Jump to content
The Loop


  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Contributors to this blog

Embracing the Struggle: January in Review



January 2019 in Review

Total mileage for the month: 262.7

  • Dec. 31-Jan. 6:  73.7 (2:42 strength training)
  • Jan. 7-13:  76.5 (2:46 strength training)
  • Jan. 14-20:  75.1 (2:29 strength training)
  • Jan. 21-27: 45.7 (1:52 strength training, 2:00 cardio cross-training)
  • Jan. 28-Feb. 3: ?? (3 as of Jan. 31, plus cross-training)


  • Not there yet!


Amy makes winter running much better!


  • Jan. 1 - 3 x 1 mile repeats with 0.5 recoveries in 6:12, 6:18, 6:18 (2.1 warm up, 1.3 cool down).  This was my first workout on my first official day back working with my coach; clearly he didn't hold back!  I left my Garmin account connected to his coaching platform when I was building mileage post-injury, so he knew what I'd been doing, and it was pretty clear that my endurance was solid but my leg turnover/speed was in dire need of help, so this was where we started.  The pace range he gave me for these was 6:11-6:18, and I feared that I wouldn't be able to do it but vowed to try.  I had to really work to keep the final one in range, but I made it!  Afterwards I told him he chose the perfect pace range for my current fitness, because this was challenging but do-able.  If I'd have been in charge of my own workouts, I certainly wouldn't have picked mile repeats, and if I did I would have aimed for more like 6:30 pace, so day 1 being coached again showed me that I need to be coached (even though he gave me a workout and double on New Years Day)!
  • Jan. 5 - fast finish long run, described below.
  • Jan. 9 - 6.3 mile 3'2'1' fartlek (recoveries equal to next push, 3.2 warm up, 2.5 cool down).  This was supposed to be 6 miles, but who is going to stop in the middle of a push?  My push paces were 5:45-6:36, but mostly 6:05-6:15.  It was very windy and I blame that for the inconsistency in pacing - the 6:36 was definitely all into the wind and the 5:45 was definitely all out of it!  My average pace for all 6.3 miles was 6:50; pre-injury I'd average more like 6:20 on this type of workout, so it was pretty consistent with everything I'm running right now being 30 seconds/mile slower than what I was doing at peak fitness.  I am choosing to be thankful for the opportunity to improve rather than upset about being slower, but sometimes not comparing is hard.
  • Jan. 15 - 3 mile tempo (3.3 warm up, 4 cool down) at 6:30 average via 6:27, 6:33, 6:29. I ran with Rebecca, and our Garmins were significantly discrepant (her's said 6:19 average), so I would rather claim that since my goal was 6:18!  We have had Garmin discrepancies on that course before, although not by that much and usually mine is the faster one, hah. We had very dense fog for this workout so it was also pretty much like running hard into a dark abyss, because headlamps are rendered nearly useless in fog (mine also iced over because it was 29 degrees!).  I gave it my best effort, but it was honestly very disheartening to be unable to maintain the pace I've run for several marathons for a mere 3 miles after being back to running for 7 weeks. 
  • Jan. 17 - 4 x 0.15 presses at the beginnings of miles 7-10 within in 10 miler.  This is just a tiny get-your-legs-moving/mix-it-up kind of workout, but it always serves as a good reminder that I actually can pick up the pace if I need to.  My press paces were 5:54, 5:37 (downhill), 6:01, and 6:20 (uphill).  This was run #3 of the month in cold rain, but at 42 degrees and no wind, it was fine, especially after my Jan. 12 long run, detailed below.
  • Jan. 21 - 5 x 1 mile tempos with 0.25 recoveries (2 warm up, 1.5 cool down) in 6:27, 6:33, 6:30, 6:30, 6:33.  I had pretty low expectations for this workout since we were in a wind advisory and the windchill was 2 degrees, and I suppose I met those expectations.  I put forth my best effort and was consistent with my splits, which was really all I could have hoped for.  When I stopped my Garmin it said I needed 3.5 days to recover, which seemed about right, haha!
  • Doubles on Jan. 1, 7, 14, 21.
  • Strides on Jan. 10, 20, 24.
  • Favorite workout:  Weeellllll, I can truthfully say that I was thankful for all of them, but not satisfied with any of them.


