Well RED January is over again. Last year was the first time that I participated in an effort like that, I did some in 2020 but not officially and didn’t run every day. I quite wanted to look back and reflect on how I coped and what I achieved.
|1 Jan 2022||6.21km||36m 12s||Shorts and tee shirt!|
|2 Jan 2022||3.86km||20m 38s||Short and sweet|
|3 Jan 2022||10.64km||1h 02m 41s||Making the best of the last day of holiday|
|4 Jan 2022||3.29km||18m 17s||Local loop, down the hill of doom|
|5 Jan 2022||5.11km||29m 41s||Remnants of overnight snow|
|6 Jan 2022||3.29km||18m 44s||Cold gaps between leggings and socks|
|7 Jan 2022||14.44km||1h 45m 44s||Up the massive hill, didn’t get too lost on a new route|
|8 Jan 2022||3.66km||20m 16s||Feeling lazy|
|9 Jan 2022||5.79km||31m 06s||Speeeedy down the hills|
|10 Jan 2022||4.01km||23m 51s||Nice and gentle|
|11 Jan 2022||5.13km||30m 25s||In the dark, heavy legs|
|12 Jan 2022||3.85km||22.17||Chilly chilly, but beautiful|
|13 Jan 2022||4.44km||26m 47s||Very cold again|
|14 Jan 2022||18.01km||1h 51m 32s||Foggy but cleared up to be a lovely run|
|15 Jan 2022||4.04km||22m 22s||local loop|
|16 Jan 2022||6.16km||32m 43s||Damp baptism for new shoes|
|17 Jan 2022||4.04km||22m 23s||With a little hill sprint|
|18 Jan 2022||6.06km||38m 39s||Stunning skies|
|19 Jan 2022||5.19km||31m 05s||Big distance month in sight|
|20 Jan 2022||5.03km||31m 54s||Very slippery under foot|
|21 Jan 2022||19.26km||1h 53m 51s||10miles without stops, PB|
|22 Jan 2022||5.77km||29m 45s||Zoomies|
|23 Jan 2022||6.27km||33m 53s||Rewarded with cheesecake made by large boy|
|24 Jan 2022||5.55km||30m 02s||Absolutely freezing, bitterly cold|
|25 Jan 2022||5.38km||29m 57s||Time to retire some old shoes|
|26 Jan 2022||5.16km||30m 30s||Love where I live|
|27 Jan 2022||5.01km||28m 57s||Probably shouldn’t have sprinted up that hill|
|28 Jan 2022||23.06km||2h 19m 27s||Remembering boy3, PBs for HM and 20km.|
|29 Jan 2022||5.17km||27m 32s||Not much of a recovery run|
|30 Jan 2022||5.10km||26m 44s||Out and back, quick again|
|31 Jan 2022||5.52km||31h 37m||Snowdrops!|
How it felt
I’d been running regularly all through December, even making it out on Christmas day and up my local big hill. Then a long 25km bike ride too for good measure. So I came into January pretty active and up for lots of exercise.
The first couple of weeks were fine, I didn’t push hard as I knew it might be a long haul and I didn’t want to get too tired at the beginning. I intended to do 5km a couple of times a week and 3.5km for the rest, except for longer runs on Fridays.
By the start week three I was really getting into my stride, feeling good and strong legs. I realised I’d already covered almost 100km and might tot up 200km by the end of the month if I kept going.
Last year I hit 100km on the 29th of January, so 200km was looking like a fantastic achievement to aim for.
I’d always planned to run a half marathon on the last Friday of the month, to mark the third anniversary of losing baby boy3. I planned out a new route and made sure I was doing 16km or more on the Friday runs to guarantee I’d cope with the distance. I was really enjoying those long runs and that HM was an absolute joy.
I doubted my direction about halfway through and had to check my map, then thought I was going to have to run along a 60mph road for a bit, but the path reappeared and it was all fine. When I turned to take the east route home and avoid the Hill of Doom, I realised I was on 20.8km and just had a few hundred metres to go. So I stepped up the pace and then had to speed up some more to move between a horse and rider in one direction and walkers in the other. By the time the HM distance ticked over I was doing a 4m30/km pace – not for long, but I was amazed I still had that in me after that distance. I eventually arrived home just over 23km, my longest ever run. Checking my Garmin time, I found a 2h05m51s PB for my half marathon.
A year ago, my goal was a 2h30m half marathon for my 40th. Now I want to target 2 hours!
What I learned
I knew from last year that I possess secret depths of determination that come on when I decide to run. When I’m out on the road on a long run and its 3km home and I’m tired, I don’t stop – or not for long, just a drink of water and a pause to catch my breath before carrying on. I’ve never yet needed to phone himself and ask him to pick me up because I’m too tired or in pain, but then I haven’t fallen and hurt myself badly either. I actually fall prey to the temptation to pause on shorter runs much more frequently than long ones. I think I’m built for longer distances, both physically and mentally.
Running every day takes a different sort of determination though, it’s more a dedication to a plan, creation of a habit. I’ve had to be organised, had to plan new routes, had to get myself ready for a run well before setting out so I can squeeze it between meetings and then be brazen enough to sit in video calls red-faced and sweating, and had to be disgusting enough to wait for a shower until work’s done for the day.
So those 224km aren’t just down to me and my legs, himself and the boys get to take some credit too. They’ve supported me logistically and large boy has rewarded me with his own chocolate on occasion! He has previously unknown generosity for someone succeeding in a challenge he wouldn’t even consider.
Well my habit was so well formed that I didn’t do a good job of stopping and ran on 1st February as well – making it a 32 day streak, only 8 days short of my long sequence last summer. However, then himself got a positive COVID test and large boy brought the cold from hell home from school, generously sharing it with me. So between extra chaos of being the only adult allowed to leave the house and now feeling like I’ve been hit by a bus, running is taking a back seat just now.
I know it’s only temporary though, I’ll get back out there next week I hope.