First running post of 2016! And it’s only… oh, 3+ weeks into the new year? It’s taken me this long to finally come up for air, as the first 2 weeks of January revolved around a huge undertaking at work. I helped to co-organize an intensive, 6-day course, which required 14-hour workdays, not including the 1.5 hours of daily drive time. So, running was out of the picture from January 10-15. I also slept poorly (I tend to have a lot of anxiety dreams during such times in my life) and ate horribly… so, all in all, I really dug myself into a pretty big hole over just 6 days! I also gained a real appreciation for people who manage to work long shifts on a regular basis and/or have kids and have to add running, cooking, and errands into the mix somehow. I felt like I could barely keep my head above water!
Anyway, so I spent last weekend (MLK Jr. holiday) sleeping, relaxing, and doing some running. This week has been pretty productive, actually, with 4 runs totaling 26.4 miles, including 2 workouts (400 m and 1 mile intervals) and one long run on the trails. I was curious about when I last ran this much in one week, so I took a peek at my Dailymile training log. It turns out that this is the first week I’ve run more than 25 miles since Santa Rosa Marathon — in August!
The funny thing is, all of a sudden, I feel like I have my running mojo back. It’s probably due to a number of things, including but not limited to:
- Increased/regular speed work — it’s painful, but always gives me such an endorphin rush.
- Training with purpose — related to above, it’s nice to know there’s a reason to do certain workouts. I’m also getting more intentional about my runs, like waking up earlier this past Thursday to have coffee before doing mile repeats. Otherwise, I tend to run like a half-asleep zombie in the mornings.
- Impending races — Cathryn and I (and hopefully some others) are planning to do a free 5K this coming Saturday. I want to run it as a baseline for my goal 5K on March 20th. I’m not expecting much, but I don’t want to totally suck either.
- Feeling like absolute crap after my work event — like I mentioned, I ate and slept really poorly and did zero running. I swear that I gained about 2 inches to my waist by the end of the week. I came out wanting to make serious improvements in various aspects of my life, including diet and exercise. To this end, I’ve ordered two new cookbooks – Thug Kitchen and Salad Samurai. I’m especially excited about the latter — I’ve been seriously craving hearty salads with beans and all sorts of veggies. I think my body is trying to tell me something!
- Watching Desert Runners on Netflix — I love running films, and this one was done quite well. It actually made me want to run on the treadmill for a full hour, that’s how good it was. This documentary focuses on 4 runners trying to complete the 4 Deserts Series (Atacama, Gobi, Sahara, and Antartica) in one calendar year. It’s not something that I’d ever want to do, but it was still inspiring to watch.
- Reading How Bad Do You Want It? by Matt Fitzgerald — I’ve been a big fan of Matt Fitzgerald for a long time, and even though I’m only one chapter into this book, I feel like it may be the most relevant to me (out of all of his books). It deals with the idea that endurance athletes are limited by their perception of effort, and if we can recalibrate our ability to cope with (and accept) that perception, then we can tap into improved physical performance. This is precisely something that I feel is lacking in my running. Even when I’ve been physically fit, I’ve been guilty of throwing in the towel (or rather, stepping off the gas) when the going gets tough. And I usually regret it after I’ve crossed the finish line. I’m curious to learn about what kind of strategies might be useful to help me improve my coping mechanisms.
Let’s hope this motivation sticks around for a little while. Hope you’re all having a great 2016 so far!
p.s. None of the above links are affiliated. I’m linking for your information. 🙂