Ringling Bridge recap

Yesterday I ran the 4-mile Ringling Bridge Run. I figured it would be a good way to cap off my month-long vacation in Sarasota and to celebrate getting back on my running feet.

The race started at 7:30, meaning my race crew (Dad) was not thrilled to depart the house at 6:15 am. It was still pitch black when I was dropped off and went to retrieve my race bib, but U2’s “Beautiful Day” was blasting over the loudspeakers and hundreds of participants were already congregating at the bayside start location.

In the early morning light I embarked on my pre-race routine. I don’t care what state of fitness I am in, I will always follow the same warm up before lining up. It is familiar. Makes me focus. It releases my desire to compete.

I found my niche towards the front of the start corral, up near the sinewy singlet-wearers with chirping GPS watches, eager youngsters who will sprint out of the gate and die before the first block, hobby joggers who know (?) they should be starting farther back, and Resolution-makers wearing the brand new activity tracker they received for Christmas. The start line works like clockwork in this way. Always the same cast of characters.

It was humid, and one of the first sunny days we’d had in a while. We hit mile 1 before the base of the bridge, and I passed a girl who I remembered seeing at the start and had expected to be pretty fast.

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Approaching mile 1 (photo from Fit2Run Facebook page)

 

As soon as I began to climb, I could sense a little shoulder demon wagging its finger that I had started too fast and wouldn’t survive going up and over this bridge twice. The bridge was lined with spectators and when I hit the crest I heard someone tell me I was the 5th woman.

The turnaround was a tight hairpin and a kid two paces ahead of me ate it. We passed mile 2 and began the return trip up and over. I locked my eyes on a girl ahead of me and chipped her off before I reached the plateau.

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Le Bridge (thanks Google)

When I reached mile 3 at the base of the bridge, I realized I was in a competitive dead zone as I could see none of the three women ahead of me. Lactic acid was pulsing through my forearms. I glanced at my watch. 20:50… three minutes to go, I thought, although I knew it was more like four. I reeled in some guys ahead of me and watched the flashing escort lights sailing over a small hump far ahead of me.

At the finish line turn I heard someone tell me I was the 4th woman with 100 meters to go! I rounded the corner and saw the finish chute but there were no women to catch, so I was only fighting for time now.

I grabbed a water bottle at the finish and staggered around. The girl I had passed at mile 1 caught me when she finished and asked suspiciously why she had never seen me at a race before. Because I’m snowbirdin’ it, OK?? You can have your rightful finishing place back next time. A guy in a spiked camo bike helmet that I had passed during the first bridge ascent told me he was trying to catch me at the end of his race. I asked if he got hot in the helmet; he said no. You do you, dude.

Dad intercepted me at bag check and said he’d just missed my finish (I had told him to occupy himself at a coffee shop). We walked to the car, and I recounted the race for him. I was already feeling stiff in my lower back and I was unsure if a spot above my left ankle was swollen or just very sore. Otherwise, I realized that I had felt great throughout the race despite feeling some joint soreness over the last few days due to the several weeks I’ve now spent pounding concrete down here.

When I dug up the results later on, I discovered that the top three women had finished all very close together, about a minute ahead of me. I ran 25:11 and averaged under 6:20 per mile, which strikes me as incredible after running up and over a bay bridge twice.

We hit up Millie’s for breakfast (I inhaled some stuffed French toast), and I spent the afternoon getting slightly burnt on the beach. Shockingly, Sarasota suffered somewhere between 1-4 tornadoes last night and they ripped through Siesta Key where I was lizarding around yesterday. I went on a walk this morning to survey the damage (Dad lost two trees) and to loosen up my aching post-race muscles. I feel OK and ready for an easy jog later if the wind ever dies down.

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RIP bottlebrush tree

So, for a recap, I’ve been logging 25 easy miles a week since the first of the year. I take walk breaks when I want and run fartleks if I feel like it. Strength and core are definitely on the back burner until I get home (can’t. focus. unless. at gym.), but I’ve managed to keep injuries at bay. I could also use some impact-free cross-training.

