Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Making the Grade and Back on Track


January was a strange month.

If I were to compare it to a train ride, it would be a near-derailed experience in regards to running mojo and attitude. The temps were sub-artic, the wind was spiteful, and I spent a lot of time with dear Old 'Milly. Thankfully, the final few days allowed for a total 180-turn-around. 


Read on....here's what went down, and my graded assessment:

January Challenges/Goals --> B
Every month, I set some challenges for myself. Basically, I have learned that I do better with short-term challenges rather than long-term goals. It's really a win-win, because it gives me a chance to do some aggressive things, but since I'm only doing them short-term, they don't (usually) feel too overwhelming.



 My daily challenges this month, though, really tested my sanity. Everything started out great, but after about the half way mark, I started losing interest (especially in the 20-minutes of daily yoga). The planking was a no-brainer, and the 30-minutes of daily cardio was manageable (even if it meant a lot of time with 'Milly). The foam rolling had a few days of ZERO action, but for the most part, I was able to stick with it (even if it wasn't always a full ten minutes). There were some days when the foam rolling lasted for much longer than the allotted ten minutes, so things kind of balanced out in the end.

True Off-Season Focus --> A
Every winter, I allow myself an off-season. Granted, I'm not a professional athlete with a specific "season" for my sport, but I don't believe it's wise being in "training mode" year-round. I do believe in year-round fitness, just not constant non-stop speed work or high-mileage weeks. Seriously, our (running) bodies need a break! 


My off-season included non-running days (at least 3/week), cross-training, and strength-training. To meet my daily goal of 30-minutes of cardio, I did a lot of walking, most of which had to happen on the treadmill, and I also did some stair-climbing.

Continued Route 66 Recovery (Physically AND Mentally) --> A
No doubt, Route 66 left me feeling pretty defeated and beat-up. The unexpected hip/groin issue really did a number on me, both during the race and for several weeks following the finish line. Thankfully, all my disappointments morphed into accomplishments, and I was able to come full circle (so to speak) with my experience, and can look back on that race with more smiles than grimaces.

And the achy feet and angry hip/groin? Everything feels (almost) brand new. Taking an off-season made that possible.

First race of 2017 --> A
I ran my first race of 2017, the Chamburrr Scurry, this past weekend. It was a small 5K in a nearby town. 

Let me set the scene...temps in the low 20's with plenty of wind (giving us a feels-like temp of 11-degrees). There was ample sunshine, though, so it didn't feel as cold as it could have been.

My friend, Barb, and I ran most of the race together. The first mile (approximately) is a loop around the community college campus. Next, we head out on the cross country path for an approximate mile of an out-and-back segment on the frozen (uneven) ground that had a few inches of fresh snow. After returning from the trail, we do another loop around the campus, ending back where we'd started.


Since we were running loops (and an out-and-back segment), we didn't have a constant headwind to battle (thankfully!). The two partial loops into the wind (and the return trip from the turn-around on the trail), though, were tough. It was especially challenging on the trail because of the snow, and the relentless wind made it difficult to stay vertical. Also, I could feel the sock on my right foot inching its way down, and by the time we were on the trail (in the snow, none the less), it was halfway off my foot. Nice. 


My finish time was 26:58. Not a PR, but definitely my fastest 5K in awhile. Given the fact that it was with major wind, cold temps, and tough terrain, I'm calling it a win. I'm also pleased with the fact that this happened after a month of very moderate running, 50ish miles (a lot of which happened on the treadmill...which I hesitate to consider that "real" running LOL).


In reference to the derailed train (above)....all the time spent indoors due to the weather, road conditions, and a brief illness really had my glass-half-full attitude (almost) running on empty. Fortunately, I was finally able to get outside in the final week. Sixteen of those 50 cumulative miles were run outside in the last six days. That fresh air was just what I needed to finish the month with a definite spring in my step and an eagerness to get ready for spring training!

How did your January play out? Cold weather? Mileage - high, average, or low?

I'm linking this with Marcia and Patty and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run

and with Deb for the Wednesday Word (consequently, this month's word is derail)

and with Susie and Debbie and Rachel and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner.



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46 comments:

  1. I think it takes time to recover from a tough experience like your Route 66 race. Be gentle with yourself !
    My January has been pretty good. I have only run once or twice a week, it has been so COLD here. Unusually cold. So I have been doing LOTS of strength training and heavy lifting. Swimming too. I was so burnt out after 2 marathons last year. I am waiting for my mojo to come back and I know it will with the nice weather. I also have 2 races in Feb, just for fun.

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    1. I think I had a little bit of burnout as well...my December running streak and the January off-season did wonders for recharging my mind, body, and soul ;-)

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  2. I'm good on the cardio, but those other activities on your list I never do daily. I can add strength training to my list though, because I do that a few times a week, not a day that is. Still counts right?

