March 2017: I ran away from “I can’t”

yep. That’s what happens when #GoTheDist meets #RunTheYear/#RunWithJoy

Earlier this month I said:

“I’m taking a run at my Q1 2016 goal. Probably impossible, but worth a try.”

My Q1 2016 total? 1,008,946

My Q1 2017 total? 1,064,082

That is my best quarter, narrowly topping Q2 2016‘s 1,059,278.

I also said:

“Why is this still a challenge when I’m so far up, step wise? Because March 2016 was an insane 394,098 steps. That’s not going to happen again because I won’t have two days walking around DC and might not have the two walking work events”


March 2017 total? 405,914. My first ever 400K step month!

I am in absolute awe. How did this happen? Somewhere during this month I quit saying “I can’t” and decided to go with “Maybe? Can I do this?” So motivating. I didn’t have as few days without goal as I did last year, including one day where I missed it by six. But I kind of expected that with company.  With seven to last year’s four, I’m exactly where I was in 2016. Since my goal days are in general much higher, I’m OK with that. I’m not sure I can do it again, but it’s amazing to know I could once.

I graduated C25K. I finished my first 5K. I ran a 10K (still need to write that one up). I’m now using my running mileage as a fundraiser for a cause that is one of the two I believe most in. #RunWithJoy is more than a cliche for me, I seem to have found a new passion.

Speaking of mileage, Fitbit mileage is so broken. My stats for two days this month:

March 21:

  • 15,328 steps
  • 6.31 miles

March 22:

  • 13497 steps
  • 6.32 miles

See a problem? I’ve given up entirely on miles walked because Fitbit is ridiculous, as much as I love it.  So my goals for the balance of 2017 are steps/miles run. I’ll track miles biked but as I said, I’m not worried about losing those as they were simply meant to ensure gym visits. I did close out March with a nice 8.52 mile ride to cross train ahead of tomorrow’s #RunToBreathe. My #RunTheYear mileage for Q1 is 457.71 and I hope to match that in Q2.

2016 had Easter in March, but I had some company and plans in April that kept my steps down. I was at 336,662 steps.

April Goals:

  • 340,000 steps (stretch: 350,000)
  • 50 miles run
  • 5 or fewer days without goal*

Q2 Goals:

  • 1,075,000 steps (stretch: 1,100,000).
  • 150 miles run

Really too soon to set a quarterly running mileage goal as I’ve gone from 14/25/45 so far this year so this is a random number based on March’s total and April’s goal. I’ll reevaluate come May 1, but speaking of running goals, I have a 4 mile run tomorrow, a 5K charity walk on 4/23 that I may run if crowd allows. I also signed up for another 10K in June, which I’ll actually train properly for. I’m not sure about outdoor summer running, so we’ll see. I would like to do the one for Achilles, so maybe I’ll keep an eye on the weather.

* A note about goal. I officially raised my goal to 11K and that’s the barometer against which I use missing goal in 2017. For days without goal in 2016 and earlier, it’s days I didn’t hit 10K.

Reading front: 21/23%/one book behind schedule. Lots of short, running books this month. It’s a new passion and it’s reading so I’m not knocking myself for that.



Officially a Frozen Penguin

Frozen Penguin 5K

I finished!


Not even on the last page of the results. Good? No. Happy? Damn yes. My only goal going into this was to finish, ideally without dying. Mission accomplished.

More detail:

  • 57/61 among women 30-39
  • 174/184 among all women.

How did I come to do this race in 20 degree temperatures 9 weeks and a day from when I began jogging? About a week before I actually finished a treadmill 5K I got a wild idea to see if there were local runs that might be of interest. I’d thought about WCS’ Run for Wild and/or maybe jogging the annual March of Dimes walk I do, but wasn’t sure whether either was a good goal to work toward. Plus Run for the Wild is too far/too early. Someone pointed me toward NYC Runs and around the same time as I was finishing John Bingham’s No Need for Speed I saw that their next 5K was the Frozen Penguin. I had to do it. Or at least try.

I noodled on it for a bit and the same day as I finished the treadmill 5K was the last day before the run’s price increase so I went for it. As I watched the weather for this week I began to doubt myself. I’d never run outside, and I never ran in weather. To top it off, the week wasn’t looking good workout wise.

