At the end of December and early January, I felt like everyone around me was focused on New Year’s resolutions more than usual. Or maybe I was just paying attention to how people wanted to change and deep down inside I wanted to as well. I just wasn’t as vocal about it.
And who could blame me? When it comes to running, I honestly was ready to let loose. I wanted to do so many things to have a great rest of the winter, but after two years of on and off injuries and some downright laziness, I had some self doubt that I just didn’t express for everyone to see. Quite honestly, the first few months of this year were a make or break point for me. I either succeeded or failed. There would be no gray areas — I did not want to settle for mediocre.
That dedication to changing myself with running has helped me overall as a person. I feel better about everything. And if just a few more things can fall into place personally in the next few months, I feel like this year will be the best year ever in so many ways.
With my running, it all started with a run in the rain and then a few days later running in the mountains. If I could do that with very little training, I felt like I could do anything. So in the first quarter of the year, I haven’t told myself “no” with anything. I’ve become a “yes” man for the most part and not let excuses get the best of me.
I’m ending the first quarter with 257.8 miles — far and away the most I’ve ever done in the first quarter of the year. It makes my 1,000 miles goal seem much more realistic than just putting it out there at the beginning of the year. Since I haven’t come close to 1,000 since 2007, making that statement on Jan. 1 didn’t make any sense; that’s why I waited so long. I’m over my fear of injuries and it’s time to focus on this big-picture goal.
As I look ahead to the next three months of the year, my goals are simple: run every day in the month of April; run at least one 5k (I’m signed up for one on April 17); and stay above the 1,000-mile pace. Everything else is bonus.
As March and the first quarter of the year come to a close, I keep thinking about “what’s next.” But I’m not sure why. Back in February I mentioned a goal that I had in April: running at least one mile every day in the month. While another “big” race would be nice, I can’t afford to pop out $75 or more to run another half marathon right now. My fitness is there to do it and my mind is too, but it’s important that I shift my focus to this bigger personal goal of mine.
Ideally I’d like to have as few 1-mile days as possible — maybe a couple a week to serve as “rest” days. Otherwise, I want it to be running as normal. Just more often. To keep with my goal of running 1,000 miles for the year, I’d like to get at or above the monthly pace of 83.3 miles to stay ahead of things.
On paper it looks and sounds easy; pulling it off, though, is the challenge I have yet to face. Along the way I do plan to run a 5k, so my desire to race will still be met. But this will be like a month-long race and the opponent is me and proving to myself that this can be done.
It’s been a few months since I’ve been able to just go out and run without thinking about a race or talking about it. But today, I did. It was just me and my good running pal Duke … and we just ran for the fun of it. I need a few more runs like that.
Today’s run puts me at 250.2 miles for the year, giving me a great pace for my new 1,000-mile goal. It’s nice to stay above the 1,000-mile pace so I don’t have to play catchup at all. Now, I just have to keep it up …
Over on Daily Mile today there is a lot of talk about goals for this spring and summer. This is one reason I love doing the Shamrock in March — I’ve gotten a big race out of the way. Just less than three months into this year, I’m near 250 miles already. Usually, though, I slack off and have a pretty rotten April, which leads to a poor showing in May, which leads to “starting over” with training in June. The problem in the past couple of years is that I haven’t had any bigger goals to focus on. I’ve either been injured or worried about being injured, so I don’t do anything in the nicest months to run.
But now that I’m healthy and I’m all jazzed up about running again, it’s time that I have some more hardcore goals. Injuries be damned.
As I’ve hinted at before, I am now officially making it a goal to run 1,000 miles for the calendar year. I really wanted to set this goal at the end of 2009, but I needed to see how training for the Shamrock Half would go. I needed to make sure that a few days after that race that I wasn’t hurt and that I could keep running. Well, I can keep going. While I have some soreness, I’ve run twice in three days since the race, something I would have never considered doing in the past. While I’ll likely tone it down a bit, it’s time for me to focus on the scope of the year and getting to quadruple digits for the first time ever.
Somewhere last year I stopped caring about how many miles I ran. They become unimportant. While I wanted to focus on quality, I got away from realizing how important quantity is. And yes, quantity is important. It’s important for my motivation; it’s important to build a base for marathon training later this year; it’s important because I like running again.
Every runner is different, but I think a lot of people will agree with me that mileage really is just more than a number. With tonight’s 4.1-mile run, I am already at 1/3 of the miles I ran for all of last year. How could 201.3 miles 67 days into the year not give me a crazy confidence boost? That’s a pace of more than 1,000 miles for year … perhaps a goal I’ll soon make official.
