Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Yes, I Still Run! An Update.

It's been ages since I've talked specifically about my running and even longer since I've thought/talked about future running goals, so I thought I'd give you guys a rundown on that.

First, an overview of running this past year, broken up by academic quarter:

First Quarter: 

Let's not dwell on first quarter, which can be summed up with the following poem:

high mileage!
whoops, no time.
no mileage.
pizza and beer? yes please.
out of shape.
reality check.

Yeah, that was rough. While home for Christmas, I gave myself a talking to and vowed to be better going forward.

Second Quarter:

I ran and hiked pretty consistently while home in December so was in a good position to get back into running when I returned to Eugene. My first night back, however, I gallivanted a bit too hard and at some point must have done something to my foot. It hurt only slightly, but the type of pain was similar to a stress fracture. I panicked and pouted (a lot), terrified I was one careless step away from a broken bone, and ceased all running. For the next month or so, I erged, biked, and lifted weights, which was enormously dissatisfying but got the job done.

My foot felt better, but still off. To be clear, it never really hurt that much; it was the type of pain and not the level of pain that concerned me. I feared it would get worse if I ran on it. However, at that point I was dying to run and frustrated that my foot seemed stuck in limbo, largely pain-free but still "off," so I threw caution to the wind and went out for a short jog. Amazingly enough, running caused no pain whatsoever and although I could occasionally still feel "it" (which I hesitate to even call pain at this point; more like discomfort) while walking around, it never got worse. I decided to start running again but to keep it slow and flat.

Most importantly, during this quarter I worked out consistently, cleaned up my diet (by which I mean I ate pizza once a week instead of four), and generally got my act together.

Third Quarter:

Although things were busier at school and I was starting to freak out about my upcoming exams, I never let running fall by the wayside. It helped that my earliest class this quarter was at 10:00, which allowed me to run in the morning. My runs were longer, 6 - 7 miles at a time (often in Alton Baker Park because it's next to campus) but the number of days per week I worked out was slightly lower than the previous quarter. I was running between 20 - 30 miles per week and managed to get in a longer run most weekends. I finally reached double digits for the first time since my marathon! I also started incorporating hills into my runs, which was a real shock to my legs but hugely beneficial to my fitness level. I had very little time for hiking (which is often at least a half - day outing because you have to drive to get to anything worth hiking), but managed to get a few in.

Like Bohemia Mountain.

By the end of third quarter, I was finally where I wanted to be, running-wise. I had a solid base, felt great, and was starting to think about a fall marathon, for which I could spend all summer training (refusing to consider how hot it would be, obviously, because that was more than I could handle emotionally).

But then...


After third quarter finals, we had five weeks to prepare for and take exams to determine whether we could continue in the program. Preparing for these was a real bitch, but I got it done. I also knew that I needed to get out for a run most days or risk going insane, so that's what I did. Often it was only three miles, but on weekends I would allow myself to go a bit longer. I limited myself to five or six short runs per week, but I could definitely have run more. I even managed to fit a race in there!

Although I likely lost some fitness during this time, it was a great way to ease back into running most days of the week. Ultimately, I'd like to run six days per week, but that likely won't happen until school starts again (there's too much hiking to accomplish this summer!).

Since exams ended three weeks ago, it's been go, go, go nearly every day. Running, hiking, water skiing, tubing, slacklining, horseback riding - you name it, I've probably done it. I've been in a constant state of soreness. Occasionally I get worried about needing a rest day, but then the boredom kicks in and I have to go out and do something. I've been really good about changing it up, though, which means that my body is likely overworked but not overstressed (if that makes sense). I haven't been running as often as I'd like, but I'm feeling very strong.

I also nixed the idea of a fall marathon/ultra (more on that next time, because I'm way over my nonexistent word limit), which I was feeling down about until I realized that not being tethered to a training plan will allow me to continue doing all the amazing things I've been able to do this summer.

I am signed up for a race this fall, though. The Silver Falls half marathon. But more on that later!

From an outing to Silver Falls last week. 10 miles, lots of boredom. This was nice, though.


  1. I love falls in Oregon-bet it will be a pretty great race! And it sounds like you found the right balance between school and running. You need running in that high stress environment! And it sounds like you learned to run in the morning a bit?

    1. Yeah, sort of! It was NOT a pleasant transition but I'm finally to the point where my legs DON'T feel like lead the entire time, my eyes sort of function and my stomach doesn't fall apart. I still much prefer running mid-morning.

  2. I'm highly impressed that anyone manages to run and hike in Alaska in December. You must have some extreme winter clothing skills there :) And now it's summer, so it sounds like you're doing exactly the right thing - going outside to play.

    1. Running and hiking during an Alaskan winter is awesome! You get the trails all to yourself and running on snow is super low-impact. Of course, it's also a million times harder than running on pavement. I heat up so much when I run that even when it was 10 below Fahrenheit I often only had one long-sleeve layer on (the layer I'm wearing in my banner photo, in fact).

  3. Glad you're getting back into the groove of things! It's hard to run a lot when you have a lot of school stuff to do--I took a good month and a half off when I was writing my dissertation (and I was also injured...). I'm glad you're finding fun races to do (not hard in Eugene, I imagine) and pretty places to visit! :)

    1. Thanks! I'm putting off all thoughts about a future dissertation until absolutely necessary but it will most definitely interfere with my little jogging hobby.

  4. Summertime is for binges on activities like that. Soon the places worth hiking will be buried in avalanche zones. Get at it while you can!! :)

    1. Yeah, especially in Oregon it seems like a lot of cool places are inaccessible until, like, May because they don't bother plowing the roads. Kind of a bummer but I am enjoying it while I can!

  5. Good to hear that you're having a great summer filled with some pretty cool activities. I would think that it would be very had to balance fitness and grad school, but then I remembered that once my husband started writing his thesis, he played tennis every morning (while I worked)! :-)

    1. Yeah, my dad was telling me that he played two rounds of golf a day while studying for the bar... A really dedicated student, obviously. It's hard to force yourself to work all day when you don't necessarily HAVE to be working on something at any given moment.