December 22, 2015

Winter Solstice Runs

I happened to join Smashrun just in time to try and earn the "Shortest Day" badge. The badge can be earned by running twice on the day of winter solstice: once starting before sunrise and finishing after sunrise; and the second run must start before sunset and finish after sunset. I have no idea how the creators of Smashrun came up with that badge, but considering I only have once chance per year to earn it, I wanted to do it!

Here, winter solstice started at 11:49 pm on December 21st--so I was a little confused whether to run on the 21st or 22nd. Thankfully, Smashrun clearly listed the date on the badge, so I knew that I had to do the runs on the 21st (yesterday). I asked Siri (on my iPhone) at least a dozen times what time sunrise and sunset would occur, so I could plan my runs.

Sunrise was at 7:57 am, and sunset was 5:04 pm. I decided to do a three-mile run for each, starting about 15 minutes before sunrise/sunset. I normally do a three-miler on Sundays, but I skipped it in order to do it yesterday instead. Since I had intervals scheduled today, I decided to do an interval run last night for the sunset run.

Of course, it would be pouring rain yesterday morning! I didn't want to do the solstice runs on the treadmill, so I decided I'd run in the rain, even if it was a total downpour. After I got Eli on the bus, I had about 10 minutes to kill before heading out. It was still raining--not a downpour, but not a drizzle, either. Once I started running, I was pretty soaked within a quarter mile, and my feet were squishing in my shoes.

I took a quick picture at 7:57 (the "official" time of sunrise). Then the rain slowed to a drizzle, which made the last mile much nicer. Once I got home, I saved the run and immediately checked to make sure that it "counted" toward the badge ;) One run down, one more to go!

I took a shower, even though it was pretty much pointless--I'd be running again later. What do people who work out twice a day do? Do you shower twice? Sometimes, I think I'd like to be an evening runner, but I like to shower in the morning, so it wouldn't really work out. I'm curious how other people handle it.

For my second run, I wanted to do the speed work that was scheduled for today. I decided to try out a different speed workout, just to shake things up a bit: 10 x 45 seconds, with recovery walks until my heart rate dropped to 136 bpm. I like the idea of recovery until reduced heart rate--sometimes, I feel like I don't get enough recovery after tough intervals. And running hard for just 45 seconds sounded nice! ;)

I headed out at around 4:40 for the second run. I didn't want it to be too dark when I finished. I ran a one mile warm-up before starting the intervals, and I felt really good--my legs didn't feel tired from running earlier in the day. Running fast felt good, too, and knowing that it was for just 45 seconds made it much less painful (mentally), haha. I was planning to jog between the intervals, but after jogging for about a minute, my heart rate still hadn't lowered enough; so, I slowed to a walk. Then a super slow walk. Still, my Garmin didn't beep to signal a run again.

I switched the screen to see my heart rate, and for some reason, my heart rate wasn't even reading! I pressed the strap to my chest, and then it showed up. The Garmin beeped to signal the next interval, so I started running hard again. It was interesting to see that the recovery intervals were growing longer (meaning it was taking longer each time for my heart rate to drop). I was walking very slowly to get it to drop faster.

It was kind of fun to see that I actually had some intervals in the 6:-something pace! Although, it was only for 45 seconds, so I shouldn't get too excited ;) I really liked this workout, so I will probably do some shorter intervals like this in the future, too.

I was thrilled when I got home, and saw that I completed the challenge and earned my badge!

The commentary that comes with the badges always cracks me up! Yep, I certainly didn't take the easy way ;)

Stephanie sent me a text in the morning to say that she had gotten up to run in the rain in order to earn the badge as well. She didn't realize it until afterward, but the Shortest Day badge is only available to "Pro" (paying) members of the site. I didn't know that, otherwise I would have mentioned it before! It's not one of the available badges for the free members--so if you were looking for it, and couldn't find it, that's probably why. Sorry!

For Taste Test Tuesday this week, I tried a recipe for Crock Pot Cashew Chicken. I normally don't like crock pot recipes that require browning the meat before putting it in the crock pot, but this one looked really good, so I gave it a try. It was amazing! The sauce didn't thicken up as much as I'd imagined it would, but the flavor was really good. My kids even liked it (except they picked out the cashews--crazy kids!).

I made the recipe exactly as written, and divided it into six servings. Each serving ended up being 365 calories (not including rice). I will definitely make this again in the future!

My pets are hilarious with my electric blanket. Ever since I brought it out of hibernation, I can't sit on the couch without this happening:

Today, I'm spending the day wrapping Christmas presents and watching movies! The kids' Christmas break starts tomorrow, so I may not get a chance to enjoy the quiet for the next couple of weeks ;)


  1. My son has been out of school since last Friday. It's hard to get th last minute stuff done, having him around. He gets 2 weeks off, going back on January 4th. When do your boys go back?

    1. My kids' last day was yesterday (Tuesday) and they go back on Jan. 4th. I thought it was kind of odd not to give them this whole week, but it worked out well for me--I bought a couple of last-minute gifts and got everything wrapped yesterday!

  2. I love Joey's hand (paw) on your leg. Dogs are THE. BEST.

  3. I live in Vegas and sometimes in the Summer you have to take a shower just from being out and sweating too much. Add in a workout, and occasionally a second, and I have sometimes taken 3 showers a day, lol! I feel bad about the waste of water, but I hate to be sweaty and gross and I try to keep them super short! :-)


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