It’s hard to believe January is over already. It seems like just yesterday I was cheering the departure of Christmas TV commercials, congratulating myself for not getting drunk on New Year’s Eve, and wondering how the hell I was going to make it to spring without going as crazy as Reginald Barclay.
You remember Barclay, right? The socially awkward Starfleet officer (affectionately known as “Broccoli” by his shipmates) who was afraid of the transporter, could barely get through a sentence and was a raging hypochondriac as well? Sometimes I’m just one extra blizzard away from being quite as odd but in different ways. And each January begs the question: will this be the year?
But none of that has happened yet. We had a relatively dry month, annoying Christmas commercials are still gone and I haven’t found myself drunk or bonkers yet. So far, so good.
I actually did run one race this past month — the annual virtual race for the Moon Joggers — this one being the U.S.S. Enterprise 5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2. I signed up for the 10k and ran that around my neighborhood on January 31 for this awesomely cool medal, and a chance to help their chosen charity with my $17.00 entry fee.
I sketched out a plan for the year as far as distance racing goes as well. Thus far I have signed up for the following 10-plus milers:
May – Starved Rock Country 1/2 Marathon here in Illinois
June – Revel Rockies 1/2 Marathon in Denver
July – Waterfall Glen Extreme 10 Mile (a local heat and hills hell-fest)
August – Fort to Base 10 Nautical Miles (from an army base to a naval station in Illinois)
September – Rock-n-Roll Philadelphia 1/2 Marathon (and a 5k in NJ the same weekend)
October – Run Crazy Horse 1/2 Marathon in South Dakota.
Those six will keep my distance addiction satisfied and tally four more states on my quest for a race in all 50. Since I only ran four states last year and need five annually to stay on the original timetable of all 50 by my birthday in December 2020, I am hoping to get six destination races run this year. If I can squeeze in one more weekend trip with back-to-back Saturday/Sunday races in neighboring states (or do a pair with the Mainly Marathons bunch), I’ll stay on target. We’ll see how it goes, money and time-wise. This 50-state racing is not a cheap hobby. But I don’t really spend much on anything else. I drive a 2009 Hyundai, wear scrubs to work and dress like a gym rat the rest of the time, so what else is there? I’m too old to spend it on booze, drugs and nightclubbing so I might as well do this.
Since my first half-marathon is in mid-May, I started a 16-week training program for that race a couple of weeks ago. After the full marathon last October, I really did get a bit sedentary by comparison. I don’t think I ran more than 4 miles at once, and didn’t run at all after the snowfalls began and temperatures went sub-freezing. This year, I’ve gone back to an old favorite called “Run Less Run Faster” by the Furman Institute. I like the fact that it only has you running 3 days a week, and that you really do get faster. Of course, I adapt it (translation: scale back some of the gruelingness) to suit my advanced age, slower speed and heavier body but it still gives me good results. Due to my tendency for overuse injuries, I follow my own schedule for an every-other-week long run which I started with a 5 miler and am advancing by 10-12% per outing until I get to a total of 12 miles a couple weeks before the half.
Cross-training-wise, I am slightly more than halfway through a 20-week muscle building program I started in November. I didn’t do any heavy lifting during marathon training last year so I wanted to get back some of the strength I probably lost. I’m enjoying it quite a bit, and if I wasn’t so chunky I know I’d have some nice muscle definition visible. Along with the lifting and running, I also do a short HiiT or Tabata DVD a couple times a week too. If I could win a big Lotto prize, I would quit my job and have enough time for yoga and stretching as well. But that hasn’t happened yet, so I continue to neglect those more than I should. Honestly if you did all the stuff they tell you in Runner’s World and on fitness websites, you’d need a household staff and a trust fund. Because us ordinary schmoes with regular jobs and housework just don’t have the time to cover all the supposedly necessary bases.
So that’s about it for now. My running club has its first circuit race tomorrow at 1:00 pm, The Winterfest 5k. It’s supposed to be 40 degrees out and I hope that is true because I will not otherwise be feeling very festive. But I’ll be there regardless.
‘Til next time…..Live Long and Prosper.