Still Running

While I have been notably terrible at posting here (due to all the usual excuses: work, kids, it’s cross country season, the general craziness of life) I have still been managing to run regularly …mostly. Well, except for the better part of July when things were extra busy between retaking the DAT and throwing a graduation party open house for my son on top of everything else. But in general I’m still running.

At the beginning of 2017 my race goals were vague. I was feeling uninspired on that front so instead of setting some race related feat to work toward over the year I chose a mileage goal. Here we are well over half way through the year and I’ve only run 526 miles. Yup, barely over half of my 1,000 mile goal. (Maybe I should make it a 1,000 km goal. I’m pretty close to that.) As irony would have it I’ve done more and more types of races than previous years. I blame this guy I’m dating. He wasn’t really a runner when we met but was a good sport when I suggested signing up for a Cinco de Mayo race in Detroit. The beer theme helped I’m sure. As it turns out, he really enjoys racing. That first one the weather was cold, rainy, and slightly miserable but we had a great time and he was hooked. Since then we’ve done a muddy obstacle run, a 10k along the coast of Lake Michigan, a 15k trail run, the local 10k Melon run, and the Labor Day run across the Mackinaw bridge. That’s a total of six runs over the span of as many months. I also ran a local glow run with my kids back in late April. So much for not racing as much this year!

The unexpected upswing in races has been a small, friendly reminder that you never really know where life will take you. You can make all the plans and set all the goals you want but things are going to happen, not all of them within your sphere of control, and you’ve got to be able to roll with it. For better or worse. Whether you like it or not. I’ve had more than a few reminders of this over the years, not all of them so gentle and kind; I like this one much better.

In the spirit of flexibility I’ve embraced the race theme of this year and signed up to run the Detroit Half marathon again. I enjoyed the race last year but wasn’t especially happy with my time. I thought I’d be less busy this fall and would have adequate time to make and follow a training plan that incorporated speed work twice a week. That really hasn’t happened. Nor has regular grocery shopping or meal planning/prep or laundry or cleaning or (quite obviously) blogging. Really I’m not sure what I have been accomplishing lately (other than working full time, managing four kids going back to school, and coaching a team of middle school cross country runners). My recent 10k, 15k, and 4.4 mile races have been counting as long(ish) runs until last week when I finally managed an 8.5 mile run. I had planned on running the 8.5 mile loop around a local metro-park then going to practice and running another easy three miles with my team but the weather had other ideas and we had to cancel practice.

Once again I made plans and the universe laughed.

So here I am 3/4 of the way through the year and a month out from my “big” race trying to balance the demands of life with setting aside time to pursue my personal goals. Tempering the sleep deprivation of working a bunch of long night shifts in a row with self care while still finding ways to get the miles in. And even if it’s not all the miles I want. I’m still running.

running fuel

My current running fuel favorites.

bridge

bridge run horses

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Constantly Adapting Expectations

“New goal” I said to my boyfriend as we ran through the forest “make it through this race without falling.”

(Yeah, boyfriend. I have a boyfriend now. Not sure if I’ve mentioned that here yet. ūüôā )

We had started the race thirty minutes after the gun went off; the person who was supposed to cover the tail end of my overnight shift showed up (half an hour) late. Initially the goal was to run the 15k Viking themed trail race without walking but that ship had done sailed. Within the first three miles I was huffing and puffing like an asthmatic smoker (Thank you, night shift work.) and had to walk… so I could adjust my sagging ponytail (any excuse would do at that point). Seeing both of us had stumbled more than once on the rocks and tree roots that littered the rough terrain of the trail that wound its way up, down, and all around the Michigan woods, not falling was an appropriate goal albeit it a different sort of accomplishment than the original. It required luck, balance, and intuition instead of the grit, stamina, and determination demanded by the first.

Moments after deeming Not Falling to be our new race goal we ran down a hill lavishly coated with the loose, medium sized rocks that seemed to dominate the surface of these trails. As we hit the bottom of the hill and tilted to make a sharp left I lost my footing and hit the ground (lightly though, I’m getting pretty good at falling while running). There went that goal.

