First bold step

“Sometimes, you just have to take the risk. You have to do that thing you’ve been so afraid to do… And sometimes, that’s when you find that you can fly.” – Sue Krebs

A couple months ago, I began developing goals for 2014 and committing myself to a bold action plan.

It was about the time I signed up for the New York City Marathon that I began thinking about other goals to challenge myself while on the journey to running in the Big Apple. For a few weeks, I let one of the goals simmer and then I decided to commit by signing up for something I’ve never done before.

Mostly, I’ve been quiet on the first bold step – the next big challenge – for 2014. But if all goes well, mainly if an ankle injury doesn’t become too severe, I’ll be celebrating the accomplishment and sharing details. To date, I’ve withheld details in the chance I didn’t make it to the start line.

The remainder of the year continues to be a plan in motion: as spring arrives and summer approaches, I hope to add marathons and triathlons to the mix of races and challenges. The exact races, though, yet to be determined as winter winds down.

A few tweaks

“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but her own wings. Always believe in yourself.” – Author unknown

These days, I don’t spend much time on Facebook. When I do navigate to it, I find myself doing one of three things: wishing happy birthday to friends, sharing a link to recently infrequent blog posts and trying to catch the daily inspirational message passed along by the Minneapolis Marathon, which has a terrific Facebook page here.

One day, not so long ago, the above quote resonated with me as I sipped some coffee and prepared to head to the gym for a weekend long run. It’s interesting how a daily quote or affirmation can set the tone for the day. In the hectic, crazy busy lives we all seem to live, inspiration can come in many forms, even a quote posted in a Facebook feed.

Lately, I have struggled to find time to write blog posts. Sometimes, I wonder if it’s worth taking the time to share thoughts gathered on the run. But we all draw inspiration from somewhere, and it can be the most unlikely of places.

One of those moments happened while I was tuned into the Super Bowl. Bored with the game, I picked up my phone and began reading Twitter. And on Sunday nights, a family of runners across the world participate in a conversation hosted by #runchat. Until this past Sunday, I had never jumped into the weekly Q&A, but it proved to be a terrific source of motivation and a fun way to connect with other runners.

In the previous 2 weeks, I struggled to run. Part of it was motivation, another part was a sore ankle that proved to be quite bothersome. Injuries have a way of sucking our enthusiasm out of the very thing we love doing.

Still, it was a healthy process: I struggled through an 8-mile run on Saturday, and overnight I writhed in pain, unable to sleep half the night. On Sunday morning, I pulled a foam roller out of the closet. Within seconds, tense muscles relaxed and I grimaced. But it felt great. A few hours later, I breezed through a 7-mile run.

Soon I’ll be heading to the chiropractor for an adjustment. Too often I go too long without visiting the chiropractor. Then things get really bad: limping along on a run, out of alignment, after weeks and weeks of higher mileage training.

Those are a few tweaks I’m making, but there are more. For months I’ve mostly put in miles by circling the track at the gym at night, after a day of work. This week I’ve made an effort to get back to running those miles in the morning. Now I’m just looking forward to warmer days when I’m logging those miles outside with Coby.

A new feat

One of the enduring reasons I run can be summed up in a few short words: New challenges are limited only by your imagination and sense of exploration.

Over the past 5 days, I’ve piled on the miles. Facing another desert trail race, I decided to take on an additional challenge of running at least 10 miles for 3 consecutive days.

The trail race, measuring more than 16 miles, proved to be a tough start. The San Tan Scramble, as the event is called, proved to be tougher than I recalled. Perhaps the injury I suffered in the 2012 race wiped away some of the memories of the difficulty. Overall, it was an extraordinary event and a perfect day for trail running. When I crossed the finish line, I knew I had been tested.

The following days brought a new level of achievement and opportunity. Logging 10-plus miles on Sunday and Monday brought my 3-day total to 37 miles. If memory serves correct, I’ve never done a “triple double” for mileage.

So why run so many miles?

It’s not about writing a number in a training log. Instead, it’s about running on sore, tired legs in preparation of future endeavors. The training will prove useful later this year as the summer and fall racing season unfolds. For me, that means some races on this list, and the New York City Marathon.