100 Miles

>> Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I’m celebrating National Running Day a little early (it’s tomorrow) because I’m thrilled to report I ran 100 miles in May. It was my first triple digit month since August of last year. Not only that, I also completed my first double digits run since November on Sunday. While I’m not training for anything and only have one “race" on the calendar (I’m not planning to run all-out), it feels good to be running more again.

Still crazy about Nike Frees after all these years . . .

These days, I’ve been using Ada’s preschool time to fit in the bulk of my runs. I find that if I don’t make time to exercise in the morning, it just doesn’t happen. By afternoon, the weather is too hot and I’ve made a gazillion excuses to skip or shift my workouts. So, I pack up the BOB SE stroller, strap Ada inside, and jog her half a mile to school. I run the empty stroller back to my house (which gets me some puzzled looks) and continue the rest of my plodding.

I run between four to five days a week. I don’t follow a training plan, so I just aim to do between 4 and 6 miles during the week with one longer run -- anything over 6 -- on the weekend. Long runs have been hard for me both physically but mostly mentally. I need to be in the mindset to keep going over an hour. So, I like to listen to podcasts, usually This American Life, to preoccupy myself.

I’ve been using the Nike App to track my progress. Often I go out and run without any tracking device (no watch, phone, or GPS) and then come home, map out what I did on a Google map and log it in the app. But I usually take my phone on my long runs for safety and switch up the app to track my route. This also helps because when I run long, I like to make lots of twists and turns to keep things interesting.

I ran 10 miles at 8:54/mile on Sunday. The course I did was really hilly (mountainous?) and a lot of the miles were either 9:30 uphill or fast down. The last flat mile was a comfortable 8:10. I felt great on this run, so I hope to do another this weekend.

The past year has definitely been tough with regard to running and fitness. I got a 5K PR in August, but that’s really it. I basically didn’t run most of February and March and the months preceding were low, slow mileage. I’ve also gained some weight and generally lost my competitive edge. I longingly browse race websites because I’d love to do some events, but I don’t think formal training would be a great idea for me right now. Instead, I’m trying to reap all the mental and physical benefits from running with a low-key focus on myself versus getting PRs or distance goals.

I say it every year, but I’m so happy I started running. When I was 17, I couldn’t run a single mile without it feeling like some epic death march. Now it’s much, much easier and, well, fun. Running has been the one activity that has stuck with me through the various ups and downs in my life. Even on the worst days when I feel awful, a quick mile or two can get me in a totally different frame of mind.

And for that, I’m eternally grateful.

Happy (early) National Running Day! 

How are you celebrating this year?

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