January 31, 2014

Dear January

Dear January,

You have really been something. We’ve had quite the battle this year. You’ve bitten and kicked and wrangled with me almost every day. You’ve dragged me around and caused me to re-assess my running. And my supplemental exercise routine. And my diet. You’ve posed a lot of deep, piercing questions. Not sure I have all the answers, but I am working on that.

Now that you’re mere hours away from packing it in for another year, oh worthy opponent, how about we run a little scorecard and see where we stack up against one another?

Let us review these past 31 days, January …

• 60 hours of runwalk. That’s compared to 44 last year. (Score one for Me)

• 22 runs of at least 2 hours. That’s compared to 17 last year. (Me)

• Long-run breakdowns of a 6:09 (Red Eye 50K New Year’s Day), a 5:00, a 4:00, seven 3:00s and 12 2:00s (Seriously me)

• Living Room Yoga sessions: 3 (Draw)

• TRX training sessions: 7 (Me)

• Basketball ref action: 26 total games – 16 high school and 10 youth league (Draw)

• Days I did not run: 8 (January)

• Days I skipped running because the projected wind chill was more than -10F: 3 (Seriously January)

• Days I ran that were single-digit days: 4 (Me!!!)

• Days I ran less than 2 hours: 1. Although that day included a 20-minute tempo block at half-marathon pace … (still … January)

• Fast days: In addition to chunks of the Red Eye run and the aforementioned 20-minute tempo, I also churned out 5 times 7 minutes at 10K race pace, 10 times a 1-minute to 1-minute 45-second hill and another 20-minute tempo at HMP. (All me)

• Total number of push-ups this month: 6,200 (Draw, cuz I would have done fewer than this if the weather conditions hadn’t sucked so badly on several of your days).

So let’s see: Me 6. January 3. And 3 draws.

Truth: You kicked my ass, January. And even though I’m stronger and better and maybe even a little tougher now than I was before you showed up, I’m calling it even.

Thank you, January. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

January 21, 2014


Happy dog. New tricks.

I’ve run somewhere in the neighborhood of 85,000 lifetime miles, yet I’m only now just exploring rest days. Coming from the School of The Difference Between Ordinary and Extraordinary is Just a Little Extra, non-run days haven’t been regular for me since, um, 1979. Yeah. Starting with the last week of December, I’ve plugged in one or two rest days a week.

I am learning.

Non-run days are giving me extra juice so that I’m putting in more time on my feet than I was when I was hitting the roads every day. What? Yep. Bouncing between 12 and 14 runwalk hours each week. And I’m sleeping better.

I am learning.

Yoga can mean downloading a video and doing it for 30-45 minutes in my living room. And yoga can also mean doing eight or 12 moves on those rare winter evenings when I’m sitting around the house rather than out reffing high school basketball.

I am learning.

Push-ups have changed my exercise world. After doing 100 a day for a 100-day stretch that ended just before Christmas, I have bumped the daily tally to 200-plus. Running is better.

I am learning.

Merlot is growing on me.

I am learning.

Full-body TRX routines -- even the truncated four-move ones – really do kick your ass.

I am learning.

When those close to me say, “Read this,” I am taking immediate action to make this happen.

I am learning.

After consecutive years of 183 miles, 190 miles and 167 miles at Three Days at the Fair 72-Hour, this year I’m throwing down and calling it out. This year, the final total matters. This year, I’m laser-focused on cracking the 200-mile mark. And this year, I’ll taper. And get off my feet every couple hours throughout the event.

I am learning.

This year, I plan to reacquaint myself with The Wild Oak Trail that was my old friend for my first decade of ultrarunning (more than a decade ago now). My hope is two 27-mile loops in February. And two more than that in October.

Off days. Hard work. Big plans. Hopes. Dreams.

Using my head.

Listening to my heart.

Day by day, lesson by lesson – and sometimes, inch by inch – I am learning.