living in the now

Still rambling about running. Sometimes other things.

Filtering by Tag: 1000 miles

Three Things Thursday: September Goals

I've had September on my mind for a long time. In a year in which things were going pretty well with running, I've let things really slip up in the past month and a half. Some intentional, some not. 

I realized, though, that Sept. 1 is a great date to start anew. With my oldest son starting kindergarten the next day, it's a perfect time to hit the restart button too on a few things.

I don't want to overwhelm myself, though. After I brought back "Three Things Thursday" last week, I thought the second week of those posts would be a good time to put together three September running-related goals and shift my thinking a few days early. 

Make sense? No? Sorry. Keep reading. 

1. No Sweets September.
Maybe I should hashtag that ... #NoSweetsSeptember. I eat way too many innocent pieces of candy at work. That snowballs into more pieces of candy ... that snowballs into wanting a Coke a couple of times a week. I'm not going to give up sugar altogether in September, but I want to make a drastic change. 

2. Run 90 miles.
I had a really good pace for the year going on until I did that stupid Runner's World streak. I call it "stupid" not because I think their promotion is stupid, but because I thought it would be a fun challenge. It was fun ... until it was over. And just like a few years ago when I did it, I came away from it unmotivated and tired. I'm not getting roped into that again. 

July and August have been well below average, thus getting me off my 1,000-mile pace for the year. As I write this, I don't even know where my exact mileage stands. I know that it's not so far off that it can't be done, but it's off enough that I'm frustrated with myself. I have enough base mileage to ramp things up and then reassess goals for the final quarter of the year. 

3. Sign up for (J&A) races 
I'm so excited to be a J&A Racing ambassador for the 2014-15 race season, but I haven't had time to write about it much. I need to sit down with my calendar and figure out which races I'm doing and set some reasonable goals for them. It's the perfect opportunity for me to refocus in September, set up some loose plans and get out of this mini-funk. 

Setting goals for 2014

2014After falling short of a few goals this year, I've done a lot of thinking about how to approach 2014. My best results have always been when I have a bigger picture in mind, rather than smaller goals. If I set a handful of bigger goals, smaller goals pop up along the way. In my past few runs and other moments in the office with no one around, I keep coming around to 3 ideas for next year that are much larger in scope that what failed this year with 13 goals for the year.

A year from this moment, I want to be able to reflect in a much more positive way than I've done lately. Part of being content with how this year went also brings along discontent as I know I could have tried a little bit harder in some ways. It's not a "beat yourself up" type of thing, but instead a thought process of making myself a better well-rounded person and athlete over the next year, not the "same old, same old" that 2013 was.

Here are my 3 goals for 2014 with some explanation of what they mean.

Finish what I start. Since late 2012, I've done a lot of "just finishing" runs and races. Every race this year, which was considerably less than years past, didn't have a time goal. Most of them were "I'm just going to do what I feel like doing." As I said in my last post, that's exactly what I wanted to do this year.

That just hasn't felt right though. I can't continue running without more specific goals in place; I need to start a training cycle and train the best I can for it. Specific PRs aren't a part of my goals for next year -- those will happen if I train well and stay focused. The way I feel right now is very much like I did a few years ago as I approached 2011 coming off an injury.

Logging mileage on paper. There used to be a point in my running life in which I felt like I couldn't function without dailymile. Now that site is nothing but a place I log into a couple of times a month to catch up on my miles. I've certainly made some great friends along the way, and for that I am grateful, but I just want to be done with a run, write down the mileage on paper and go on with my day.

I can analyze mileage and runs later, not as soon as they happen. And with the way the site is set up, I find it much easier to carry on a conversation about my run or others runs via Twitter or Facebook.

1,000 miles. Every time I say something about 1,000 miles I remember the video above from several years ago and there actually being runners in it. I hope you appreciate that flashback because part of 2014 will be a flashback as I refocus on a specific mileage mark -- 1,000 miles.