Beyond the miles is the fact that many of my runs have been great this year. My pace is better and more consistent; I intentionally run bigger hills again; and, as I’ve already said, I like running again. I like it.
* “I heard it was …” That was the talk around the office since Tuesday afternoon about the weather. The rumor in the Lynchburg area about 30 inches ran rampant, but you know what? It wasn’t too far from the truth. A few hours away it’s still snowing, and some of those areas already have 30 inches. Here we got about a half a foot of snow, a lot of sleet, some freezing rain and then another inch of snow. This afternoon it’s sunny, the roads are in great shape and the snow was pretty easy to just push off the vehicles. It’s actually kind of nice. But the softness of the snow right now will quickly change with temperatures dipping to the mid-teens the next two nights.
* Since my 10-mile struggle the other night, I’ve had two good runs. A watchless 4.1-mile journey with my dog on Thursday and then 7 miles today. Today’s run was in a light snow, through a few very lightly covered back roads. It was kind of peaceful actually.
* Running 20 miles or more a week consistently is very hard to do. Running 20 or more good miles is even harder. But for the third week in a row, I’ve done that. While I did struggle a bit the other day, I had a good week overall. For the five weeks this year I am just under 100 miles, averaging 19.68 miles a week. I might get in a short run tomorrow that would increase that even more. It’s early, but that actually has me on pace for more than 1,000 miles for the year. That’s another thought for another day though.
* I bought new shoes. (A quick shout-out to Holabird Sports for an awesome transaction even though the shoes were out of stock for a day.) I opted to stick with Brooks Ravenna (the color to the right). With this weather, though, I’ve only gotten one run in them. For this pair I vow to do a better job with counting how many miles I get in them. I haven’t been doing that much lately and I need to figure out if I’m getting good enough mileage in my shoes.
I stuck with the Ravenna line because they work well for me. I debated on whether or not to go back to Asics, but I’ve worn my previous Ravenna shoes since early September. That’s five-plus months of somewhat low mileage until recently, but they’ve been through two races, a lot of rain, over mountains, through the snow (including today) and they’re still holding up. They’ll continue to be good shoes for messy trails and bad weather for the next month or so. If it ain’t broke, don’t fit it, right? It’s no offense to Asics, but Brooks just last longer for me.
* There are six weeks and a day until the Shamrock Half Marathon. I sure hope this weather pattern changes by then. That race, by the way, sold out a while ago at 8,000 registered runners. It’s weird to say this so far out, but I’m more ready for this race than I’ve ever been. With six weeks to go, I have time on my side to get faster and stronger and put more effort into it than I ever have. The work remains, but I’m ready, eager and willing to do it. I haven’t been able to say that too confidently before.
At the beginning of this week I made a promise to myself to step up the intensity of my workouts. Well, three out of the four days I have. After tonight’s workout at the gym, I’m at a total of 35.6 miles of walking, biking, running and elliptical machining (is that a word?). While this blog has always been about running and logging those miles, I’m finding it to be a fun and exciting new challenge to count all these other miles I’ve never done.
Interesting enough, earlier this week I went back to recalculate all my miles for the year to make sure everything is accurate. Of course I was off here and there, but nothing drastic. Anyway, with all my miles this week, I have eclipsed 1,000 miles of exercise for the year. I hit that 1,000th mile on an exercise bike yesterday. While I want to eventually have 1,000 running miles in a year, this will have to do for now. I hope that by taking this approach to less pavement running over the next few months, my body will be ready for longer distances again next year. After dealing with injuries on and off for the first half of the year and then being completely lazy in September, the 1,000-mile milestone feels great no matter how its counted.
In my mind, this month has been a disaster. But when I look at my numbers, someone should tell me to shut up and be happy with what happened after taking a tumble down my stairs. I think my issue is that I wanted so bad for July to be the best month of the year, but it just didn’t quite happen.
I set a reasonable goal of 75 miles for the month, with the thinking that I’d probably be around 80 or so. With today’s 5.2 mile run, my total is actually 79.5. That’s just 7 miles short of my high for the year set in February. Had I not hurt my tail bone, I likely would’ve been in the low 90s. It’s like I’ve suddenly set low expectations for myself with running.
July marks the third consecutive month of fairly stead mileage increases. It’s almost hard to believe that my mileage was four times that of April, which I basically took a break after my foot issues. Basically since April, my mileage has increased 20 miles a month … will that trend continue?