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Pool heater is off = ice bath is on!

It’s been refreshing to use running to get outside, especially while I am down here. The tricky part is keeping up with it when I return to Wyoming. As part of the #runlovechallenge that Oiselle has put on, I am obligated to do something productive for half an hour each day until Feb 14, so hopefully I can keep the momentum going beyond that date.

xoxo run lovers!

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Day 2

I got into an abusive relationship with running this fall. I used running to stamp out and escape from ordinary hardships. The result was running too fast, too far, too often. Without control or intention or passion. Eventually, I gave it up because it wasn’t sustainable.

I struggled to eat enough. Believing I couldn’t afford food proffers a lame excuse, though there is some truth to that. Some days I likely gained more calories from drinking than from solid food. I’m not proud of that.

I’m spending the duration of my winter break in Florida right now. I hadn’t run for weeks when I arrived, but I packed two pairs of running shoes and all my tank tops. I run every day. Sometimes I don’t get very far. But that leaves a task for tomorrow.

I have had the pleasure of eating scrambled eggs with cheese at breakfast, guacamole and chips, tempeh reubens with sauerkraut leftover from New Year’s, bleu cheese and strawberry salads, and Indian food. After surviving on the hummus from work for $3 a day, every day here is a fucking feast.

And yet, faced with the start of a new year and opportunities to do things differently, I actually resolved not to make resolutions. Not to beat myself up for failures of character last year. Not to set unrealistic expectations to become a better person this year. I don’t want to be a new person. I want to be more like the person I already am.

This is a continuation. I keep putting one foot in front of the other because I was a runner in 2015, and I’ll be damned if I’m not still a runner when 2017 knocks on the door.

The Dirty Dozen Gets Ironic

I was plugging away at social media yesterday morning when my braggadocio delivered a swift kick in the nuts.

I should have waited about 20 more minutes before posting, because while doing this very exercise at the end of my routine, my form crumbled and my back gave out.

….If only I’d stuck with the extra V-ups…..

[P.S. don’t be fooled by my lack of coordination, you really should give the Dirty Dozen a try if you want to stay one step ahead of running injuries!]

John had to drive me home from the gym, and he wondered incredulously why I would post that photo despite actually obtaining an injury from doing it. Yes, the insultingly ironic irony did not go unnoticed, and it’s almost hilarous…. except that now I’m stuck dealing with a totally lame, not-really-running-related-but-it-is-running-related injury.

A simple moment captured during happier times.

A simple moment captured during fully-functioning times.

I called up work and the Laramie Spine & Injury Clinic immediately. Work said don’t come in and the chiropractor said please do!  *High five!*

Takeaways from the session:

  1. I most likely probably hopefully didn’t herniate or blow anything. I have to treat this like an injury for a week or two anyway, even if I walk into my next appointment feeling great.
  2. Don’t do yoga, stretch, or run for a few days, and definitely don’t do the 6-mile progressive tempo scheduled for Tues. [sad face]

When I arrived at home I embarked on my exercises. That is, lying on my back with my legs up at 90-degrees.

Who said exercise isn't fun?

Who said exercise isn’t fun? (Photo: NOT taken with an iPhone 6)

Every 45-60 minutes I got up, did some rounds of cat/camel, got out the foam roller, and took a walk around the block before repeating the whole cycle.

Not bored at all...

Not bored at all…

By the 3rd or 4th walk, things were starting to feel looser. Today, I could imagine myself aqua jogging. I really could. I’m going to stick with the *whimsically optimistic* mind frame that when I wake up tomorrow I for my follow-up session I will feel kick-ass and get cleared to run by the weekend. That is the timeframe we are dealing with. Ibuprofen is my friend and so is this beast.

The best foam roller I have ever used. Pinky swear!

The best foam roller I have ever used. Pinky swear!

