I love running when it’s cold. For me, winter running is normally enjoyable. I warm up quickly. Typically at half a mile I’m pushing my sleeves up and thinking about taking my gloves off. I love being outside but in the winter we spend much less time outside. My buddy and I still try to take a walk most days but there is no kayaking, no yard work, no dinners on the deck. If we find ourselves outside for extended periods it’s because we are shoveling snow. Some years we manage to get in a ski trip which gives me the outside time I crave.
Why am I talking about cold when this post is supposed to be about my summer and fall goals? Well, I don’t have the same love for summer running as I do for winter running. I really struggle with the heat. I still love running but I feel like I never adapt to the heat. I run slow and it’s more painful. In the summer, I spend so much time outside doing other activities that I do not have to get my outside time from running. This means I’m not as interested in running far during the summer. I’m happy to stick with 3-5 mile weekday afternoon runs instead of 6-10. I’m ok with long runs of 10-15 miles instead of 20. Or even less; 6-10 miles is fine too.
Training for North Face over the winter was very time consuming. It was fun and I loved it but I need a break. I need a mental break. I spent all winter trying to figure out how to get in my runs and coordinating the rest of my life. So what am I going to do?
Goal #1 – Have fun! Run and do all those other outdoor things that I like to do.
Goal #2 – Head back to DTP. One of the biggest reasons I want to go back to DTP is to support my friends. I could not have run an ultra without them. I want to support their goals and be there to cheer for them. I owe a lot of people a lot of miles. I want to run next to my friends and tell them how they are going to do epic things.
Goal #3 – Consistently get back to 4 days of running each week. I was doing 5 for North Face (soft of). I was doing 4 last summer. 5 is tough for me. 4 is very doable. Track Tuesdays will be starting again with DTP. Thursday is a standard running day. Long runs are Saturdays or Sundays. If I run both days I will likely take Mondays off. If I only run one weekend day I will run on Monday.
Goal #4 – Race Trails! My “big” race goal is to run the Fall Backyard Burn Series. 4 races…10 miles each. I think this is a good goal for me. The distance is doable. It’s long enough that I have to stay in shape but not so long that I have to kill myself and spend all of my time running. The spring backyard burn was a blast. The races are local and I won’t be overwhelmed by thousands of people. AND, I won’t spend all summer/fall thinking that only one day matters. I spent too much time focusing on April 9th that I had no idea what to do when it was over.
Possible Goal #5 – Race a good 10k. I want to do this but I’m not sure I want to focus on it too much. I don’t want to sit on the side of the road and cry after a race (again). If working towards a PR means I will be crushed if it doesn’t happen then maybe right now is not the right time. If I can get back in shape and feel like it’s achievable I will take a shot. What I don’t want is pressure. I felt pressure all winter to hit my distances. I don’t need to put that pressure on myself this summer. For me speed and heat don’t mix well. If I get back into DTP and feel like it can happen with only a little extra work and it not consuming my life I will go for it.
Will a half marathon find it’s way in this year? Maybe, likely on trails if it happens. Will a road 10 miler happen? Who knows, maybe. Will I score at least one point in the Fall Backyard Burn series? Will I ever run another ultra? Will I break down and run 26.2 sometime? Only time will tell.