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Today I reached a milestone….literally. One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2011 was to run 365 miles in the year. It was meant to bring me out of the “I’m too busy to fit exercise into my day” thinking and into “Well….I can do at least one measly mile each day! Surely I have time for that!” The pressure was off for major workouts and the focus was simply consciously moving my butt at least a little each day. Sadly….I did not achieve that goal for 2011. Back on the Resolution list it went this year and this year I was far more determined to accomplish it. Today I crossed that line! As of this morning I have run 366.34 miles in 2012, FOUR months before the end of the year! Each mile from now on is pure bonus mileage.

Today I did the run that started it all. The one Andy and I did in March of 2011 when he first suggested we do a 10K together and I thought he was on crack. Little did I know that 15 months from that run I would not only have done two 10k’s but a Half Marathon to boot!:) As I ran today I reflected on what I’ve learned in the 642.21 miles I’ve done since that very day. I’ve learned about myself, how to train, and even had a revelation about my marriage.

  • Listen to your body – It doesn’t matter what is in my head for pace goals, if I’m run down and not feeling it that day, there’s nothing I can do about it. Just slog through at a slower pace, OR take an extra recovery day and tackle the run with more energy next time. This does work both ways though. There are days when I fly through runs feeling like superwoman. Any number of factors can affect how you’re feeling so be flexible within your training regimen.
  • I don’t care how short the run is. If it’s hot out bring water.
  • The runs you least feel like doing are the ones you will be most proud of when you are done.
  • Never underestimate the power of a good song. When I’m tiring in a run and don’t think I have much more in me, it never fails that a good song comes on and I’m suddenly moving much faster. Apparently I have energy reserves that are only triggered by certain songs.
  • Strength training is key – Once I dropped strength training from my race training schedule, ALL the physical problems I experienced with knee and hip pain began. Two to three days a week of strength training keeps the aches and pains away!
  • Don’t eat high fiber meals right before a long run. 
  • In a slump?: New workout clothes and a new playlist will do wonders for added enthusiasm.
  • Do it for the chocolate milk: Chocolate milk is simply the BEST post-workout treat! In fact Fitness Magazine recently posted a study that said “Downing chocolate milk after a tough workout can help replenish exhausted muscles and significantly aid exercise recovery.” Not that I needed that endorsement as an excuse to drink it, but it is nice to have science on your side. During our long, weekend training runs it was inevitable that either Jenny or I would look at the other towards the end and say “Do it for the chocolate milk!” It always put a smile on our faces and gave us a little extra kick in our step.
  • Two thumbs up from the old guy: When I leave the house by a certain time on the weekends I am sure to see the same elderly gentleman out for a walk on the trail. He always gives me two thumbs up, a big smile, and sometimes says “Great job on your run today!!” It’s so adorable! I pretend that he used to be a running coach of some sort and goes out on early walks to encourage the runners along the way.
  • Running past 30 high school kids waiting for their bus is a good way to ensure you don’t slow down at the end of a run.
  • Do it for dessert! I have a massive sweet tooth and that can have detrimental effects on the way my clothes fit. When I run, I don’t feel guilty about having a little splurge at night. It’s totally worth it. 
  • It’s MY time. No one needs anything from me! I can run, enjoy the views, and my music, and not have to do anything for anyone. I’ve come to love running and to crave it when I can’t fit it in because it keeps me sane and makes me a better mother.
  • Marriage Revelation: There is one key issue Andy I will just never see eye to eye on. I always put on deodorant before a run. Andy thinks that’s ridiculous. He says “It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. You’re going to stink anyways, so why bother?” I say “It’s what makes us civilized. And also distinguishes us from several European countries. Why stink more than I have to?” I’ve come to accept that this is one area where we will just agree to disagree.

This is all just my two cents on lessons from 365 miles of running. That reminds me, don’t running shoes need to be replaced after 300 miles? I just thought of the perfect way to celebrate… 🙂