Mile High Wind Chill

By | November 12, 2017

I’m still trying to work out the balance between routine and rest. I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a thing forever, and I’m OK with that. As I briefly mentioned the other day, hills and weekend long runs are a challenge at the moment, although not an impossible one. The more pressing one to me at the moment is having the oomph to do 4.5 miles after an already long day at work. It’s not a running endurance issue, so much as an I’m tired one.  So while I’d like to power through, I’m also open to other ideas. Solutions this weekend and last? Runs on Saturday and Sunday.

Before I get into the details on those workouts, just wanted to share this, which happened this weekend

passed 1900 #RunTheYear miles

WOW! 382+ miles of that are running, but even without that, wow.

Height of winter running fashion

Saturday dawned bright and brisk, though thankfully not as brisk as Friday evening’s 18F windchill. I would still have much preferred to stay in bed but yay for the accountability of meeting a friend. I’d tried to lay out my clothes the night before as I knew I wouldn’t want to get out of bed before I needed to. Those tights, like the others I own, are designed for tall people, but hey built in socks. Ended up free lancing as the wind breaker didn’t quite work so final tally was:

  • Champion 6.2 tights (I’d absolutely buy another pair if they still had the awesome pink spiderwebs)
  • TekGear long-sleeved shirt with thumbholes. Yep, pretty much free gloves there with the size.
  • an RBX long sleeve shirt
  • topped off with a Cuddl Dudds fleece top. (I maintain if it doesn’t look like long underwear it’s absolutely acceptable to wear on the outside)
  • Non-performance gloves, ear band, socks because sometimes normal cold weather gear is just fine. Had the wind been worse I might have put on the wind pants that I wore when I was a Frozen Penguin. Base layer that day was CuddlDudds on the bottom, I think

We weren’t the only crazy runners on this cold day

I got to the top of Cat Hill just a few minutes late. And by got, I mean ran because of course I was running late. I don’t track those as the lights mess it up, but it’s nice to know I can pseudo run commute when needed. We tend to do laps of the 1.66 mile bridle path loop with a start at Engineers Gate and an end where/when we feel it was right. Luckily as we kept moving and zigged-zagged into the sun we found the weather wasn’t as bad (I swear the hot air from incessantly discussing it warms it up) and we were both feeling good.

A great, if cold run

We called it at six miles and I was pleasantly surprised that it was roughly consistent with last week despite starting off more slowly.



No idea where mile four came from.  When the watch indicated it we looked at one another befuddled. I love the setting that buzzes on miles. Way more useful. The ascent is absolute nonsense. There is an incline, but nothing that significant. Most surprising? Despite the weather this felt “easy”. Maybe there’s something to running a distance consistently? It happened in June with the 5K distance, but part of me still felt like that was a fluke. But it’s happening again. Weird, but I’ll take it.

Despite the cold, we did a walking cool down lap-ish while I gave this one a go.

Verdict? No. Stomach, fine. But it tasted like chemicals. It also wasn’t worth the extra dollar that Rocktane commands. After a Starbucks run we hit the Upper West Side JackRabbit and I got the energy gum. They have a much larger cross section of gels than the East Side does, but I was too cold/tired to shop. So cold/tired that rather than walking to 86th or even 79th, I hopped on the 1. Yes, I have an unlimited metrocard. I realized when I got upstairs I’d be just shy of 30K steps on the day, but I didn’t want it badly enough to go back out. Long, hot shower and couch called my name. It was good for a re-charge.

So what was the second part of my weekend slate? Finally trying Mile High Run Club, which I first learned of the night before the Women’s 10K. I immediately filed it away as not for me, as like the HuffPo writer, I was intimidated. I also thought it was for runners at a way higher level than I was. Still, I was intrigued. A friend mentioned it over lunch over the summer and I waved her off as still out of my reach. Like a good friend, she didn’t push. As I continued to train, it re-entered my brain. Reading run blogs was part of that as CuckooLemon is a fan, Peanut Butter wasn’t and others are mixed.

