Monday, September 17, 2007

The Ups and Downs of 1400 Miles

To drive from Tampa, FL to Boston, MA its 1354 miles, according to Google. However, I have run further than that this year! Right now my yearly mileage is at 1,401 miles, and what a trip it has been. Here are some of the ups and downs:

January: I had just gotten my Nike+ kit and was loving it. I started meeting tons of great people. I was enjoying running a ton with my new found gadget and loved the community of all the encouraging runners! This was the start of my mileage build up. Life was good. I built from 30 to 35 mile per week this month.

February: Who else here was in the mid west this winter? In February was when the ice storm hit that closed the University of Illinois for the first time in 30+ years. There was a tree outside my dorm which normally had branches about 8-10 feet above the side walk. They were touching the side walk because of being weighed down with so much ice. The wind chill was -10 to -20 for a week or two straight. Whatever is a runner to do?

This runner runs. I layered up. I got thick gloves, wore several pairs of socks, and lathered up my face with Vaseline to break the wind on my only exposed skin. The day of the aforementioned snow storm, I ran. I had 10 miles planned, but I only made it 5. I finished up at the indoor track. This is part of what makes me "relentless," I guess. But to me there is something about taking on a storm that shut down the midwest. I remember another run from this brutally cold February where I ran 12 miles in the -20 wind chill. I devised a strategy where I would run into the wind for so long, then run with the wind to warm back up.

During February I built from 35 to 40 miles per week.

March: The mileage build up continues. March was great for running. I got sick at the end, but took a few days off and recovered. I had a lot of big stuff with school this month, including presenting my research to several department chairs, the dean of my department, and the president of the university. Big month! I built from 40 to 46 miles per week this month.

April: I had a craaazy fun relay race this month. 8 runners, 80 miles in a the hilliest part of Illinois! Met some great people who I'm still in touch with. I was wrapping things up and getting ready to graduate college. I built up from 46 to 50 miles per week this month.

May: Graduation, wooo hooooo! Right after graduation I went out for a 15 mile run. After that I celebrated in the only way college students know how! When I got back to my friends place after running, a few (unsober) people there were like "Dude! You're the running guy! I see you EVERYWHERE!"

Later this month, things started to fall apart a little bit. My right knee started feeling funky, and I had a sore spot in one of my Achilles, which felt like my shoe was rubbing strangely. These stuck around for a little bit, but cross training solved the knee problem, and some pads to protect my Achilles solved that problem. I also got my fancy Garmin in May (graduation money rocks)!

June & July: These months went pretty well. I had a problem in my right ankle which forced me to take a week off. It was an over training injury after a weekend walking around Chicago and running 16 miles. I also biked 15 miles to a 5k, then got 2nd place. That day was awesome!

August: Great month for running, except at the end. I moved to Kentucky and met TONS of runners down here! I twisted my ankle at the end of the month, but it healed up real quick. Hey, I'll take it!

September: Here we are! This was a good month, until last weekend. I had my best week of training ever. I was feeling invincible! I made too many mistakes in one week and my body said "settle down!" That week I made the following mistakes: ran on an off day because I felt like it, ran too fast on a rest day, then ran a hard track workout Thursday and a 24 mile run Sunday. All in all, it was too much for my body to handle. Any one of the factors probably wouldn't have pushed me over the edge, but together it resulted in me getting hip checked into the side line.

Now, here am with ice on my hip. Drugged up on Aleve. Am I discouraged? Not at all. Look at this crazy ride I've been on! My hip will heal and I'll be back on the road again. Right now its feeling about as good as it did Saturday morning before my run, so by the time I'm actually running again this weekend, it should be good as new!

If you actually read this whole thing, thanks for reading!

Happy running,



nwgdc said...

Wow! Being a Wisconsin native, I can relate completely to the challenge of winter running. I look forward to it too! I figure, I'm going to hear so many people complain about the wind chill and everything else. When they do, I can tell them I ran 9 miles on the Ice Age Trail, through snow drifts! You can make it to your car!
Speaking of winter running, last year I toyed with the idea of starting a tradition of running my birthday in miles. Considering my birthday is ecember 30th, this is no small feat. But your post inspired me...I think I'm adding it to my race list...I'll even have my own special medal made out of paper clips and a yogurt foil top. Now, on to a clever name...

Great post, Doug. Here's to Chicago!

Marcy said...

Now that the cold weather is starting to creep up on me, I'm wondering what I will do in the winter to run. According to you I need some layers and Vaseline? Ok will take note. OMFG you are crazy LOL. But that's good! I like the crazy ones!

Awesome attitude!! You WILL be back on the road in no time!

Jes said...

What an incredible journey! I especially love that you ran right after graduation! I should do that! Maybe then I can afford a Garmin as well!

And when I move out of the Sunshine State, I will be asking you for suggestions on running in the cold! LOL

Keep up the excellent work!