This is a total bummer for obvious reasons, but to further add insult to injury I just took 2ish weeks off after the “half marathon” and the last thing I want is more time off because I was looking forward to moving on with training. Oh well… as I repeat to myself often: One step back now is better than three weeks off… or whatever. Monday’s malfunction just feels totally idiotic. Way to go, hot-shot! 

Over the weekend I ran a tiny local 10k for a social justice charity. The previous night, I stayed at work much later than I was anticipating, so I was undeniably tired when I showed up to run at 8am. Still having no idea what to expect of an “all-out” 10k in Laradise [yes, the 7000+ ft of altitude you can enjoy here will NEVER stop being an excuse for mediocrity], I deferred to a scaled-back plan where if Mile 1 felt shitty I would default to a fartlek workout.

And it played out better that way, I think. Mile 1 was OK but in all honesty I don’t think I was ready, on that day, to hold it. So I tempo’ed the first 10 minutes at that pace, then ran 1 min on/1 min off intervals until I hit the last mile and promptly tempo’ed to the finish.

It was sweltering. And despite feeling like I was flat-out shuffling during my minutes off, I averaged 6:49 for the whole event and finished first on the women’s side. I was pleased and looking forward to my next workout so, seriously, if I had the ROM I would be kicking myself so hard right now.

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My first state championship which I utterly STOLE from a 24-person field.

I’ll be playing it day-by-day until this snafu clears up. A loss is a loss but maybe I can fit in my tempo run this weekend and never look back. Fortunately I have almost no work this week, which leaves plenty of time for bed rest.

Lesson learned: don’t get cocky.

DNF but Did Not Fail

I felt really good going into this race. For the first time, I was so prepared for a half marathon that I actually *got* to taper. I’ve been running consistently and injury-free (aside from minor IT band flare-ups that don’t hinder anything). I got plenty of tune-up races in, including two 10ks and a PR 5k. I felt nervously confident that I could hold my goal pace on a good day.

July 4th, crushed a 5k in 18:55 (the Garmin doesn't lie no matter what the official race results say, right?)

July 4th, crushed a 5k in 18:55 (the Garmin doesn’t lie no matter what the official race results say, right?)

It just wasn’t a good day. I think I managed the taper just fine despite having no idea what a taper feels like, and I even requested the whole weekend off from work to ensure quality pre- and post-race non-activity. I ate well, and cut out beans, dairy, and coffee within the final two days to avoid stomach issues. I woke up most nights to pee.

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I’m obviously sorting through some frustration and mild despair at the DNF. But I accepted it fairly quickly and I’m not too beat up about it. I think this is because, for the most part, the race went well. So what prompted me to stop, drop, and turn around?

Several factors.

The first was the heat. When I dropped, shortly after mile 7, I saw the temperature displayed at 82F, and the high was supposed to hit 90 in Fort Collins. The course was mostly exposed, and I expect temps climbed exponentially for the remaining 40 minutes I would have been running.

Second, despite “holding onto” 6:50 pace, it felt hard. I floated through a 10k at this pace two weeks ago in Laramie and it felt doable. Today, I struggled to maintain the gears. Mile 3 felt like a lifetime. I started the feel comfortable around mile 4, but it vanished quickly.

A major factor was mental. The course was two laps of the same loop. The first part climbs gradually, hits a very exposed back stretch, then shimmies onto the bike path, which is largely undulating and included hair pin turns onto hot, dusty unpaved sections. Watching markers for late-race miles go by definitely affected my mentality. To run past the mile 11 marker during mile 5 made me feel like I was running mile 11 – like I was living vicariously through the end of the race and experiencing the exhaustion associated with finishing. I kept thinking, “What will I feel like when I pass this again on the second lap if I feel this tired already?” Things got very negative.