Feeling more confident in my runs of late and reading this post, which really sold me on why it was worth trying, I pinged my friend and asked which class she recommended and would she go with me. She was happy to and recommended the High45, with a series of instructors who offered it/she preferred. The class is described as:

HIGH 45 is the bridge between our DASH 28 and DISTANCE class. Expect to cover between 3 and 5+ miles in this treadmill only interval-based 45-minute endurance class.

We landed on NoMAD as that’s her home base and Sunday morning, because both of our schedules suck. Despite some registration challenges due to their new system, it was smooth to sign up for the $18 trial and check/in arrival was nice. The locker room was super clean and well-stocked (may be a first thing in the morning thing) and post-class it was easy to get a shower. I like that the lockers have the built-in locks so you can haul one less thing.

I was nervous but found Rich V. welcoming without hovering too much. He set me up with the basics I needed, such as how to adjust speed and that 1.0 was “flat” in MHRC parlance. As others have mentioned, it’s a go your own with some suggested levels for joggers v. racers. That was particularly helpful to me as I still haven’t figured out my target paces, although I’m getting there.

I like how the class ran, both the mix of the instructor talking and not as well as how he outlined what was to come. It was very helpful to mentally plan for the intervals. I was nervous when he first mentioned an 8.0 incline but I figured I do what I could. 50by25 has a really good breakdown of the different intervals if you’re curious.

Absent some noodling around to identify what my personal levels 1/2/3 (and sub levels)/4 were, I didn’t have to downgrade my speed at all and kept up with the time intervals for both incline and speed.  Key I think was slowing it more than I normally do on my intervals and being a little conservative when it came to my level 3 speeds. I took it above 6.0 twice and finished the all out sprint at a 9:30 pace (6.3) which I think is my best ever. And I could have gone faster, I think. Definitely room to grow and I finished feeling strong. That made me happy.

Mile High Running Club workout details

If I wanted proof of progress on the year. Even conservative-ish, that’s nearly a mile more in 40 seconds fewer than my penguin day. Wow

Other thoughts:


  • The change from hills to speed intervals made the 45 minutes go lightning quick. When I looked at the treadmill display at one moment, I couldn’t believe 20 minutes had passed. Way more fun than grinding out 4.5 miles after work, but I wonder if that was also a factor of being fresher.
  • The darkly lit room made it easy to ignore the watch and what others were doing. Also let me fade into obscurity, which is my preference in classes.
  • Being in the middle row was perfect – enough space to look around without getting distracted by everyone else’s machines. Not too close to the mirror. Beyond the basics (nothing hurt), I didn’t worry too much about form as that’s too much multi-tasking for me.
  • Soundtrack was awesome, mix of genres and time periods.
  • Well stocked and since instructor is just coaching and not running, he was able to do little things like help on the fly, retrieve a dropped towel.


  • Not really convenient, and it’s expensive. But there’s Classpass, monthly passes (if I really get into it) and it isn’t that inconvenient.

I want to do one again. I don’t think I’m yet at the level of The Distance, but I think High45 is perfect as I don’t have much interest in the kettle bell part, which seems to get mixed to poor reviews. I’ll see how it works schedule wise.

No gel report, I forgot to bring it into the studio (and forgot my water at home) and then we decided to go for brunch. Scrambled eggs & avocado on toast > any gel.

Instead of rowing tomorrow, taking day off off to rest after ten miles in two days. Hoping it’s warm enough to walk home.

More to come.

7 thoughts on “Mile High Wind Chill

  1. Liz Dexter

    I have wondered about the Rocktane stuff and have never tried it as it makes it £1 more expensive here I think, so good to know. I think you get different flavours, too. Hm. Well done on a great week, you’re doing so well! I managed 7 miles at an average of 11:48 per mile on Sunday but with some big hills – I have a race in Dec that has a cut-off, a 20k in 2:30 but they stop you at 10k if they don’t think you can make it, and I’m STILL not sure I can do it. Gah. Anyway, well done.

    Is there any room in your life to run BEFORE work or run home from work? Two things I used to do when I had a proper out-of-the-home job.

    1. cari Post author

      Yeah I haven’t figured out what makes Rocktane worth the extra amount. I picked up one by accident because the flavor sounded good. If one really appeals, I might, but $2.50 is a bit much. Vanilla power gel by PowerBar was pretty good although nothing was fixing today’s workout. It’s one of those trainwreck Tuesdays.

