In the Paddock

One month into the 1,000-Mile Challenge presented by iRun Local and a recurring theme pops up on every run.

“Maybe running the 5-Mile Trail that day in microspikes wasn’t such a great idea.”

That run went down just about halfway into the month, Wednesday Jan. 13, actually a 5.2-mile run on the packed snow and occasional ice of the Saratoga Spa State Park that merited “great change of pace” and “good to get off the roads” comments in the training log.

Two more runs followed, Thursday’s a 4.1-miler dubbed an “easy does it run” where I also lamented “glad to get new shoes soon,” and Friday’s 3.1 around town where shoes came up again along with mention of a stiff right knee.

The stiff right knee became an achy right knee so I bailed on the weekend, waited for the swelling to subside and awaited the shoes. The new shoes – rolled into the sponsorship of the challenge – arrived last Monday and by Tuesday I was ready to lace up the On Cloudflow size 12s and take them for a spin. It wound up being a short spin, a little less than 3k, 1.7 miles to be exact, thanks to the troublesome knee.

“Forget it, the week is over. Rest up, come back next week.”

And that’s how it went. Back to the grind Jan. 25 and steady through the week, as planned, the mileage was added to the shoes and the log.

The weekend proved a washout – err, freeze out considering it was subzero Saturday and Sunday mornings and barely in the single digits most of the day – and all told 18.8 more miles were added. That brought the total for the month to 54.8, not a great start but not terrible either. On pace for 1,000 kilometers, which is fine but the challenge calls for 1,000 miles so there’s work to be done. A quick check of the math shows an average of 86 miles per month from here to December gets it done.

The goals are higher than that of course and I’ll get into that later, but suffice to say there’s a 12-week training plan on the fridge that leads up to the Big Turtle 10-Mile Trail Race in Morehead, Ky., the week before the Kentucky Derby. Fingers crossed, for the vaccine, a slowdown to the virus and of course for the mileage.

So how’s the rest of the crew doing so far?

Sean also broke in his pair of On Cloudflow shoes last week and wrote about the ups and downs so far in the 1,000-Mile Challenge presented by iRun Local in his The Inside Rail blog. He racked up 71.8 miles before a troublesome ankle forced him to the sidelines for a spell.

Joe led the way (why are we not surprised?) with 100.9. He joked that “the .9 is important apparently,” when asked how the month went and even though he might not realize it, the .9 can be valuable. Think about 12 of them, that’s an extra 10.8 miles. Could go a long way come December, when there’s a choice between holiday revelry or bundling up chasing the 1,000.

Since we love a detailed report, especially when it comes to running, here’s Joe’s first month. He’s decked out in Brooks Adrenaline these days and his wife may or may not think he has an obsession with running shoes. More on that another day.

“I ran 19 times in 31 days and spent 15 hours running. Some days were easy, some were not easy at all with the not easy ones typically involving wind and cold. The northwest wind can be a terrible thing around Fair Hill as no matter where you run you have to run into the wind sometimes. It felt OK. The 1,000-mile challenge forces you to think big picture and getting 100 in January makes it sound at least somewhat do-able though I’m not off to a very good start in February thanks to the cold, sleet and snow. 

In general, I enjoy running. Things make sense when I run. I like the short-term nature of it. Get a mile to warm up, get another mile, get up this hill, get through this trail, get across this bridge, get back home, whatever. For that run – a half-hour, an hour, whatever – that’s all you worry about. It seems more important during Covid than ever. I like the distraction, I like being finished. Of course, being finished brings you back to all the long-term things you have to deal with in life (and not running). 

I started January with a 5K on New Year’s Day. That was smart. I ran four days a week three times, which was also smart. I managed a few different runs – 11 miles on the C&D Canal trail with Nolan (well, sorta with Nolan); a 9-miler in White Clay Creek Park; a 4.6-miler on Inauguration Day; and a destination 8 miles with Ryan, Nolan and Sean on the NCR Rail Trail in Maryland. Those made it fun and scheduling a few more will help February go smoother though the snow isn't helping. 

Only 899.1 miles to go.”

 

Check out iRun Local, a specialty running store in the heart of Saratoga Springs.