Left: waiving at Britt after a rare evening race. Right: looking behind me before an early morning race.
This post is just an accountability update from my report at the end of March, where I announced to the innanetz my running goal to hit 1000 miles this year. Unfortunately, I got sick of running midway through April and gave up on that goal. I’m totally kidding about the ‘giving up’ stuff. To date, I have not fallen short of my 25m/week goal, nor have I had a month wherein I did not exceed the 100m/month goal. I have all of these mini goals to thank for keeping me on track for the 1000 mile goal.
For this quarter, I decided to do some races. I have kept them all short and sweet. The shortest has been 5k, and the longest, 10k. Running these distances in a competitive setting a couple weekends per month has proven to be incredibly fun. Since I don’t really have expectations, or (for the most part) anyone waiting at the finish line, the pressure to do well has been incredibly low. I have always loved the energy of road racing. To be honest, the NY and Chicago marathons are tied for the time I experiences the most euphoric ‘runner’s high.’ The beauty of running these shorties (esp the Central Park ones), is that I’m generally done, showered and, home ready for the rest of the day by 10 AM. And I mean, since I’m doing a few races, may as well do the 9+1 next year’s NY Marathon, right? I thought so, too. Two races to go.
What I have learned about myself and running in the past 90 days:
- Cold weather running, while harder to get motivated about and requires more gear, is much easier on the bod. Running in the heat hurts a lot more and takes longer to recover from. In the past, I had always quit running once it started to get cold, and would pick up again once it got warm. This year is the first time that I have ever experienced the sharp contrast between the two seasons.
- Consistency is key. I have done a million different training programs for a million different races. Not until I had this 25/m per week goal, has running ever truly been a part of my routine and felt easy.
- Ambiance is nice. One of the things that turned me onto running in the first place, is enjoying all of the scenery and things happening around me. I found it much less boring than the gym. For a long time I was not able to run with music, because I would sweat-to- death every device (early MP3 players, iPod nanos, you name it) that I brought running with me. I also hated the headphone cable being constantly glued to me with my own sweat. Since the advent of waterproof bluetooth headphones, life has been different. While I now run with music a lot (esp if I have a new playlist or need some extra motivation), I still enjoy switching it up and going no-jams a few times per week.
- Stretching, rolling and strength training is necessary for old guys. I never did this conditioning/flexibility crap when I was younger. I eventually had knee problems in my 30s when my IT bands started to calcify. A few months of recovery PT taught me some habits that I still employ. Even though I don’t stretch after every run, I do at least every other time. I also foam roll my ITs, glutes and lower back once per week. I mix in strength training whenever it is too rainy outside to run.
- Sleep is important. It doesn’t seem like is was as much of a factor when I was younger, but I definitely notice a huge difference these days when I don’t get a solid sleep before a run.
If I was perfectly on track with my goal right now, I would be at 500 miles for the year. As it stands, I broke the 700 mile mark last weekend. I’m feeling okay about the whole situation and enjoying running as much as I ever have. Crossing my fingers and toes that I’m not somehow jinxing myself by publishing any of this nonsense. Knock on wood that I can stay healthy and injury free for the rest of the year (and the rest of my life, haha). Hey, shoot for the moon, land in the starts, right?
Left: the most brutal foam roller I have ever used. Right: pre-run selfie in summer gear, 17 lbs lighter than Jan 1.