If I finish what I start, there's no reason this can't happen. I've missed going for this mark after hitting it in 2010, 2011 and 2012. I didn't realize I'd miss it so much.

Photo credit.

A new approach to October

October wasn't about the finish ... it was about getting back on track. For the past few years, October has been about winding down. It's been more about ending something rather than starting something.

This year, though, it's been all about a change of pace, quite literally. With this being the first full month of being a father of two, all I was really striving for was making sure I ran 3 or 4 times a week for 30-40 minutes. If I had it in me, go for 10 miles or so on the weekends.

It turns out this extremely loose plan with no major goals was exactly what I needed to make this October completely different than previous years. And the more removed I am from the Runner's World Festival weekend, the more I realize how important those few days really were to me.

A few things about this month:

  • I ran 78 miles, the fourth month in a row of increased mileage since a really low mileage month in June.
  • My combined running and biking mileage was more than 100 miles for the third straight month.
  • My streak of running 1,000 miles in a calendar year will end, but in November I'll still cross a combined 1,000 exercise miles for the year. I'll take it.
  • I lost 3 pounds of my "baby weight." September and early October were a bit rough with everything that involved eating. I got things under better control in the past few weeks and feel much better because of that. I'm back to 30 overall pounds lost since early 2004 and I feel a stronger desire than usual to get to my original 40 lost before the end of the year. I can't obsess about it, but I can certainly stay on this path.
  • After writing about setting a goal of a PR in the 10-miler, I realized I need to actually run at and below that goal pace. A renewed effort with speed work started this week by including 2 miles on the treadmill at 15:21. That, too, is a path to stay on with more and longer speed work.

Now it's on to November. No major goals other than to build on October.

Let's go ...

No. 1,000

I haven't met a runner who doesn't enjoy a milestone. Longest run ever. PRs. 500 miles. 1,000 miles. Finishing a first 5k. Running a mile. I've had some great milestones since I started this in April 2007. Today is one of those that feels a bit weird — 1,000 posts. Of the previous 999 posts, there are many I don't remember. Most are forgettable.

Every so often, though, I write something that I will bookmark and re-read. In a way, it's how I measure my success, failures and other lessons learned. I don't blog to please anyone; I blog for myself.

It's no different than when I kept a journal when I was a teen, only this is public.

Sometimes too public. Sometimes not public enough for people who want more insight. Mostly, though, it's just the right amount for me to be able to reflect.

And that's what today is. A reflection on posts that I like -- some are posts that hold special meaning and continuously help me evolve; some are here because there's a memory attached to them.

In honor of my 1,000th post, here are some of my favorites:

My 1,000-mile journey It's bittersweet that my one-time huge mileage goal happened the way it did. I learned a lot of lessons in 2010 -- both good and bad -- and that post highlighted many of those moments.

Game changers This post isn't necessarily anything special, but for a couple of weeks in January 2010 everything changed. A cold long run in the rain; a mountain adventure with some friends through ice. It often takes getting out of my comfort zone to set me straight, and this post highlights those moments.

Sham Rocked III This is the race where I realized that PRs really aren't that important. Doing something that others say are impossible are. This was my first race as a dad in 2009 and one that I hold close to me whenever someone wants to talk about how busy their life is. Wake-up calls by babies in the middle of the night is not an excuse to not run, and I was determined to prove that in early 2009.

Attack of the gnats This post is one of the main reasons I do not run in the evening often, especially in the summer.

11 things my grandfather taught me Of all my 2011 "11 things" posts, this one is far and away my favorite. It's full of a ton of life's lessons.

I am a marathoner If I write a race recap of 500 words or more now, I go through it with a fine-toothed comb and edit it. Nobody wants to read mile by mile recaps. Really. My first marathon, though, and what I felt in the final miles became worthy of my longest post ever.

That feeling I had when crossing that finish line is a memory I'll hold onto forever.