Focused Living, One Month at a Time

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Challenge #25 Regular Running

My constant companions

"Play not only keeps us young but also maintains our perspective about the relative seriousness of things. Running is play, for even if we try hard to do well at it, it is a relief from everyday cares."
- Jim Fixx

Putting one foot in front of the other, faster than walking.  Bouncing along the sand, the wood chip trail, or pounding the concrete strand or local sidewalk.  That’s all running is, and the pace is totally up to you.  Or rather up to me, every single day this month.  It’s going back to creating habits that stick - healthy routines that need to happen every day without fail in order to generate a full sense of accomplishment and ritual and habit.  I got it this month, and it felt damn good.  But I'm ahead myself.

The Goal

In late June I realized the Kauai Half-Marathon is creeping up again, sooner that I had thought – September 1st is just around the friggin’ corner!  I signed up for the third go-around on this challengingb but scenic course in paradise, and I want to improve my time again (under two hours would be great for this hilly adventure).  So it is beyond time to get back to this sport I have been neglecting lately.  This sport that is not natural to me - I am much more comfortable swimming, always have been and always will be.  So I’ll make it a challenge to get back in the habit of running, and kick off some reasonable training for this race by running at least a mile every day AND accomplishing an overall monthly goal of averaging at least two miles a day.  Yes that’s 62 miles - modest maybe to you serious runners out there, but it’s waaaaaaay more mileage I have run in a long time, and I am quite sure that I have never run more than three or four days in a row.

How it Went

I planned well, that was half the battle.  Wrote it down on my To-Do list every day.  I knew how long a mile run was, as well as 2-5 mile runs so it was easy to keep track of, and I wrote it down every day.  It was interesting to run on different surfaces and at different times of day.  The strangest runs were in a hotel, on a treadmill in the overly air-conditioned fitness room two days in a row because it was just more convenient, and the one night I ran in place in my living room at 10:45pm for about 10 minutes (to cover at least a mile at my slow pace) because I didn’t feel like going outside that late.  The most common one-mile loop was out to the Roundhouse at the end of the pier and back to my house.  The runs were always enjoyable (no matter what kind of mood I was in to start), and worthwhile every single time.  To break it up a bit on the longer 4-5 mile (yes I know that isn’t long enough for half-marathon training) runs I listened to music and did “lamppost intervals” along the strand:  run about two blocks (two lamppost distance) fast then one block slow or walking, then two more fast, and so on for a few miles.

What I Learned and What I Noticed

Mostly I noticed the regulars out there, like Ernie who runs with his dog in the stroller, or the guy who runs barefoot on the strand, or all the other committed runners like the lean speedsters that look like they were born to run (and don’t eat any cheese, bread, or beer), and the slow pokes who were huffing and puffing and chugging along (and probably do partake in the occasional pizza and PBR) - no matter the pace they were all getting it done.  It felt good to be a part of the greater running community again, and I found myself smiling at anyone who I could catch eyes with when we crossed paths. I did get faster and feel better – it was just a lot easier, and I felt like I was floating by the end of the month.  My new heroine Donna, although I don’t know her, was a great inspiration to me this month - I love how she tells what running has meant to her, and that her “job is to motivate people.  What I do, I do by example.”  Simple but powerful stuff there, check her out.

Now What

I found my runner’s high again, woo-hoo! I did 64 miles this month – that’s two marathons, a 10K, a 5k and a few extra miles for good measure. And although I won’t keep up with this every day, 4-5 days a week now sounds easy to manage, and longer runs are easily in my future over the next month as I prep for Kauai.  But I also want to get back into yoga this month, I miss it. How about you – what kind of active summer training are you keeping up with?  Any serious running, how often?


  1. Great post! 64 miles is amazing - running more than two marathons in a month, but in "bite-size" segments. The power of daily goals - you are an inspiration!

  2. Thanks Heather - this inspired me to get back to my power walks, something that because of circumstances beyond my control, have been neglected. Took your cue: put it on my to-do list and hit the pavement this morning!

  3. Daily is really hard for me- I think it's hard enough work just planning for 4-5 days of running a week so good on you for staying committed! Chris would be proud. I love seeing other runners and thinking of all of us as a tribe. My other favorite thing though is just listening to my feet- you should try it! It has done wonders for my pacing :) Keep on running Heather! Let's do this!

  4. Thanks Theresa, Anna, and Emily, your comments are appreciated! Doing something every single day is tough if it is beyond the usual routine, but it helps create good habits. But I did feel better on a long run yesterday after a day of rest, and I do think 4-5 days a week of running is plenty... :)