I had arranged for John to stand just off the course near the half-way with a Heed bottle that I would grab from him when I passed by for lap 2. But somehow that check point started to feel like a finish line, and as I rounded the corner and stared up the Mountain Ave ascent, I simply couldn’t fathom running a second lap. I was bored, I was out of gas, I wasn’t excited to do the course again, I was done. My legs were burning, and my pace, which had held steady until mile 7, plummeted without mercy.

Approximately 2 blocks before I quit.

Approximately 2 blocks before I quit.

I stopped several blocks past John and downed my bottle, considering whether to quit. I started to run again. Everything was falling apart, so I quit for good. I’m glad I gave myself the option to run again but ultimately I bargained that dropping out would lead to better success next time than would struggling through a hopeless race and failing to recover adequately. Thinking of the long run. Today, the race wasn’t worth the physical and mental stress.

I sat down and numbly watched runners go by for several minutes. I overheard a 4 year old spectator behind me wondering why I had stopped running. Every nerve in my defeated body kept me from telling this 4 year old to mind its own fucking business. I walked several blocks choking on lame tears. I found John under the Runners Roost tent and said I wanted to go home. We walked some more. He said everyone was talking about the heat. He reassured me I made the right choice. He suggested we get breakfast instead of drive straight home. This is why I drag him to my races, and I am lucky that he willingly obliges.

I never envisioned myself quitting like this. Maybe I could have gutted out the last lap at a humble pace and finished. But I think that would have been very unsatisfying, and possibly disastrous, had I ended up crawling to the finish. No doubt the heat would have taken its toll. Had I not been set on a PR maybe I ought to have adjusted my goals for the weather and chosen a more moderate pace overall. I have little half marathon experience and zero in the heat or at goal pace. So maybe this is best addressed as a lesson learned.

On the bright side, I think this alternative bodes better for a rebound and fast race in the future. I have now extended the length I have held 6:50 pace to 7 miles – win. I can still take two weeks off as planned – win. I am not injured – win. And I walked away from the race with heavy legs and heart but no serious side effects of overexertion – win. My mental game regarding the DNF is strong.

Trail running a few weeks ago: a visual analogy for today's race (bloody but not broken)

Trail running a few weeks ago: a visual analogy for today’s race (bloody but not broken)

I will take the time for my mind and body to heal, but now I can set my sights on a fast half in cooler weather this fall. I can invite plenty more opportunities to practice goal pace. I can get in another full training cycle and taper and continue to build consistency. I can keep racing shorter strength-building races (plenty on the calendar to choose from). And I can pick a larger race in Denver that will have a fuller field in my pace group and, likely, pacers. John said I was alone when he saw me, and that’s how I felt much of the race. It was just too much to ask of my first “fast” half. Not the right race.

In the end it feels sucky, yes. John told me not to mope all day and I said, “No, I get to mope today. If I don’t mope, I don’t care.” But I think that will be enough. I will sleep peacefully, sketch out the next several weeks, hike some trails, work on my hips, drink some beer, and set a new course of action. Nothing lost today, plenty gained.

BolderBOULDER: an overdue race recap

I finally did it. I finally raced a 10k! The 10k has always seemed like a dauntingly difficult distance because it’s twice a 5k and almost as fast… not quite a half marathon but definitely faster… It occupies a spot among the race distance spectrum that is {for me} particularly intimidating. Six miles is a long way to ride the pain train.

I still don't have a working phone, so thank God for free race images. Much needed content-filler.

I still don’t have a working phone, so thank God for free race images. Much needed content-filler.

BolderBOULDER seems like a long time ago now, so props to me for drafting this *memoir* the day after it, because otherwise this entry would be like: The race was fun! Here is my finishing time.

I spent the night in the Fort. My wave start time was 7am, and driving to Boulder from Laramie would have been awful. I was up at 4am anyway, and parked my car at 6. It was a sunny and beautiful morning, and the streets were already densely packed with participants making their ways to the start. By 6:45 I zigzagged up 30th to the start tapes.