Even without meeting the initial goals this race could be considered a success. We ran 15 kilometers (that’s about 9.3 miles) over hills and crazy footing, in my case after working all night, and still managed to pass a few people. Our chip times put both my guy and me second in our age divisions. On top of that my son who was also running won the race.

That’s right, he won the whole freakin thing, my eighteen year old boy.

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I’m not sure if you can tell from the picture but he’s super proud of himself.

He reluctantly committed to the 15k instead of the five even though he hadn’t done much running since cross country season ended over nine months ago. My son’s fifth and senior year of cross country season came to a crashing and disappointing premature halt last October. At the beginning of the season I had high hopes for him. While I’ve always been proud of my son’s running, it’s long been apparent that there is untapped potential teeming just beneath the surface of this somewhat distant and detached teen. When he began conditioning for his last season it looked like some of that running potential would finally be tapped into. Until academia caught up with him.

First was the failed class from the year before. We didn’t know it made him ineligible to run until the first week of August. I found an accelerated online make-up class that still counted as summer school as long as it was done before school started. It was. Just barely. Well, sort of.

In typical avoidant teenager fashion, my son thought he could pass the class with the required 80% without doing the “speaking assignments” (it was a Spanish class). Technically he had enough points to pass but the fine print dictated that every assignment be completed. At any rate, he missed the first meet of the season.

By the second and third meets he was eligible to compete but his race times didn’t reflect the stats he was achieving in practice. When he was running the first two miles of a race in under twelve minutes but finishing close to twenty we realized this might be a nutritional issue. Unlike previous seasons, there was no significant increase in appetite when his running mileage increased. Instead a general malaise took its place. I was concerned about depression.

As October approached my son has posted a couple PR’s (personal record race times) but nothing close to his early season projections. My boy was struggling and not just physically.

The last two meets of the season are big ones: the “small school” regional meet (not sanctioned by the state’s high school athletics association) and the actual regional meet that would hopefully qualify my son and a few other kids on the team for the state championship meet. It being my son’s last year of high school running made them that much more important…and the disappointment when he found himself on the academic ineligibility list that much more intense.

That’s right, academia reared its ugly head again.

At this point one might think that my son is a little dull or that he was taking a very difficult course load his senior year. Neither is true. However, that malaise that was apparent in his appetite was also showing its effects on his schoolwork. He did rally and attempt to bring his grades up to passing before the regional meet but by that time the hole had been dug too deep. Both my son and his good friend were academically ineligible for what should have been the crowning event of their senior seasons. Instead of racing at the regional meet we watched his team falter without their leaders.

As is often the case, running is a metaphor for life. Well, in this case it was foreshadowing.

The rest of my son’s last year of school continued in the same fashion. He failed the college math class he was taking because he didn’t believe me, his teachers, and everyone else who told him homework is important. At one point he was suspended for being at the store before the school day started. (Yes, it was as stupid as it sounds. Basically he was penalized for being a teenager in public.) In the spring we had multiple meetings with the principal of the school about whether or not my kid would pull it together and finish his senior presentation, a graduation requirement at the school, in time. And then there was another independent study make-up class. Clearly his senior year was not the commemorative occasion it should have been.

Still I encouraged my brilliant but troubled boy to apply for colleges; to aim high and to be optimistic about his future.

Not only did I encourage, I cajoled, pestered, begged and pleaded.

All to no avail. My son refused to even follow through with a college application. The closest I got was an “I would go there¬†if¬†I was going to go to a university.” after an especially cool campus visit (a six hour drive from home). The farthest was when he asked me to consent to him moving out before turning 18. (Umm, hell to the no, kid!)

So what is my point here???  Well, that (once again) running mimics life.

