Friday, February 7, 2014

2014 Goals - Progress At 10%

At noon yesterday, February 6, the year 2014 was 10% complete. That milestone (?) marks a nice time to visit progress toward annual goals. Since I haven't yet posted those nine goals on this blog, it's also the time to reveal them.

1. Remain injury-free
I am plagued by overuse injuries, sometimes even when my "use" isn't that high.  When I start running around 35 miles a week, it can be dangerous.  Part of my tendency for injury is due to the Crohn's disease, which weakens my bones.  Regular pavement pounding doesn't mix well with bone density issues.  However, my bones are as healthy as they've ever been.  Also, as proof of progress, I recently took off a week when I felt some post-tib tendinitis in my left ankle.  That I rested is a HUGE deal, because I would normally run through pain and make it worse.  Ok, ok... I also had dropped a board on my foot and Wendy had had surgery the prior week, rendering me partnerless... but the important thing is that I RESTED.

2. Surpass 1,000 mi. in annual mileage
I have run 81.31 mi. in 2014.  Simple math says I am on track for 813.1 mi. annual mileage.  However, I took off the week mentioned above, and additionally, I was not training for a race in January.  My mileage is starting to increase now.  Coupled with marathon training in the fall, I fully expect to reach this goal.

3. PR in the Mini (under 1:54:19)
Training for the Mini (May 3) began for me yesterday with an interval run.  I will have no problem covering the 13.1 mi.  However, I'm nervous about the pace.  I haven't really raced in months, nor have I done speedwork.  Luckily, I have Wendy to guide and pace me.  I've entered the 500 Festival's Training Series 15K (April 5), as well, to use as a pace run.

4. Break 1:50 in the Mini

This is an "if the stars align and all goes right with the world" goal.  I know that this time (an 8:23 pace), is achievable for me.  A LOT has to go right for it to happen, though.  We'll see.

5. Run the Red Eye Relay
The Red Eye Relay (July 19-20) is a great 100-mi. relay race run overnight in Bloomington, Indiana.  I ran it last year on Team Embrace The Chaos, and we received fifth (out of 24).  It's a fun race, but VERY challenging as one is sleep deprived, the course is hilly, and it's often humid.  Any mileage I run in the winter can only help for this race.

6. Break 4:30 in Monumental (and run the whole thing without passing out)
This goal will be in clearer focus when mid-summer arrives, but like Red Eye, any mileage I can run right now will only help.  I know a sub-4:30 at Monumental is in me; it's just a matter of good preparation and a little luck on race day.

7. Work on the committee to stage the BMS 5K
I have already secured three sponsors and am working to raise funds for the race (May 16).  BMS 5K Day is one of my favorite days of the school year.

8. Encourage another person or people to become more focused on fitness

This is one of my annual goals that always stays on the list, because I want to encourage others in fitness daily.  Thanks to the Bedford Half Marathon, this goal is even easier this year.  I have a lot of friends, former students, and current students who are using the Bedford Half as an opportunity to run their first 13.1-mi. distance.  Many message me for advice, and I'm glad to help.  Also, I am helping Wendy's daughter, Amelia, train for her first half marathon, the Kentucky Derby Half, since her Mom is recovering from surgery.  We're having a lot of fun!

Diamond Push-Ups

9. Build more muscle

This is another of the goals that never leaves the list.  Thanks to Sam at Anytime Fitness in Bedford, my muscles, especially my core, stay strong and ready to work during runs and races.  I've met with her for a few sessions this year, and I have many more scheduled.  I couldn't do it without her.

In summary, it looks like I'm on my way to some fun running and, likely, some successes in 2014.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

January 2014 - Winter and Wounds

One month of the year 2014 is complete.  That's 8.5% of a year, done.  (Actually, since I'm posting this entry on the morning of February 2, it's really more like 8.9% complete, but I won't bore you with math... anymore.)  January was a colorful month with events that affected my running in a myriad of ways.

Historically Cold Temps
One day, the high was -6°F.  The HIGH.  Even I won't run outdoors when it's that cold, though believe me, I wanted to get in a "polar vortex" run for posterity.  Some of my friends did go on arctic runs, but I am forever haunted by a 2007, -1°F run after which I landed in the hospital with pneumonia.  The sub-zero run and the liquid lungs might've had a correlation; one can't be sure.

Boatloads of Snow
On Mile 7 of The Highway Blizzard Run
My favorite run is a snowy run, so this aspect of January 2014 was a happy one for me.  I managed to don my trail shoes and enjoy several snowy runs.  A combination of the snowfall and cold temperatures led to five school closures and five two-hour delays in NLCS, the school corporation where I teach.  On the early morning of one of the closures, Wendy and I ran 11.16 miles along Highway 37 from Mitchell to Bedford in white-out conditions.  Joined by Becky and Larry for the first half, we both agreed that that run was one of our most memorable.

Wendy's Foot
Wendy has been dealing with a large fibroma on the bottom of her foot for months and months now.  She finally had it removed on Jan. 17.  Held the morning of her surgery, the snowy Mitchell-to-Bedford run was Wendy's last.  She is not allowed to run for four to six weeks, so that has altered my training, as well.  I've been running less and running alone more often, but I've also run on the treadmill at the gym with Wendy spinning beside me, so we can still train together.  Wendy's foot has an incision shaped like a W slashed across the bottom of her right foot, but she already feels less pain than she experienced prior to the surgery.

Py's Tray
In my living room, I have a five-foot polar bear named Pythagoras who holds a 12" x 6" x 1" wooden tray filled with candy.  (Long story.)  That tray crashed onto my foot on Jan. 18.  For a few hours, I was certain I had broken my big toe.  Luckily, the injury was nothing more than a good bruise, but both it and what felt like the start of post-tib tendinitis sidelined me for eight days.  Better to be safe than sorry.

3K Club
My running odometer rolled over 3,000 mi. on Jan. 17 during that famous Mitchell-to-Bedford blizzard run.  I don't know how that statistic affected my running, other than to make me feel awesome for a little bit.

Here are a few statistics for the month of January.  Apologies for breaking the "no more math" promise above.

Miles Run: 59.29
Runs: 8
Hours Run: 10.01
Average Run Distance: 7.41 mi.
Average Run Pace: 10:07.90
Average Run Duration: 1:15:05.3
Average Temperature: 24.7°F  (Good suggestion, Jennifer!)
Longest Run: 11.16 mi., January 17
Shortest Run: 6.00 mi., January 8 and January 29
Favorite Run: January 17, 11.16 mi.
Total Lifetime Mileage: 3,012.03

So, it's clear that I ran less often, and mostly on days that weren't frightfully cold.  There were some frigid-temp runs, but there were also some unseasonably warm runs to balance the average.  Running less often is OK right now, because it gives my body a break from mileage that will soon increase.

February promises to be a fun running month as I'll be enjoying several runs with Wendy's daughter, Amelia, who is training for her first half marathon as a means to raise money for Saving Sunny, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates pit bulls.  Amelia had a mileage PR yesterday when she ran 8.5 mi. of my 10 mi. run with me.  If you would like to donate to her cause, you may do so at her fundraising web site.