Another year over, and what have you done?

Not much, frankly. At least, that’s how it feels.

I haven’t posted nearly as many updates here as I’d wanted to over the course of the year, though I’d say that’s probably because I really didn’t have much of anything to post about until the last few months.

And the past few months have been the most insane months, professionally, of my life. So my running has nonetheless been at a kind of treading-water standstill until I can get things under some modicum of control.

My year-over-year running stats aren’t terribly impressive, though I am glad I crossed the almighty 1000-mile mark. Still, didn’t come close to the monstrous 2014 (I have no idea how I did that; I had a freaking wedding, a dissertation defense, and a relocation that year).

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I’m convinced that Garmin changed how their software computes elevation gain from GPS data somewhere in 2012-2013 and again 2014-2015, because seriously, wtf.

This year has been frustrating. I was really hoping it’d be a comeback year for me after last year’s extremely lackluster and injury-prone antics, but that was derailed early on by an injury that just wouldn’t go away, and then further put on hold by a professional life that rode burnout for a couple months. The month-by-month breakdown throws this into sharp relief:

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Take a look at the last few months of 2015, and the first few months of 2016, in comparison to the rest of 2016 (from May onwards): they’re night and freakin’ day.

(This month has been a little weird with travel, sickness, and general burnout recovery, but I’m hoping I can ramp things up in the next 10 days and still hit 100 miles)

October’s Ath Half was a wake-up call that my body has been responding to the training without my consciously realizing it–that I’m slowly getting stronger even if I don’t really feel that way. So now, I want to see if I can start to capitalize on that.

Obviously that would take the form of more frequent structured workouts (I currently do…ZERO!) in the form of speed work at the track and tempo runs. Additionally, I’d like to maintain the current level of weight-training (sessions with Matt are pretty awesome) and hopefully throw in some more cross-training (yoga, erg, cycling).

Of course, this is all going to depend on what my spring shapes up to be. Right now, I’m slated to teach yet another brand-new course, so at least initially that’s going to take up all my time and energy. But since it’s only one course, as opposed to the two from this past fall, I’m crossing my fingers that it won’t be such a time sink.

The Lady will be going for her next BQ attempt–Glass City in April–and I’m toying with the idea of hiring her coach to be mine as well. I really want to get back on the horse, and I think adding some structure and accountability to someone other than myself will be the best way to do it. I’m just not sure what form that should take:

  • Should I go for the sub-1:40 half marathon? I’ve been in that hunt for almost 5 years, and achieving that would feel really freaking good.
  • Should I go for the sub-4 hour marathon? I’m still convinced my current 4:17 is a soft PR, and with the right training it could tumble.

The half obviously is more conducive to someone with a tight work schedule, but in some ways I feel like the full would be less stressful and a good way to get my mental game back on track as well as my physical game.

Feel free to leave any feedback on this 🙂

Happy holidays!

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Offseason antics: the Holiday Streak

First “what I’ve been doing since MCM” post! Basically a lot of this.

She's pretty much my spiritual animal.

She’s pretty much my spiritual animal.

The weeks immediately following MCM featured lots of rest, cross-training, and catching up on work. I wasn’t nearly as beat up after MCM as I was after last year’s Philly Marathon, but I still needed a lot of rest. The Lady was also taking it easy, letting her ankle heal up. I started running again nearly two weeks later (after one of the tires of my bike went flat…sad face!), also mixing in a lot of hikes with The Lady as the weather took a turn for the gorgeous.

Eh. It's ok.

Eh. It’s ok.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving. Rather than write a full race report, I can pretty easily recap the Cleveland 5M Turkey Trot with the following summary: SLIPPERY SNOW AND THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE. The Lady and I tried to wiggle our way near-ish the front, figuring it would be fine. But I forgot the Statute of Running on Thanksgiving: all the people come out to run turkey trots, which means lots of folks cramming the front of the starting line who really shouldn’t be at the front of the starting line. Throw in 10,000 runners, some driving lake-effect snow (as only Cleveland can deliver), and a total absence of any salt on the roads, and you have one tight, slippery, chaotic first mile.

Neither of us PR’d that day; even after leaving the crowd behind after the first mile, the driving snow and slippery surfaces made gaining any kind of speed more or less impossible. I cruised around a 7:30-7:45 pace the rest of the way, finishing in a respectable 37:58. It was a flat and fast course, too; better weather conditions (and a better starting position) would have knocked at least a few minutes off that time. It was still loads of fun.

Thanksgiving is also noteworthy, given The Lady and I started the Runner’s World Holiday Run Streak. Since then, we’ve been true to the requirement: logging at least 1 mile each day. Even as the weather has turned rather harsh, we’ve simply taken indoors to the tread(dread)mills to make sure we get our miles in.

Nice and warm?

Nice and warm?

My latest week.

My latest week.

I have to say: the run streak is really, really awesome. There have been several mornings where I’ve crawled out of bed feeling completely run down and unwilling to be useful to the world. But by only requiring 1 mile, I would figure it can’t possibly be that bad. So I force myself outdoors and run that mile. And by the end of it, I’m feeling like a million bucks. A complete turnaround. I’ve only been gone a handful of minutes but I feel so. much. better. It can be a little daunting at times doing a mile every day, but it’s oh so worthwhile. I’m pretty excited to see this through to New Year’s.

Courtesy of the run streak, I also just hit a milestone as of today: surpassing my total 2012 mileage!

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As of this morning’s run, I have officially run more total miles in 2013 than in 2012. Pretty freaking sweet!

That’s more or less the current state of affairs. The Lady and I may or may not run a race this month; as it stands, I have 14 races on the year, so I’m not in a huge hurry to register for another one, but if the opportunity presents itself I probably won’t turn it down. We’ll just keep streaking until Jan 1 (those last few days will be in the northern part of the lower Michigan peninsula; here’s hoping we won’t have to run through five feet of snow!) and enjoying the rest of the year 🙂

She's so excited to run in the freezing cold!

So excited!