What’s missing from July is biking. Before the injury, I got in 9.2 miles and was pretty much on pace to have 20 or so. My goal was 25. So despite things going great with running, I feel behind on things because my cross training — which basically didn’t exist until this year — is way off.
Of note is the fact that I walked 38.9 miles, my highest total for the year by 7 miles … all thanks to not being able to ride my bike. Walking isn’t nearly as important to me as biking, but it’s better than nothing I guess.
My official training numbers since June 1 are as follows: 140 running miles, 58.4 walking miles and 51.7 biking miles (thanks to a great week in the Outer Banks). For the year, I have 641 total miles, which are broken down like this: 381.7 running, 162.9 walking and 96.4 biking.
It’s no secret that I’d love to hit 1,000 miles in a 12 month span, so if it’s to happen between July 2008 and June 2009, I’m off to a good start. To hit 1,000 miles, I have to average slightly more than 83 miles a month. August is going to be good — my goal is for 90-plus miles. After that, I’ll have to figure out if pursuing 1,000 is what I want to do. As for now, my tail bone needs a break from sitting at the computer …
In 8 months of blogging, I’ve been fortunate to not have any injuries. Since fall 2006, I’ve basically stayed injury free. I had some nagging heel pain back in March, but nothing major. My main goal as I trained for the marathon was to stay injury free.
So imagine my disappointment this week when my right heel started bothering me. It’s similar to what I felt back in March — it’s more of a major discomfort than a real pain. Since the marathon, I’ve had some discomforts here and there, but this is the first issue I’ve had in a while that actually made me not run for a day. This morning it was just too much. I opted to just walk my dog and by the end of the walk it wasn’t too bad. It’s been a day of where I can feel it, but it doesn’t feel major.
I guess it’s good that I have an upcoming trip to Ohio and that Christmas is right around the corner. I don’t want to ruin my chances of running in the Shamrock Half Marathon, so I’ll be doing a lot of not pushing it too hard for the next several days. That seems to be the story of my running life these last two months of the year. Some downtime is good, but I feel like I’m falling behind. But the way I look at it, I’m still in much better shape than a year ago when I was getting ready to start training for Shamrock. Rest did me some good with my knee issues then, so I’m counting on rest doing its thing this time.
So this will end all talk of hitting 1,000 miles this calendar year. Fellow blogger Danny suggested that I could still do 1,000 miles … just do it in a 12-month span. No need for the calendar. It’s a great idea and something I’ll consider.
As for my 2008 plans, let me get through this issue first to make sure I’m OK …
After completing the Richmond Marathon, running wasn’t high on my priority list. All I felt like doing was getting some rest. When I did run, I felt unmotivated despite having one more goal this year. Then I got sick. Talk about being unmotivated.
Then came this week. I have finally felt healthy and rested, so this week was about getting back on my feet and feeling normal again. At week’s end, I find myself just shy of 20 miles (19.6 to be exact), including a “long” run today of 6.1 miles that made me like running again. Today was the first time since the marathon that I can say I felt like running for a reason. I felt comfortable and once again I felt focused. I think all I needed was downtime to get back to this feeling, but in the past month I have been frustrated instead of being patient.
Today is a relief. With 90 days to go until the Shamrock Half Marathon, it felt like a kickoff training run. Finally, I can run with confidence again.
Now, about that 1,000-mile goal. I should have done this a while ago, but today I went back and recalculated my mileage from the year. Since hitting 1,000 miles was never a goal until I realized how close I was to it, my mileage-keeping wasn’t the best. While my weekly mileage was accurate, I had a few miscalculations for monthly totals including being off a few miles in January, June and 10 miles in September. All total I have 13 fewer miles as of today for the year than I thought I had. I’m at 944.7. While hitting 1,000 miles is still a possibility, it’s a little more out of reach than I first thought, especially with a trip coming up. I blame my usually good math skills on this one, but getting sick and having two weeks with just 7 miles certainly didn’t help.
I’m a little mad at myself, but like I’ve already said, hitting quadruple digits just wasn’t something I thought about until recently. With time running out in 2007, I need two 28-mile weeks. While I want to be in the 25-30 mile range for my half marathon training, I don’t want to overdo it just to hit 1,000 miles. Coming off a rest period and an illness, I don’t think it’s the smart thing to do. Between now and the end of the year, I want to run smart before I get heavy into training again and higher mileage.
This all being said, I’ll lay out my 2008 goals sometime soon. And you better believe running 1,000 miles will be on the list.