Going streaking

Nearly every day out on my run, I think about lots of things I should write in my blog when I get home. And, in a rush, I figure I’ll do it first thing when I get logged into work, especially since I tend to show up early.

Inevitably, I jump right into things and the day slips away. By the time I do have a chance to sit down and write, I’m overwhelmed by all the things I could write.

What I failed to write, just a few days after my last post, was how a reader dropped a birthday card off at my work for Coby. Not just a card, though. A card with picture of Golden retriever puppies, a typed “letter” with picture from two Goldens, and a couple of gift cards to help Coby celebrate his birthday. The letter was written with humor and style that still makes me smile. Of course, as I rushed to get out of town, though, I was late on the late reply and thank you. It was appreciated and the random act of kindness made my summer.

As the summer progresses, it seems like we’ve had an amazing stretch of days. Sunny, warm, calm. The mornings have been perfect for running, and I’m in the midst of a streak unlike one I’ve ever experienced.

My streak of consecutive days running has reached into its fourth week, and my legs feel great. I didn’t expect to feel this good. And with 3 straight weeks with more than 50 miles, include a 5K and second-place age group finish at the Bemidji Dragonboat Festival race on the day following a 16-mile jaunt around the lake, I’ve been on a bit of a roll.

In June, I wanted to run every day, but fell short by a handful. Still, I developed strong habits and a routine that has served me well: I missed two days in July but still logged 31 runs. In August, I haven’t missed a day, yet, and I feel great, especially each morning after I get moving and soak in the crisp morning air.

Not every week will end with more miles than the previous one, but this streak has been beneficial in getting me in much better shape. With just less than 12 weeks to the New York City Marathon, my sights are set on a strong run and my spirit filled with anticipation.

Along the way, I plan to run a few half marathons, round up some long runs on the hills and set a course for a strong finish. If I reach my destination, I have a big plan in place as an encore. First, though, my focus remains set on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run New York.

Day of firsts

A bit surprised by the cool, gray weather, my spirit was undeterred this morning about the mission ahead: log a decent recovery run, and make sure my Golden pal, Coby, has a special day.

In part, that meant he’d be joining me for part of today’s workout. After all, today is his first birthday. It’s a bit tough to believe that he’s a year old – from a tiny little dude on a farm near New York Mills to a nearly full-grown, dark caramel and truly athletic canine.

Just a week ago, I marked my first year in my Grand Forks home, ending three months of commuting, and it seems fitting that the bridge between these two important first anniversaries would be another significant marker: today capped my first 50-mile week since I left Bemidji, Minn. To find out the last time I’ve accomplished that feat within a calendar week, I’d have to page through old running logs.

In a lightweight long-sleeved running shirt, I did an improvised version of a loop from my house before returning home to pick up Coby, who joined me for jog along the Grand Forks Greenway. It was a chance to get him a birthday run, a few pictures along the way and my milestone bridge.

Here’s a short video in celebration of Coby’s birthday.


Wild Hog Wednesday

For the past few Wednesdays, I’ve joined a group of Grand Forks runners over at the Wild Hog Smokehouse Bar and Grill for an evening run. The outings have quickly become a highlight of this summer, and a chance for me to meet some people in my new (relatively) hometown.

There are several worthwhile advantages: sharing in the camaraderie with other runners, dialing up the pace while I aim to return to pre-injury shape, sharpening my training for the New York City Marathon and having a chance to chat afterward with some really friendly people. Last week, I left inspired as the conversation focused on triathlon, and I’m still feeling the commitment to explore the sport more.

Unlike most, I enjoy running in the heat, and found evening runs in June and early July invigorating. But they do put a crunch on time.

So, I’ve returned to running early, with most mornings offering up phenomenal weather and a great setting to start the day.

However, on Wednesdays, my goal is two workouts, and the legs feel a little heavy during that second run. The leg fatigue also is a bit of a challenge on Thursdays as the morning routine leaves me packing in 3 runs in 24 hours. But I’m not likely to want to skip any of these runs as the accumulated fatigue provides strength for my marathon training.

Along this journey of restoring my running routine, though, it hasn’t been all about mileage. I’ve enjoyed the path, and taking some time to hang out with Coby. This last weekend, we headed to the lake, where he had a chance to swim and play. Since he’s still growing, I’ve been reluctant to have him along for many of my running adventures, but there’s plenty of time for that. In the meantime, my hope is to plan something special for his birthday on Sunday.