  • After last weekend’s 5K I had two decent two mile treadmill workouts.
  • Taking advantage of Wednesday’s insanely nice weather, I jogged outside for the first time. It was.. underwhelming. I realized quickly I didn’t actually like running on pavement. It was too jarring. That.. did not bode well.
  • Thursday was supposed to be two miles but it was awful and I didn’t realize why until today. The first time I ever ran after dinner, aka with a full stomach. We won’t be doing that again. It ended up a mile over two separate stints.
  • Come Friday night I knew today’s weather predictions were right and I knew that if I stood any chance of getting to start line, I had to run in cold. It… wasn’t awful. It was cold but long underwear wasn’t bad. I was too warm on top with that and a sweatshirt so at the end of my jog I detoured to Modells to see what they had as TJ Maxx, my new crack, wasn’t convenient. Bless you Moret, top and jacket. I tried them on to ensure fit, but otherwise violated the “nothing new on race day” rule

So “race” day.

  • Yes. “Race” day. Sure, it is a race, but I wasn’t racing. Like I said, my only goal was to finish.
  • Morning came bright and early, and cold. So I layered up. My running tights are still en route and the ones I have are capris so I opted to go with long underwear as the first layer (love Cuddl Dudds!) with a pair of old Fabletics wind resistant pants over them. I accidentally ended up with a pair of shorts under the long underwear, oops. Dressing while tired!
  • On top: Moret moisture wicking top, Cuddl Dudds top and the jacket I mentioned above. Ear warmer and an amazing pair of mitten flip tops and I was out the door. So long as I was moving, I was OK. Standing and waiting in the cold? Brr. I had some concerns as to whether I’d make the start, never mind the finish.
  • But once we were off and moving, it honestly wasn’t bad. The course is scenic. The hill at .3 mile was… not fun especially with some ice. From there it was flat/downhill until I ran into a wall of wind when we crossed over to the Greenway. We passed runners on the way back and although I knew there was going to be another hill on the way up, it wasn’t as bad as the first. I knew I wasn’t even going to try to do this without stopping so planned to walk the uphills and that mostly worked. There was another walk break when I needed to catch my breath from the frigid air. But I never stopped moving. Win!

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

    • I was almost glad when my phone died from the cold. RunKeeper is a useful tool but trying to keep an eye on it and my feet was making me too anxious. As a result, the 5K doesn’t count toward the March challenge and I don’t have any splits info, but that’s OK. I have my spreadsheet and that tells me what I need.
    • I put my headphones in at the start but never turned the iPod on. I was distracted enough by scenery and the course that I didn’t need it to motivate me. I also think it would have been too much. Of course I never actually took the headphones out until I got home. Crutch much? Ear band held them in well.
    • I’m intrigued by the Alta HR. I don’t need a new Fitbit, but if I stick with this through my birthday it might be a gift to myself. I’m not sure I need to track by heart rate, but data. At least it’s not giving me nightmares like trying to configure the chest strap on an HRM ca. 2010.
    • Super proud of my Run the Year team. We hit a nice mile stone less than a quarter of the way through the year
Run the Year 2017: 500 miles down
  • My next “race”. Between signing up for the Penguin and running it, I got an email from NYU about a Central Park charity race in April. On Thursday I was really glad I hadn’t signed up. Today? I’m considering it. Who am I?

Books To Read:

  • more John Bingham books.
  • Finish Jill Angie, aka Not Your Average Runner. This is pretty easy as they’re on Kindle Unlimited. Her piece on slow runners is amazing and I used her winter attire post to plan for this.
  • Lisa Jackson’s “Your Pace or Mine” as recommended by Liz.

5K Graduate

Not Couch to 5K. 5K! And only four days after my goal.

Farthest Distance. Most calories
1.5 mi longer than your usual distance

My intention was to do 5K, it was not to do it without stop. I kept bribing myself “you can slow down at one mile. You can have a walk break at 20 minutes / 1.55 miles / 25 minutes / 30 minutes”. At 2 miles I said nope, going all the way. And I did.

