Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

Archive for the category “31in31”

My 6-Month Reflection

It’s a bit hard to believe it’s July 1st already. The past 6 months seem to have flown by, and yet I find myself still wishing I had more time to get more things crossed off my ever-evolving to-do list. Regardless, this is as good a time as any to stop and reflect on the first half of the year as I look forward to the second half. I’ve had quite a busy winter and spring, and I’ve commented before on my period of goal-less activity. That being said, I’ve still accomplished quite a bit, and I’m really looking forward to the challenges that await me over the next 6 months!

It has already been a crazy 23, uh, I mean 2013!

It has already been a crazy 23, uh, I mean 2013!

31 in 31: I wanted to start the year off right by running every day in January, and it was certainly a successful start to the year! I also pledged to run 2013 miles in 2013 and I’m well on my way to that goal as well.

Marathon PR: My only major race during the spring was the Little Rock Marathon. When I initially registered, I was looking for an early marathon in the spring so that I could plan for multiple spring races. Although I didn’t get a chance to register for any additional marathons during the spring months, I was pretty darn happy about PR’ing in Little Rock! It was a great race and it left me hungry for more speed.

Speed Increase: Although I haven’t been as intentional about my speed work as I had hoped, I’ve still made some great strides has my speed and endurance have both increased. My average paces are continuing to drop, and I’m seeing times that I didn’t think possible even a year ago.

Nutritional Awareness: It can be easy to look to races when talking about goals, but I’ve been really pleased with the work I’ve put into my nutrition research as well. With the beautiful epicurean’s help, I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different foods, and exploring some great endurance nutrition substitutes as I work to remove the GUs and gels from my training.

Marathon Ready: My schedule was incredibly busy the first 6 months as I worked on finishing up my dissertation, and that meant not being able to travel to as many races as I had hoped. However, I pledged to keep my endurance up so I could run a marathon on any given weekend. I’m happy to say I’ve kept my training up, and have run an additional 5 unorganized marathon distances this year.

I’m A Maniac: I’ve talked about wanting to join the Marathon Maniacs since last year, and I hit my race goals to do so. However, I just recently took the plunge, paid my dues, and entered the InSane AsyLum. I couldn’t be happier! I can already tell that this group is a perfect fit for my brand of crazy, and I’m going to thoroughly enjoy meeting other maniacs throughout the country!

The 24-Hour Plunge: I may not have run this race yet, and in fact have many months of training left to go, but I’m pretty darn excited about simply registering! I’m going to voluntarily run for 24 straight hours around a 1 mile track. Brilliant!

Piling up the mileage in 2013!

Piling up the mileage in 2013!

As I look back on just the last 6 months, I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have the support of family and friends, and the opportunity to lace up my shoes every day and see where the road or trail takes me. I hope your first 6 months have been full of memorable experiences and learning opportunities. Let’s make the next 6 even better!

Remembering the Run

Do you remember the first run you ever went on? Do you remember what prompted you to decide to start running in the first place? Perhaps  you didn’t enjoy it initially but after one amazing run, you were hooked.  Perhaps the weather was beautiful, or you saw a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Were you all by yourself, did someone drag you out the door, or did you head out with a group of friends?

Now, when the euphoria wore off, why did you decide you go back out for a second run? We’ve all tried plenty of things once to be adventurous, and then decided they weren’t for us, but this was different. I raise these questions because I think it’s really easy to forget the answers after you’ve been running for a while. I’ve only been at it a few years, and I still need to remind myself what got me hooked in the first place, so I’m sure others that have been at it much longer than me are doing the same thing.

During the winter months, the theme of so many running-related stories is about survival. We are thinking about how to survive the snow, the cold, the ice, the treadmill, illness, darkness, and boredom. In the process of going on the defensive during the winter months, it seems pretty easy to treat running as something to get through and move on, but you miss out on whats around you when you are preoccupied with getting past it!

