Monday, January 5, 2015

My Running Report for 2014

I ran a total of 677 miles in the year 2014. I did start with more dedication in the first half of the year. I stuck to minimum 4 runs per week. The miles per run were less at that time. My run:walk ratio was also leaning a lot on walk. There was some lag in the Summer months, because that's when rest-of-the-life happens.

It is better now, at the end of the year. But I do walk and sometime I lapse into some mind-mode and walk more; only to have something jerk me awake and I start running again. Earlier it were my body limitations - breathing, pains, snot-breaks etc. Now I need to clear my mind limitations.
What got me started running was all the glamor that is Marathon. For years I had watched runners run around Lake Calhoun every summer. I loved the way SRK ran in most of the pictures; with the slow-mo and rousing music - what's not to love. Only thing left was to get started.

I was already biking for 2 summers. Bike is something I enjoyed a lot because of the speed and the toy, which is the bike. So that had built my stamina much better than when I was leading a workout-free life. So I took the leap in Dec-2013 and started with a loop of 1.5 miles lake. Boy was that tough. Here is how some of my early runs went:
11/30 Sat - 3.2 miles - 2 rounds around Centenial - 32F (0C)
11/28 Thurs - 1.5 miles - 1 round around Centenial - 323F (-5C)
11/27 Sat - 3 miles - 2 rounds around Centenial - 43F (6C)
With 4-5 runs per week, I was able to complete 5k (3mile) run/walks. Registering for Races added to the thrill. With 1 race every month, it showed me where I stood in comparison with others and most importantly with myself from previous race.

I was reading a lot as well. There are numerous running magazines that a big help. They share training plans for different capacities and they are a great resources to get started. They also answer many niggling questions that can only comeup with actual field experience.  I have shared most of the articles in a "How to get started with Running - 101" post.

The other useful tool was Facebook app. Most of the runner bloggers post their daily updates on Facebook. Their runs, gears, challenges, Q&A, their past experience, some motivational or fun posters. Each runner is a different personality; I found something that I could connect with and some whom I aspired to become like. Each of their updates helped me learn new things about the sport and get inspired, when I did not feel so . Facebook has the feature of ‘interest lists’. I bunched runners, running magazines, fitness magazines in different interest groups. Just flipping through the runner interest group, helped give me reason to get ready and go out. Refer my post "How to get started with Running - 101" for step-by-step tutorial on this. You can do similar on your favorite app like Instagram, Twitter etc. Nowadays writers are on all social media.

When I ran with someone who did, that’s what opened my eyes to the level of detail that is running  and that too in winter. What was a challenge for me, others did it for warm-up. Running with experienced runner showed me what else was possible.

Along the way I improved my running gear. Now I have a suitcase full of tech shirts, compression pants, sports bras, and winter gear like neck gaiter, ski-mask, caps, head-bands, gloves, mittens, compression socks; handkerchiefs. I must have spent loads of time shopping running gear then party dresses. But these are an investment. They help improve running form and also get you excited to do the drudgery. Same applies to other forms of workouts - get great yoga gear or swim-gear & toys and it will make that workout interesting.

It’s not all hahahehe. There have been up’s & down’s. When you try it for the first time, it seems almost impossible. I questioned the whole sport when the weighing scale stuck at the same number inspite of running regularly for 3-4 months. I have been riddled with self-doubt, on when can I complete x distance in y time. Where was the improvement ? Would there be any or I am going to be stuck in the same speed all my life ? Now I have made my peace, that the speed improvement is going to be as slow & gradual as the grass growing. I may notice the difference only in my race results across time. I also accept that I can lapse back to slower speed, if I lag behind in my training.

All these race experience have been so enriching, I should document them for my own future refrences. I can't bank on my memory to tell me how the exact weather conditions were ? What I wore in such a morning ? What the organisers excelled in ? What they lacked, if that did affect the race experience ? It will benefit anyone else interested in participating in these races for the first time. Plus they were too much fun for me to not revisit them, in photos & text :) I will start blogging my backlog of all races I enjoyed in 2014.

Temp Name Date Distance 2014 Time
10F Securian Winter Run 25-Jan-2014 5K 48:19 min
-4F TCM Valentine 8-Feb-2014 5K 44 min
53F Get in the Gear 26-Apr-2014 10k 1:14 hour
55F + Rain Lola Half Marathon 7-Jun-2014 Half-Mara 2:50:35 hour
82F Minnesota Half Marathon 2-Aug-2014 Half-Mara 2:49:05 hour
79F Minneapolis Duathlon 24-Aug-2014 5K run - 14.5-mile bike - 5K run
64F Women Run The Cities 28-Sep-2014 10Mile 2:09 hour
58F-65F Monster Dash 25-Oct-2014 Half-Mara 2:38:41 hour

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