There is a precarious social line of perception between pride and bragging. Texans, I’ve noticed, do pride really well. Sometimes, people look at them and go “enough already with the flag and the lone star and the boots and the hats”, but mostly all that is just the expression of their pride and that is who Texans, generally are.
Runner pride is also mistaken for bragging (although, I will say, if you tell me how many seconds you knocked off your PR, my delighted look will be feigned). That being said, during the month of February, I managed to run 100 miles and between February 21 and 27, I completed 50 miles. I haven’t had a hundred mile month in a few years, due mostly to the fact that I just don’t like running that much (by much, I mean both “that many miles” and “that frequently“). I’ve never run a 50 mile week before, and I never want to again. For me, these achievements are relatively big deals, mostly because I am coming back from injury. There are runners who routinely run these distances with ease, for example, this guy:
I would like to tell you that in January, I had written out these specific, measurable, time-bound goals and developed a plan to achieve them. The truth is that I ran the Mission Gorge trail 15K run on Sunday February 1 and I had a really good long run the following Saturday and was 26 miles in before this 100 mile thing became an idea.
I ran only about 25 miles in January, so a hundred miles was going to be a huge step up, one that I would never advise to anyone to make. I knew injury was a risk. I set out a plan to capture the 75 miles in the remaining 21 days, or 3.6 miles per day. I set a ground rule of no running back-to-back days unless absolutely necessary, which meant I had to cover, on average 7.2 miles per two days. That was bit more daunting. Being a busy human, I just made peace with the fact I would be waking up on some Saturdays with as much as 10 miles in arrears.
Despite some chest congestion, the second week went off according to plan and I reaching mile 50 with no problems. Week 3 involved travel both personal and for work as well as a calf spasm on the morning when a long run was planned. The 100 mile goal came into jeopardy as I didn’t run any of the first 6 days of that week. On that seventh day, I was in Vegas for my daughter’s cheer competition. It was a beautiful morning and I brought my marathon shoes with the full intention of running 15 miles. I felt good and ended up running 21.
The thought of running the last 29 in a week seemed too much on legs tired from the 21 miler. I eventually had to shift my mental metrics to running in hours rather than miles as the smaller number seemed more manageable. I liken running day after day to pushing a leaky wheelbarrow with water. The longer the run the more water that is put in. The more days between runs, the more time the water has to leak out. My preferred M.O. is to run lots of miles on the weekend and then let the water mostly drain out during the week. This fourth week, 50 miles worth of water was going in and there wasn’t going to be much time for it to drain out and this wheelbarrow, like my legs was going to get heavy.
The Tuesdays after the 21, I ran the easiest and fasted 13.1 miles I run in years. Thursday, I put what felt like 9+ slow miles in between two later afternoon conference calls and then on Friday (violating the no consecutive days rule), I ground out 7 slow brutal miles completed only by repeatedly running to the start of the next song. By this last run, I had used up all my gels and had to break into some well expired gel-blocks that tasted like rubber bands.
At the end of it all, there was 50.96 miles for the last 7 running days and 100.96 miles for the month. I do not feel the need to go out and run an additional 0.04 miles to round off the miles, I’m not THAT kind of OCD. Until the last few days, I felt generally good the entire month. I didn’t have the rungries (extreme hunger resulting from running long distances) that I used to. I think that has to do with the eating plan I put myself on in January. Also, I usually had a nutrition plan both pre and post run.
March is going to involve more work travel. With 64 days until my next big race, I am going to have to resume things like speed training, bike riding, tennis, weight lifting and 5 mile walks with the dog. All of those things were set down during this month. Jill Will Run, just did a blog post on running as a parent. It speaks to running as our life responsibilities become more heavier. Kristen Lamb also just posted on the Doctrine of Doers, describing the attributes of those who get things done. Both posts resonate with me. When making a committing to a difficult course of actions, be it athletic or artistic in nature, it’s easy to have life be thrown out of balance. It is however, good to remember who and what are truly important.
A quick note of thanks to those who have been there and been supportive of this endeavor this month. This includes all those who blog about running in snow and those who post their selfies running in the snow. They make it really hard for me to complain about how cold it is in Southern California.