2

Training update

NYC skyline with frozen Hudson River

The view from my run yesterday looks way colder than it actually was out

I haven’t done one of these in a long time, but seeing as how marathon training time is almost here, now seems like a good time to start again.

I guess I should also drop in here that I decided on a marathon for the “spring.” Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota on June 20!! Yay! I’m kind of excited for this. I haven’t trained for a marathon since this time last year and I think I’m ready for it again. I’m not going to harp on how rough my running was for most of last year, but things are feeling like they’re coming together now. Not to mention, I’m coming off an awesome weekend running the Goofy Challenge!

Training starts a week from today. I decided I’m going to drop back to the same plan I used for Richmond 2013 and Chicago 2012. That plan worked really well for me. Richmond was a very successful race and Chicago was pretty successful too, even though I didn’t hit my goal. I would love to go for it with the same plan I used for New Jersey last year, but I’m in no way running the kind of miles needed right now to jump into that. Plus, I’m not even sure how to fit those kind of miles into my schedule right now.

I don’t have a concrete goal for the race yet. For now, I’m just looking to PR, but I’ll check back in with my goal halfway through training and adjust accordingly. I would love it if I got myself back to a point where I could go for a BQ, but right now that feels really far away. We’ll see how it goes.

Two weeks ago, I squeezed in four runs and two spin classes with just one rest day. I totaled 21 miles. Not a a ton, but not bad with the two spin classes.

Last week, I ran five days, went snowboarding one day, and took a spin class. I hit 30.4 miles. The spin class and four of the miles where on the same day as part of my first ever double workout in one day! I was super proud of myself. I also felt really good all week. Tired, but less so than I expected. Yesterday’s run, in particular, was awesome. It was a ten-miler in Liberty State Park. The weather was perfect. 41º, very light wind, and sunny! But it was very wet out! Puddle city! All the ice and snow from Saturday was melting and leaving behind all kinds of slush and ice-cold puddles. I ended up stepping into a calf-deep puddle about 200 feet into my run and completely soaked my feet. Though, this is kind of the best thing that can happen in that situation. Once your feet are wet, you don’t have to worry about avoiding puddles anymore so I just had fun running right through them like a child. It was great!

This week, I’m planning pretty much the same thing, but the snowboarding is still up in the air. Once Monday hits, running is my number one focus and snowboarding will be done until next season so I’d like to go once more, but I’d also like to start training with fresher legs and be able to squeeze in two rest days this week. We’ll see how I feel later in the week, I guess.

mountain creek snowboarding

Snoooooow

On a side note about snowboarding this past weekend…it was a great day with awesome snow conditions. Unfortunately, it was partially ruined by being misgendered by my friend’s girlfriend. I had never met her before Saturday and hadn’t even seen my friend since before I transitioned. Throughout the day, she’s use male pronouns for me, but I wasn’t quite 100% sure I heard her correctly. Sometimes, things sound off, but you’re not sure enough to actually speak up and correct. I tend to give the benefit of the doubt in those situations rather than risk calling someone out for something they didn’t actually do. Eventually, on the bus ride home, I heard her clearly call me “him” to my friend. I corrected her and she apologized and then did it again a few minutes later!

It wasn’t malicious or anything like that, but given that she’d never met me before there was no excuse of “muscle memory.” Her misgendering me meant that’s how she actually seems me. And this was after we had conversations in which I clearly asserted myself as a woman in the way I talked about things. At one point, she even asked me “how do you go from having a full beard to being a woman?” I quipped back that I was always a woman and “a ton of lasers.”

This kind of thing is just super frustrating and it really makes my fears about using the gym seem so much more real. I’m either not seen as a woman or I’m not seen as a real woman.

Orale tacos

And tacos because why not?

2

New Jersey Marathon training update: Week 3

This is a big hunk of frozen sweat stuck to the back of my neck.

This is a big hunk of frozen sweat stuck to the back of my neck

It’s just week three of training for the New Jersey Marathon and I’m already over it. As much as I actually enjoy the cold and winter, I’ve had enough. Subzero temperatures with heavy winds, snowstorm after snowstorm, freezing rain, ice. I’ve run through it all. In fact, I can’t remember the last run that didn’t feature one of these. I refuse to let the weather win, but it’s been tough to get myself out there and none of these runs are enjoyable.

Like weeks one and two, week three was completely jumbled around from what was originally scheduled. We got a pretty big snowstorm on Tuesday that dumped a foot of snow on us. Knowing that a lot of people around here don’t shovel the sidewalks in front of their houses, I wanted to try to knock my mid-week long run out before the storm hit. I moved it from Thursday up to Tuesday, but I didn’t beat the storm. I ended up running nine miles during the storm. The next two days, a six-miler and a seven-miler, were extra difficult because of all the snow on the ground. I had to resort to doing laps up and down a side street near my house.

Friday I took off from work to snowboarding with Krissie of PhillyNerdGirl fame. We hit up Blue Mountain in the Poconos for a full day of awesome riding. Unfortunately, snowboarding does not make for a smart activity on your only day off between two stints of running six days straight. My legs (and the rest of me) were exhausted afterwards!

