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February 2019 – A Month to Endure

February is always a month that is tough to get through, it typically is not a month to be enjoyed, as much as it is one that you have to endure. February 2019 was no different. However, here it is the 28th and despite some tough times and difficult weather, we have made it to the end of February.

The tough times included loosing SD2’s Karma. She was an older rescue dog who lived until she was 18 and took with her a piece of all our hearts. However, she also gave us a piece of hers to keep with us through the years, which is a fair trade in my eyes.

Weather

Weather, yeah it is still doing crazy stuff…there doesn’t seem to be any moderate weather anymore. The snow storms have been having freezing rain, sleet or rain, instead of simply being the snow based storms that you would expect in Maine in February.

Even with the weird storms the temps continue to be more around the zero mark when it is not storming than the usual February temps and the big winds last for days instead of hours.

I tend to believe that climate change is really happening and it really doesn’t matter if it is being caused by man or if Mother Nature is behind it…either way the weather is changing around us with more and deadlier extremes. At some point we had best have a plan about what we will do going forward, otherwise the shit is really going to hit the fan.

Eating

Speaking of having a plan, I gotta get back to focusing on eating better.

In December and January, I was doing really great about eating real foods and avoiding processed ones from packages i.e. candy, chips, ice cream, white flour based stuff, etc. and focusing on eating more foods in their original form.

While I have gotten away from it a bit at times during February, I am starting to better recognize my eating triggers and times to avoid the “bad” stuff and have a what I consider a healthier alternative available.

My weight is a pretty good indicator of my eating habits and I have fluctuated between 152 and 156 this month. This morning the scale read 153 and that is pretty close to where I want to be.

Now to get down to racing weight.

Running

My running is going better than I could have imagined at the start of the year. Even though most of my runs have been on the treadmill (the cold, ice and just plain nastiness outside this month drove me inside), I have been doing workouts that I never thought that I would be doing at age 61.

Despite February only having 28 days, I was still within sight of January’s run total, which surprised me. On thing that I am fairly certain of is that the quality of my SOS runs is higher and the how I feel during recovery and easy runs is less stressful, now that I “have permission” to run slower.

Right now and probably for the foreseeable future, I am focusing on simply being consistent in my running. Yeah, I know that I am using a half marathon training plan to help me stay more focused than usual in my running, but I don’t really have a race that I have committed to do and while I look at the race calendar every so often, I haven’t had that real urge to race yet this year at any distance and am not all that worried about it if I don’t race any time soon.

However, I can attribute a lot of my recent running consistency to the guide rails that the Hansons Half Marathon method has provided me. While I might not follow it perfectly or precisely, since it is a very relentless plan and I am an old fart whose needs are a bit different than many runners who are using this plan.

I have been using it as the basis for what I do run for workouts and what I don’t do. Which in my case the don’t do is as important as the gotta do sometimes, so I don’t get off on a stooopid idea/tangent or see another great training plan that sounds good, especially one where I over do the faster stuff and end up with an injury that derails the progress I am making.

While running on the treadmill is not as much fun or as stimulating as running outside, it has also helped me stay healthy as well. I am not outside slipping and sliding around on crappy roads or trails that used to result in multiple strains and sprains during the winter and would cut into the consistency that I need to make improvements in my running. So while the treadmill is not my preferred way to run, it is a tool that allows me to run when the conditions are not great for me to run outside.

It also doesn’t let me cheat on the paces, when I am doing an SOS workout.

My training weeks this month have pretty much followed the following schedule:

  • Monday – Easy run
  • Tuesday – Speed Work at 5K Race pace
  • Wednesday – Off or Recovery Run
  • Thursday – Tempo run at half marathon race pace
  • Friday – Recovery run
  • Saturday – Easy Run
  • Sunday – Long run at around 9:00 minute pace

Yeah, I might do a little extra on some of the Something of Substance (SOS) faster days, just because I enjoy faster running, but nothing too stoopid and I do stop if things get wonky or something doesn’t fell quite right.

That and I usually do end a run with the last quarter mile at my half marathon race pace, just something that I want to know what that pace feels like at the end of every run. I know that the “experts” don’t recommend that, but it feels right for me and how I see things.

Running Shoes

I have pretty much gotten down to a two-shoe rotation.

New Balance Beacon – I use them for everything I do on the treadmill right now. They have enough forefoot cushioning that they are comfortable for the long runs on the treadmill and yet light enough to do the SOS workouts without any difficulty. It is hard to believe that I already have over 170 miles on these shoes and even with the outsole design I am not seeing any real amount of wear that I wouldn’t expect from any shoe I use on the treadmill.

Adidas Tempo 9 – Have become my go to shoe for running outside. The cold weather does not affect the Boost midsole and the T9’s multipurpose outsole is effective in all but the nastiest of conditions (which I don’t run outside in anymore).

These two shoes are doing everything that I ask from my running shoes and it is a very good rotation.

The reality is that

My running is probably the best it has been in years and sticking to the basic guide rails that the Hansons Half Marathon method gives me is an important part of the reason.

Changing how I do eat has helped as well, loosing 10 pounds does make me feel lighter on my feet and I am not having a many leg or hip issues as I have had in the past. Now to get down to racing weight and stay there for a while.

The weather is going to do what the weather does, but I will keep running outside when it is decent and use the treadmill to keep me upright and my SOS workout paces more honest.

Most of all I will just keep plugging along and smile after the runs are over, especially those tough longer tempo runs at half marathon race pace.

Let’s see how March goes, since it is the month of change.

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