Monday Motivation: Running in the Cold

If you didn’t already know, I’m a complete psychopath when it comes to running. Absolutely nuts. I’m pretty positive I’ve run at every single hour of the day at least once, I’ll run in 90 degree weather (not so much anyone), I’ll run in 0 degree weather. I’ll run in thunderstorms and on five inches of packed snow. The things I will do to run are probably not much different than the things an addict will do to get a fix. (Crossing the line? Probably. Do I care? Not if it gets in the way of my run).

Yes, I’m a running addict but I have trouble getting out the door sometimes – especially in the winter. Sub-freezing temperatures and precipitation don’t make my heart flutter but the anxiety I feel when I don’t run makes it beat pretty hard. I have to use some tactics to get myself out the door on these days (they are increasingly adding up more and more with this awful Pittsburgh weather).

1) Challenge Yourself
I don’t mean run faster than you normally will – I mean do some sort of challenge, i.e. Runner’s World Run Streak (#RWRunStreak). The #RWRunStreak challenge is that you will run at least one mile everyday between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Getting bundled-up takes too much effort to only run one mile (and the one time I only did one mile I wanted to do more because I was having fun but I just didn’t have time) so I’ve been running about my normal distance. Without the guilt of failing myself there are plenty of days I would have forgone my run.

2) Get the Right Gear
Spend the money on one or two good cold-weather running outfits. I’m a big fan of Lululemon’s Runder Unders (RIP). I originally bought them for a trip to Colorado last December in which I knew hiking and outdoors activities would be involved but then basically lived in them until it finally thawed out in late April this year. As I said, Runder Unders are retired, but I bought the Brushed Speed Tight. Any tight that is brushed (fleece interior) is perfect.

I forget what my nice Lululemon running jacket from last year is called, but this Uba Hoodie is similar. Mine has a detachable hood (I zip it up over my mouth and wear the hood if it’s below 20 or so and if it’s really windy) is water-proof and wind-resistant. You want at least water-proof and wind-resistrant in a good jacket.

On top of that, get good running gloves and ear warmers. I didn’t love my running gloves I’ve been using the past two years so this year I upgraded to Nike Women’s Thermal Tech Printed Run Gloves. My hands sometimes are still a little cold but they don’t overheat – which is the only time in life I would rather be cold than hot. Nothing worse than sweaty wet hands when running. I use some super old Nike ear warmers from high school or college probably (probably college – in high school all of our cold-weather gear had to be all black). They’re not the cutest but they work. I’m in the market for new ones if you know of any. Just be sure they are fleece-lined.

I don’t like Under Armor. It rides up and is super annoying to pull down. I layer with a random Nike pull-overs usually.

how to run in the cold | almost getting it together

My sorority sister Kayla and I at the Pittsburgh Turkey Trot this year. Wearing my go-to cold weather running outfit.


how to run in the cold | almost getting it together

I made my dad walk the Turkey Trot 5K while I ran the 5 Miler. More importantly, this is what I wear when it’s 20 degrees out.


3) Get a Good Playlist
The browse feature on Spotify is my new favorite thing… I find so many playlists. I have a “Long Runs” playlist which I think is pretty awesome.

4) Have Something Warm to Look Forward To
I usually run in the mornings so I always look forward to breakfast. Stupidly most weekdays I drink a green smoothie (cold) or lately, overnight oats (also cold). I typically do my long runs (8 miles or more… I’d say the average is 10-12 miles, depending on weather, my mood and upcoming races) on Sunday so I will make a hot breakfast afterwards. If I do 10 or more I have my one (typically one) latte of the week. I pack a little baby almond milk for the coffee shop to make me an almond milk latte. (I have a dream one day I will walk into a coffee shop and they will have unsweetened almond milk. So much to ask for? I think not.)

5) Sign-up for a Race
Fun fact: I kind of dropped off the running scene in late 2011-late 2012 after a crappy race and just changing priorities. I went from logging 20 miles a week to maybe 12. It was weird. My legs were really skinny since I wasn’t running much. Then I was peer-pressured into running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon again (my great comeback to racing) and I had to start training in early February. So I had to get out no matter how cold and crappy it was out.

