Chasing the miles

Way back before the beginning of the year, I set myself a very modest running mileage goal of 730 miles for 2013. When I set that goal, I hadn’t yet decided to train for and run a full marathon, although as I recall the idea was already floating around in my head somewhere.

I blew by the 730 mile mark on September 18. By the time I finished the marathon on October 13, my year-to-date mileage stood at 820.

I told myself I’d give myself a break and stop worrying about weekly mileage between marathon day and the end of 2103.

Oh, the stories we tell ourselves… the promises we make and then break…

Try though I might to give myself a break, it wasn’t long before I was running three to five days a week again, and doing the math in my head. Is 1,000 miles possible? Is it reasonable?

On November 27 I hit 902 miles, and another 98 miles before year-end seemed not only possible but easy.

Then the cold weather hit.

I haven’t run anywhere but on my treadmill since November 27.

Okay, I admit it, I’m a cold weather wimp! We’ve only had a half inch or so of snow so far. But when the temperature doesn’t rise above freezing for a week or more, I just don’t feel like going out there and running in the real world. So the treadmill has become my new best running friend.

The problem, as we runners all know, is that the treadmill is BORING. It’s not only boring, but it can get quite warm even in a relatively cool room, as there’s not a whisper of a breeze to wick away the sweat. What’s more, the motion on a treadmill is more relentlessly repetitive (read: harder on the knees) than real-world running, as it’s more difficult to vary pace and terrain on a treadmill.  I simply can’t manage more than 4-5 miles at a stretch on the treadmill.

So I tried running more frequently to offset the reduced mileage on each run. It didn’t take long, however, for me to realize that a “run streak” (daily running of at least a mile per day) wasn’t going to work well for me. It’s that knee thing again. My knees honestly need a day to recover from a run. I can manage running two days in a row now and then, but three days in a row are too many.

Now it’s December 9 and I’m standing at 933 miles. Our streak of unusually cold, dry weather is about to end. The forecast calls for at least five straight days of rain with high temperatures in the mid 40s. Yippee! I can’t wait to get out there and slosh around on the trail again soon. Another 67 miles in the last 22 days of the year? I can do that!

This coming Saturday I’m registered for a local “Reindeer Run” 10K race. It will be only my second 10K race ever; the first one was my very first race way back in May 2009. I hope my Santa hat and jingle bells won’t weigh me down too much, because I’d really love to officially run a sub-60 10K. But no matter how slowly I may splash around and jingle in the rain, I’ll be edging ever closer to that magical 1,000 mile mark for 2013!

I’m going to chase those miles right up to New Year’s Eve if I have to.

I’ve decided that for 2014 I’ll again set a modest running goal… 900 miles. That will leave plenty of room for all the bike riding and hiking I plan to do! With a metric century (62 mile) bike ride or two in the planning works, I have a feeling that my really big mileage numbers are going to be earned on two wheels next year.

Tell me… did you set any running goals for 2013? How are you doing? Or… what are your fitness goals for 2014?

Posted on December 9, 2013, in Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. I didn’t set any goals for 2013- just started running in late July actually. I am still working on 2014 goals- I know I’m gonna do atleast 12 races , including at least one half marathon!!

  2. I’ve got less than 100 miles to my goal of 1500 miles this year. It’ll be close with the tricky weather right now, but I think I can do it!

  3. I’m a fair weather runner also…and thank gawd my new treadmill arrived the same day our nasty, cold, snow/ice, windy weather did. Phew! That was close! (I have a floor fan for breeze) (I’m with you on the “can’t run two days in a row…my ole’ bod just won’t take it anymore) I have a goal niggling around in the back of my brain of doing a full marathon in 2014….if I start training now I may be ready by next fall…lol.

    • Grammadog, the fan is a great idea! I’ve thought about that before but I can’t figure out where to fit one. My treadmill shares space with my home brewery and all the furniture from what used to be my home office. I have to keep the room warm to keep the yeast happy doing their oh-so-important fermentation work — otherwise I’d at least open a window! I should reconsider the fan… perhaps I can squeeze one in somewhere.

      Oh, and I have a feeling you are not only going to run another full marathon in 2014… you are going to rock it!

  4. Oh wow that’s pretty good!
    I haven’t set much in the way of challenges this year – I started jogging in June/July, and the Couch to 5k plan in September, my goal is to finish the Couch to 5K plan, at the moment I have an injury so I’m spending this week sulking!! Next year however I have my first 5k race and another few I want to sign up to. But talking of treadmills, I dislike them immensely, I ran a good distance(for me!) a few weeks ago, I came off it and felt weird, like I was still moving but I wasn’t, maybe I just need to get used to them… 🙂

    • Kerrielouisebrown90, I agree! One thing you don’t want to do with a treadmill is jump off too quickly! Even in the real world I can get dizzy after a tough run, but getting off a treadmill may make it worse. The other thing with treadmills that I worry about (although it has never actually happened to me and probably never will) is that I might fall and go flying off the back.
      Kudos to you for starting to run and sticking with a training plan even through the setbacks. I hope 2014 is a great running year for you!

      • I have the same fear – it took me almost 5 months of going to the gym before I was brave enough to run on one. The pavement is so much nicer – the scenery changes too! 🙂 Thank you! Good luck with all your running plans for 2014 too 🙂

  5. I did think of you, Lori, and wondered if you were running! It is so cold! You just couldn’t help yourself could you? You gotta keep running! I’m glad you have the “Reindeer Run” to look forward to and get some of those necessary miles ticked off! You are a tremendous goal setter, Lori! I hope the weather lets up enough to bring back running in the great outdoors! 🙂

    • Debra, these daily activity goals have seemed like a curse to manage at times over this past year, but on the other hand I’ve got a spreadsheet with a record of SOMETHING that I’ve done every day. I like that better than looking back and wondering where the year went!
      This morning it’s frosty and 30 degrees, so I’m sitting out the weather for a few more hours and hoping it will warm up and finally rain. I’m going to get that “real world” run in this afternoon, I swear I will!!

  6. congratulations on reaching your goal! Geri

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