Much like the 15k trail race, I had hopes and goals at the beginning. As it progressed it became clear those goals were just not realistic right now (maybe someday though). Towards the end I was happy to accomplish what I did. Sometimes just getting through a thing¬†is¬†a success and sometimes you need to circle back around and try again under better circumstances. Such is the case for 15k trail runs and for my hopes of my son going to college (or choosing a path that will enable him to “make something of himself” …which to me means finding an engaging and sustainable way to spend his time and efforts).

viking trail 15k viking run duo

 

Just for Fun! 

The past few months I’ve been running without a specific goal (other than my general thousand mile goal). It’s been surprisingly freeing. Equally surprising is that I’ve actually been running more without following a plan that’s building up to a race. Okay maybe not more miles total but more regularly. Like five to six days a week frequently.

And it’s been fun! Not being so end-goal focused has allowed me to rediscover a real love for running.

In the spirit of said fun, I ended up doing two 5k’s in the past two weeks. I know that’s not a real feat of any sort but, again, both races were super fun. It helped that one was a glow and the other beer themed.

Finishers beers all in a row; what a beautiful site.

On Friday a friend and I did the Hightail to Ale 5k in Detroit. It was cold. It was rainy. But it was also very fun.

The run was sponsored by Atwater brewery and the course was a flat out and back type loop near the Detroit riverfront. It was a pretty big run and the start was staggered in waves; standing in the dreary drizzle waiting to run wasn’t the best but once we were running the weather wasn’t a big deal. And after the race there was beer for everyone! Well, everyone over 21 I suppose. When registering for the race there was the option to purchase a meal ticket to use at your choice of the food trucks in the post race celebration area. We did not do this but the food smelled amazing! If it had been dry or warmer we would have perused the food truck offerings. Atwater had their tap room open and a band playing so instead we crowded in with the other wet runners to finish our beers and enjoy the music.¬†

Despite the chill and rain (it was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit) the atmosphere was light and festive. The race swag was pretty decent too. The shirts are soft & fitted with good quality and colors and there were pint glasses and medals.

Maybe next year it’ll be more like a typical May day on Cinco do Mayo. I’m certainly hoping so because I’d love to do this race again.

Last week’s fun 5k was a small, local glow run. Another family from my cross country team (the one I coach & a couple of my kids run on) were doing this so three of my boys and I joined them. Along with the perk of being local, this race was cheap and in the evening. ¬†It was a win win win.

Excuse my tired face, I worked the nights before.

 

There was no kid’s race but my little guy wanted to run. I had signed him up for the 5k but was slightly concerned that he’d be scared or overwhelmed but he did great. He hung with me and a high schooler for the first mile and wasn’t far behind us for the second. The kid finished the race with a time of 33:33, just under a minute after his brother.

Doing races with my kids is The Best!

This time last year I was gearing up to run the Cleveland Half marathon with loose plans to do another half in the fall. And while I’m toying with the idea of signing up for the Detroit half again ¬†(I’ll decide for sure before the price goes up again at the end of this month.), right now I’m just enjoying running for the sake and love of running.

How sticky are your balls?

I’ve been practicing productive procrastination this week. I’m not sure why I need to practice, I’m already a master at all forms of procrastination but whatever. I’ve been sharpening my skillz anyhow. As usual this involves laundry, a little cleaning, running, and baking.¬†

Monday was basically a waste (aka spent sleeping) after working until 6am on next to no sleep. It was a struggle just to get myself home after taking the kids to school. Yesterday, Tuesday, I was feeling blergy and down; night shift jet lag was hitting me hard. There were things I really needed to do but they were not happening. I thought chocolate chip cookies might help.

And they did!  Sort of.

I love chocolate chip cookies. I mean, who doesn’t? (My seven year old just informed me ¬†he doesn’t, doesn’t even like them. I think he’s an alien.) Classic chocolate chip cookies are my first love baking-wise too. Starting around age ten I’d make them whenever I was bored which was often. Yesterday it was dreary, cold, and rainy; my head hurt and I was tired. Making cookies was soothing. It was comfort….

