So folks, November just wrapped and I thought it might be a good idea to look back on my autumn of running.
SEPTEMBER TOTAL MILEAGE: 70.9 miles plus 5 days of Insanity work-outs
OCTOBER MILEAGE: 64.7 miles plus 3 Insanity work-outs & 3hrs yard work
NOVEMBER MILEAGE: 56.5 miles plus 6 Insanity work-outs & 2hrs yard work
FALL TOTAL MILEAGE: 192.1 miles
--As mentioned, it's awesome to be able to feel like 4-7 miles is an average run these days. It's incredible to know that I can pull on my Vibrams and head out and know that I'll cover an amount of distance that I never would have thought that I'd be able to regularly be running. Up until two years ago, 7 miles in one day had been my PR....now I can cover 7 miles twice in a one week period. For the first time ever, I feel like I can maybe actually call myself a runner....and that this might be something I'll stick with for years to come.
--Let's talk about Vibrams. Still awesome, even on long runs, but adding the toe socks has made all the difference for excess rubbing. LOVE THEM! And honestly I've still had minimal issues compared to the times I tried to take up routine running in regular shoes.
--Scheduled Races/Runs: Tall D & I ran in my first organized race this summer and had a blast. End of September I was registered for the Run Like Hell 5k but had to miss it due to the military funeral. However this fall I ran my first 10k and had a lot of fun!
--While I didn't run a half (yet), I stuck through the overuse injury and kept up the activity. I'm still battling an occasional tightening/cramping in my glutes/hip region, which I'm contemplating acupuncture sessions or deep tissue massage for...and I'm trying to increase my stretching (and I probably should be hydrating better). The Insanity cross training and stretching has been helping with the knee however.
--Some runs are longer, some are shorter, some are faster, and some are slower. I tend to just let my body direct what it's comfortable with most days. As long as my legs are moving and my lungs are working then it's good. Speaking of which, my breath control has improved as well!
--Running continues to be great therapy. A time to either not think at all, to enjoy my surroundings and the dogs, and/or to work through something on my brain. Running got me through the rough month of September, especially as I realized that it was physically not possible for me to cry and run at the same time---on bad days I'd pound the pavement just for a straight hour of no tears. These days it's become a great mental health regulator--let's me blow off steam, tires me (and the dogs), and makes me feel like something good got completed.
--I've been trying to run at least 60 miles a month, although my long run in September in the height of half training pushed me over 70 that month. This month I came short mainly due to spending every other day on an off day...and from a week of constant rain during which Insanity subbed in. I also realized that doing the same Insanity DVD wasn't really cutting it anymore and I started rotating three of the main ones from the first half of the program---and let me tell you, within three days there was a noticeable difference in my appearance. All the rest days this last month were due to timing and also that my body has just been telling me that it needed a break.
--Let's talk about the physical effects of working out so much, although I'm not gonna lie, my skinnier core and no love handles are 100% from Insanity--I know this. But the two mixed together have created the skinniest legs I've ever had, a tighter waist than I've had in years, the first time I've had no love handles in my adult life, my arms are thinner and toned, and folks, for better or worse, my boobs have massively shrunk, as in I'm pretty sure they're two cup sizes smaller than they were in July. Wowzas! Ironically, while my waist is thinner and toned and my legs are skinnier, my rear has much more muscle than in years past, and I'm actually more or less in my regular "thin" jean size. Tops, dresses, coats are all pretty loose though--dang! Ironically though, with all the changes in the body in the last six months, my friend's scale announced that I'm still within the same 10-15 pound healthy range that I've been since I was 15; I'm just on the lowest end of it.
--The other awesome thing about running....this is the year of the half I think. My gal Christina in Texas just took up running in the spring and she completed her first half this November. My old milspouse running partner Heather trained for a fall half even while months pregnant until a short-term health issue kabooshed her attempt just the week before the race---inspiration or what?! My best gal Deir took up running this last spring/summer, completed the Couch to 5k, tomorrow run's in her first 10k (go D, go!!), and now is one of my biggest half motivators across the distance. Deir's SIL here in Oregon also took up running, completed Run Like Hell also, and has been training with Deir for a half across the distance. I found all the awesome and inspiring running bloggers I've started following: Amber, Lisa, Marisa, Lauren....and even one of the fashion bloggers I follow was secretly training and just completed her first half (way to go Whitney!) My buddy I just reconnected with jumped on my half train once I told him I wanted to complete one and has asked me to log some long runs with him over the coming months. While I don't have many people nearby who are major runners (and while I'm much more of a solo runner by choice most the time), it's been so, so, so wonderful to be "training" and running with such motivation across the distance!
--I'm still not too keen on running consistently in the rain or on stormy days, so we'll see how running continues throughout the coming months. At this point I intend to do Insanity on the worst days and have challenged myself to try to run every day that is sunny. In mid-spring, I intend to start up training again for the half following a regular schedule. Until then I hope to just run for fun and to keep my mileage up, so that training isn't too difficult.
--The other thing that running/working out has reminded me is how much of an afternoon work-out person I am. I hate running in the morning and it always feels like mid-afternoon is when mentally and physically I'm itching to stretch my legs. Morning runs feel like lead and with very few street lights and limited side walks, I'm not down with night runs, so afternoon runs still tend to be my time of choice....even if I'm usually contending with school traffic (there's a school on every single route I run in my neighborhood (at least 6-8 schools within ten miles)).
--But one thing's for sure...I'm running cause I love it, cause I need it, and cause I can! Some days I space out, some days I pray, some days I focus on the lyrics playing or the dogs sniffing, sometimes I mentally plan or review, but every day...running feeds something in me that just needs it to keep on with its fuel.