I'll finish up with the Family Bites recipes this week, but now I'm going to talk a bit about my running (GASP!). Besides the sudden warm up in temperature, I've been pretty happy with my running because I've actually been running, and I'm getting excited for all the races. This is really important because usually I don't run through winter and, come January, I'm not used to the cold, wind, etc., and I didn't give myself enough time to race strongly. I feel now that I'm running consistently enough to have a pretty good race season!
Here's a month-by-month playback.
My goal for December was just to run. Every single day. This may seem excessive, but I knew that by keeping the intensity low overall and not running more than my body could handle, I'd be able to do it. And I almost did but for Christmas, the Sunday after, and New Year's Eve. Nonetheless, I was happy in setting a goal I actually (sort of) accomplished, running-related, and I noticed an improvement in recovery turnover and speed.
It was cold and windy. And I admit that no one should listen to me speak when I run in the cold and wind.
Over at the Runner's World forums they were holding a mileage challenge. I figured this was a good idea because it would give me something else to focus on. The first week of January was devoted to finishing up the Family Bites recipes, and I didn't run but thrice and only 2-5 miles. The next two weeks were the first time I ran over 40 miles a week, though I struggled a bit in the second week because I pretty much felt worn out. This wasn't planned at all, I just decided to run more. The last week I didn't run at all because it was single digits outside -- I know my limits.
Midway through January I began looking for a race sometime in the spring as a reward of sorts for being consistent. And so... I'm running my first half marathon, the Notre Dame Holy Half! I didn't actually sign up until February, when registration opened. But I'm currently in between a state of nervousness and excitement.
Here, the shortest month of the year, I attempted to streak again, and was successful! I decided to use the streak as a pseudo-training, alternating longer days with much shorter days. I'd consider it a success since I ran a total of 139 miles, the longest ever, and I got some solid long runs in. I also saw an improvement in speed, and I realized that I don't need as many rest days as I thought unless it's obvious I need a break.
Another thing I realized is that I need to start fueling (or at least hydrating) during the run. (As fun as eating peanut butter volt cookies during a run was, chewing while running is rather difficult.) I also need to cut back on coffee and drink more water. Seriously. I just bought a hand held water bottle and I'm looking forward to testing it out on my next run.
I've also learned that running with a baseball hat is AWESOME. It just shields my face from the sun better and I don't squint as much.
But I do squint. I find myself, during the latter stage of a run, that I do some squinty thing where I close one eye, I look down, and just stare at my shadow. I don't know if I'm trying to fall asleep, or if this is my attempt at "getting in the zone", I don't know. I do know that I when I suddenly look up because I see a pole sticking out of the ground I freak myself out.
And so we find ourselves in March (already!), where the temperature has warmed up, a most pleasant reprieve, and the sun has come out with some semblance of regularity. After having run through months of dreariness, I can't begin to tell you how much seeing the sun has made me happier. Also, I need to wear sunscreen, I sort of have a tan (but not, because I'm really pale so when I first get a tan it's more of a joke) thanks to running in shorts.
My focus in March is to get in a few more long runs (yesterday was a 12 miler), so I'm planning on a ten miler either this week or next. I'll also be incorporating some more speed workouts, which I think I can handle now, and gauging my progress by running a mile test each month through September. All I need is for my legs to feel normal again. It feels like it's been longer than a week since February, though my legs are saying something different.
For the half, I'm hoping on subbing 2 hours. I feel like this should be possible because although I've been averaging in the 9's, pace-wise, I haven't felt like I've been running hard. I'm not following a formal training plan, I'm just running a lot and making sure my overall mileage supports the distance. Race day adrenaline seems to come into effect and hopefully that proves true for this race, too. I'm also gathering tips and advice from other runners who've run a half and stuff, so let me hear it!
A change to my blog: I've added my Daily Mile widget to the sidebar on the right. This way, since I seem to not talk about running much, you can see that I have indeed been running as well as keeping up the foodie part of my blog. Feel free to friend me if you're also on Daily Mile!
Let me know how your running is going, or activity in general if you're not a runner. Any races coming up?