But then I ate said cookies and, let’s not lie, excessive amounts of cookie dough. Physically I felt slightly gross. So this morning, after waking up late and getting kids to school almost on time, I had the urge to be super productive and healthy. I made a list of things to accomplish and decided today would be the day I’d start that low carb/high fat diet I’ve been eye balling. This required some Google searching which lead me to recipes for peanut butter chocolate chip protein balls.

Protein balls, or as they should be called power balls, seemed like an adequate replacement for the remaining chocolate chip cookies that were still tempting me. So I found a couple recipes including this one that I intended to follow and began throwing ingredients in a bowl.

I love peanut butter. ¬†Love it! But I hate measuring it out; it’s such a sticky mess. So usually I just eye ball the amount. Really, there’s no way to have too much peanut butter.

The recipe called for 1/2 cup peanut butter but that didn’t sound like nearly enough. I probably used closer to a cup. AND then I added some ambiguous amount of coconut oil ¬†(going for high fat here) and more flax than the recipe demanded because I didn’t feel like putting protein powder in. Oh, and instead of chocolate chips I poured in some cocoa powder. After mixing it all together and tasting the resulting concoction I added a bit more honey and called it good.

It was time to roll these balls!

I’ve never made balls like this before so I have no idea how they’re supposed to feel (insert immature snicker here), but damn! These balls were sticky!!!!

They made a goopy mess. Albeit a tasty goopy mess. ūüėČ

The added cocoa powder gives these guys a…questionable appearance.

All joking aside, are these types of balls usually so sticky? Hopefully the refrigerator will solidify them some. Maybe next time I make them I’ll measure stuff and follow a recipe. Maybe not though. Probably not.

Hey who knows, these might end up being fantastic and delicious magic sticky balls. If they do I’m going to have to write my own protein balls recipe. I think I’ll call it Hippie Poop…for obvious reasons.

(P.S.-The amount the word balls was used in this post is directly proportional to the amount of immature giggles writing the post produced. Maturity is a little overrated anyhow.)

Running at 1 mph…

…hour of sleep that is. As in I ran one mile per hour of sleep that I had gotten the day I started thinking about this post. Which is surely at least three days ago now but probably a week considering my recent rate of writing and posting.

Yes, this is from late October but not much has changed with my sleep patterns. I just stopped tracking them as much.

As you can see my Garmin tells me that I ¬†may not be getting enough sleep, that 100% of people in my demographic sleep more than I do. That’s all of them. All the people my age and gender sleep more than I do on average! That can’t possibly be true. I mean, I know I’m exceptional but they don’t know how all the people sleep.

Back around the first of the year I set some running goals. Well, one really: to log 1,000 miles in 2017. I’m sure there will be some races and at least one half marathon in there too but I’ve got nothing ¬†(other than a fun beer run in early May) on the schedule yet for 2017. Mostly I’m just trying to keep up on life and get regular runs in where I can. So far I’ve gotten 120 miles in for 2017. A little more than 10% of my goal. It’s not great but the first couple months usually are lower mile months due to the cold and dark.


Even though this winter has been exceptionally mild with some weeks in the 50’s and even 60’s already we happened to get a little of the white stuff on one of the two days I managed to run last week. I still got 4 miles in…one for each of my 4 hours of sleep that day.

I’m now one of Those runners. ūüôā

I got a Garmin Forerunner 230 back in January. It was a Christmas gift to myself ¬†(and I still had a gift card from my cross country team to use). I’d been wanting some kind of run tracker for a while and decided it was time.


And I’ve got no regrets on this one. I’m probably not using this thing to its full potential but I rather like glancing down mid run and seeing my up to the moment stats. The Garmin app that it syncs with has a lot of features and information too (like the above estimated sleep tracking). I could see myself getting into some super nerdy running stuff later this year, things like cadence and heart rate monitor training.

