January 19, 2014

January 19

Total time: 21:27 minutes
Total distance: 1.39 miles

FIRST RUN OF 2014!! It's been an incredibly cold winter so far, what with the record-breaking polar vortex and just general normal winter-ness of cold + snow + ice + dark. It's been gloomy. There was one day back in late December that ended up being in the low 40s, and I was so mad that I didn't check the temperature before I showered and got ready for the day. I would have totally snuck in a run before scurrying up north for a belated Christmas celebration. I don't really know what my temperature threshold is for "warm enough to run" but probably upper 30s... back in May when we had our freak spring snow, I think it was somewhere just slightly above freezing and I went for it anyway, and it was fine. Depends on how cold the air is, I guess. It can be too cold for your lungs and it would just be a pile of suck. I've been keeping an eye on the weather when I have daylight to spare, and it's been pretty discouraging.

Fortunately, I got my chance with an unseasonably warm January day! The temp on my phone said 45 when I left my apartment, and when I was done it was all the way up to 50. Given how long it had been since I've run (I've been a lazy bum and have not located a treadmill to borrow and I do not want to pay for a gym membership because I am intimidated by gyms), I decided I'd walk to the park, then walk my normal route, then run it. Plenty of warm-up to get my legs used to moving, with the added bonus of scouting out my trail to see what condition it was in. Snow, I learned, wasn't a problem, as long as I was careful... but I was worried about lingering ice. Slipping and falling and hurting myself was not high on my list of objectives. I texted the BF to see if he wanted to join me and he met up with me at the park right about the time that I decided I'd run my alternate route around the baseball field. He talked me into running the complete opposite way - the trail that he likes to run - since it was less wind-exposed and there had been other people running on it. I mentally followed it and decided that it would probably be about the right distance - I was hoping to do at least 10 minutes, and judge it from there. So off we went, spending a fair amount of time skirting around puddles and mini-lakes and mud, but with a mostly-clear trail. It felt so good to be outside with sunshine and warmth and just moving again. Heavenly.

I had no idea where I'd be starting from. If I could feel a difference when I took two weeks off in late November, who knows how much I might have lost over the last month and a half. I remember, also, how tentatively I'd started last spring, too. So I wasn't expecting a lot, but I took off at a steady jog.

It was slow. So slow. Probably the slowest I've ever gone. But I reached ten minutes easily enough and decided I'd go for fifteen - get my mile in! More than I'd even dared to hope for. The last five minutes were a little rougher than any of the ten that had proceeded them, and I was ready to quit when I hit my mark. I even stopped my UP band and slowed to a walk for about all of three steps when the BF shook his head at me and nudged me forward. So I restarted my band and kept trudging along, and we went another five or so until we reached my house. It was a rough five minutes, let me tell you. But I bit my tongue and held back my complaints, because I wanted to push myself, and it would be silly to argue against a little extra hard work.

Twenty-one minutes, guys. TWENTY ONE MINUTES, first time out. About twice as long as I was shooting for. I was incredibly pleased. Granted, I was plodding along at about a 15/16-minute mile pace, so I've definitely got some work to do on finding my old 12-ish minute mile pace again, but it was exactly the kick-start I needed. I am so antsy to get back out there, or find a treadmill, anything. Of course, it's supposed to be cold and crappy right away again, but I'd say the year's off to a great start!

January 1, 2014

2013 in Review

I started keeping track of my runs in April as a means of tracking my progress. I can't remember if I did much running this year before that; if I did, it was very sporadically and mostly intervals. A lot of the "hard" work - getting into shape, building distance, a lot of interval training - was done in 2012. I ended the year with a PR of 32 straight minutes in October of that year, which wasn't too shabby at all, since I was a complete and total couch potato when that year began. I couldn't run for more than a minute or two. Fortunately, I didn't lose all of that work when I started running again in 2013. I wasn't even sure how "into" running I would be, but I knew it was a good cardio workout and I still had my white whale to capture - running a 5K.