Chat with me:
Do you have any questions about running in the cold (or running in general)? Let me know!


Cinnamon Pear Green Smoothie

Sorry Green Trekker smoothie… there’s a new smoothie sherif in town and his name is Cinnamon Pear Green Smoothie.

I know we all need some greens in our life after last weekend. This little guy is also great because he has coconut water (potassium, yay!) and fiber from the pear – both are allegedly anti-bloating, but I’m not a nutritionist and I believe everything anyone tells me so maybe don’t trust me on that one.

I literally go to bed dreaming of this smoothie. It was below twenty degrees Saturday morning and I still had to have one. (Then subsequently had to take a shower before yoga because I was so cold. I accidentally told a random girl that story at yoga thinking she was Angela.)

Cinnamon Pear Green Smoothie

cinnamon pear green smoothie | almost getting it together

Give me protein powder or give me… a growling stomach at 10:30 a.m.

What you’ll need:
a ton of baby spinach (or 2 cups if you like measurements)
1 pear, cored and preferably frozen
1 cup coconut water
1 cup ice
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

What to do:
Throw everything in your blender. Blend until smooth. Drink, dream, repeat.

Chat with me:
What’s your fave smoothie combo?

Race Recap: Columbus “Run Like a Girl” Half-Marathon

Back in July, my friend Angela asked if I wanted to run a half-marathon with her. After a vaguely crappy race in June, I decided to take a few months off from training and maybe actually have a life on the weekends that didn’t involve planning around two to three hours of running and the exhaustion/revved-up metabolism that comes with it. I looked at the website and saw you got a bottle of wine when you finished, so then I immediately signed up. Plus, Angela’s PR isn’t far off mine (about a minute or so faster) so I thought it would be fun to run a race with a friend and actually run with them.

almost getting it together nutty for life columbus run like a girl half marathon

Pre-race selfies!

Luckily, between June and the end of July when I signed up, I didn’t let my mileage get too low so training was pretty painless. I even ran another half as a training run. I’ve gotten to the point in my running life where I don’t dread running halves or going on my long runs, but actually look forward to them. (Except sometimes in the weekend when I’d rather sleep in and go to brunch like a normal human being.) I really thought maybe I could do some speed work for once and PR at this race.

Angela had been having some knee issues and secretly changed her race to the 5K so as not to aggregate it (and TOTALLY ROCKED it – 17th out of 700+ people!), so I was running it alone. I didn’t mind – the week before I ran The Great Race by myself and ran the Montour Half by myself as well. It was a pretty small race, so I was excited to not have to weave in and out of people at the start and knew that would help my time.

almost getting it together nutty for life columbus run like a girl half marathon

Will run for wine. Please ignore how disgusting I look after running 13 miles and my post-run African belly bloat.

I was aiming for sub-9 minute splits… and did so until about mile five or six. I allegedly ran a 7:25 split (but I’m thinking their mileage was a bit off). I also assumed that since Columbus is in the Midwest it would have been totally flat, but it was not. It was kind of hilly. It was an out and back race on a lot of trail, but I don’t mind since that’s what I’m used to doing my long runs on.

I finished at 2:00:57, which is just two minutes over my PR, so i was a little frustrated with myself. I did finish 102 out of 552, so at least I was in the top 19%. I let a lot of negative self-talk get to me when I was running a few bad splits and I think if I had pushed those thoughts out of my head, I would have at least ran a sub-2, if not PR-ed. It was my second-fastest time, which I attribute to Angela bringing me a delicious cinnamon raisin bagel from Bagel Street Deli in Athens. (Allegedly I am supposed to try one of their bagel sandwiches which they are more-widely known for. A good reason for me to go run the Athens half, right?)

almost getting it together nutty for life columbus run like a girl half marathon

Crappy form right here.