In the meantime I’m plugging away at those miles as best I can. Some weeks I hit 20 miles and others it’s less than 10. My new rule is that I have to have at least one hour of sleep per mile of running for any given day. With my ever changing crazy work schedule that can be limiting but I really am trying to take care of myself…at least until the end of May when I retake the DAT. After that it’s running time!

By May this crazy Michigan weather should be a little more cooperative.

All about that base.

Baby, it’s cold outside! 8 degrees Fahrenheit according to my phone. That’s ¬†-13.333 degrees Celsius (also according to my phone) and 259.82 Kelvin (just for fun).

This time of year it can be challenging, both physically and mentally to get out there and log those miles. When it’s dark and the temperature is well below freezing even at it’s peak hours, the couch, Netflix, and a blanket start to look way more appealing than going for a run. Add a nice winter beer or some hot chocolate and, yeah, running can wait. I can totally run tomorrow. And I will. Really I will.

But then you don’t and tomorrow turns into a week. Before you know it you’re feeling sluggish and gooey, mentally and physically, and (worst of all!) you’re losing your base level of conditioning, the one that makes it easy to just go out and train for whatever race goals you might have. Once you realize this you get sad and depressed. All the treats you’ve been eating really don’t help matters or the fact that you haven’t seen the sun in a while. It’s a slippery slope of doom. Five days into the New Year some of us might already be treading down that icy path.

If you’re one of those people…STOP IT! STOP IT RIGHT NOW!

Not only is running outside possible during the winter months, it’s super fun once you master proper layering techniques and know how to prepare for the cold. Yes, I know I sound crazy but try it (a few times) and you’ll see. Going out for a run and making the elements your bitch is invigorating and exciting. Plus any tiny bit of sunlight you can get this time of year helps. The cold air adds a new level of challenge to running, but when you’re out there (or maybe once you’re done and can feel your extremities again) you feel like a bad ass for going out and running when so many others are cowering under the blankets. Don’t be a blanket cower-er. Be a runner!

I’ve lived in Michigan my whole life. Apparently we are the state with the second most miserable winters in the nation, a title I’ll proudly claim. I actually like the cold weather and love snow. (Again, yes, I know I sound like a crazy person.) For the past few years I’ve embraced the challenge of running in the cold and have learned a few things about staying warm and safe. So, in hopes of helping motivate some of you to get out and run (because treadmill running just isn’t the same), I’m going to share some tips for cold weather running success (or at least survival).

First, it’s all about that base!¬†

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the importance of layering in the cold weather but quality is as if not more important than quantity. You don’t just want to throw on five shirts and three pairs of running tights and go out in the cold. For one, you’ll feel overly bulky and won’t be able to move freely. And even worse, if you wear a cotton layer directly on your skin you will be a Popsicle as soon as you start sweating (Yes, you can sweat in ten degree weather.). Cotton gets wet and stays wet, keeping all that now-cold wetness right on your skin. That’s No Beuno!

There are lots of options for good base layers in a wide range of prices. Anything that is thin and “moisture wicking” will work. I’ve got tank tops, short sleeve, and (I think) one long sleeve moisture wicking ¬†base layer shirt. Usually I’ll wear a tank top or short sleeve shirt, then a thinner (preferably also moisture wicking) long sleeve shirt, and, on top, a fitted fleece, water proof hoodie. If it’s very windy a fleece vest or lighter wind breaker type jacket can help.

Thin and water proof but warm is a good rule for the top layer. Again, there’s tons of this stuff out there. I got my two winter top layer sweaters on at TJ Maxx for less than $30 a piece. And really you don’t need more than one for starters as the top layer doesn’t get stinky as quickly as the under layers.

For my legs/bottom half I almost never wear more than one layer. I’ve got regular running tights and slightly insulated running tights. Both are great. Every once in a while I will add an insulating layer of very thin merino wool long underwear. Usually I regret it when I do though. Just one good pair of slightly thicker running tights that stop the wind can get you through a winter of running. This is one area where I wouldn’t cheap out (and I cheap out any and everywhere I can). Invest in a pair of cold weather specific running tights that fit well and will last you.

