This has most certainly been an AMAZING year for me in the running arena. I finished my 20th Half Marathon at my fastest pace in three years...I've only competed in new races...I ran my two fastest miles ever these past two days...and I'm close to finishing a Runner's World Streak that I would never have thought possible before. 25 straight days of running, and not giving up yet? Geez...
Add to that the fact that I get to participate in such an amazing Facebook group that is Jenny's 2014 Challengers. No doubt I've gushed about this group before, but that's beside the point. This group makes me feel like I can do anything...race anywhere...be as fast as I want to be...and then some. Never mind the fact that they embrace the Epic Selfie. That's just icing on the cake.
As the Runner's World Streak comes to an end soon...and I'm left with about five weeks before Long Beach Half Marathon Training starts...I'm stuck with this thought:
Where do you go from AWESOME?
Because pretty much all this year has been for me in the running arena is AWESOME. Yeah, I definitely have goals I've not yet achieved, but I can't conceive of taking "a break" right now. I want to push forward - safely, of course - and just get faster, stronger, and even more EPIC.
I was first struck by one of Jenny's Challengers, Fran Libasci, who is recommitting herself to marathon training. And I thought how cool that was to rededicate one's self to the craft, the art, the science of running. And I thought how before I would finish a race and then tell myself, "I'm taking a full month off running!" Only to find that it's so much harder to get back into it when you take so much time off. So, what can keep me motivated and really on my toes until August 4th, when Long Beach training begins? I'll tell you....
First, I remembered that another of Jenny's Challengers suggested a book on weight training: Quick Strength for Runners. So, on a whim, I bought it. It arrived this morning and I'm super excited to get going on a real strength training program for running. I worked it in to a calendar so I have a plan on what days to lift and when to rest. The program is 8 weeks, but I'm kind of going to fast-track it into three workouts a week instead of two. Don't worry...if it starts to feel like too much, I will scale back. I have weight lifting on the Long Beach training calendar anyway.
Second, I took a peek at the NIKE Fuel trophies that I've unlocked in recent days. There are two that have scared me but that I'm now ready to completely and totally grab by the horns.
1. MVP (or Champion) of the Week: to win these trophies, you must "win" 12 (14) hours a day for 7 days straight. To "win" an hour, you have to do some sort of movement for 5 minutes. For me, that means trying to intentionally start my workouts and runs so that I can "win" two hours within a 45 minute time span: start the workout at 5:45am and finish at 6:30 means I "win" two hours. Then during the work day, I get up and walk the floors of my building for five minutes every hour. If I don't have alot of meetings, it's not hard to do. Plus, I always feel a little more refocused when I get back to my desk.
2. Green Machine: to win this trophy, I have to earn 5000 NIKE FUEL in a day from Monday through Saturday. This goal is particularly daunting because my current NIKE FUEL daily goal is 3000. I would say that I average about 3800 a day, so that extra 1200 is a dilly.
Can I earn both of these trophies between now and August 4th? Time will tell, but I'm going for it. I'm even thinking that the week of June 30-July 6 may be the best week to take a stab at the Green Machine. My boss will be out of town and there will just be two of us in the office - and many folks on campus will be on vacation. I am pretty sure we are on summer school hiatus that week as well. So taking a little extra time to push those 5 minute an hour walks and step up my before work activity would not mean I'm less productive in the office. There will be fewer people around to bug me :)
I feel a little bit like Matthew Modine in VISION QUEST: when he decides that he's going to drop two weight classes so he can wrestle the monster, Shute, he tells us: "I haven't done anything yet. So I decided that this year is when I make my mark." Well, I have done some pretty cool things so far this year...so instead I'll stick with the final voice over from this movie where he talks about doing things our own way. So, yeah, I'm on a vision quest. I'm trying to find my place in the circle. And I'm gonna leave it all out on the road...like there's no tomorrow. Because when you really think about it...there isn't.
Thanks, Louden Swain.