February: That Time I Remembered that I Actually Like Running

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I didn’t track too much of anything mileage wise in the month of February. Since I really started my training for Boston after the holidays, I can tell you that I’ve put in the miles and the effort but if you want to know mileage totals and paces…maybe stay tuned for next month. I had a rough time in January because it just felt so hard, but February was a turning point.

  1. I ran my first race since July and didn’t die.
  2. Running/training became a habit again, rather than a chore.
  3. My tempo runs started feeling less like an activity designed to inflict endless torture/frustration, and more like a solid workout.
  4. I used the treadmill entirely too much earlier in the month, but I got to finish the month running in shorts and a sports bra. In February. In Northeastern PA. Shorts. Sports bra.
  5. I got back on track with being Paleo-ish and got close to my racing weight again.

I run the Super Bowl Sunday 10K every year. this year, it fell on February 5th. I was just getting my legs back and didn’t think I could come close to the time I ran last year, which is my 10K PR. My good friend, Kathy, and her husband Darin were also running. Darin told Kathy that he wanted to beat us at the race. He even sent me a screenshot of his Strava with proof that he was averaging 6:50 pace for his own 10K time trial. I was shit talking right back, although I knew the reality of my fitness at this point. It’s a pretty hilly course, and I’m not much of a 10K runner, so I knew my PR was somewhere in the 41 minute range – only slightly faster than what he was averaging on his training runs.

My personal goal was the same as last year’s goal. Run this as a tempo run (especially good use of this race since it’s hilly and I tend to stick to flats for tempos) and average goal marathon pace, 6:45-6:50/mile. I also wanted to beat Darin, but I wasn’t willing to go out too fast and blow the workout. The race began, and I felt fantastic. I ran comfortable and relaxed, and I didn’t work too much harder than I had to. I ended up averaging 6:41/mile and running 41:34 – four seconds slower than my 10K PR. If I’d known I was that close, I would have picked it up. I’m not disappointed because I never expected to come close to a PR, let alone feel that good. Kathy finished a few seconds behind me (41:46) and Darin finished a few minutes after us 🙂 🙂 43:41! He ran a great race, but it was even better since we were able to remind him about how we beat him.

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(Darin is in black, and his twin brother, Derrek, is the one in blue!)

Since last spring ended and I got burned out, I was having trouble getting out the door to run regularly. I would find excuses not to go or to just do it another day. I kept remembering how last year it didn’t matter what the situation was – I got the run done. It was like I was on autopilot. There were weeks where my shortest run was 10 miles and I never once thought, “ugh, can I just do this another day?” Once I got back on the training horse in January, I had that thought that every single time I laced up my running shoes. The week after the 10K, that changed. I was getting ready to do a tempo run. As I headed over to the trail I use for those workouts, it dawned on me that I wasn’t thinking about the tough workout ahead, or trying to figure out a way to push it off. I finally felt like I was on autopilot again. Even yesterday, when I was leaving work and totally exhausted and had a long strength/track workout to do, I just got out of my car and did it, no hesitation. I like that feeling. I missed that feeling.

Another January/February habit I developed was using the treadmill (or should I say, overusing). I started to become a real baby about going outside. We’ve had pretty much the mildest winter of my existence, and somehow I found reasons to not run outside. We got one snowstorm, so there was that – but I always found a way to say it was too cold, too windy, too cloudy, too whatever. In January and the beginning of February, I think I ran more miles on a treadmill than I’ve ever run on a treadmill. I just went with it. If it was the thing that got me motivated to run again, great.

While I don’t like to use a treadmill often, I think I relied on it because I felt like I could control my pace and force my body into working harder than I wanted (dumb idea, I’m sure). This was especially helpful with the tempo runs. I had a rough time getting started with these. I couldn’t even touch the goal pace from last year, let alone try to go faster. I found if I used the treadmill, I would at least do it and not stop – because God forbid I accidentally reset the treadmill before it hit the one hour mark. It would be like the run never happened. This past week, not only did I do my tempo run on a different trail, but it was at a different time since I had to rearrange my schedule to accommodate a work trip. It was outside, and it was my best one yet. Ahhh, finally. I think making myself force the pace on the treadmill helped get my confidence and speed back (probably not the smartest strategy, but whatever).

