running

Setting Running Goals for the New Year

The winter blahs have begun to set in, and the daily routine of coming home to a cold dark house after a long day at work means I’m watching my motivation to get off couch to do something productive wither and die before I’ve even pulled the blanket off. Last night I didn’t get off my butt from 2:30 to 7pm, and spent hours of that time browsing bad tattoos online. If that isn’t a wake up call to make a change, I don’t know what is. Hence, I’m writing this post to shame myself into shaking off the dark day doldrums.

In the past, the way I’ve gotten through winter is through physical activity, primarily running. High school and early college was dominated by training for the spring season of track, and in the past two years I’ve signed myself up for one long distance race per year as incentive to train through the cold months.

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Running the Chicago Marathon was definitely the most pain I have ever willingly put myself through in one day.

Ian even joined me a couple times!

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The couple that runs together stays together! At least that’s how we felt after tackling the Kalamazoo half marathon more or less together. (PS: I was faster.)

Don’t judge me for all my peace signs. It’s a bad habit I learned during my semester in Thailand that is proving nearly impossible to break.

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The Noyes clan (and me!) conquers a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot in 2014

With that history, it seemed it was about time to sign myself up for another race. I spent a couple hours one boring afternoon researching races in the region and finally decided on the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon in Louisville because of its late April race date and proximity to my cousin and her brand new baby. It was a marathon, yes, but it was months away and I’d already run one before. With the proper mindset and some diligent training, this could be very doable.

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Soon this will be me!!

Theeeeen, I made the mistake one day of complaining to Ian that he wasn’t taking enough responsibility for his own mental and physical health. I made a big freaking deal about it and challenged him to prove me wrong, to prove that he took my concerns seriously.

Well, be careful what you ask for, because the next day Ian sent me a text that he had signed us BOTH up for Haulin’ in the Holler, a 25 kilometer (15.5 mile) trail run that was going to be a full month earlier than my marathon.  To make matters worse, over 85% of this course consists of single track trails that relentlessly travel through the hills and valleys of central Appalachia.

HATE hills. He got me good.

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The logo of the 2016 Haulin’ in the Holler 25k. I’m gonna want that wheelbarrow

So THAT’S happening. Don’t get me wrong, I’m begrudgingly thrilled about both races and think they will be a great challenge, if a little more ambitious than I was initially going for. I’m especially excited about the fact there is an option to tent camp at the race site for the 25k. Early spring camping will be a new experience for me! Yet it can’t be denied that the time has come to start some serious training unless we both want our butts to get kicked. Our unofficial training started in late November, but a foot tattoo for me and a bad head cold for Ian halted our progress for a few weeks, and only now are we finding ourselves ready to train in earnest.

The first step was getting some cute new trail running shoes over Christmas break so that I could actually get motivated to take my fuzzy socks off once in a while.

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They will never look this pretty again

Another tool of the trade has been the trusty old treadmill that came with our house. When we first moved in, many well-spent hours were spent taking it apart and moving it from our bedroom into a more usable space in the spare bedroom. It’s a lifesaver this time of year because the seasonally short days often mean we don’t have enough daylight left after our workday to get an outside run in.

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This treadmill is a very effective way to end stupid fights. As in “I’m angry at you for no reason, so I’m going to work my anger out on this treadmill until my runner’s high is so overpowering that I’ve decided I love you after all and want you to be in my life again.” That’s happened before.

But on weekends and shorter school days, I live for the chance to run outside on the trails near our house. Our route is essentially limited to a 4 mile stretch of ridge line road that is relatively isolated, save the occasional four wheeler or mountain truck. These hills are more moderate than the steep descents on either side of us, and if I must run the same route ad infinitum, it’s as good as I could wish for.

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Pitted, potholed driveway from our home
Running on the ridgetop provides gorgeous, sunny vistas
Running on the ridgetop provides gorgeous, sunny vistas
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Sadly my running route now includes this logging monstrosity about a quarter mile down the road from us.
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The shaded backsides of the mountain hold on to snow for a very long time.
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The curving, hilly route should get us in shape relatively quickly

There! I’ve done it. I’ve now confessed publicly that we’ve spent money on nonrefundable race fees. Hopefully this will give us the motivation we need to train to the best of our abilities this late winter. As March and April creep closer, maybe give me a nudge once in a while to make sure that I’m still fighting a winning battle against that ever tempting couch.

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11 thoughts on “Setting Running Goals for the New Year

  1. I do believe you’ve licked the couch problem. I recognize those Ridge roads. Your post and photos are giving me a yearning to go to Dogwood Gap. Run, gal, run 🙂

    1. You are so sweet for giving me that encouragement! I confess I’m not sure where Dogwood Gap is, but it sounds like a place I should check out at some point. Thanks for reading!

      1. Lydia, when you leave The Knob heading to Naugatuck you pass Dogwood Gap on the right in approx. two miles. There used to a sign near the gate, but now there is a “street” sign that reads Lorene Drive (at least it was still there last September.) Dogwood Gap was Frank and Lorene Parsley’s home until they left the planet. It is still in the family as well as two other structures on the Ridge. We often stay there when visiting family. Ronnie’s brother Henry Parsley who lives in Lenore cares for the house and property. The house sits up off the road and at least the huge water tank should be visible now that the trees are bare.

        1. Mimipoppy, I know exactly where you mean now! I pass that point just about every day and every single run. It’s a beautiful little cabin.

  2. Sounds like your spring schedule is similar to mine. Trail half in April and marathon in May. Could you get any of your students to run with you after school? A girls on the run thing or something? Gives you a way to connect with them, New places to run, and encourages physical activity for them.

    1. Great idea! Starting a Girls on the Run program was something I was thinking about this past fall, but i’ve been distracted since. Thanks for reinstating the idea in my head. 🙂

  3. This is so exciting, I wish you the best!! I ran all thru high school and ran the Wheeling distance race with my track coach the year after graduation….fast forward 16 years and 4 kids and my knees don’t like running very much. I hope some day to revisit my favorite sport, for now I will just cheer you on!! Climb those hills!! Good luck.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, and I will cheer you on as well. My life would be so different if I hadn’t run competitively growing up.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I was feeling very off about my training, but yesterday I managed to get 12 miles in so I think I am back on track now. Hope your foot injury heals as fast as physically possible…:(

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