Sunday, June 17, 2012

My fifth check-in on the Rock River 1000 Mile Challenge

At my old blog, Get Running, I'd been doing monthly check-ins on my progress in Daily Mile's Rock River 1000 Mile Challenge.

The goal is obvious; you can combine running and walking, but the description omits biking (which would make it pretty darn easy, IMO), so I haven't been counting that. "Everyone wins," according to the site ... however, I'm not sure I'll hit the 1,000 by Dec. 31.

But I digress. I punted on May's check-in because I'd quit my old job and was in the process of moving for a new one. Also, I lacked the energy, the time and the name for my new blog. So this entry gets a bonus week (the first full one in June).

Through those 22 weeks, I've run/walked 395.26 miles, which is, sadly and suddenly, way off-pace. I need to average about 19 miles per week, for a total of 423 miles through Week 22.

Almost 30 miles behind, with the halfway point of the year approaching. Not so good. Back in January, I was confident that training for a 10-miler and half marathon would've given me a cushion by the time hot weather arrived. Oh, that naive, foolish 25.42-year-old ... if only she knew what the 25.83-year-old knows now!

Wait, what do I know now, besides that my long runs weren't going to compensate for the two-week dry span that I suspect torpedoed my pace? (In my defense, I'd just finished a half marathon and was preparing for and executing a 300-mile move.)

Even before I confirmed my suspicions that I'd fallen behind, I'd been ruminating on my running behavior — specifically, my short/easy/just-get-'er-done run length. It's been three to 3.5 miles ever since I started running full time in spring 2008.

Several ingredients went into the realization that it was time to take that up a notch: reading other runners' lengthier workout summaries on Twitter; experiencing pleasant local weather and a fresh, new area to explore; eating cookies, ice cream, brownies and dark chocolate nuggets; noticing that I've long passed noob status and haven't ramped up speed or mileage; and, finally, knowing that I'd have to run six three-milers a week to stay on track with the 1000 Mile Challenge.

If I can make four miles my default distance, I can gain a little bit of ground on my challenge. I also then can start phasing in five- and six-milers as my midlength run distance.

With my new hours at my new job, this all seems slightly more feasible. Instead of wrapping up work at midnight or 1 a.m., I now head out somewhere between 6 and 9 p.m. right now, which during the hot summer days leaves me a decent window of daylight even after dinner.

So no distress calls on the 1000 Mile Challenge just yet — there's time to redeem myself and regain some ground.

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