I gained a few pounds over the holidays (as usual, but not as much as last year) and started to get closer to my racing weight again, which feels great. I spent a lot of time training for my upcoming pole competition (Atlantic Pole Championships in DC on 4/2!) both at the pole studio and on my home pole, but that’s all I’ll say about that for now 🙂 By the time I do a March recap, I will be able to share much more about that experience because the competition will be over! But here is a picture of my new pole in my spare bedroom (we haven’t renovated that section of the house yet so it looks a little scary):

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Other fun, non-fitness related things…I got my orchid new to bloom! I bought this little guy in July and I’ve never had any luck with orchids ever in my life:

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My husband and I cook Valentine’s dinner together every year, and this year was wonderful:

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Homemade crab cakes (I need to get that recipe out because they were freaking amazing), homemade tarter sauce, homemade mashed potatoes and seared strip steaks, asparagus, and homemade chocolate creme brulee with homemade creme anglaise. I usually do all of the cooking around our house but I love when we do a meal together, and we usually do this for Valentine’s Day. So fun.

We also finished our pantry, which is an addition off of our new kitchen! So much room for activities!!!!

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How was your month? Do you ever feel like you’re on autopilot with running?

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44 thoughts on “February: That Time I Remembered that I Actually Like Running

  1. Hanna @ minimal marathoner March 2, 2017 / 8:25 am

    Wow – what a great month! Glad to hear you’re starting to get your groove back in running!

    Honestly, running has never felt autopilot for me *shrug*. Even when I’m in the thick of training it seems like it takes real effort to get out the door. I’m just a naturally lazy person, and I’ve always struggled with the time commitment aspect of training. Which is too bad because I do enjoy the actual running.

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2017 / 11:11 am

      Thanks, Hanna! I think the key to making running feel good is to do what works for you, and that is different for everyone. From the time I started following your blog, to meeting you at Grandma’s through now, you’ve tried different training plans and kept an open mind. In doing that, you found what works for you! I think that is the most important thing, especially if you want to see longevity in the sport ❤

      • Hanna @ minimal marathoner March 2, 2017 / 11:19 am

        Aww you’re so sweet! Speaking of Grandma’s, I often reminisce about that weekend and our fun times hanging out at the pasta dinner and driving around. Great times!

      • allisonfiorini March 2, 2017 / 11:21 am

        I know!!! That was such a great weekend. Maybe another met up race is in the cards!

      • Hanna @ minimal marathoner March 2, 2017 / 11:26 am

        L-A-K-E-F-R-O-N-T …. 🙂

      • allisonfiorini March 2, 2017 / 11:30 am

        OKAY YES – I want that one to potentially be my WI race but one huge issue this year: I have TWO weddings that weekend!!! One is on Saturday and is my brothers and I am a bridesmaid, and the other is my good friend on Sunday! What the actual F, people. Getting married during prime marathon season? Are they serious?

      • Hanna @ minimal marathoner March 2, 2017 / 11:33 am

        Right? Come on people. That’s okay, if you can plan this far in advance, I’m actually planning to run it in 2018. We’re about to be new homeowners, so budget constraints are going to force me to race local for a while!

      • allisonfiorini March 2, 2017 / 12:54 pm

        I also have been not traveling quite as much due to adulting expenses…boooo!!! 2018 sounds like a plan to me 🙂

      • Charissa March 3, 2017 / 1:27 pm

        So I’m definitely stalking your post here, but I want in on a 2018 reunion! Depending on how I’m feeling, I might do the half (there is a half option right?) but I would love to see you ladies!! 🙂

      • Hanna @ minimal marathoner March 4, 2017 / 1:13 pm

        Ahh I just saw this post Charissa…sadly Lakefront does NOT have a half. But we will figure something out cause a reunion MUST happen!

      • allisonfiorini March 8, 2017 / 9:25 am

        She can do the full 😉 🙂 ❤

  2. Jessica Payne (@runpinkjess) March 2, 2017 / 8:30 am

    Reading this was like reading my brain for the past few months. December and January were terrible months for me, I think after my last marathon I was just burned out and hated everything about running. So I took some time to cross-train and enjoy life a little more. Also, gaining a pound or two or five… 😉 I don’t know. I haven’t weighed lately. I’d love to pick your brain to figure out how you get close to racing weight. I’ve tried and came close but ended up giving up because I felt so darn grumpy and hungry too often. I’m excited to follow your journey to Boston again!!! I love reading your posts.You really inspire me. I’m running Nashville again. With no time goal this year. I can’t focus on building a business and run a fast marathon at the same time. I’m a go-getter but I’m no wizard. lol If you have a moment check out my new site!! I mean, the blog is the same but I gave the pc look an upgrade. Let me know what you think!!

