I’m not sure when I ran four days in a row last, but the April streak has started off well, despite the challenge of traveling over Easter weekend and keeping very busy. My mileage hasn’t been what I had hoped, but that’s not the point right now. I wanted to start off slow and not burn myself out.
Day 1 was supposed to happen around 6 a.m. Thursday, but I slept to my normal time and ended up running 2.2 miles that evening. Since I traveled on Friday, I got up the next morning and ran 3.5 miles — perhaps the first time I’ve ever ran twice within 12 hours. At least I don’t recall if I’ve ever done that. Also on Friday, I spent much of the afternoon at the North Carolina Zoo, which is enough exercise for two days in itself. I capped off the day by playing cornhole for about 2 hours.
Saturday morning I got up and ran 2.1 miles in my brother-in-law’s hilly neighborhood. I wanted to do more, but I was flat-out tired from the day before. Then last night I had a decent run of 3.8 miles. Four for four.
Just a reminder that this week I am participating in Relay for Life. Click here for the details. The more you donate, the more I’ll run.
At the end of next week, I plan to run through two straight days. No, really. I plan to start running before midnight Friday evening and run past midnight on Saturday morning. All for the American Cancer Society.
For the past two years I have raised money to help out the VCU Massey Cancer Center as part of the Monument Avenue 10k — in 2008 my friends, family and many people I didn’t know donated $1,000 for the cause. Last year my fundraising efforts weren’t as impressive, but I honestly didn’t make as big of a push as I should have. This year, since I opted not to do that race, I have felt like something was missing. But this week I got an email from my alma mater — Lynchburg College — that changed it all.
The LC Central Virginia Alumni Club has a team for next week’s Relay for Life, which will be held on the Dell at the college. My initial reaction was that I wanted to help in some way. After 10 minutes of thinking, I knew what I had to do — take my personal goal of running every day in the month of April to another level. Start running on April 9 and finish on April 10. Then I took it to another level — for every set amount of money donated, I will run a mile.
So, here is what I am doing. For every $50 I receive I will run 1 mile between April 9-10, up to 10 miles or $500; for every $100 after that I will run another mile, up to 5 additional miles or $500. That’s 15 miles that I will run to fight cancer if I receive $1,000 in donations by April 9. Please don’t think the $1,000 is a cap though — if the donations go beyond that, just keep giving.
To donate, visit my page here. If you’re in the Lynchburg area and would like to join the team, or just join me for a run that night, please leave a comment below with your email address (which is not displayed when put in the proper box) and I’ll be in touch.
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 …
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.
With two weeks to go to the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, I continue to find myself not obsessed about it. Usually this close to a race I over analyze things, usually because I feel like I haven’t done enough. For the first time in a long time, I truly believe that I’ve done all I can do in the course of two-plus months to get ready for this race. And considering the way this winter has been and how much snow has been on the ground and piled up on sidewalks, I’m really content to just run this race and see what happens.
With this being my fourth Shamrock Half, I can easily say that this has been my second best winter of training so far. The best was in 2007 when I was with a speed and endurance training group once a week. Even then, though, I don’t think I was as consistent as I have been this winter.
My mileage has been great — I’m quickly approaching 200 miles for the year with seven straight weeks of 20-plus miles. That includes seven straight weeks of a long run of 10 miles or more. Previously, I may have run two or three double-digit long runs to get ready for a half marathon. I’ve also gotten consistently faster this winter. I’ve admittedly not done enough speed work as I’d like, but my overall comfortable pace is faster — probably a good 30 seconds a mile faster than at any point last year.
Since I ran the Richmond Marathon in 2007, I have well documented my issues with my feet. Since going to the doctor last year, I’ve gone from managing my problems to just not having any problems anymore. I remember the doctor telling me that the issues may never go away and that I’d have to deal with it in many different ways. I probably should not have run Shamrock in 2008. Last year was fine, but I probably should not have run two races two weekends in a row. Lessons learned.
My No. 1 goal has always been to stay injury free, but I started to become obsessed about it. Now that I haven’t had problems in a while, my focus has shifted to the bigger picture — having a successful year. I want to have a year that I don’t have regrets and that I don’t look back and say I wish I would have done something. Injuries are going to happen, but by starting the year off so great and so focused on getting back to basics, things are just falling into place naturally. I never wanted to force anything with my running, but I did and I became a runner I didn’t want to become.
So with the Shamrock Half, my goal is to do the best I can without holding back. Yes, a PR would be great — that 1:44:23 has been there for a long time now. But staying healthy through the spring months is an even greater feeling. My worst months in recent years have been April and May, which only sets me up to start completely over in the summer. I can’t do that this year.
I wanted to bring attention to a couple of bloggers in the Lynchburg, Va., area who are doing some amazing running — they’re running every day for a year.
- Project Three Six Five
Heather, who local residents may know from Riverside Runners, has a simple goal — run at least 1 mile every day for 365 straight days this calendar year.
Margaret, who local residents may know from a local TV station, also has a simple goal of running at least 1 mile for an entire year. Her streak started in November and she plans to cap it off with a marathon.
