How’s it tracking, folks? February has flown by quick, but I guess that’s what happens when it’s the shortest month of the year. I’ve never quite understood why there are multiple months with 31 days and yet Feb gets short-changed with only 28? Surely those days could have been spread around a little better… (Supposedly we need to blame the Romans for that, silly Romans.)
Lunar-patterns aside, the year is well and truly underway now, and Boston Marathon is creeping ever closer. I feel like every time I call Coach Ben to have our weekly catch-up I say something like ‘another week flown by!’ but that’s how it has been. Each week I push through my workouts, get through the Sunday long-run and then *poof*, another week is done and we’re seven days closer to race day. Work too is following a similar pattern, and I honestly don’t have much time in between those to do anything except the very occasional catch-up with friends so perhaps you could say things have been a bit boring this month. I prefer to think of them as ‘chugging along’.
The past two weeks have been absolutely glorious. The sun has been shining, I’ve been running in shorts and a t-shirt; a few days ago it topped out at 19degrees. In February! That’s the kind of weather I’d expect from an Australian winter, not a French one.
Extra Vitamin D has put a spring in my step, and generally made everything feel much better. There is something romantic about a ‘proper’ winter, curling up indoors with a mug of hot tea or playing in the snow, but in reality the months-and-months of cold, grey darkness drag you down. Particularly me, and even more so after spending those weeks in Australia over Christmas. So this warm change has been a great blessing (even if it did come just as I was getting used to dressing for zero degrees…)
Training has been going surprisingly well (minus one dodgy long-run). I’m the sort of person who typically will ‘nope’ out of an intervals session here and there, but I’ve found that as the weeks keep rolling by I’m more and more capable of doing the work I’ve been assigned. Of course- this is exactly how it should be, but it still surprises me to find that my body can handle this load and keep running every day.
This month I had three sizeable weeks and one cut-back week in the middle, topping at 83.5km which is the biggest training week I’ve done since this time last year (when I was not working and running crazy mileage). Haven’t yet hit 30km in the long runs yet, but have done a few solid weeks of 26-28km so the base is certainly there.
On top of the running I’ve continued my NTC conditioning workouts, but have pretty much given up on everything else. At the start of the month I was stressing a bit about trying to fit in the runs + extra sessions while also maintaining adequate levels of sleep. I’m a big fan of sleep and do best on 8-10hrs a night, which sadly doesn’t happen often enough. I was planning to do morning workouts and then failing to get out of bed, which set me up with guilt and a bad attitude the rest of the day. The solution: just plan sessions for the evening! That’s been going much better, and the quality of the sessions has improved too. It does mean that I haven’t swum, biked or been to the gym basically all month… but that’s just how it goes.
February in kilometres:
1 – 3 Feb: 42km (Fri – Sun)
Best run: 2hr 15min long run averaging close to 5:00/km… what?!
4 – 10 Feb: 74.4km
Best run: Glorious Osterley parkrun… and 3rd place female
11 – 17 Feb: 54km
Best run: Valentines Day run with Sye spelling ‘LOVE’ via GPS
18 – 24 Feb: 83.5km
Best run: Solid 4x8min session with a few inclines
25 – 28 Feb: 26.8km (Mon – Thurs)
Best run: Threshold intervals, particularly the first 15min rep
One of the most exciting things to happen this month surely was Strava adding support for two-decimal-places, which means I no longer have to run and extra 30m to ensure my full distance is uploaded 😍 (Previously if you ended at 12.97km it would round down to 12.9km… frustrating!).
I also loved getting to run parkrun a few weeks in a row. It’s a nice way to see progress and I really do believe that if you go back week-after-week the improvements will come. For instance, over three weeks I ran 23:31 > 22:09 > 21:34. Supremely satisfying.
Even better, the second of those parkruns was run in London! More specifically, at the Osterley parkrun in the west of the greater area, out towards Heathrow. It was a beautiful location with a National Trust (heritage) building as a backdrop, and the warm friendly UK parkrun community was out in force.
My trip was just a whirlwind weekend: I arrived at 10:30am on Friday, worked all day and then was on the train again at 12:30pm on Sunday. Just 50 hours in London but I certainly made the most of it, catching up with friends and family, getting a bit of shopping done on Oxford Street and even cheering on a race! And naturally getting my runs done in my favourite parts of the city.
I do love London and it was great to be back, mostly because it sparked really deep conversations with friends which you just can’t have over the phone or via the internet. I’m lucky to have great friends over there, even if I wasn’t able to see them all this time. I’ll be heading back again in July, will need to plan for a few extra days!
After a great start to the year in January in terms of life-changes/healthier-living, February took a bit of a dive. While still much better that it was at the end of last year, my eating has slackened and I’ve found myself partaking in a glass or two of wine here and there. I think I needed the ‘reset’ to kick off the year, and am now seeking a more manageable balance where I can still enjoy the finer things in life while feeling good in my body. On the whole I do think I’m still eating relatively well though.
The one change which has stuck is walking up the stairs! I have yet to catch the lift up our seven flights, and it’s becoming more and more normal to get home that way. I have no idea if it makes me stronger/fitter, but it has become just a thing I do. I like it.
What I did start this month is to get back into writing – not here on the blog (sorry folks), but instead a longer-form piece. I realised that if I write just 250 words a day, that quickly adds up to a considerable amount – and so that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s still a higgledy-piggeldy mess for now, but the ideas are becoming clearer in my mind.
That’s it about me and my month, now it’s time to share some things that I’ve been reading/watching/listening to. Have a click through the links and let me know your thoughts, I’m always keen to discuss!
Nike has some hits and misses (for example: I spent two days this month carefully extracting my data out of the Nike+ Running app because they no longer let you just download it), but their latest women’s campaign is brilliant. And I love being crazy 😄
My Dad forwarded me this article about DNA testing for cyclists just a few days after Sye mentioned he was interested in doing a test through 23andMe. I can imagine it would be interesting to know more about your genetic makeup, but I don’t believe you can rely on that alone.
Settle in for a long one, but trust me it’s worth it: Løpe Magazine tells the incredible story of Huwe Burton, who was convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, served his sentence and then got into running marathons while trying to clear his name. Amongst all the other feels, it has mades me really want to run New York one day.
Normally I’m not a big fan of superheroes, but I do quite like a story about quirky educational institutions, which is why I agreed to try watching Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy… and I’m hooked. The storyline is fascinating, the characters are colourful, flawed and interesting and I just want to keep watching episode after episode.
And to throw a controversial topic in there: Caster Semenya vs the IAAF. Not sure there’s a right or a wrong opinion, so I’m interested to see what the result is in the next few weeks.
Onwards into March we go… (marching into March?), and officially the return of race season! It’s been many long months, I’m ready to pin on a bib again and see some of the results of all this training.