    • Jessica Payne (@runpinkjess) March 2, 2017 / 8:31 am

      ps-wordpress wouldn’t let me leave a comment with my name and blog so I had to login with twitter.Weird.

      • allisonfiorini March 2, 2017 / 11:19 am

        Weird!! I had trouble commenting on someone’s blog yesterday myself. I wonder if I’m doing something wrong. Hmmmmmm

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2017 / 11:17 am

      Hi lady! I think I have your new blog in my reader. I will double check that – and check out the new look for sure! I feel like you switched over right before I took my hiatus. Glad to hear from you and that you are running Nashville again – soooo awesome! I was soooo burned out from the spring. I am hoping that this spring doesn’t do that to me again! Anytime you want to chat about diet, let me know! I have a lot of success with the Paleo-ish thing. I am only like 5’2, and I like to be about 113 when I race. However, when I am not in marathon training mode I have a hard time maintaining that. So I tend to be pretty disciplined when I am training, and then I stuff my face when it’s all over. Ha!

  3. afastpacedlife March 2, 2017 / 8:43 am

    Yum! That dinner looks delicious. I want to swing by for a meal. 😀

    I’m envious of your pantry. I would love to have one, but alas, living in NYC means giving up on space. Maybe one day when we move away.

    I’ve probably experienced only a handful of runs in the 5’ish years that I’ve been running that I would describe as effortless. Even my easy runs are effortful. I’ve written about this, I don’t actually care for running all that much, but I love racing. I love rest days. I’m a little jealous of people who truly love running because that feeling would certainly help with being more driven to train harder. But I am who I am, and I’m happy with what I do.

    • Hanna @ minimal marathoner March 2, 2017 / 9:19 am

      Totally comment-stalking here, but, I can relate to a lot of this. While I do enjoy and love running, I don’t love it enough that I want to do it 5 times a week. I adore my rest days, too. I only run 3x a week now, and while I sometimes feel like a slacker compared to my friends, I’m happy with it so that’s enough for me. Interestingly, my running has actually felt better and more “effortless” when I’ve cut back on the number of days per week I run.

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2017 / 11:20 am

      You can come for a meal anytime!!!! I know you and Ben liked the Poconos, so when you are ready for more space I vote you move there and then we met up for some runs!

      • afastpacedlife March 2, 2017 / 11:22 am

        I’m going to be running Run for the Red again this year? You going?

      • allisonfiorini March 2, 2017 / 11:29 am

        DAMMIT!! Actually NO! I am going to be at our lakehouse in VT that weekend and I am (very tentatively) going to re-run the Shires of VT marathon. Super hilly, but 20 min from our lake house and the year I ran it, I had to run walk it because I was injured. I need a redo!!!! However, I am so glad to hear you loved it enough to go back!!!!!!!

  4. Heather [is probably running] March 2, 2017 / 8:54 am

    I can definitely relate to wanting to put off a run. That was me pretty much every day in Jan/Feb. I forced myself to do it immediately after work because of the short daylight hours and the homework I had to do later that night. There was no time for excuses or procrastination. Much like using the treadmill to force your pacing, I think not being able to make excuses made it a lot easier to get back in the swing of things. I was able to procrastinate last night (spring break!) and when I finally went outside for a run, I felt pretty silly for not wanting to run. Like you said, it was like remembering that I actually like doing this!

  5. Hollie March 2, 2017 / 11:20 am

    I’m glad to see you training and enjoying running. I feel as though that is such an important part. I think you’re going to do well at Boston because you have such a great mindset.

    • allisonfiorini March 2, 2017 / 11:26 am

      Thanks, Hollie!!! Have you considered another marathon??

  6. hellyontherun March 2, 2017 / 1:11 pm

    Yup, I definitely was feeling a lot of the same emotions running-wise post NYC. That’s why I’m so shocked I PR’d in Phoenix!

    I’m so glad you’re back in the blogging business!!!!

    And OMG you have a pole in your house!!!! MORE POLE PICS!!!

    • allisonfiorini March 8, 2017 / 9:18 am

      LOL!! I will post all of the pole pictures when the competition is over! Haha!

      I still need to go read your post on Phoenix. I somehow decided to start blogging again at the end of the marking period at work. No bueno! Now I am just angry because I’m busy at work but feel like getting back into blogging!