Long Runs:

  • Jan. 5 - 15.6 miles (7:27) with 3 progressive fast finish miles in 7:05, 6:52, 6:36.  We had a great group of 7 for this run, although about everyone was doing different distances.  Claudio was kind enough to fast finish with me, even though he kicked my tail on the final hill (without the hill, I'd have been in the 6:20s for my final mile, but even though my lack of fitness showed on the hill it was good for me to fight it).  Dying less every week though!
  • Jan. 12 - 18 miles (7:46) in 33 degrees and rain, with a windchill of 22.  I learned a lot of things on this run, the most important of which was that I am never running that far in these conditions again!  I ran a 5 miler in similar conditions the week before, and finished it toasty and dry, so I thought I would be okay...plus there was really no alternative since it had been the exact same temperate with rain for about 36 hours straight and was supposed to continue the entire day until it changed to snow overnight.  I was afraid the roads would be a sheet of ice on Sunday so I didn't want to bump it a day (although in actuality they weren't too terrible and I ran outside the next day), and I couldn't wrap my head around running this on the treadmill.  I felt decent for the first 10 miles or so, but during a patch of heavy rain even the awesome rainproof jacket I'd borrowed didn't hold up, so I was just cold, soaked, and carrying what felt like 15 lbs of water in my jacket, tights, socks, and shoes.  We ran a big loop course to force us to commit to the distance (my idea, oy.), so there was no choice but to keep plodding along back to my car.  On the road back there was a lot of flooding and standing water, so my shoes ended up extremely soaked and heavy (at that point the only alternative routes would have added 2-4 miles to the run, so I ran through the flooding but remembered why we don't run that part of that road when it's rained a lot).  My only saving grace was that at the last minute before we started I grabbed plastic grocery bags out of my car's console and put them over my mittens, and with the way I had them tied up and gripped, my hands stayed dry.  That is the only reason I didn't stop at 16.2 miles when I passed my car! This run confirmed my suspicions that I would have been among the people who died off at Boston 2018, because I definitely slowed and struggled, and felt like I was shutting down.  I was with 3 friends, and Rebecca and Claudio went ahead and ran a beautiful negative split while I dragged my frozen self in.  My body definitely isn't made for cold rain.  Amy was also with us, and she ran Boston 2018 and said this run was colder but less windy (14 mph wind).  I came very close to crying during this run, but at the same time I was sure glad to say I gritted it out and always thankful to run!
  • Jan. 18 - 16.4 miles (7:37).  I ran this one a day early to avoid another cold rain/ice/snow fiasco.  I told my coach I had PTSD from the previous week's cold rain long run and wasn't doing that again!  Missy was kind enough to run most of it with me - I ran about 3 miles, picked her up and we did 10 together, then I ran back home.  I started at 4:44 a.m. because I had to be at work a little before 8:00, so it was still pitch dark even when I finished, but I was happy to have it knocked out to reduce weather-related stress!  It was actually really nice, around 36 degrees and light wind, which is very warm for that time of day in January in Missouri (last year I had many morning runs in below zero wind chills).
  • Jan. 26 - I skipped this one, because I learned from my September-November injury and the great tendon debacle of 2016.  More details to come, but I just knew that if I ran this my peroneal tendon was going to get seriously injured, so I stayed home.  I think my body hates winter.  Better 5-7 days off now than 8 weeks off later!
  • Favorite long run:  I felt the best on the January 5 one!  My body kind of went downhill after the Jan. 12 one...


