I started off the year promising myself I would stick to my plan… and the plan called for hitting certain mileage per week and day and month and so on and so forth. Yea… None of that happened. I was trying to balance Yoga classes and running with the hope that at some point I would be able to run to yoga, participate in the hour long yoga class and then run home. I should point out it is about two miles to the studio and another two miles home. I was going to work out 6 days a week… Yoga three days and running the other three. What I got instead was quite a bit of yoga and very little running. Yoga was good though, it stretched me out quite a bit but running just took a back seat. I couldn’t stick with my plan which left me really defeated.
Ok, new month and time to get back to the plan… but that failed miserably. Yoga even started to take a back seat. It does not help that I got a small cold where I took a few days off and rested but didn’t completely get over it so working out over the next 4 days just made my the cold come back better than ever (note sarcasm). During the period of being sick, I took a serious look back at my training logs from previous years and had an epiphany. I run better when I give myself a number of days goal versus and actual run X mileage on the X day and X miles per week. I knew that running 3 days a week was too little but I felt like reverting back to the 5 days a week from 2010 might be too much. So I took the happy medium and decided that once the cold was out of my system, I would resume running and focus on just getting out there 4 days a week.
VAST improvement. For the first time in years, I was enjoying running again. The pressure was off. I made sure I got out there and ran. It didn’t matter how far, it didn’t matter how long. All that mattered was running 4 days a week. Amazing what happens when you start to enjoy your passion again…. because in all reality, setting a plan for myself made it difficult for me to enjoy my passion. I was getting out there and I was feeling good again. However, I still needed to prep myself for my next race… so I started to add back in one longer run a week.
Things were going well. I was started to feel stronger. Although the weather was complete crap… Cold and rainy. I feel like all of April is like that… It’s probably why April is my least favorite month in Chicago. Anywho, with feeling stronger, I was able to actually run 5 days a week a few times. I also started this Blog! All in all things were going great… and then Boston happened and my heart broke. It was a VERY rough week. Despite the icky weather, I let running be my savior.
The Spring racing season was in full swing and oh boy was I taking part. I was happier with my 5K race times than I had been in over a year and I was looking forward to my first 10K of the year. For the first time in a LONG time, I actually felt ready for a 10K. But the weather made it a very bad race for me and I was angry. I got my revenge by signing up for a 10 Miler for the following weekend two days before the race. It was probably one of my best decision of the year in regards to racing because it was such an amazing race for me. I also had a childhood friend visiting Chicago and we got to spend the whole day together being tourists. Two very awesome highlights of the month.
My Favorite 10K race and Dad was in town. I wanted THIS 10K to go better than my last one. I was worried when I woke up to rain so I set myself up mentally to be prepared for not hitting my “no way in hell” or “Have to really bust my butt” goals and just focus on the “easily attainable” goal. But I surprised myself and despite being rather miserable in the rain, I ran a great race and went home with a PR and my dad was there for it! But my happiness was short lived when I got a massive cold… I essentially slept for 5 days straight and had to take a DNS on a race that I had REALLY been looking forward to. I was devastated, not only because I was missing a race where I would get to see so many of my amazing friends running a half but also because my running streak of running 4 days a week or more came to an end. I had hit my goal of 4 days a week for 13 straight weeks and I really hated to see it end. But considering I was barely able to stand long enough to take a frozen pizza out of the oven and cut it, there was no way I could run…
I dialed back on the running in July because Mom was in town. Not only did I want to spend time with her, but there were things that I had been waiting to do in my condo until mom was in town with a car. So I dialed it back to three days a week. I had one race go well and one race go miserably… so I was 50/50. But hey, at least I had normal water pressure in my shower again… let’s just ignore that hole in the wall…
After a quick trip to TX where it was WAY too hot to run… even at 10:00 pm at night, I worked to get back on track. I also took part in the Nike Get Fly program. And get fly I did… I was constantly shocked by the pace of my runs because based on my perceived effort, I hadn’t felt like I was going that fast. I also clocked my fasted timed mile ever at the Nike Get Fly Track meet with Team Blogger. I was feeling awesome and very much looking forward to the start of fall racing. I was even looking forward to actually training for my next 10 miler.
I had a really decent September. I was doing one longer run a week and still pretty happy with my pace. I had one massive week with three races within 6 days. But it was a fun month and the weather was pretty decent which only helped with the running. I was officially training for Navy Pier and really enjoying it.
But then I got sick again… and running came to a crashing halt. Despite feeling physically better after a weekend of sleep. It took forever to get rid of the sinus pressure and congestion. So that left me out of the running game longer than I wanted. When it was time to resume training, I struggled. I struggled so much that I felt defeated. This is why I don’t have running plans… I gave up. Hell, I have already completed a half marathon without training… a 10 miler should be a walk in the park comparatively.
Navy pier ended up being a decent race. It was not the race that I envisioned but I had a lot of fun… and really, that’s all you can ask for when you know you are not really trained for a race. To top it off… I wasn’t half as sore as I thought I would be… so that’s always a plus. After the race, I took to the gym. I was running to/from the gym when it was nice out and I was getting back into strength training. I had already worked out how I wanted running to go in 2014 so I decided that I needed to started working on getting stronger and building a really solid base.
Holiday Challenge month. Though I knew I wouldn’t be able to do the true Runner’s World Run Streak, I still wanted to a version of it. So I allowed myself one complete rest day a week but I would run the other 6 days. Given the amount of snow we had, I took most of my runs to the indoor track. But I ran outside when weather permitted. I focused on the one mile run and by the end of the challenge, I found that one mile felt easier than it had in the beginning of the month. Not only was there a lot of running but a lot of strength training as well. I ended the year spectacularly. It is by far the best December I have ever had running.
The started off pretty rocky and despite a few set backs, it was a pretty decent year. And when I compared it to 2012 and 2011 it was much better. I Finally feel like my running is back on track and I hope to keep it up through this year. I feel like I have a better focus and an overall “plan” for becoming a stronger runner.