Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Running for Joy

I've been training for one race or another for the past 16 months. I've always had the next one on the horizon, so as soon as I'd recover from one race, I'd start prepping for the next, oftentimes bleeding one training schedule into a another. This year I added triathlons to the mix and threw some biking and swimming training in there, along with the dreaded "brick" workouts - which are some combination of swimming, biking, and/or running.

Since I completed the Philadelphia Marathon on November 18th, I've been in recovery and rest mode. This is the first time since June of 2011 that I do not have the next race looming. It feels good.

Resting does not mean I'm sitting on the couch eating cookies, but it does mean that I have no set plan or milage goal for each week. I'm running for fun, for the pure joy of running, something I haven't done  much of in a long time. I'm not doing speed work, intervals, or long slow distance runs. I'm just running however long and however fast feels right on that particular day. It also means not feeling guilty if I skip a run.

I've been wearing my Garmin, but enjoy not checking my pace or distance every few minutes, or even at all, until I finish the run. I tend to be competitive with myself, and I know that if I look at the watch and see that I'm dragging a little, I'll try to speed up my pace. This is not the point of running for joy. For me, part of the fun of this type of running is seeing how I did at the end of a run. Was I as slow or as fast as I felt? Can I run just as fast if I don't know my pace every second of the way?

The past 3 four-milers have been particularly fun because the weather has been unseasonably nice lately. Even more thrilling was that I averaged a sub-9:25 minute mile pace for each run. This is fairly fast for me, especially when I'm just running by feel and am not in training mode.

I think this time of rest is even more beneficial for my mind than my body. I'm still getting the miles in, but running doesn't feel like a chore, as it sometimes can during the months and weeks leading up to a big race. I find I'm looking forward to these runs and I feel great when I'm done.

As of now, my next big race is at the end of February, the Princess Half-Marathon in Walt Disney World. But I'm running that one for fun, not a personal best. My next PR goal race probably won't be until April, so I have some time to enjoy this rest period before I really need to sink back into training mode. I also want to spend some of my down time focusing on improving my biking and swimming skills, in preparation for the 2013 triathlon season.

Just before mile 12 of the 2012 Disney Princess Half Marathon, which is my favorite race! 
But for now, everything I do is going to be focused on the fun of it all.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I did it! I got up and ran 3.1 miles this morning, and believe me when I say that getting out the door today was much more difficult than I had anticipated.

Shortly after I wrote last night's post, Chris announced that he was feeling very sick. He was up most of the night with a tummy bug. It was pretty bad for him. I was also awake for much of last night. I was worried about him, but also selfishly worried how this was going to affect my big plan - the same plan that I'd just posted for all the world to see. I tossed and turned, in and out of sleep, wondering if I should just turn off my alarm and bag the whole plan until next week. I stressed over the fact that these tummy bugs usually spread like wildfire through our household. Who would be the next victim, and when?

When my coffeemaker went off at 5:51am, I checked on Chris. He was feeling a bit better and encouraged me to run, as planned. The boys were still snoring away. I drank my coffee and had a few unexpected to chores to tackle before I hit the road, thanks to my poor sick hubby. But I still managed to get out (just!) before 7:00am, which was my goal.

It was cold, but invigorating. I enjoyed a gorgeous sunrise and some of my neighbors' Christmas lights. I probably even ran a little faster than I normally would have, because I didn't want Chris to have to manage the morning routine alone. Less than 30 minutes later, I was back inside my warm kitchen. It was not even 7:30am, and my workout was done for the day! What a feeling, especially on a busy day.

Today was such a good lesson for me. There will be roadblocks to making these morning runs part of my routine. There will be days when no one will know if I stay in bed and skip the run, except me. I will know, but I need to remember today. Today's run felt so good because I managed to get out despite the obstacles. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'm trying something new

I have a confession to make. I'm not an early morning runner.

It's not that I'm not a morning person. I actually enjoy waking up early and watching the sunrise, coffee in hand. But I don't like to actually get out of my bed early. The best mornings are the three days a week when my husband Chris is off or goes into work a little later. He will bring my coffee to me in bed, so I never even have to put my feet on the cold floor or leave my fluffy pillows and blankets.

If I had my choice, I'd exercise between 10:00am and noon every day. But that isn't always possible, and it is almost never convenient. Many days, I end up skipping my run, or I take something else off of my agenda so that I can sweat for 45 minutes or so.

Three to four days a week, my husband leaves for work at 3:30am. On these days, it is impossible for me to get in an early morning workout. I have to wait and get my kids ready for school and out the door, or get a babysitter in the wee hours of the morning.

That still leaves most Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays to get up and out early. This is one of my goals for next year. I want to run or workout early (before 7:00am) at least once a week on a regular basis. This gives me tons of flexibility with my work schedule, which is often erratic.

I'm going to try to start practicing early and go out tomorrow. It's supposed to be chilly, which makes it that much harder to get out of my warm bed. But, I have my running clothes out and ready, my shoes untied and by the door. My schedule is jam-packed tomorrow, so I know that this will be my only opportunity to run. I'm visualizing myself doing it.

Most important, now I've stated my goal publicly. Every reader knows my plan and will be counting on me to stick with it. And if that isn't inspiring, I'm not sure what is.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In the beginning...

Here I go. After years of reading and enjoying the blogs of friends and family, and after 23 months of writing a professional blog, I'm stepping into the world of personal blogging.

Truthfully, I've been writing this in my head for years, it just took me until now to get the courage up to actually do it. Why, you ask? What's the big deal? I guess I worry that no one will read what I write. Or maybe I worry that people will read what I write. What if they don't like it? And do I really have anything important to say? What will I write about?

I titled my blog "Miles to Go." I'm a runner, so that meaning is obvious. I will always have miles to go in my running, my training, and my journey as an adult-onset athlete. I'm also the mom of two special-needs boys, both on the autism spectrum but vastly different from one another in their development, needs, and personalities. I will always have miles to go as a mom, and in dealing with the ever-changing demands of autism.

I hope to have miles to go in my life, in my marriage, and in my career. I look forward to those journeys and hope you will join me as I meander along this road of life, documenting my thoughts and observations along the way.