This week I’m asking my seventh-graders to think back over the first month of school and answer some self-reflection questions. What strategies have you used to keep up with your work? How many books have you read? What are you most proud of? What could you improve to help you achieve your goals?
Guess what? Many of these questions apply to me and my running as well.
Since school got out for the summer, I’ve been working hard to improve my fitness and lose a few pounds so I could attack my race goals this fall. Core class, Fit-to-Run class, Fitness Blender workouts, double-digit long runs, often two of those in one day. I tracked calories in My Fitness Pal, then added a Garmin Vivofit to count steps.
Results? I have introductory arm muscles. I can do push-ups on my toes. Burpees don’t kill me. I can wear my non-stretchy jeans without creating a muffin top. I lost 15 pounds.
Then last week, for-real half-marathon training started up, throwing a Tuesday speed workout into the mix. My interval paces looked pretty good for hot-weather running, but I haven’t really been able to gauge my true fitness. Running ten miles in the morning when the overnight low didn’t drop below 80 feels awful and slow, but it won’t tell me how that will translate to the 45-degree start temps at the Army Ten-Miler next month. Historically, the cooler D.C. weather has helped me run a minute or two per mile faster on race day, but since it won’t get that cool here until November, I won’t know for sure until I show up October 11. Temps at my 8K race this weekend will barely drop into the high 60s, so no help there.
But even with the looming race-pace question mark, I’m pleased with my efforts and my progress over the last four months. If nothing else, I’m miles (literally) ahead of last year.
Oh, and since June, I’ve read 15 books. The new Jack Reacher just came out, though, so that number will reach 16 by next week.