Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

Daily Chase: Vol. 25

One of the most interesting things I’ve learned during my #chasing42runstreak is just how creative you can get with a simple mile. There are days when I would otherwise be resting, and I’m simply going out to get my mile in. Sometimes that means an easy run around the block, but sometimes that means seeing what I can explore in a short period of time. We’ve all been out on runs and looked to the left or right and wondered what was down that path, up that hill, down that hill, or through those trees. The joy of targeting a single mile is deciding that you can dedicate your run to answering those questions and see what the experience is like. Whether you are running a mile or 20, give yourself permission to answer those questions. Sure, it make change your pace and you may get your shoes a bit dirtier, but you’ll be stronger and happier for it!

Chasing42 Log: 20160208 & 20160209

Run: My run last night was all about that exploration. It was my first day back teaching and I was energized after a great couple of classes. I headed back to Winterthur to pick the epicurean up, and decided to go a bit early and do some of that exploring. I drive past a pretty substantial hill every time I pick her up, but I’d yet to truly “bond” with it. My current focus on vertical gain made trying it out the perfect solution for my  needed mile. The hill was no joke, and I squeezed in more gain in a mile than I have in a long time. I’ll no doubt toss this hill into future workouts, or perhaps see how many repeats I can do before my legs fall off! My run this morning was much different, but quite pleasant as I stayed close to home amid the falling snow :)

Not bad for a mile!

Not bad for a mile!

Thought: I’m a huge fan of Altra shoes, and they have become my go-to shoes for a number of different scenarios. Their #zerolimits mantra resonated with me even more last night. So often, we find ourselves limited by the roads set before us and that often means missing out on a lot of the world around us. However, if we can start seeing new roads in every direction, and take the plunge, the opportunities before us are immense. There truly are #zerolimits when you are #chasing42!

Daily Chase: Vol. 24

The weekend ended up being a bit of a haphazard blur. Although things certainly didn’t go accordingly to plan, the end result was still something positive! We were having some plumbing issues with our shower drain, so I called someone out to snake it on Friday. However, what began as a simple drain cleaning turned into a host of issues and a significant portion of our water pipes being replaced. The epicurean and I have had plenty of experience with previous homeowners doing a poor job with repair projects, and this was yet another example of work that wasn’t done right the first time. Unfortunately, we seem to keep paying for these mistakes. This meant I was unable to use the shower on Saturday morning before work, so my regularly scheduled run was off the table. It was certainly an odd feeling to be sitting at home working on class prep early on a Saturday morning instead of out running, but flexibility is an important trait to possess, right? We weren’t able to have a plumber out until Sunday afternoon, which made things a bit interesting for the weekend, but we can now be sure that our plumbing is in excellent shape, and will last us for a long time to come. I just wish these valuable pieces of mind didn’t cost so much money :)

Chasing42 Log: 20160206 & 20160207

Run: I couldn’t head out for my regularly scheduled Saturday morning run, but I was quite antsy after working all day Saturday so I decided to go out for a short run anyway (a little plumbing problem wasn’t going to end my streak!). What started out as an easy run around the neighborhood turned into a longer tempo run with the final mile culminating in a new mile PR. I certainly wasn’t expecting the speed, especially since I was searching out as many hills as I could, but it made me feel a whole lot better! I managed an awkward sponge bath in the kitchen sink when I got back, but was definitely worth it. On Sunday, I got the plumbers squared away, and then met up with a friend for a longer run. He took me on some paved trails I hadn’t explored yet, and pushed the pace a bit (as I was hoping he would do). The hills and the pace, after such a fast run the night before, definitely caught up to me but the end result was a fantastic workout so I couldn’t have been happier with the weekend!

Thought: Now that the epicurean and I have purchased two houses and discovered plenty of issues in both that weren’t caught by the inspection, I’ve been wondering much more why inspectors aren’t allowed to do a more thorough job. Your house is most likely the largest purchase you will ever make, with enough moving parts and potential problems to make your head spin, and yet you aren’t allowed to give it more than a cursory glance. I can more thoroughly inspect a pair of shoes than I can a house. This simply makes no sense to me. I absolutely understand that all houses will have some issues, but there are enough shoddy contractors and wannabe DIYers that I’m hard-pressed to trust anyone when they say they’ve disclosed every issue. It’s a sad reality that people lie so easily and so readily, but it also means the justification for a more thorough inspection is clearly warranted. There is no doubt some ridiculous red-tape bureaucratic  reason, but that doesn’t make swallowing the added surprises expenses incurred by someone else’s stupidity any easier. It’s just one of the many questions I have as I keep #chasing42!