Check out those blogs, add them to your blogroll or Google Reader or however you keep up with posts. It’s pretty inspirational … which has me thinking, can I put together a streak? At this point in time in my life, I don’t want to run every day for 365 straight days. Only until recently have I actually regularly run three days in a row. But I also know that a lone mile can be a good rest day.
So this being said, I’m making plans now to run at least a mile every day for April. Since I’m in the middle of training for the Shamrock Half, I don’t want to set this goal for March. I want to do it in a month that I usually struggle. Every year for the past three years I do Shamrock and then get lazy. I know I have the Richmond Marathon in November, so focusing on something completely different in April will help me continue to build my base and give me something to look forward to this spring.
If all goes well in April, who knows what kind of streaking I might do …
I love running in the snow … but prolonged cold temperatures? I’m over it. It’s certainly been one of the most bizarre winters I’ve experienced in Virginia. While snow isn’t uncommon, the fact that it’s been around for so long is. While most of the December snow melted before the second big one a few weeks ago, I’ve seen some kind of snow on the ground — from covering the ground to completely to ugly parking lot snow — since Dec. 18. That’s just too long.
There’s been some pretty good melting in the past few days — I actually saw some grass yesterday — there’s the potential for up to 3 inches of snow tomorrow. All this snow just keeps things cold — the long-range forecast keeps temperatures in the mid- to upper 30s, with a hint of 40 degrees a week from now. So when I run in the evenings, that means it’ll still be in the low 30s, which pretty much means long sleeves and long pants. I haven’t wore shorts much at all.
I know it’s winter and I shouldn’t complain, but it hasn’t bothered me much until this week. Today I was just tired of it. I think I’m just tired in general, but the cold air is not motivating.
On the good news side of things, this week marked my fourth straight week with 20 or more running miles, a very nice streak indeed. This week also marked my third 10 miler three weeks in a row — I’m pretty sure that’s something I haven’t done in nearly three years when I trained for my first (and only so far) marathon. For my half marathons, I have generally tried to get it only two double-digit runs before the race, but my strategy this time around is obviously different.
So far this month I’ve run 45-plus miles, and like January, these have mostly been high quality miles. I’ve gotten in a few runs that are just for the sake of getting in a couple of miles, but to me those are just as important. To have a mix of great runs, so-so runs and flat-out bad runs is what keeps things interesting for me.
* “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.
Last week I got into a brief argument on Twitter that this is not the end of the decade, so why are news stories saying such things? Well, debate all you want – maybe there was no year “0,” but that was 2,000-plus years ago. I didn’t celebrate the end of the 1980s at the end of 1990 or the end of the ’90s at the end of 2000. So this decade, to me, is ending. If you want to celebrate it next year, then go for it. Just don’t invite me to your party at the end of 2020 to celebrate the end of the ’10s. To me this decade began Jan. 1, 2000, and ends in about two weeks. A decade is a period 10 years – you can’t deny the definition of the word.
Anyway, enough of that rant. It’s time to reflect. When looking back on this past decade of my life, it’s easy to say that my adventure into adulthood has been full of changes. I’ve graduated college, gotten married, changed cities a few times, had a son, bought a couple of houses and started running after a long layoff. To have a “Top 5 Running-related Moments of the 2000s” is kind of weird since I’ve only been running since 2004, but running helps define who I am today. It’s important to me to highlight the top events since this adventure began. It’ll help lead me into the next 10 years.
#5 – My first race
After getting married in 2004, I had to do something to keep me motivated so I signed up for the four-miler in Lynchburg that was part of the Virginia Ten Miler event. I’ll never forget standing at that starting line being so nervous. I had those weird thoughts of finishing last or falling down or something crazy like that. What happened, though, was this amazing feeling of accomplishment at the end of the race. It was almost overwhelming. Most importantly, it kept me going. Forty races later, I’m still running.
#4 – The right gear
Getting properly fitted for shoes, getting a Garmin, discovering non-cotton attire and getting an iPod – all these rolled into one at various points in the past six years – have transformed my running experience.
#3 – 13.1 as a father
I revisited this post earlier this year in my top highlights from the year, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be on this list too. In fact, I debated whether or not it should be No. 2 or No. 3. The feeling of just doing that race so soon after my son was born is still indescribable.
#1 – Jan. 1, 2004
A hike up to Crabtree Falls in Nelson County was the beginning of this journey. While I had a goal to lose weight for my wedding, this picture of me changed everything. It could be the most important picture of my life. I saw it and knew I had to change. Little did I know how much change it would bring, but I’m so glad it did. This photo helps remind me of where I came from and where I never want to be again.
For six years of running, it’s hard to pick a top five. I wrestled with certain things to put in here, such as starting this blog. I started as “Running in Lynchburg” in the spring of 2007 to document my Richmond Marathon training. Blogging is right up there with gear — it’s helped keep me motivated in the past few years.
This year alone has been full of memorable moments, but I didn’t want immediate hindsight to play a role in this list. It’s hard … very hard … to keep “Stung in the eye” off this list. To me, though, the decade list was more about my accomplishments rather than the negative things. Moments like the Virginia Ten Miler and my first Shamrock Half Marathon that happened before my blogging days were great, but didn’t quite make it to the top 5.
All in all my running experience since 2004 has been great. I’m looking forward to what this next decade has to offer …