March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, goes the famous saying, and I would agree that with the sunny weather and longer days, this month is leaving me peacefully. I finish the month with a total of 92 miles, which feels just about perfect to me. This month, I focused on running more frequent shorter distances, which I have found to be helpful in my overall pace for long runs. There were a few days that I elected to do another type of exercise, such as Zumba or yoga, but for the most part, I ran almost every day. I also elected not to run any races this month, which resulted in a more relaxed disposition toward my running practice. I enjoyed watching the trails transform into greenery, and like many runners, I was thrilled by the long-awaited return to Daylight Savings Time. My longest run was a spontaneous half marathon last week, which I was able to complete in 2:08 without much struggle.
A few things are on my mind as I enter April. I am running the Wenatchee Half Marathon in just two weeks, and I am getting very excited about enjoying this first spring race. So far, the weather forecast is looking good (knock on wood). I will also find out later in the month if I received a spot in the Chicago Marathon through the lottery system. If not, I am set on fundraising for a qualifying charity. Running Chicago is a dream of mine. Finally, along with dreams of a marathon comes the reality of training for a marathon. After Wenatchee, I will probably take advantage of my momentum to start slowly adding mileage to my long runs. I would like to be as comfortable running 16 miles as I am currently comfortable running 13 miles by June.
I find myself, once again, very busy this month of April. I have a semester of doctoral work to complete, a choral concert to perform, a fundraising event to co-facilitate, a child to care for, a full-time career which requires much attention… and yet, I feel confident. Running will see me through as it always has.
Spring comes to the Pacific Northwest, and it feels like the whole world wakes up, dons gowns of green and gold, and creates a cascading splendor above and beside the trail. In much the same way that I appreciate how the winter months prompt me to turn inward, when I am often surrounded only by the dark and before me a small tunnel of light, illuminating my breath, spring launches me into a synesthetic feast. The vitality of the season pulls me outward, to engage with my surroundings, and the sea breezes and gentle sunshine remind me that summer is yet to come. Occasionally, I will stop during my run to examine a newly flowering plant, or look up to the branches of birches and cottonwoods, noticing their burgeoning decoration in wonder and gratitude. There is such delicacy and complexity to the natural world around us, something that is best appreciated while running in solitude on a wooded trail.
February 2016, with its extra day (wonderful!), produced a solid month of running. I was able to reach a monthly mileage total of exactly 100 miles, and within the month I set a new half marathon record, only to beat it by over 8 minutes at a half marathon race a week later. As I reflect on the month, I am feeling gratitude. First, for my wonderful family members, partner and daughter, who support my running daily by giving me the space and time to lace up my shoes without any grief. Second, and importantly, my treasure of a friend and running buddy, who keeps me company through many a mile and is a constant source of inspiration and positivity. Finally, I am thankful for good health. Some winters are worse than others, but I seem to be making it without much sickness this season (knock on wood). Oh, and I guess I am thankful for novelty ice cream treats. Really thankful for those. Because they are the perfect recovery snack in the evening after I’ve come home from a run.
March is off to a good start, and I hope to spend the month enjoying the changing greenery while continuing to run shorter distances (3-4 miles) very regularly (almost daily). While there is temptation to recapture the glory and run a half marathon or something this month, I need to focus on building strength and endurance as I gear up for the Wenatchee Half Marathon (and accompanying retreat with some lovely ladies) next month.
Things in the near future that bring me joy:
-Daylight Savings Time in a mere week! I’ll have some decent daylight for my evening runs!
-Chicago Marathon lottery opens in a week and a half!
-Leaves are growing back! Blossoms are in full splendor!
That’s all for now. Happy trails!