I haven’t written much about running lately because, well, I haven’t really been doing much running lately. Despite this being a legitimately cold February, the second coldest February Michigan has seen since 1875 actually, I’ve managed to be running slightly more than I was this time last year but that’s still not much. From December to March is like a holding period. I’ve toyed with the idea of joining a gym for these months but that’s just not the same; for me the joy of running is in getting outside and hitting the pavement (or the trail). That is what centers me, what gives me a sense of calm, and restores what little sanity I may have had.
So when the beginning of March rolls around and suddenly (it really does happen overnight) we are waking up to temperatures warmer than ten below zero (on the Fahrenheit scale) and the high for the day is in the double digits. Yeah, bitches, DOUBLE DIGITS!!! The air doesn’t hurt your face quite so much and..is that? Yes. It IS the sun. I’m pretty sure I saw the sun for like ten whole minutes…In a row!
That pretty much sums up March in Michigan. Yeah, we’ll still have cold days and crappy weather but spring is definitely creeping in. Part of me is a little sad, I really do enjoy the snow and playing in it. In fact, this year I found a new way to play in the snow:Snow Shoes. But I only got to use them a couple times. Derg!
I’m hoping to get another chance in but if it doesn’t happen today it probably won’t…The temperatures are supposed to hit fifty. Yesterday it was in the mid forties. I saw someone wearing shorts at the gas station. No Joke!
Now that the extreme cold, feet of accumulated snow, and sheets of ice covering everything are fading away for another year, it is time to get back into some form of regular running and set some goals. March is like running New Year’s and I’m making some resolutions.
Last year I ran a St. Patrick’s Day 5K this weekend but decided not to sign up for it this year. It got a little more expensive and they decided to give medals to all 5K finishers. That’s bullshit! I don’t want a stupid finishers medal for a 5k just give me my shirt & pint glass. I really want the pint glasses as I’ve broken all three we accumulated over the past couple years. It wasn’t worth almost fifty bucks for one person though. Stupid medals!
Also around this time in 2014 I was toying with the idea of running a half-marathon (which I did!).And while I do want to run another half this year having the exact same goal two years in a row seemed kind of lame. Initially I thought I might try for two this year, you know, to one-up last year. But I’m just not sure if that’ll be logistically a good choice given my crazy class schedule and life demands. After running my half back in October I took a couple weeks off running to recover from some mild foot pain. Then it was starting to get dark earlier and slightly cold and the busyness of the holidays, the end of the semester, and life in general took hold. I lost my running groove. By late December I was barely running and when I did run I felt like I had hit a funk. It felt a little aimless. There was all this purpose when I was getting ready for the big race but then I did it and was like “Umm, now what?”
That feeling and question has been lingering in the back of my brain for the past couple months but I think I’ve finally figured out Now What.
Farther and Faster. That’s what.
My goal for this running year is to stretch and push myself to run farther and faster.
I got up to 10.5 miles during my half marathon training. I had wanted to get a few more miles on my long run before the race but just didn’t manage. And I felt it! The race wasn’t my best run ever even before the ten mile mark but I definitely felt the deficit in my training in the last 3.1 miles. While I’m happy (well, satisfied might be a better word) with the time from my first half marathon I didn’t run or feel as good as I had hoped I would.
So this year I’d like to plan regular long runs, maybe one each week to week and a half, and creep up the miles. When I start to get up above eight I’ll think about finding another half marathon to do but only if I know I can get to fourteen miles before that.
When I was buying my most recent running shoes a while back I told the guy helping me that I had had some arch pain after the half and couldn’t wear those shoes anymore. I questioned if the shoes were just breaking down at that point. He reminded me that weird things happen when you increase mileage. I need to get through those weird things before the race next time. i want that weird to be my new normal. And while I’m pushing myself to run farther I might add in some speed workouts…or just set some time goals for each shorter run to try and increase speed.
Running is all about personal challenge. That’s why I love cold weather running; just doing it feels badass. That’s why I wanted to do a half marathon last year: to prove that I could. So now, this year, it’s time to up the ante and master a new challenge.
Wish me luck!