Anyway, the race was fun but my weekend in Columbus was fun even more fun. I loved seeing Ang for a whole weekend since I haven’t seen her since August (!!). Also a huge thanks to Ang for the photos that I stole (with her permission/encouragement) from her blog. So you should probably go read/follow her blog as a thank you.

almost getting it together nutty for life columbus run like a girl half marathon

Post-race swag.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cookies

Could I go one week without posting a recipe involving pumpkin? The answer is no. I think pumpkin is my current favorite vegetable. It’s all I can do to not incorporate it into every meal and snack.

These cookies were inspired by Health Nut Julie’s What I Ate Wednesday then adapted from the recipe she used from The Detoxinista’s Pumpkin Pie Cookies. So thank you to both for being such a delicious inspiration. They are vegan + paleo. I was actually using them for pre-run fuel in the mornings last week after running out of energy bites and not having any peanut butter or almond butter to make more. (The struggle is real.)

I gave some to my friend Emily to taste-test (by the way, Happy Birthday Em!!) and she sent me a text later saying “I appreciate a cookie that tastes like cookie dough”. I do too. That’s why I doubled the pumpkin in this recipe & undercooked them. If you want a firmer cookie, use the original recipe.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cookies

Almost Getting It Together Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cookies

Check out how artsy I am getting with the pumpkin candle from Anthro thrown in.

What you’ll need:
1 cup almond butter (I used my homemade vanilla almond butter)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup carob chips
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinammon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
dash Himalayan sea salt (you can use real salt if you aren’t a snob like me… but buy/use Himalayan sea salt, it’s SO much better for you)

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together except the carob chips with a wooden spoon. Mix in carob chips. Use a cookie scooper thing to make 1 inch dough balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes for doughy cookies, 18 minutes for firmer cookies. Try not to eat the entire pan at once.

Just eat whatever is left in the bowl as cookie dough. It’s totally safe to eat since there aren’t an eggs. Not that that stops anyone normally.

Chat with me:
What are your pretentious food habits?

Race Recap: Pittsburgh Great Race

Well, if you didn’t know me already and my attempts at concealing which city I currently live in didn’t fool you, the title of this blog post gives it all away.

I’ve wanted to run the Pittsburgh Great Race since I moved here after college but haven’t had a chance/remembered in time to run. Once again this year I ran into the same situation. I asked around to see if anyone knew of anyone selling a bib but didn’t have much luck. I decided to take my search to Craigslist.

After a few unanswered replies to Craigslist ads selling bibs I decided to try a wanted ad. I used Craigslist a few times before when I was on my house hunt earlier this year but never posted an ad before. I posted a wanted ad Friday night (likely, Saturday morning to be more exact) and had a reply by 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning and three more before the end of the day. I bought the first bib I found and transferred it over to my name. Note: Posting on Craigslist feels SUPER sketchy.

Funnily enough, I have never ran a 10K before. I do, however, typically run six miles most mornings. I wanted to use this run as a tempo/tune-up run before I run another half-marathon this coming weekend. I estimated I would finish at quickest, 54:00 minutes and at slowest, one hour. The race sells out at 10,000 for the 10K (It is the largest 10K in PA and the 10th largest 10K nationwide.) so I thought it might be go slow going. I also thought it would feel more competitive than it did since it is a weird distance.

I’m going to take a second to humblebrag here, I apologize.


Cassandra Pisone Pittsburgh Great Race 2013 10K Results



I really pushed myself the whole race. I had one bad mile, mile five, and I’m not really sure why. I think my time was also kind of great because this course is mostly downhill but whatever, I’ll take my time and not make excuses for it being good.

I finished in these percentiles:

  • 31% overall
  • 19% of women
  • 26% of my age group

These might not be the best percentiles or even great, but they’re good for me and I’m proud of them. I ran an 8:38 minute average mile and that was unthinkable a few years ago.


Chat with me:
1) What is something you’ve done that you’re proud of lately?
2) Have you ever posted an ad on Craigslist? What was it for? Did you think it was sketchy?