, but nothing Polar Vortex-like. I've yet to have the weather send me indoors this winter (and yes, there IS such a thing as too cold for me).

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    1. Yes, that's the most action Milly has seen in 13 years!

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  16. The cold weather in the mid west last week sounded crazy! That was great you were able to remain so active even with that cold. And you're right, the weekend weather in the 30s felt amazing after the cold weather during the week :)

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  17. It's great when 30 feels amazing, right? I'm right there with you. Any temp that isn't "too dangerous" to be outdoors in is a good one these days!
    My trainer has me to stair runs with some power weight or body weight moves in between and it's a great addition to my workout and gets the heart rate up!!

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    1. I have been doing stair training for a few years...it's definitely a great cardio option!

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  18. I definitely think we all headed for the indoors last week! It was so hard to want to get out and run. Amazing how warm the temps feel this week now!

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  19. It didn't hit us, thank heaven! And thank heaven for the treadmill, right!? Ugh let's get that spring coming now!

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  20. I can't even imagine temperatures that cold. It was in the 30s/40s here, which is really cold for us, but still entirely manageable (file that under: Reasons I Live in the South. Ha!). Good job getting in those workouts and coming out victorious over the Polar Vortex.

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    1. and your 30/40 temps would feel most tropical right now (we're back in the single digits). UGH!!!!

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  21. You made the most of your indoor workouts for sure! Your stair climb training sounds like quite the challenge!

    Have a good week and enjoy the warmer temps!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle ;-) The warmer weather was awesome...while it lasted LOL

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  22. So glad the vortex is over...I hope that does NOT become the norm for the Midwest. Looks like you made the most of it and still got in some serious workouts, way to go!

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    1. I hope the 2019 Vortex is a once & done, too. UGH. Yes, I'd prefer to be outside, but even the treadmill was tolerable...and that's saying something LOL

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  23. I'm in awe! Seriously! How do you stay so motivated?! You are awesome. This right here - "My legs were ecstatic to not have the confines of the treadmill" is the TRUTH! I find that every time I run outside after some time on the treadmill, my runs feel so much better. Almost like my legs have been liberated! So glad you mentioned that!

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    1. Seriously...those seven miles outside (at a faster pace, none the less) felt so much easier than the 5-milers at a slower pace. It was so liberating!

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  24. Brrr...the polar vortex was just CRUEL! I'm so glad it's over for all of us! You, as always, do such a great job keeping up your workouts!

    I would love to ask you some tips on stair climbing, which I love that you're still supporting! (I'd also like to know more about the companywide challenge!). The Philly Climb is on March 30, and I'd really like to feel more prepared. Would walking the stairs in my house a dozen times actually be a good workout? Lol!

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    1. I think any time you can spend on the stairs will give you an advantage. How many flights of stairs is the Philly Climb? I usually did weekly workouts with 40 (+/-) flights each time. The one on Des Moines is 85 (or 86?), so I tried to get a few "workouts" of 60-80 total flights as well...yes, that meant going up (and back down) my stairway 60-80 times, but I varied the steps (sometimes single-steps, other times, doubles) and that broke up the monotony of it. Send me a message and we can chat ;-)

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    2. The Philly climb is 50 flights. I like that workout idea, though I'm sure I'll drive the cats nuts going up and down the steps, haha! I'll message you, thank you!

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  25. I always love your stair climbing. It's a great way to cross train!

    I also love the bright pops of color against the white snow. I can't say I'm not jealous of the awesome pictures you get to take with this weather. I do hate that everything was shut down and you were all pretty much trapped inside. I can't imagine how everyone didn't go crazy!

    But yay! You guys came through and the groundhog predicted an early spring so it's all moving in the right direction!

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    1. oh yes, bring on spring...or, better yet-->SUMMER!

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  26. It sounds like you made the most of your workouts even with the Polar Vortex breathing down the back of your neck and yay for being able to get outside with Barb on Saturday! Glad you're enjoying the option of having an elliptical in the mix!

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