I ran into my buddy Mark up in the AA wave. We both did that thing that runners do at the start… ohhh yeah….we’ll see how this goes… but I’m not aiming for anything… casual banter that masks your real goal with something much more modest. I declared that holding 7:00 pace or better would be good enough.

I outdid myself.

Most of the first four miles are a gradual incline. I cruised a 6:25 in the first mile and was a little concerned I wouldn’t be able to hold onto that. Around mile 2 I could already feel the lactic acid stinging, and I couldn’t stop dwelling on the long miles ahead. I kept negativity at bay by practicing form up the hills… shorten my stride, pick up my knees, and let my arms do the work. At long last, I passed under the 5k banner at 20:24. Solid, I thought.

Oiselle POP shorts look sweet in early morning sunshine.

Oiselle POP shorts look sweet in early morning sunshine.

Miles 3 and 4 make up the bulk of the climbing. I stopped worrying about my “form” and focused on cuing myself to relax. Drop the shoulders. Release the tension in my arms. Let my legs go freely.

With all races, a certain amount of “black out” occurs. I’m never really sure what is happening around me because the tunnel vision gets so intense. I vaguely glanced around on Pearl St., but otherwise took in very little of my surroundings. Usually, my thoughts are two-fold: 1) pain and 2) don’t stop. For several seconds before mile 3, I was contemplating taking a breather, but I let it go. And once you decide you’re not a quitter, stopping never seems like an option again.

Mile 5 finally dipped downhill, and I cruised comfortably around 6:15-6:20 for much of miles 5 and 6. To my surprise, I felt undeniably good.

Until the finish. According to my watch data, I climbed 50 feet after mile 6. In a 6.2 mile race. The climb into the stadium is a heartbreaker.

My official time was 41:02, which, according to my foggy idea of 10k times, is much better than I was expecting to run. It also means my 5k splits were pretty even. For several seconds along mile 6, I wondered if I could go under 40, but I think the elevation at the finish did me in.

This race was a huge confidence-builder for me. Something about tackling the 10k distance at 6:30ish pace and feeling comfortably uncomfortable confirms that I can break some pace barriers in a half marathon. Often, the best races are the ones where there was very little expectation at the start.

I’ll leave it at that. Many more summer races are quickly approaching!!

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Oxy HP Viewing Party (of one) and Recent Progress

Last week was the High Performance Meet hosted by my alma mater Occidental College. This meet is special. Upfront, it’s a high caliber USATF track meet – 800m and up, elite standards, and often draws a few big names among professional distance runners.

But it’s also big time track’s best-kept secret. At least when I was at Oxy it was. We didn’t know this meet even existed. I have only attended it once. In my senior spring, many of us staying for graduation got first dibs to volunteer and basically watched the meet for free from the infield. The crowd is typically small – like I said, few people know this meet exists – and in 2012 the only big names I remember were Bridget Franek and Jenny Simpson.

^awesome post by Sally Bergesen

It seems like every year since then increasingly more top elite athletes are signing up for this meet. In 2013, Mary Cain, Galen Rupp, and Nick Symmonds raced there. Last year, John and I streamed it live on his TV screen, and I remember watching Jordan Hasay race a 5k that was supposed to include Lauren Fleshman as well (not surprisingly the only reason I wanted to watch a crappy Internet stream).

It is always smugly satisfying to watch Olympians and top distance runners compete on a track that I know so intimately. This meet is a source of pride for me as a former Oxy TF athlete, because we’re not Stanford or Oregon. We’re not hosting Payton Jordan or the Pre Classic, or even the Drake Relays. We’re tiny Division III Occidental College, and we host a meet that can definitely holla at any of the bigger ones.

The elites talk about how they love to run the Oxy HP meet – “Oxy magic” they call it – because the track is fast and the competition is usually stacked. It was STACKED this year. In the women’s 800m alone were Jenny Simpson, Maggie Vessey, Chanelle Price, Phoebe Wright, Shannon Rowbury… just to name a few.

