Friday, October 31, 2014

31 in 31 Challenge; Building a Foundation.




“If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges.”
~ Pat Riley ~


As some of you know I decided to challenge myself to run at least a mile for every day in the month of October. I ran a total of 78.1 miles and 31 runs in 31 days. This challenge took on two fronts; the first being finding my joy of running again, and the second being cutting off my usual doldrums that hit me going into fall. For many years fall and winter have been rough times for me as far as moods go. I believe that Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) is a very real thing and with the shorter days and limited sun exposure I begin to struggle. Until this year (so far) with the renewed focus of lacing up my running shoes every day I am finding the cooler temperatures inviting and my legs seem to be recovering quicker as well. Also, being more flexible with my schedule is taking pressure off of getting out the door for runs, since I know I am going to run a mile and if I feel up to it I run more.


I honestly had no idea what to expect going into this challenge except that I wanted to build some good habits and enjoy running. Much to my (pleasant) surprise this month did not turn into a “have to do”, it was more of a “want to do” experience. It helped that my wife was on board and did it with me and I knew a couple other people who were giving it a go as well. I was able to run (at the same time) with my wife, with a few friends part of the time during the month and some alone with my thoughts. My wife and I were able to run a few miles with one of my very good friends, who I had not seen for a year on the morning of her wedding. There are few better places to get caught up with someone, than on a run. My final run this morning was my fastest mile of the month, at least fastest that I tracked. It is so amazing that I can wake up and feel sluggish, lethargic, both mentally and physically and after going for a morning run feel energized, less stressed and ready for anything. I still do not do as well on afternoon and evening runs as I do in the morning but I have gotten better lately.   


The shorter runs have also allowed me time to get used to running in my Brooks Pure Connect 2’s that are very light weight and only have a 4mm drop. So much that during a two week span I wore only my trail shoes or BPC2 and one morning grabbed my Asics because the other shoes were packed for a trip, and it felt like I was wearing combat boots during the beginning of my run. I did have one day that I woke up with a pretty intense headache and went to work; as the day progressed, the headache advanced to a migraine. I had my running clothes and shoes out hoping it would let up until I finally gave up at 7:30 when I closed the blinds and shut all the lights out, covered my eyes and went to bed. I woke up early and went out for a run before work and did run # 2 after work to make up for it.

I am using the shorter runs to trick myself into doing some speed work. On my long runs I am forcing myself to find a comfortable slow pace and stick with it. I realized that during all of my half marathons, I have gone out too fast and flamed out late in the run. I have said it before; I am not fast, if I can maintain a steady pace and not struggle to finish a long run I am okay with it being slow. Using the shorter runs for recovery as well as speed work has been working very well for me and seems to be allowing for better quality long runs. The test will be in November when I run my first 25K trail race. I hope to use this race as a building block to bring bigger goals more in focus, but I am not jumping ahead that far yet. I am going to continue to do what feels right for me and whatever happens, happens. 


It feels good to set a goal and not only accomplish it but to get others involved and maybe even inspired. I look forward to running into the fall and through the winter and speaking of winter; I already dug out a pair of my old road shoes and put screws in the bottom for traction so no excuses there. I plan to continue on similarly this month while increasing mileage and volunteering at more races.

I am also looking forward to hearing about everyone’s Thanksgiving Day of Activity and who you were able to get out of the house and get involved in an exercise/activity sometime during the day. Check out the activity page at https://www.facebook.com/events/763197830413738/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming. Please feel free to join and share with friends and family, it is a good excuse to get together and have some fun for free.


As always thank you for joining me, let's go for a run!

2 comments:

  1. Thank you, Mr. Sweat! Your October is inspiring my November--or should I say, my Yes-vember :)
    -Lindsay

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  2. I believe that tricking ourselves into building new habits and to take pressure off is necessary at times. It is funny that as over thinking humans, we can take activities meant to bring joy and relieve stress and complicate them.
    Thank you for your continued support!

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