On the ski lift with a snow ninja

On the ski lift with a snow ninja

After getting my face blasted with a bunch of lasers on Saturday morning, I decided to knock out Sunday’s thirteen-mile long run. We were supposed to get another inch of snow, but the temperature was all the way into the upper 20s for the first time in a while so I knew I needed to take advantage of that. Again, I didn’t beat the snow though. I ended up running during the snow again. But this time, the ground conditions were literally the worst I’ve ever run on. Each step was a surprise!

Moments away from turning into a real life snow woman

Everything was covered in an inch of snow so I couldn’t tell what was underneath. I didn’t know if there was going to be ice, slush, or salted ground. Even from one step to the next, I couldn’t assume anything. Most steps were slippery as hell and I never had much traction or confidence that I wasn’t going to fall. On top of all that, my legs were utterly exhausted from snowboarding the day before and six straight days of running before that. By the end, I really couldn’t believe I powered through all thirteen miles AND didn’t fall. I had a few slips that almost took me down, but I managed to keep my feet under me.

When all was said and done, I knocked out all of my runs and racked up 45 miles so I can’t complain too much, but I had to skip all of my speed work because of the lack of traction.

This week is supposed to be cold as hell again so it seems the snow and ice will be sticking around on the ground for a while still. Ugh.

6

First snowboarding of the 2014 season

Snowboarding at Mountain Creek 2014
View from the intersection of Silver Fox and Fox Tail

View from the intersection of Silver Fox and Fox Tail

I took up snowboarding five years ago, around the same time I started to get serious about running. It was a few months before my wife and I started dating and I was willing to try just about anything as I searched for happiness within myself. Unfortunately, I was still rather far from finding the happiness I was looking for, but snowboarding was a nice distraction from the self-hate.

Snowboarding at Mountain Creek 2014

Ready to head out the door! I actually look rather cute!

Unlike running, snowboarding isn’t a year-round activity, the season is only a few months long so I generally do my best to make the most of it. Unfortunately, between warmer weather and a busy schedule, the last two seasons were a bit of a wash, I only went once each. However, I’m resolved to make up for it this season. I’ve got a triple play for Mountain Creek and three free lift tickets to any area mountain of my choosing so, at minimum, I need to go six times. Thanks to training for a spring marathon for the first time ever, it’s going to be really tough to fit it in, but the weather seems like it’s going to be great so I’ll find a way.

Anyway, I made my first trip to the mountain–Mountain Creek in NJ was the mountain of choosing for this trip–of the season yesterday with a few coworkers. We got a bit of a later start than I would have preferred, but part of that was due to my attempting (and failing) to run a 10 miler in -2° F on snow-covered roads at 5am.

Snowboarding at Mountain Creek 2014

Me and my new board! If you look really closely at the top of the photo, that guy in the red way back there is my first-timer coworker who got stuck there for about ten minutes trying to get his skis back on after a rough fall.

Perhaps most excitingly, this was my first trip snowboarding presenting as a woman. To help make sure I actually looked something like a woman, I recently replaced all my snowboarding stuff with women’s gear. New snowboard, bindings, goggles, gloves, jacket, pants, hat, and even socks. The only thing I kept were my boots which looked gender-neutral enough to keep…which is good because had pretty much already spent three times as much money as I could afford to have spent. As far as I could tell, no one thought much of me, which is good because I just wanted to have a fun day snowboarding without any worry of being misgendered or stared at by some snot-nosed kid.

Snowboarding at Mountain Creek 2014

Chilling on the lift

Of course, yesterday wasn’t the coldest day of the past few, but it was still pretty chilly out! My car didn’t want to start in the morning and when I pushed the clutch in it was really slow to come back up. Luckily, my new jacket and gloves are very warm so it wasn’t too bad out there. Though, we stopped at a ski shop near the mountain so my friend could rent skis (it was his first time) and I decided to throw on another layer while standing in the parking lot. It was a base layer so I had to strip down to just my sports bra for a moment in the middle of the parking lot (I was standing outside the car since I was putting my boots on while waiting for my friend). Those few moments were absolutely freezing!

Even though the mountain was crowded thanks to a hefty snowfall the day before, the lift lines weren’t actually too bad. We spent much more of the day waiting for our first-timer coworker. At the end of the day, I think we got in seven or so runs, but it was lots of fun and I was pretty tired by the end anyway. We did half the runs at the terrain park, but I only did a couple smaller jumps. With marathon training starting tomorrow, I didn’t want to risk hurting myself in any way.

Snowboarding at Mountain Creek 2014

This photo makes the lift lines look way worse than they actually were.

The new board turned out to be pretty awesome. I was a little worried I’d have trouble controlling it because it’s a rocker style board instead of a traditional camber, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. The board was much faster than my old one and more stable, forgiving, and easier to control at higher speeds. My only real issue was on some of the icier parts of the trails (New Jersey mountains, amirite?!), it was harder to get the board to carve in and grip the ground enough to control it. Still, it was much more enjoyable to ride than my old one! Plus, it’s pretty cute!

Sunset at Mountain Creek 2014

View of the sunset on my second to last run from Charlie’s Run.

Hopefully, this will be the first of many trips this season! If anyone lives in the New Jersey or Eastern PA area and wants to hang out on the mountain, let me know!