I started taking post-run photos simply because Runkeeper prompted me to the first time I used it... and then it just sort of became a tradition. From there, I decided to document each excursion in a similar manner. Consistency, and whatnot. Blogging helped, also, to keep me accountable.

Which is a roundabout way of saying: I have a lot of data and I find stats to be pretty interesting. So I've taken the time to compile everything that I recorded in 2013 in to a nice year-end summary.

The biggest surprise, when tallying everything up? It was only my 6th run of the year when I ran my first 5K equivalent (3.22 miles) on May 10. (Which gives me hope that it won't take me too long to bounce back in 2014 after taking some time off over the holidays/in the winter.)

Number of Runs Per Month
April - 2
May - 8
June - 11
July - 12
August - 6
September - 8
October - 9
November - 3
December - 1
Total Number of Runs in 2013: 60
Month with the Most Runs: July (12)

Total Recorded Time Per Month
April - 45 minutes
May - 184 minutes
June - 269 minutes
July - 277 minutes
August - 133 minutes
September - 146 minutes
October - 215 minutes
November - 105 minutes
December - 15 minutes
Total Time Spent Running in 2013: 1389 minutes (23.15 hours!)
Month with the Most Time Spent Running: July (277 minutes)
Most Recorded Time in a Single Week: 93 minutes (10/20-10/26)
2013 Personal Record, Longest Time/Single Run: 55 minutes (6/21)

Total Recorded Distance Per Month
April - 1.77 miles (only one run was tracked)
May - 15.12 miles
June - 22.69 miles
July - 22.05 miles
August - 8.82 miles
September - 11.57 miles
October - 17.41 miles
November - 8.05 miles
December - 1.22 miles
Total Recorded Distance in 2013: 108.7 miles
Month with the Most Distance Run: June (22.69 miles)
Most Recorded Distance in a Single Week: 7.6 miles (10/20-10/26)
2013 Personal Record, Farthest Distance: 4.29 miles (10/20)

Total # of Organized 5K Races Run in 2013: 4

Number of Runs Per Days of the Week:
Sunday - 15
Monday - 6
Tuesday - 11
Wednesday - 5
Thursday - 6
Friday - 7
Saturday - 10

It is perhaps not surprising that most of my runs landed on a weekend, especially since in the summer I had softball on weeknights, and in the fall once it started to get dark by the time I left work. There were definitely some patterns starting to emerge each month, which was interesting because I never had a "set" running schedule.

Looking ahead: 2014

My #1 running goal for 2014 is to run 5 miles. I was so close last year, I think I can do it! My #2 goal, if I can run 5, is to eventually run a 10K (which is ~6.2 miles). I'm not ready to commit to a goal of a half marathon just yet, even though a lot of my friends are doing it (peer pressure!) but if I have a good year this year and stay injury-free, that might be The Goal for 2015.

I'm also considering investing in a GPS watch this year. My UP band has suited me pretty well, but it's always frustrated me just a little bit to not know how far I'd run until after I was done. I think it might also help me pace myself while doing 5Ks. They're about $130-150 but I shouldn't need to buy new shoes or gear for a while (unless I magically lose a bunch of weight, but if that happens, I will not be complaining!) so it might be my big splurge for the year.

Lastly, I'm planning on running more 5Ks this year. Probably a couple in the spring, a couple in the fall. Summer is kind of busy since I'm planning on coaching softball again, and late summer is just miserably hot and humid. But we'll see! If a fun one pops up here and there I won't say no! I don't have a set number that I want to do. I don't want to spend too much money on registration fees, and I'd rather do more charity runs than novelty runs. (In other words, I won't be running the Color Run in 2014. I might get talked into participating, but it will be strictly leisurely. Too many people and obstacles.) It would be nice to do a couple of the same races as last year just to see what kind of improvement I can make from last year, so hopefully all the dates will work out.