8 degrees & pitch dark


  • I started back working with my coach this month.  I think my rapid mileage increase post-injury made it clear that I need someone to save me from myself, and my avoidance of workouts in December also showed I needed a push.  He gave mile repeats and a double on New Years Day, hah.
  • This article about CIM really illustrates why I wanted to run it in 2018 and hope to return in 2019!  I have a long ways to go to get to where I want to be, though.
  • I've been feeling discouraged about my paces, but I'm not sure what to do about it except to keep plugging along.
  • I remembered why winter training stresses me out: winter weather uncertainty and my inability to control it!  I also think my body responds poorly to winter weather (especially stupid cold morning lows); I recently realized that I have never had a good winter of outside morning running except in 2017, which was a very mild winter.  In 2018 I had a serious winter slump (slowed and became worn down - some details here and here but I was relatively quiet about it), in 2016 I got injured, in 2015 I did okay due to running almost all of my weekday runs on the treadmill (manageable since I was typically running Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday), 2012-2014 I wasn't running much, in 2011 I got injured, and before then I ran mostly at lunch when I was at a different job.


Look at that resting heart rate of 32!  Average was more like 40.

Life events:

  • I have never done a word/phrase of the year before, but one came to me for 2019: "Lead me".  I often question whether I'm making the right decisions, and what could be better than focusing on where God leads me? 
  • We had a pretty low key month; some weekends we didn't go anywhere except for church (and out running for me).  Jon enjoyed cheering for the Chiefs, and Albani watches the games with him because he gives her candy when they score or make a good play. 
  • Albani is learning to play the recorder and practices a lot, which is both a good and bad thing!


Nature loving on a 62 degree January day!


I had some thoughts this month about changing my sport to bowling!


Crazy hair day on little notice


Her hair is supposed to look like pouring soda


We had a snow day on Jan. 30


Recorder practice

Books this month:

  • Once Upon a Time There Was You by Elizabeth Berg
  • The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
  • The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion
  • You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
  • The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
  • Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza
  • Clay Girl by Heather Tucker
  • A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer
  • The Reason You're Alive by Matthew Quick

Theme of the month:

Struggling.  I came upon these verses at just the right time: "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." - Romans 5:3-5

I cannot run a 3 mile tempo at the pace I used to run for marathons, my mile repeats are at my goal marathon pace (or slower in bad weather), and my current all-out sprint is maybe my 10K PR pace...but I am sure thankful to be running regardless!  At least my mileage is solid.  I just keep wondering what I'm doing wrong because I really haven't improved in the 10 weeks I've been back to running post-injury...  BUT!  I am SO THANKFUL to be running!  Especially after taking some time off with a little tendon scare from Jan. 26-Jan. 30, which was consistent with the struggling theme.

  • Like 5


Recommended Comments

Great month! Kudos to you on having the willpower to pull the plug and back off at the end of the month. Being patient is really hard sometimes but not being so gets all of us in trouble so often. Still lots of time until June, erring on the side of caution is very smart. 



  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

I love the crazy hair picture - so creative! 

I have every confidence you'll come back strong and get to CIM … have watched you work miracles time and again with your amazing work ethic! 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

I am 100% not into winter this year. I hope I just need a reset and this isn't a sign of my age.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Love the crazy hair day idea. Funny.

Good, solid come back month both physically and mentally given the challenging running conditions.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

That cold, rainy, windy long run sounds awful, I shivered reading about it. 

It may be a struggle now, but the work will pay off. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

Wait. You read ALL those books in January and ran 262 miles? I have to seriously reconsider how I spend my free time. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
3 hours ago, eliz83 said:

Wait. You read ALL those books in January and ran 262 miles? I have to seriously reconsider how I spend my free time. 

I don't watch TV.  :-)

Link to comment

crazy hair is great.. 

I like that Romans quote too.. 

yes, dislike winter cold running, I just bundle up and accept being slow for these months.. 


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...