So here’s my concise guide to layering: On top, moisture wicking, fitted base layer, thin long sleeve insulating layer, warm and water/wind proof top layer that covers wrists, hands, and neck. On bottom, quality insulated running tights. In the extreme (or if you’re very sensitive) add a thin under layer.

Second, cover your mouth when you breath! (And your hands. And your feet.) 

Breathing in very cold air makes the old lungs burn pretty quickly and any skin that’s exposed will get cold. Any time it’s below freezing I don the face mask, pull my hat down low, and sometimes even zip my sweatshirt up to the top. The only thing exposed is my eyes… and sometimes not even that.

cold weather running

  The face mask, one of my best friends in the winter.

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With the face mask breathing is easier and my face stays warm. There are also wrap style ones that you can pull up over your mouth and nose but I prefer my fitted, neoprene thing. It’s nice and snug, breathable and relatively comfortable. If it’s not super cold I can easily pull it off once I’m warmed up. Plus it’s pretty fun to pretend I’m a ninja while I’m out running. A bad ass, cold weather mastering ninja of awesomeness!

When it’s cold your body wants to protect its vital organs first so blood flow to the extremities decreases. This translated to cold hands and feet. A pair of quality gloves are a must for running in the winter! I find moisture wicking/water proof gloves that aren’t too thick are best. All the name brands make these (Underarmour and the like). They’re all good and usually in the $20 range. I think I got mine at Costco on sale for $10 last year. they’re Head brand and have served me well though they’re noticeably thinner the second season of wear.

Cold feet can also be an issue though slightly less of one since your feet are in constant motion on the run. Usually my feet don’t get cold unless I stand still for too long. So don’t! Water proof shoes are helpful, especially if you can find some with more tread. I also wear a pair of thinner wool socks (not the hefty hiking ones) when running in the snow. They insulate enough without making my feet sweaty. Warm and breathable = happy feet!

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These New Balance Maximus trail shoes have been my favorite winter runners so far.

Oh and, don’t skip the hat. A hood is not the same. I love my fleece lined, wind proof Dickies brand hat. Again, warm and breathable is the way to go. No matter how goofy you may look (Do any runners really care about that? If so maybe you haven’t run enough because no one looks pretty running.) you will not regret wearing a hat when it’s cold out.

Third, visibility…it’s important.¬†This is always true if you’re out running on the roads or anywhere even close to traffic. In the winter, though, it’s more likely to be dark and dreary out. Snow or other crappy precipitation can impede visibility. So prepare. Don’t be an idiot, dress in obnoxious colors. I like my black and dark grey probably more than the next guy BUT I also like being alive and not having a brain injury and debilitating injury because I got hit by a car when I was out running. So, neon colors, reflective stripes/areas on you clothing and shoes, and carry a freakin flashlight or wear a headlamp if it’s even close to dark out. If you can see them that does NOT mean they can see you. Be safe! Safety is cool! Even if you think bright colors are not.

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My obnoxiously colorful layers of winter running clothes.

 

Fourth, don’t linger.¬†So you layered up, you’ve got wool socks, gloves, a hat, and your mask on and it’s time to run. Great! My advice to you now is Run! Don’t walk. Moving keeps your body temperature up. If you have to stop at a traffic light or whatever jump around a little and keep your blood pumping. There’s a sweet spot somewhere beneath actually sweating and not moving. Luckily it’s not that difficult to find. usually by the time I’ve jogged a half mile I’m nice and warm but not overly so. By the end of a three mile cold weather run I may have pushed my sleeves up and taken off my hat or mask but I still don’t stop moving, not while I’m outside. If you start standing around after you’ve run you will get cold. So run and then get inside, take off some layers, and reward yourself with a hot cocoa or coffee. After all you went out and ran when most people wouldn’t. that deserves something.

It may be fierce out there but it is also beautiful!

That being said, I’m waiting until mid-day when it’s supposed to get up to 15 degrees (Fahrenheit) to run today.

