A fine February

If I could get those few days back when I was sick and add an extra two days to make this a normal-length month, this would have been the best month in a long time. But I can't get that time back, so I'm left with what I still think is a pretty good February. Here’s a look:

The pescetarian lifestyle Getting rid of meat and still eating fish was easy. I’m not sure if I want to continue this lifestyle or not – a good burger or steak every once in a while or some Chick-fil-A every couple of months sounds delicious right now – but I still say this commitment to four weeks of eating differently has changed me.

My eyes are open to eating things like black bean "burgers," eggplant parmesan and breakfasts without bacon or sausage. While I continued to eat fish, having a tuna sub for lunch filled with spinach and jalapeños felt much more satisfying than, say, a cold cut sub.

While I got filled up during my meals, I haven’t had many bloated feelings (except for when my wife and I pigged out for her birthday). A lot of meat-based meals leave me feeling like that and I don't miss that feeling.

Weight loss Thanks in part to eating differently, I’m ending the month at 187 pounds, down from 1.8 at the end of January. I just feel better overall and a little bit of weight loss certainly gives me a boost of confidence. I continue to want to focus on how I feel rather than a particular number, but weekly weigh-ins will continue.

5 miles The other day I hit my long run goal for the month – 5 miles. And it was a good 5 miles. My overall mileage took a hit with my illness, but I still logged 44 miles, which included a sub-9-minute mile paced run tonight -- the first non-race run of that pace since the end of September. Had I not gotten sick, I would have been close to 60 miles. I can’t complain about that.

What’s ahead As the calendar changes, I have some things in mind. The "#dailymission" on Daily Mile the other day of doing a max plank test was a huge wake-up call to my weak core. I did 1:13.

I could blame being sick sucking the life out of me or that I did it without warming up or I did it without shoes, but I know I can do better than that. No excuses anymore -- I have to work to increase that. While I’ve done a lot more core work and cross training in the past couple of months than I probably did all of last year, I’ve got a long way to go.

By the end of March, I want to hit 2 minutes. Plain and simple goal.

When it comes to running, my dancing around on what’s next is over. I signed up tonight for the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k presented by Martin’s in Richmond on April 2. (This will be the one and only time I mention the name in full.) For those not familiar with this race, the Monument Avenue 10k has expanded registration to 40,000 people this year, making it one of the largest 10ks in the country and putting it in the top 25 races in the country as far as size. It’s also been one of the top "10 greatest places for runners to hit the road."

Monument Avenue 10k, running

I ran this race in 2008 and 2009, both times as a fundraiser. This time I’m just looking at this as a “comeback” race. I’m not looking for a PR – I want something that’s affordable, something to give me confidence and, most of all, something that’s a lot of fun. This race will do all of those things.

On that note, I officially deferred my Shamrock Half Marathon entry to next year. It hurts to miss my most favorite event ever, but it’s also motivating. How so? I know that to avoid a repeat of this I need to get stronger, run smarter, get refocused and so much more. Missing this race will make me a better runner. It just has to.

As for anything else this year, I’m not making any commitments right now. I want to get through March with continued progress and then kick-start April with the 10k.