First 10k

I got in 6.2 miles last weekend. It’s a mile short of where I need to be on my half marathon training schedule, but given I’ve been so sick, I’ll take it. It’s my first 10k in many years.

Although neither bothered me too much on the run, I’m still suffering with a sore throat and wicked cough. The coughing attacks have been so bad, my back is sore from muscle strain.

While few people believe me, they insist it must have been something coming on before, all of this has been the direct result of a flu shot. I was perfectly healthy walking into the travel consultation and perfectly sick walking out post-flu shot.

I just didn’t expect the effects to take this long to blow over. It’s been eleven miserable days. Sick or not, I have a training schedule to stick to, so I got out there and got in a 10k.

Typically, experts recommend following “the neck rule” when determining to run while sick. The neck rule basically states that if you have pain or agitation anywhere on or below the neck, i.e., sore throat, stomach issues, fever, congested chest and lungs, etc., you should not run. Anything above the neck, i.e., stuffy nose, watering eyes, or simple cough, you’re probably okay to run.

Even with the neck rule in place, health professionals encourage runners to use common sense and check in with themselves.

For me, I had a sore throat, but was able to knock out six miles comfortably. Afterwards, I needed lots of rest. It knocked me out for the following 24 hours.

The run started off slowly. The first mile being the hardest followed by the second mile being the second hardest. After the third mile, I fell into a rhythm with my footsteps and breathing and moving forward.

I overdressed with long pants and a three-quarter zip over a performance tee. At 54 degrees, I could have run in a tee and shorts and was from start to finish.

Overall, it was a comfortable way to spend the time. No coughing, nice and warm, listening to music, getting some vitamin D. If you’re feeling a little off or down, I’d encourage you to get a run in. It doesn’t have to be six miles, but just something to warm up your body and muscles.

I also took a solid thirty minutes post-run to stretch, foam roll my legs and IT band, and ice my knees. The self-care felt wonderful.

Cold and flu season is upon us. My recommendation to anyone debating on running is if you can do it without hacking up a lung, go for it.

Skip the hard stuff (intervals, speed work, hills, etc.) and plan for a solid rest and recovery time post-run. You’re gonna need it.

Stay healthy. 🙏 💪🏼🏃‍♀️


Antarctica race training

The half marathon in Antarctica is two months away. My longest training run has been a five-miler on a trail with 564 feet in elevation gain. I was gassed.

As mentioned, I’ve been out of long distance running shape for quite a few years now. Getting back into it has been tough. 

Training has been progressing but not without issues. I had knee pain when I switched from road shoes to trail shoes. My trainer recommended starting with a dynamic-stretch warmup before hitting the pavement, which I’ve done. It’s helped, but the knee hasn’t been the same since. It still feels a little weak and achy after runs.

I’ve had dozens of sore muscles, cramps, aches, pains, and knots. Plus countless moments full of fear, doubt, and uncertainty. This trip and this race are no joke. The conditions are harsh and luck, if there is any near the south pole, will favor the prepared. 

On race day in Antarctica, the anticipated temperature will be anywhere from 0 °F to 34 °F. That’s a huge range. It’s the difference between a soggy, muddy run above freezing or a can’t feel your face while loping atop slippery, frozen rock run if it’s closer to 0 °F. Winds can be as powerful as 40mph and gusts even higher. 

A couple of the big challenges training in the Bay Area for a freezing cold race in the arctic include preparing my body and testing my gear in expected race conditions.

It’s fairly mild where I live so locating a windy, frozen tundra has been problematic. The Antarctica course is snowy, rocky, and muddy. We don’t have too much of that either, just a little rain every now and then, and that’s only because it’s winter. 

The good news is I’ve been traveling outside the golden state to prepare myself for the blustery conditions. Before New Years, I spent several days in Iowa where it was both cold and windy, and I got in several miles in cold weather gear. 

Recently, I was in New York City and knocked out a freezing cold training run through NYC’s kind, flat, and relatively dry running path along the Hudson River. 

There are a couple additional winter trips I’ve planned to help with training (and fun) this winter, like Pinecrest, CA for some snowshoeing, skiing, and, of course, running.

And, although global warming and climate change have made this even harder to predict, a few weeks before I leave for Buenos Aires, I plan to do the longest training run in my hometown of Chicago, which should be perfectly freezing, windy, and snowy (if not muddy) in late February.

More to come as we get closer to race day. My training goals have never been so frosty.