New year, New running goals

It’s the first day of 2017 and I’m already mentally shirking on my running goals. To be fair, I just decided on this goal yesterday so I haven’t exactly worked out a plan of attack.

But first 2016, what a year! There was, at least, some good running around here in 2016. My main goal had been to run two half marathons in the year. I accomplished it, though that last one wasn’t pretty. I may have also done more 10k’s than previous years as well but it’s hard to say as I don’t keep track of those in the same way. On the other hand I think I did fewer 5K races than most years, again, difficult to say though. There was the Super 5K back at the end of January 2016 (or whenever the Superbowl is) and the Gobble Jog 5K on Thanksgiving day (in Atlanta…bonus points for an out of state race). It feels like I’m forgetting one but that’s all I can recall right now. (New goal for 2017: Find a more efficient way to keep track of races.)

Oh wait, I remember now, there was one in October. A “Glory Days” 5K in the early morning before one of the high school cross country meets. My middle school team didn’t run that day so a couple of the kids and I ran the open 5K race. Okay, maybe I didn’t do fewer 5k’s. And now that I think of it, I only participated in two 10k races, one in August that was not so great (but won me a cool growler with a second in my age division) and the trail race a couple weeks after the Detroit half where I got my new 10K PR of 57:03….

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That brings the 2016 race total to 3 5K’s, 2 10’s, and 2 half marathons (with age group placings in both 10k’s) with a new 10K PR AND a new half marathon PR (2:07:29 in Cleveland back in May). Not too shabby!

On top of all that (and probably around 800 total miles logged), I got to coach cross country for the first time. I can’t remember if I’ve really talked about that here but it was a truly awesome experience. I had the largest middle school cross country team the small charter school my kids attend has seen in its 20 years with 13 boys (yes, 13 middle school boys…it’s as crazy as it sounds) and 4 girls. That’s 17 middle school runners at my disposal¬† in my charge.¬†I was lucky enough to work with a high school coach who has a few years coaching under his belt, knew all the returning runners on my team, and was willing to mentor me as a coach. Did I mention how much I loved coaching and how cool it was to lead my team of rowdy teens (and a few preteens)? Because it is a small school community and the athletics program is pretty young (and partially because of my crazy fall schedule with late classes twice a week) the middle and high school teams practiced together quite a bit. So in addition to coaching my middle school group, I was also a support person for the high school team so I got to be a part of the great running experience for even more people. If I didn’t have other life advancement goals (I’m looking at you, dental school.) I’d be putting a lot of my time and energies into learning how to be a better coach and strategies for developing young runners….if I don’t get into dental school this year I still might spend a good amount of time in 2017 doing just that. Hell, I may even do that anyhow.

But enough reminiscing of runs past and gushing about coaching and onto this year’s running goals…

Because I am unsure of what my life will look like this year, (yes, I know, no one¬†really¬†knows what their life will be like any given year but I have an exceptional amount of uncertainty right now that will have an effect on what the next twelve months looks like on a fundamental level.) I didn’t want to set race related goals that I might not be able to reach due to non-running related factors. Instead I settled on a mileage based goal: 1,000 miles in 2017. Or maybe for the sake of symmetry and an affection for prime numbers 1,017. Either way, at least 1,000 miles. That’s roughly 84 miles a month on average.

(As an added bonus my 17 year old answered a not unenthusiastic “maybe” when I offhandedly asked him if he wanted to run a half marathon with me in 2017…It wasn’t the usual flat toned “merphmg” response so that’s actually quite promising.)

By the time this is published I will be 3.2 miles into my¬†1000¬† 1,017… Because writing about running makes me want to run ! So here’s to a new year and to new running goals. I’m looking forward to the challenge of it. Because life is only as good as we make it…so make it better by making yourself better. Everyday.

(Agh, sorry ¬†for the overly cheesy motivational crap. It’s ten AM on the Monday after a work weekend and I have not slept yet.)