  7. Amy Lauren March 2, 2017 / 1:20 pm

    I think I was on auto pilot before my November injury. It was rough. When I came back I did more thinking and planning with my running but unfortunately, got injured again. Ugh. Glad you are back and enjoying running again and racing some! I love how you balance it all with pole too.

    Love your new pantry and your Valentine’s day dinner. Crab cakes are one of my favorite things to eat because we live close to the coast. We’ve never made them ourselves, though. I bet that would be fun to try.

    • allisonfiorini March 8, 2017 / 9:21 am

      Heal fast, my friend!!! Sometimes I feel like the more I plan, the more injured I get. Last year was the first time I followed a plan and executed it without injury – and even then, I hurt my big toe in pole (not sure if you remember that gem, two weeks before Boston!!). I swear the stars need to be perfectly aligned for this sport to go our way!

  8. Gracie March 2, 2017 / 11:30 pm

    Awesome that running is enjoyable again! And your pantry is making me really jealous. I have one tiny cabinet for food. Apparently Victorians/Edwardians didn’t keep much food around, based on my kitchen layout.

    • allisonfiorini March 8, 2017 / 9:22 am

      LOL! I feel you though – I had one tiny cabinet for food until we finished the kitchen. You get really creative with space when that happens!!!

  9. sarahdudek80 March 3, 2017 / 11:23 am

    I think a lot of people feel the way you did this winter. Regardless of the weather, a lot of people had the running blahs. It happens. Sometimes I push through, and sometimes I switch things up. It is important to listen to both our bodies and minds. All of us need a break at times.

    • allisonfiorini March 8, 2017 / 9:23 am

      I definitely did not push through my running blahs this past fall! It was a much needed break though. I am trying to just go with it this time around so I am not too burned out to enjoy running over the summer!

  10. Charissa March 3, 2017 / 1:36 pm

    Allison!!! So happy to see you post here again. I don’t have my blog anymore but still hop around to read up on my old blog friends every once in awhile. Can I just say that I already know I’m going to need a huge break from running once my marathon is done?! Hanson’s is no joke. I can really see how it improves your fitness a ton but it’s really mentally and physically exhausting. I just have to take it day by day because if I think about it too much I might explode. If all goes well and I hit my goal come April, I seriously don’t think I’ll run a fall marathon lol. Anyway, glad to hear you’re getting your running mojo back – I hope Boston is a great race for you again this year. Maybe next year I’ll join ya ❤

    P.S. there is no shame at all in using the treadmill to get your confidence back. Sometimes you need the mental boost a little more than the physical to get those doubts out of your head first.

    • allisonfiorini March 8, 2017 / 9:24 am

      That is EXACTLY what I am doing this time around – taking it day by day. If I try to map out my planning like I did last year, I think I will end up quitting. I feel way better now that I’m really in the thick of it, but looking at the final weeks of training when I was in week 1 just stressed me out this time around!

  11. Brittany March 6, 2017 / 7:42 pm

    1. Jealous of your orchids
    2. I can relate to the running thing. Ohhhh can I related. Sooooo much relating.
    3. I can’t believe you came that close to your PR?!?!??!
    4. You still make me wanna pole.

    • allisonfiorini March 8, 2017 / 9:26 am

      OMG speaking of my orchids, it now has five flowers open! I am so confused. I swear, I have the blackest of all thumbs! And you SHOULD TOTALLY POLE!

  12. metric runner March 7, 2017 / 10:05 am

    I think you are in better shape that you realize. Like you said, you probably could’ve PR, and win your age group, you were so close!
    Anyway glad you are back running and blogging about it. Also happy belated birthday, if I remember right it was over the weekend.

    • allisonfiorini March 8, 2017 / 9:26 am

      Thank you!!!! You remembered correctly!!!! Wow!!!!!!

  13. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running March 9, 2017 / 9:10 pm

    Um, I love that you came back from a LONG running break and immediately ran a 10k in almost your PR time. I think pole has made you really strong and helped keep your fitness up! I’m so glad you’re back!

  14. Pippa @ Pip in Motion March 11, 2017 / 7:06 am

    Okay your pole photos give me serious envy! I have so little strength, and honestly I’m a bit scared to try pole because I’d make an ass out of myself! I’m working on upper body strength through climbing, gym work and functional fitness. so maybe one day!

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