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    1. I didn't realize how aggressive my January goals were until I started blowing off some of the stuff mid-month. Oops! ;-)

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  3. I think you are doing great with your recovery from Rt 66! Be sure to save yourself for our 10 miler in March!

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  4. You had a great month.

    You are so patient about recovery. Kudos to you.

    That is a speedy 5k time in my book.

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    1. Thanks!! I'm glad I let myself have some downtime....it's always well worth it

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  5. Holy cow- I couldn't have kept going with my sock like that. It would have driven me BONKERS! So impressed with your mental ability to push pass those small things that derail runners like me. WTG this month!

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    1. Well, the sock was driving me bonkers LOL I just didn't want to stop and "fix it" in the cold LOL

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  6. That 5k time is totally solid, my friend! The change up from serious training does a body (and mind) good!

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    1. I agree....the off-season never lets me down ;-)

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  7. Congrats on a strong 5k! I'm impressed with the daily yoga, cardio and plank goals too. January is often my cut back season too... my body definitely needs that season of rest!

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    1. well....the daily yoga kind of derailed after a couple weeks....

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  8. Glad you're back on the train and chugging along very nicely! I just don't think I can bear to do a 5K in the winter...too cold! You did a great job on your race, congrats!

    I'm glad to hear your hip/groin issue has passed. I still have some twinges here and there but never while running...it's usually in barre class!

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    1. 5K's are not my favorite, by a long shot. But they area kind of fun in the cold because it's a challenge to get done as soon as possible to get back inside LOL

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  9. Great job this month! Glad your recovery from the marathon went so well. And congrats on your 5k!

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  10. It definitely takes time to recover from a tough race experience. I commend you for giving yourself that time to heal!

    I was in a workout funk all January, but I'm ready to change that this month!

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    1. I'm just glad we're one month closer to summer!

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  11. January is such a hard month to stay motivated. Now if we can get through February we are almost to spring! I need to get on the foam rolling again now that I am upping my tri training. Have a good one!

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    1. I know...foam rolling should just come natural, right? (said no runner ever)

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  12. I think you had a great January, despite trying to make your comeback and recovery from Route 66. With more time, you'll feel like "yourself" again. And hopefully the weather will start cooperating more and you'll be able to be outside more.

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    1. Well, the weather can only improve, right?

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  13. Your sock!!! You're the first other runner besides me that I've heard mention that their socks do that. Was this a first time, or does it happen randomly on runs?

    Thanks for linking up!

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    1. I have not had that happen many times with my sock, especially with this one (SmartWool). I did wear them for a previous run, so they may have been a bit "stretched" (?)

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  14. I love how you goal set and agree training year round can be a lot of pressure. Just like your goals you take it by the season very encouraging for those who feel overwhelmed with goal setting whether it be for fitness or personal goals.

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    1. Thanks!! Yes, our bodies (and minds) need some downtime

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  15. I love how you broke things down into minutes per day. It seems so much more achievable than time over the entire month.

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    1. daily minutes are more attainable than weekly "hours" LOL

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  16. That was a speedy 5k! Great job! I missed out on two big races in January so my month did not go as planned but things happen for a reason!

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    1. I was surprised how "fast" I actually ran it with the crazy wind ;-)

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  17. I think it's safe to say you had a pretty kick-ass January. Nice 5K time, too! :)

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    1. Well, kick-ass may be a slight exaggeration LOL

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  18. That's a great 5k! I can't wait or see those numbers again this year, fingers crossed. January was pretty good. Though I missed my running goal,I did plenty of activities!

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    1. Those 5K's are a lot tougher than we give them credit

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  19. Sounds pretty darn good to me! Great work!

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    1. Thanks ;-) I'm eager to move on to warmer weather!

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  20. Sometimes we really do NEED that running break -- mentally & physically! Sounds like it did you a world of good.

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  21. I think setting short-term rather than long-term goals is a great idea. I set both, but sometimes the long-term goals can seem pretty overwhelming. Glad you ended your January on a good note. Sounds like many of us have been dealing with a polar vortex this winter!

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  22. Short term goals can definitely give you a boost and helps you to stay on track. Can't imagine racing in the frigid cold after living in SoCal for 10yrs. We are definitely spoiled with the weather - we had several days of rain which made everything turn green and got rid of the drought!

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  23. Sounds like you had a pretty good January, despite the cold weather. It takes a lot of motivation to get out there when it's windy and freezing. Hope things warm up a bit this month for you!

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  24. I despise the cold, you did great considering. My January was awesome!

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  25. You did great! and you are right it is only cold when you stand still - must be how you move so fast! I love your dedication!

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