I ran 3 miles once before (coincidentally on February 4). According to my spreadsheet ** (1.35) and Runkeeper (1.11) I’m about a minute and a bit faster per mile. That was with walk breaks at probably .25 mile apiece, which explains some, but my run intervals were faster.

1.11 faster than your usual pace for this distance.

I’m still trying to figure out the speed I’m capable of. When I did 2.75 miles this past Wednesday I did a half mile at one speed, the second half mile .10 faster and the third half mile at the original speed. After a walk break I did the first half mile at the faster speed then the last half mile at the original speed, .10 miles slower. Thursday I did a more traditional speed workout doing .25 mile intervals at a pace .6 mph faster than my jog. Doable, but my shins started to hurt. I did today’s 3 miles at Thursday’s faster pace for 3 miles and then did the last tenth in an all out sprint. Yep, I found that runner’s high and I think I’m still on it two hours later.

Do I care about speed? Not really. I have no intentions of ever “racing” even if I enter a 5K. Do I want to get faster? Yes. I really don’t enjoy running for the better part of an hour. But a playlist that started with “Shut Up and Dance With Me” and ended with “Shall We Dance?” from The King and I certainly made it a more interesting time. We’ll see where this all goes. I did just buy myself a present of new leggings as I ‘ve realized they’re by far the most comfortable things to run in. Wind pants, the least, but necessary for getting to and from the gym in weather like today.

Even with indoor track in high school, I’m pretty sure this is the farthest I’ve ever run without stopping. And the best thing? I could have stopped. No coach / trainer / running buddy to push me. I pushed myself. I. DID. IT.

** I’m tweaking my spreadsheet. I think I’m going to base it off my “steps nerd” one as that’s most familiar to me and I can’t read a long table as well.

#GoTheDist February 2017

so about those February goals:

  • 300,000 steps
  • 50 miles biked
  • Graduate C25K

Going to be harder with one less day than last year and a travel day or two, but I think this is doable. Feb 2016 total was 313, 153. I’m OK with a stretch goal of 305,000.

Yeah, obliterated. Thanks, Amsterdam. Final totals:

  • 356,898 steps walked
  • 152.88 miles walked (so b0rked with running stride)
  • 33.07 miles biked
  • 25.33 miles ran (new one, not really a goal but for tracking)

Yep, that topped even my “insane stretch goal”, which was 350K. I really thought I’d land somewhere between 345 and 350K. I’m not worried about the bike mileage as I’m maintaining my gym visits. Running wasn’t a thing when I set that number.

So what does this mean? I’m taking a run at my Q1 2016 goal. Probably impossible, but worth a try.

2017 year to date:

  • 658,168 steps
  • 280.04 miles

2016 through February:

  • 614, 848 steps
  • 253.04 miles walked

Why is this still a challenge when I’m so far up, step wise? Because March 2016 was an insane 394,098 steps. That’s not going to happen again because I won’t have two days walking around DC and might not have the two walking work events. I may still have some mild weather though, and running is helping with a higher step count overall.


  • Q1 super stretch goal: 1,008,946 (needs 350,778 steps)
  • Q1 stretch goal: 975,000 (needs 316,832 steps)
  • Q1 acceptable goal: 958,168 (needs bare minimum 300,000 steps)
  • March super stretch goal, 365,682. 2015 March goal. Yeah, I need to find a way to do two walking work events.
  • Reference point, Q1 2015 was 927,589 (needs 269,421 steps)

I think those are good goals to work with since topping March is off the table. Since I signed up for the Great Saunter again I’ll have the chance to get ahead of 2016 in May, but want to get ahead early if I can.

Fitting that I have three goals because March last year was the first month where my spreadsheet went insane with goals:

March 2016 goals gone berserk

Speaking of getting ahead, on the days below goal front:

  • February 2016 –  6 days
  • February 2017 – 7 days. Definitely two “oh fuck it” days.

Still ahead 3 year on year. March had only four and I’m not sure that’s doable, but we’ll see.


Picked up some this month with shorter books and travel time so I’m at 13/91. 14% and one book ahead of schedule. Challenges wise that’s:

If I have to revise those goals down due to running, I’ll think about it, but I really just need to make more reading time