Maybe I’m just a bigger runnerd than I was when I was at Oxy, but that’s a lot more “household” runners than I remember in 2012.

I am a little salty that the meet is now officially called the Hoka One One Mid Distance Classic…. On the one hand, Hoka is certainly a track and field underdog and they deserve some marketing, and yeah I guess by giving the meet a brand name it probably broadened awareness for the meet on social media (I mean seriously Twitter was blowing up about this meet, which is awesome). But what bugs me about the name is that it masks Oxy’s association with a big time track meet. Many who stumbled across the “#HokaMDC meet happening in Los Angeles” probably assumed the meet was hosted at USC or UCLA. I’m sure very few except the crème de la crème of runnerds was savvy enough to know this meet is hosted annually at Oxy, and yes we do indeed have one of the world’s fastest tracks.

Rant aside… I grabbed some beer and chips and Oxy gear and settled in to watch the meet like any other good sports fan. It was great fun until unseasonable downpours (WTF?? ok but actually I was kind of laughing because I know that track floods when it rains) cancelled the remaining events, so, no, Kara Goucher didn’t get to run a 5k on my turf.

^like I said

Hopefully next year (Olympic year!) I can travel to LA to spectate my butt off. And eat some Cacao. I’m already planning to order a fat burrito with deep fried avocado inside. And do some Rose Bowl runnin’. Good times.

In non-elite running news…

Week two of logging a modest 20 mpw is complete! Not all the miles include running, and that is totally fine. I have a reliable 4mi route that follows the alleys all the way to this park where I do strides or drills before turning around. My goal is usually to only run the soft stuff and take walk breaks whenever I encounter pavement. Sometimes I feel like running the whole thing, and other days I don’t feel much like running, so I walk a lot. And I am 100% OK with that.

This year's only Jackalope 5k shot (courtesy of High Plains Harriers flickr)

This year’s only Jackalope 5k shot (courtesy of High Plains Harriers flickr)

One day last week I ventured out in the rain to do a WHATEVER fartlek even though I really didn’t want to. I told myself “30 minutes… whatever speeds I feel like,” and that got me out the door. Shutting down the pressure. And apparently I was feeling pretty speedy! I ran faster whenever I felt like it for as long as I pleased and slower when I needed a break.

I also did two of my runs continuously, because 4mi nonstop feels like a lot at this point and I need to work on extending my endurance. One was a pretty brisk run, and the other was a recovery day, so I watched my pace to keep it slow. After the run, nothing hurt, and I felt rejuvenated rather than broken down.

Work was tough this weekend, so I have been taking my rest really seriously. Classes are over for two weeks, so I’ve had ample free time for active relaxation. Lots of foam rolling and stretching, and I took a leaf out of this girl’s blog to set aside meaningful rest for an hour during the day. The difference between napping out of boredom for prolonged periods of time and shutting down the lights and distractions for a single hour is astounding. I have more energy after dedicated rest. The grogginess that accompanies “coming to” is easily remedied by sitting up and taking several deep breaths, and then I am ready to move along.

My appetite returns in full-force when I pick up running again, so here are some favorite snacks lately because why not talk about food?

Oatmeal with almond milk, flaxmeal, and berries. I’ve stopped adding sugar to my oatmeal, and when it is packed with other goodies I don’t even notice.

Kale salad. I am a weirdo with the kale salad because I get cravings for it. It’s been my go-to late night snack before bed. My favorite add-ins are strawberries, avocado, and goat cheese. Sweet, tangy, and creamy all in one bowl.

Post-exercise black bean quesadilla with veggie crumble. Sometimes I add pineapple or avocado and always add sriracha.

I also can’t get enough frozen banana creamy treat! I blend up frozen banana with another frozen fruit, add a little almond milk, and any other flavoring that sounds good. I like to mix in a spoonful of chia and flaxseed peanut butter I found at Trader Joe’s. It’s like ice cream that is actually nutritious, or like a dense smoothie.

