As my running chum Linda pointed out the other day – I do like to finish a run on a neat number. This uncharacteristic desire for tidiness can see me running up and down the street or round the block at the end of a run until the Nike+app whirrs round to tidy number.
My monthly mileage has been a bit low recently, and I have kind of stepped off the gas having abandoned a bigger challenge I set myself earlier in the year – but a few days ago I noticed that I was close to reaching the 3000 miles total on my app – ( so this is cumulative mileage or total miles recorded since 2010). With the end of the month approaching, I thought it would be doubly neat and tidy if I reached 3000 miles by the end of October.
I had 17 miles to do between Monday and Friday, definitely achievable. Despite being out of the habit of goal setting, I was quite pleased to rediscover my inner running nerd and enjoy the mild form of obsession I get when I see a target in sight.
This obsession is mostly a good thing , but does tend to make me spend way too much time working out when, where and how I will fit in a run and this preoccupation may mean that I might not have been fully engaged with every conversation I had with folk this week. Apologies 😉
It also highlights a little known health benefit of running – exercising that bit of your brain that does mental arithmetic ( so if I run 4 on Monday then 2 miles before work on Tuesday and then another 2 after work, then that leaves 9 to do, so if I do 5 on Thursday etc etc).
Just to make it a bit more exciting – I did not run on Wednesday , but it turns out either I am rubbish at mental arithmetic or I had not factored in all the part miles , so I was further ahead than I thought. And so it was at 1 mile into my Friday run with Alison the Nike + app counter whirled nicely to 3000.
This was a good feeling and something of a consolation , as with only 2 months of year left and my 2014 mileage sitting at 647, I am not going to reach the bigger challenge I had set to run 1000 miles in 2014.
In a moment of endorphin fuelled optimism in a time long ago – I rashly laid down the gauntlet to my running self that I would try to run 1000 miles this year. I probably knew this was more on the pipe dream end of the success spectrum, so I just whispered it to the small room of folk who read this blog.
To put this in context – in the years I have been running and keeping track of miles – my annual mileage tally has been as follows :
2010 – 375.5
2011 – 524
2012 – 695.3
2013 – 756.6
( I apologise for my inability to draw up a pretty table or ‘infographic as they are now called to illustrate this – and bear with me as I drone on with some more stats )
So my big year on year gains were when I was in my first flush of running romance – between 2010 and 2012 – when I increased my mileage from just under 400 miles to more than 750, helped of course by embarking on the ‘run every day in December’ Marcothon, which gives a hefty 100 miles total.
But between 2012 and 2013, I only added a measly 60 additional miles to my previous total, so perhaps thinking that I could find 240 more miles in 2014 was a tad hopeful.
Taken across a full year it is only an extra 20 miles a month or 5 miles a week – but it requires consistency and discipline to commit to this throughout the year – and does not give much room for injury or a slacker month, or as my OH might say to behave like a normal person!
I can’t really blame the shortfall on my lifestyle as not much has changed since last year- I still travel a bit with work, but I almost always take my running gear with me, and when not travelling I have my regular running commitments with friends that have not changed.
I think the main thing is that while I have not completely fallen out of love with running ( perish the thought ) , me and running have been going through what might best be described as a bit of a mid life crisis.
I did a few races the year, and I am glad that I did. I really enjoyed the Great Edinburgh run – a 10 miler on a challenging hilly course, and I got a PB at the Inverness, half but I can’t honestly say I feel I made any great strides or improvements in 2014.
Maybe this is OK – as for me running is mostly a way to keep the rest of life in order. My competitive gene is underdeveloped and my motivation is the enjoyment I get from running with friends, being outside in all weathers , watching the seasons change, discovering new places through running and of course keeping a level of fitness.
As it stands it looks like I will end up at around 800 miles for 2014, and that’s not so bad. I will postpone my 1000 mile target till another time – or maybe I need to come up with a different kind of challenge.