New Year, New Runs.

Happy New Years to one and all. We started off the new year by running in a new event for me. The Capital Striders Running Club hosted a Mitten Run supporting the Boys and Girls Club in Des Moines, Iowa. We brought several pairs of new gloves, mittens, and hats for the Boys and Girls Club to distribute to needy children in the area. After running your choice of a 3-4-5 or 6 mile routes, the Striders had a potluck planned and even had chili and vegetarian chili for the runners. The Capital Striders, which is a great running group on its own, is also known for their charity events and fun runs. This would be no exception.

We arrived at Lions Park, dropped off our donations, and picked up a map of the 4 mile route. It was a chilly morning, around 20 degrees at the start with a breeze, so it was good that we bundled up in layers. Our group leader assured us that he would get us lost, and actually kept his word as I think he misread the map! But with the help of another runner, we got it figured out and had a nice run.

We got back to the park shelter, chatted and stretched, and decided to go for breakfast instead of having chili. I think it was a great event, and I look forward to more events held by the Capital Striders.



Saturday will mark the 5th week for the Winter Warriors Run at Fleet Feet Sports in the East Village. It’s amazing that we are half-way through the nine coldest weeks of winter, and we are still running outside. Special thanks to Andy Roat and his team for hosting such great events and bringing runners together.

One last note: I ran on New Years Eve on my lunch break, and the temperature was 12 degrees with a wind chill of -2 degrees. But with layering my clothes, I felt really good. It’s amazing what you can do when you prepare and try.


Live healthy, be happy!


“Winter Is Coming”

“Winter is coming” is a common phrase used among fans of the “Game of Thrones” series. In Iowa, the appropriate statement should be “Winter is here”. The polar vortex has brought with it the cold temperatures and snow that is all too common in the midwest. For runners, it is the time to put away the running shorts and t-shirts and either prepare for a season of treadmill running, or to switch into winter mode.

If you are like me, you like to get outside. As long as the temperature isn’t dangerously cold or there is ice all over, I like to run outside. But in order to do that, you have to dress appropriately to avoid frostbite or at worst hypothermia. So in this blog, I’m detailing what I wear on cold weather runs. Every person is different, and you should adjust accordingly. The rule of thumb is to dress 10 degrees warmer than it actually is, as you will be creating heat with your running.

I dress in layers, especially in the chest area. On the last run I did outside, the temperature was 21 degrees F, with a wind chill of 9 degrees. I felt cool but fine during the 5 mile run. I wore a long sleeved dri-fit shirt and a hooded sweatshirt for the top, a pair of CWX compression tights for the legs, a pair of toe socks that are generally thicker than my normal socks, a pair of mittens that have a liner glove in them, a hood or balaclava, and sunglasses. I was quite warm once I started out, and stayed that way throughout.

As it gets colder, or if the wind gusts increase, I will pull sweat pants over the tights to block the wind from my legs. I will also put on an undershirt, as another layer against the cold. I think my glove/mitten set is fine for now, as well as my hood. If it’s icy, I will put on running cleats that you can find in most running stores. They pull on and off pretty easily, and give you some level of traction.

When the temperature is a mixed bag, where it may be cold to start but warm up later, you will want to dress in some layers that are easily removed. During the last marathon, the temperature was 41 degrees F at the start, but was in the low 60’s when I finished. I had on gloves and a running zip up sweat shirt that could be easily removed. Since the marathon collects, cleans, and donates the clothes that runners “throw away”, I didn’t feel bad about tossing them to the side of the road when I warmed up.

One day on a training run, I didn’t pay attention that the temperatures were going to quickly increase, so off I went all bundled up. After 5 miles the temps rose, and I really started to sweat. With no way to discard of my clothes, I had to gut it out in the personal sauna I made. Lesson learned: pay attention to the weather reports.

Be cautious when running in snow as objects, such as broken concrete, can be well hidden. Also ice can be hidden under the snow and lead to a slip. Know the areas you are running in, and let someone know how long you’ll be gone and your route, just in case you have a problem.


This chart was posted by “Sparkpeople, and it gives a nice example on how to dress for the colder weather. You can run almost outdoors almost all season long, as long as you have the proper gear, are careful, and pay attention to the temperature and weather reports.




Live healthy, be happy.


It’s Cold Outside . . . let’s Run!

I need to update a little before I get into todays run: the bursitis in my left hip flared up again during our 18 mile run last weekend (actually it make me stop running at mile 13 and walk the last five). It was so bad that I actually went to the doctor Monday morning. After a couple of X-rays, he gave me some meds, an injection into the bursa sac, and told me to rest for 3-4 days.

I made it the entire four days without completely losing my mind of killing someone (although it was close a couple of times). I wanted to try a short run Friday, but the weather and work didn’t allow for it so I waited until this morning (Saturday) to try out the hip on a 12 mile run.

It was windy, cold, and dark as the members of the iCan Running Group gathered at Gray’s Lake. When we got started, it was 36 degrees, with winds gusting from almost every direction imaginable. Before we took off, Coach Loran said that we have all got the tough miles in, and with three weeks left there is nothing that can be done that will alter our marathon. Coach said that due to the weather, we should aim for 6-8 miles and that would be good enough. Hearing that made me happy, because even though I like the long runs, I wanted to test this hip out. So we stretched, and off we went!

Cold and windy, with lots of wind gusts, that’s what greeted us running across the bridge and almost everywhere we went. I was glad I wore layers and gloves, although I hate having to put them on so early. When I got back to the start, I had 7 miles in. The hip felt pretty good, with only slight discomfort. I’m hoping that by race day it will be 100%.

Running in winter in Iowa can be quite a challenge, especially when the temperatures swing drastically up or down. There’s ice and snow to maneuver around, adding to the challenge. There are ways to get a nice outdoor run in during the winter months, and here are some of the things I do to prepare for winter running:

1. Thermal running pants or tights: These pants will keep your legs warm on some very cold days. I have several pair, each one made for a different temperature.

2. Thermal running socks: I have the knee high thermal socks and they go under the tights to give an extra layer.

3. Layers: I wear an under-shirt and over-shirt with the under-shirt tucked into the tights to keep out drafts and wind. The over-shirt is long sleeved and usually a dry-fit type shirt. Then a hoodie, sweatshirt, or running jacket goes over that.

4. Gloves: Your hands need protection too! They make running gloves where the fingertips are a special material, so you can operate your iPhone.

5. Mask: On really cold days, I wear a running mask. It does tend to cause my sunglasses to fog up, but at least my head stays warm. I just have to remember to take it off BEFORE entering a convenience store.

6. Tracks or cleats: They make tracks for your shoes to help running on snow and ice. While I haven’t needed them yet, the time is coming.

Now that you’re all bundled up, it’s time to run in the frozen tundra! I hope this helps you with outdoor running in winter.



Live healthy, be happy!