And my favorite coffee joint lately is Turtle Rock Cafe because turtles rock and they have an outdoor patio and offer soymilk. Nothing beats sipping coffee at home on the couch, but when I need to be “social” (or we’re out of coffee) this place is my jam. And it’s a block away.

Bottom line: I’m feeling content with running again. It’s always a beautiful struggle to start a comeback, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My goals are on the horizon, but those will stay on the backburner for a while so I don’t jump the gun on my progress. Right now I am still focusing primarily on enjoyment and release, both of which I lost trust in this winter but which I know will take me farther than “training” ever did.

Holla atcha Oxy (circa 2009)

Holla atcha Oxy (circa 2009)

Humble Beginnings

I named this blog Base Mileage for a reason.

Throughout my track career, I perpetuated myself as “injury-prone.” Every time I approached consistency, the next injury or setback would strike, and I’d be starting over again. Starting physical therapy again, starting slow & easy again, alternating cross-training with running again. Always working on the base miles. And always falling back to base miles after the next injury cycle.

Here I am once again starting with base mileage. Less than base mileage – more like building the habit of running again. Runs feel hard, which is strange for a veteran. It gives me respect for those who set out to pick up running from scratch, because those first runs are hard. They kind of suck. Newbies don’t have previous experience of the highs and rewards and pleasures awaiting them down the road, so I admire anyone who laces up for their second run ever.

After Boston, I was feeling ready to get back on the horse, and I jumped in the Jackalope 5k on a whim after a yoga class. But as is the trend this year, I fell ill early the following week. Not like depressed or head cold… stomach virus ill. The kind of ill where you stumble into the bathroom, faint on the toilet, and wake up with your hand in the bowl, drenched in cold sweat.

I struggled to eat for several days and lived in my boyfriend’s bed because walking home put me at risk for fainting on the sidewalk (seriously, it almost happened on the way home from a bio exam).

I don’t care how little anyone has run over several weeks due to injury setback or funk or whatever… stomach virus will set you back infinitely further in just a matter of days. After more or less purging my body of all stored energy and foregoing food intake for several days + rapid muscle atrophy, my first run post-virus felt like my first run EVER. Heavy, slow, awkward, and sore almost immediately.

But I set goals anyway.

1. Get up at 7 am for one week.

Setting my clock radio alarm* to play NPR helps (now, that is old school). Also sorrynotsorry that 7 am is a goal, but seriously mornings have been ridiculously hard (nonexistent) this winter. Turns out I am far more productive when I hold myself accountable for rising earlier, and I actually have more energy.

2. Exercise every day for one week.

My goal for May is to average 20 miles a week, but first I have to start rebuilding my weeks which means rebuilding my fitness and relearning a habit. Consistency. Simplicity. And good habits are built upon repetition. (Don’t worry, there have been cross-training days.)

That’s it. One week of goals. Just one. So far, I am on pace. The runs haven’t all felt good, or fun, or easy. Far from it. Most of them include quite a bit of walking. Definitely humbling. But I feel better after, and that keeps me lacing up again right now. The initial soreness is diminishing, and the benefits will soon become measurable.

Yup, I even ventured down to Fort Collins to stop by the Roost and join run club for a thunderstorm 5 miler. You can’t tell in the picture, but water was dripping off my clothes. P.S. running is better with friends just as I suspected!

Longer term, I have set some goals too. Pencil marks. No time or pace goals. Just “showing up” goals. BolderBoulder 10k this month and two halfs, one in July and one in September. Embracing the longer, slower stuff rather than VO2 max repeats and 5k speed. Slow, consistent, building.

Laramie also has a cornucopia of local events from 5k to long trail races coming up this summer, and I plan on showing up for as many as possible to a) support small community events and b) keep my interest in and enjoyment of running high. On a quest to just do what seems fun!

*Oh, um, my smartphone bit the dust so I’m living old school for a while. [also why I posted none of my own photos and have no Instagrams to speak of lately. It blows]