Winter-Running-670x425

I can admit that I have been guilty of heading out on a run with a “must get it done” attitude, and I know I haven’t enjoyed those runs as much. I also know that I’m far from being a fan of the winter months, especially in the midwest, and I don’t enjoy the extra work involved in layering up just to get out the door. However, I want to always remember what an amazing gift it is that I have the chance to lace up and head out in the first place.

no-treadmill

A week from now, I’m going to be relaxing on a sunny beach in Trinidad (or more likely, hiking through a rainforest), and I got all of my travel vaccinations last week. This is my first experience with international travel, so I didn’t exactly know what to expect. After an hour and a half in the travel clinic, it was hard not to be worried about everything from dengue fever to diarrhea, but I remained positive. In addition to the yellow fever, typhoid, hepatitis A, and flu shots, I also received a pneumoccocal vaccination. For most folks, this isn’t a bad shot, but in 1% of patients, in can result in high fever, along with aches, pains, and chills. I won the vaccination lottery 🙂

I spent most of this past week on the couch with a fever anywhere between 100 and 103. I’m pretty sure that the most productive thing I did for three days was move from the couch to the bed. Now, I should mention that I’m really bad at being sick. I hate not being able to get things done and not having control over my time. Thus, that fact that I couldn’t run all week was really frustrating for me. I know I should have looked at it as an excellent recovery period for my legs and enjoy the rest, but I just couldn’t. The fact that I woke up three nights in a row lying in a pool of my own sweat after my fever broke didn’t help either!

Not my friend!

Not my friend!

When Saturday morning arrived, and I was feeling well enough to head out for a run, I was as happy as a kid in a candy store. I planned to take it easy and keep a somewhat slower pace so as not to overdo it, but I was just happy to be out there. I ran the first leg by myself, and felt this overwhelming excitement and sense of joy with everything around me. I felt my foot falls, listened to my breath, thought about my gate, and just took in the world around me. Then I met up with some friends for the next leg and it was wonderful to reconnect with everyone. Saturday mornings were already one of my favorite times of the week, but it was that much better this week. After having so little human contact for 4 days, it was great to be around people. I had some great conversations and formed some lovely memories to add to the mix. After we finished our loop, I headed back on the third leg of my run to complete my morning training.

When I got home, I realized that I felt that same new and exciting sense of joy that I felt when I fell in love with running the first time. The fire has been burning for quite a while now, but the spark was relit and renewed. It brought back all of the memories of my first run and of my journey. In the process, I was not only reminded of why I run, but that I never HAVE to run…I GET to run. I am always thankful for that.

journey

31 in 31: Starting the Year Off Right

It’s the R & R time of year. Reflection and resolution. The media top 10 lists are in full swing as everyone reflects on the best, worst, strangest, longest, shortest, weirdest, funniest, etc. In addition, if my Facebook feed is any indication, then everyone is also reflecting on their own 2012 as they look forward to 2013 and set new goals for themselves.

lapping-people-on-couch

I’ve never been big on resolutions. I think I’ve always been of the mindset that if you want to make a change in your life, then waiting until January 1 seems silly when you can start immediately. In addition, the whole idea of New Years resolutions has been so over-commercialized that it ends up being more about a gimmick for companies to make money.  The gyms are all packed in January, but by Valentines Day, things are backed to normal.

reasonroad

Now, don’t get me wrong. I certainly still support people setting goals for themselves and making changes in their lives! In fact, one of the common goals I’ve seen people sharing involves setting mileage goals. Thus, I thought it would be fun to set up a challenge for anyone interested! The idea is simple. Run at least 1 mile every day in the month of January and start the year out right. Start the year with a run streak:  31 in 31. 🙂

Rules (barely):

1. Run at least 1 mile every day in January. If you can’t run on any given day, you can make it up with a second run on another day.

2. Commit to the challenge publicly. You can comment here, or anywhere else.

That’s it. You don’t need to spend hours planning and scheduling. Heck, you could run around the block a few times every night when you get home from work or when you wake up in the morning. As long as you log a mile every day, you are good to go!

The prize is just as simple- you start the year out committing yourself to a healthy lifestyle. With 31 in 31, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your running goals!

Are you up to the challenge?!

Are you up to the challenge?!

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