Daily Chase: Vol. 23

At this point, I’m looking for hills on just about every run I take, which has meant pushing my body a bit harder than I have in the past. I’m all the more cognizant of the importance of sleep, stretching, and foam-rolling, and I’m doing my best to tackle all three with the same mental toughness as I do my runs. Do you take the time to care for your body in those three ways? Do you have any tricks for reminding yourself of just how important each aspect of your training is on a daily basis? Feel free to share as I’m always open to suggestions!

Chasing42 Log: 20160204 & 20160205

Run: My jaunts on Thursday and Friday were more about squeezing in the miles amidst a busy schedule. I made the late-night trek home from Winterthur on Thursday and logged a few hill repeats at Winterthur on Friday. The weather has continued to hold up nicely, so getting the body moving is always a plus!

Thought: I’ve been thinking a lot about my running and training schedule in the context of a soon-to-change schedule. I’ll begin teaching at the University of Delaware on Monday (today), so my time will be at much more of a premium, and I would imagine I’ll have to get even more creative with my routes and timing. It’s another challenge I’m looking forward to as I continue #chasing42!

Daily Chase: Vol. 22

My hilly onslaught has continued this week  and I’ve been taking the time to observe various elevation gains over various distances, and it’s been interesting to compare the hills I’ve been tackling. I still have a few other local areas to explore, but I’m beginning to get a sense of where I can get the most bang for my buck, and it’s exciting to feel as though I know the area a bit better. This may seem strange considering we’ve been in Delaware since May. However, the number of times I’ve run the same route and the same hill would make your head spin, so it’s nice to break out of my comfort zone a bit. I still don’t know the roads and hills like the back of my hand, but I’m well on my way! 

Chasing42 Log: 20160202 & 20160203

Run: Tuesday’s run was a simple jaunt home from Winterthur since the epicurean needed the car for some work-related adventures. Yesterday, I decided to see what sort of climbing I could string together on the Winterthur grounds, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I was able to accomplish in a relatively short distance. 

Thought: As I was talking with a friend yesterday about our respective upcoming races, my thoughts began to meander back to the subject of goals. I was discussing my efforts to increase my climbing, and he was mentioning the incredibly flat elevation profile of his upcoming marathon. Our races are a day apart, but couldn’t be more different. That’s the beauty of it, though. Our goals are different but equally admirable, and they are both based on the resources we have at our disposal. If I had still been living in Iowa, I would have most likely been running the same race as him (it’s still on my to do list!). As I know all too well, he doesn’t have access to much in the way of hills, but he has plenty of capacity for speed work on the flat Iowa roads. It also helps that he is significantly faster than me :) We each have our goals, and know that we have the tools at our disposal to reach them. It’s all the more important to make sure that when you are #chasing42, you know it’s achievable. There’s plenty of hard work either way, but the light at the end of the tunnel will be there waiting! 

Daily Chase: Vol. 21

The reality of the Georgia Death Race and the insane climbs it encompasses set in for me pretty early on. However, the intensity of my training didn’t necessarily match that reality. I’ve been getting in quality miles all along, but not necessarily including as much vertical gain as I would have liked. It’s amazing to think about how much my views on vert have changed since moving to Delaware. In Iowa, I’m not sure I would have even bothered signing up for the GDR. The flat lands don’t provide much natural opportunity for trail running or climbing. However, I continue to be impressed and energized by the amazing trails and significant climbs I have surrounding me. I’m at a point where I’m getting in more climbing in one shorter run in Delaware than I did in weeks worth of running in Iowa, and I love every grueling, quad-burning moment of it!

Chasing42 Log: 20160131 & 20160201

Run: Both yesterday and today were all about climbing, and I did plenty of it! Yesterday, I revisited a part of our route from Saturday and did some repeats on two of the largest hills I’ve found yet. This might have been the first time I was truly feeling like I was preparing myself for what was to come in March. I repeated the process with a rain-soaked run full of hill repeats this afternoon as well. My calves are perhaps a bit tighter as a result of all of the climbing I’ve been doing, but I feel like my legs are holding up really well, and I’m embracing the uptick in strength and endurance. I may not have mountains out my backdoor, but I can certainly simulate them with enough repeats!