      I was pretty good at running before until they tore up the path by me. Worked well when I had a late start meeting up here, but now it’s only about .75 miles so would be lots of back and forth. I could do out/back/out to a branch of my gym for about three miles, but would have to suss out carrying. Running home will wait until it gets lighter out. I’m not comfortable running solo through the Park. When our busy season is over I might do NYRR group runs in the park though to escape treadmill once.

      Good luck with your training so soon after the marathon! 20 K is awesome. Just about a half, right? Doing a 15K in December that avoids the Harlem Hills – that makes me happy. Has Cat Hill twice though but I think I can do that.

      1. Liz Dexter

        Oh, dear, we all have bad runs, STILL. But more good ones. I understand about not running solo through a dark park – I avoid our little ones at dusk and dawn. I’m glad you have the treadmill to keep you going through the winter!

        Yes, 20k is just under a half-marathon. I’m letting myself train a little faster at the moment as the cut-off there is a bit scary (and the route has a quite sharp up-hill, although being me, I’ve mapped it, and it’s not actually as bad as our usual training hills. I’ll see how I’m doing as it’s still over a month away. I tail-ran for our club run last night so took the opportunity to go a bit faster going there and back and actually for once got my cadence up to 180 per min, which I was really pleased about, as I find it hard to get my legs turning over more quickly!

        1. cari Post author

          What’s tail running? Google is a little unhelpful.

          Awesome that you were able to push yourself. Shame that it’s such a hard stop cut off. Part of what I’ve enjoyed about my Central Park runs is they really can’t close the course. Even if they run out of water or pack up the stations, ton of vendors. Although I didn’t do the Bronx 10 miler due to hip/foot, it would have been a concern if I had. Cadence is one of those things I’ve filed under later stage as I can’t track all of that. I need one thing to focus on (that’s me in general – not running specific).

          The treadmill – and this class which I went back to tonight – is helpful for intervals. I find it much easier to have someone telling me “change to x speed/y incline” than trying to DIY it, but hoping a few classes help as it’s not something I can do long term. I can go out at the weekend and run long but it’s unstructured – I find that OK for time on feet vs. a particular speed. I’ve found I definitely enjoy 5-6 mile place.

          I need to figure out Tuesdays. Yesterday was just all over the place, couldn’t get comfortable and gym being too hot didn’t help. Thinking of switching to Wednesdays after the holiday to see if two off days earlier help.

          1. Liz Dexter

            Oh – it’s being the person who runs at the back to make sure no one gets lost and you’re the one who’s last in. We use it at club to keep track of everyone and support people new to the distance (although the lady I ran with on Tue was an accomplished triathlete who just runs quite slowly – fair do’s). I wonder what you call it as it must be “a thing” there too. My husband pointed out that “tail” is unfortunate slang for women in the US ….

            And yes, I wouldn’t have signed up if I’d known about the cut-off as it’s too stressful, and they probably will apply it (when I did Reykjavik Marathon there was a 6 hour cut-off which I didn’t make, but I knew they would be relaxed about it and they were).

            The class sounds good. I’m not great at proper speedwork on my own but our club has coaches who run all sorts of sessions. I do OK with “run faster for 20 paces then slower again for 40” or whatever on my own, though. The cadence is a thing I know I need to get up so I just try to work on it now and again, a bit longer each time. Not in a well-ordered way, just here and there!

  2. cari Post author

    Ahh thanks for translation. I don’t know the running specific one but if we’re a big group headed somewhere you’d ask someone / volunteer to “bring up the rear” to make sure we didn’t lose anyone. Same idea, only slightly less problematic slang wise.

    I’m not typically a class person, but the accountability is nice when I have a workout-fatal case of “don’t wanna”. One of the blogs I read also cites the “calendar says I need to do X miles today and sky says otherwise”. I’ve found I really enjoy long runs because we do them at conversational and what’s left of the run group and I are chatty and the miles fly. So I think this is a good balance of both worlds especially in the ones that focus on maintain speed over the hills.

    Rewarded two good weeks with new leggings, so I’m eager to wear them tomorrow. Old fashioned bribery 😀

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