Sunny skies and 50 degree days make running in winter a pretty darn wonderful experience!

Sunny skies and 50 degree days make running in winter a pretty darn wonderful experience!

Thought: I’m now more than two months into my #chasing42streak and have run more consecutive days than at any other point in my life. I feel like I’m settling into a routine and still finding ways to adequately recover and give my legs (and the rest of my body) the TLC it requires. Knowing that I would be running every day has certainly resulted in a slight shift in my daily mindset, but it hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. I think it’s a wonderful reminder that when you truly enjoy doing something, you don’t view it as any sort of chore or burden. I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to go out and run each day, and follow my own unique path as I continue #chasing42!

The natural beauty in this area is fantastic!

The natural beauty in this area is fantastic!

Daily Chase: Vol. 20

I generally dislike getting up before the sun, so I have a great deal of respect for folks that manage to get up extra early to run during the week. For the past few months, I’ve had the best intentions to begin rising early to get some running under my belt to start the day, but the alarm just doesn’t seem to be all that effective when in competition with warm flannel sheets and other far more enticing aspects. Saturday morning, however, is the exception. This is my day for a longer run, so getting up well before the sunrise has become commonplace at this point, and I welcome it with open arms. It may mean that our Friday nights aren’t exactly action packed, but I look forward to these long runs all week. This is my chance to truly test my endurance, and explore new areas for longer periods of time, without the usual constraints of work, daylight, or other weekly concerns. Saturday mornings, I suppose, are my time to reflect on the week, and look ahead to the upcoming week, all while moving along at a comfortable clip. It becomes a partially solitary church service that would make St. Thomas proud.

Chasing42 Log: 20160130

Run: My legs felt a bit sluggish when I woke up around 4:30AM, but my eagerness to get out the door and enjoy the time to myself overruled any complaining my legs were doing. I enjoyed a wonderful pre-dawn run by myself, and then met up with some friends. We headed out on a route I had never been on before, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see some new areas and scout out some fantastic hills along the way. After we finished up our run together, I took the long way home by myself again. I probably under-hydrated and should have consumed a few more calories, but I was feeling pretty darn good when I got back. The sun was shining, the air was warming up, and the weekend was upon us!

Thought: I’m going to take yesterday as the universe’s way of reimbursing me for the previous day’s failings. I reckon it’s rather important to remember that our lives are filled with a myriad of moments. Some of them are “good”, some are “bad”, but these terms are ultimately open to interpretation. Nothing we do, say, or feel is inherently positive or negative. We simply make choices about the value we place on each experience. If we can take the time to figure out what there is to be learned and gained from every experience, then we’ll ultimately be much better off. Sometimes it’s easier than others, but it’s all part of #chasing42!

Daily Chase: Vol. 19

I’ve been thinking more lately about setting goals. I’m working on solidifying my 2016 race schedule with regard to the larger races, and I have far more races on my list than I could ever run (or afford). The ability to prioritize and contextualize is quite important, whether it be choosing races that fit into your life, or making most other life decisions. Ideally, everything to do works together to create a more complete life experience. There are always pieces of the puzzle missing, but those are simply the blank tiles that make your personal scrabble board that much more interesting.

Chasing42 Log: 20160129

Run: Some runs are simply doomed from the get-go and Friday’s run might have been just that. I had planned to run immediately after work but plans changed so I drove home first and laced up. I had mentally prepared for a longer run, but from a predetermined destination, and when that plan shifted, I adjusted my expectations. However, a quick inadvertent step in a large icy puddle, followed by a giant rock in my shoe sent a clear signal on this particular cold, dark night that I should finish up and head home.

Thoughts: Goals are a strange beast. Sometimes I consider the possibility that I ultimately set goals for all aspects of my life, even when not required. They are often arbitrary, but once I’ve mentally committed to a plan, my mind focuses until the outcome has been realized. This is a fantastic quality when it comes to achieving larger accomplishments, but can get in the way when it comes to day-to-day goals, where circumstances can change quickly. What’s even more odd is that I only find myself setting those stringent day-to-day goals at certain times, while easily going with the flow in others. My mind is a strange place, and I’ve never claimed it to be anything but…I suppose that’s why I keep #chasing42!

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