Sunday, January 26, 2014

The training wheels are off!

Ok, I started the week streaking and feeling torn between all the different goals I had for myself and my running this year. Of course, it is pretty clear by now that I bite off more than I can chew, but it seems that I am starting to learn how to back down and make smart choices to reach my goals. I originally decided around the beginning of December that I would try to run outside at least once a week in the winter. I usually switch over to spinning and aerobics classes in the winter, so the fact that I streaked for 43 days in the middle of the snowiest winter Philadelphia has ever seen, I am going to chalk that up as a win. I may do another streak at the end of the year, but I have some time to figure that out.

I thought I was ready to take the training wheels off, and maybe I wasn't completely ready, but I just have to suck it up and get up and running. I took THREE whole rest days in a row when I stopped my streak, which was a little bit too much rest if I'm being honest. When I was streaking, I didn't think, "hmm, it's pretty cold...maybe I won't run today." When I was streaking, I just layered up and headed out the door. There was no real question about whether or not I would run, it was just a matter of how far. It's time for me to get back on my half training schedule! My first big goal for this year is to run 3 half marathons in 90 days to meet the Half Fanatics requirements for the Neptune level membership!

I will recap my streak by sharing just a few of my favorite pictures from my streak instagram project!

Monday, January 20, 2014


Holy turmoil, Batman! I am seriously struggling with making decisions these days. My husband says it's because I am perpetually, irrationally disappointed in my accomplishments. He's probably right, but I am still having a hard time listening to him and everyone else who has advised me over the past week. My brother Joe told me to focus on one goal for this year with my running. My boss, and super-runner, Terry told me to focus in on which goal is most important to me. Two of my co-workers, Sheila and Mark, both told me to chalk the streaking up as a win and move my focus to my other goals. I am just so stubborn...and perpetually, irrationally disappointed in myself, that I am finding it hard to let go.

So, how did the streaking start, and what are my goals for this year? The streaking started as a friendly competition between the staff members at my work. I work for a running specialty store, so you can imagine that I took the challenge on full-force. According to the guidelines of the competition, I officially won today. I completed day 41 streaking, but that is not enough for me for some reason. Probably because I decided last minute that I would also make that my New Year's resolution. I have all kinds of ankle, knee, and Achilles pain with the streaking I am doing, but I am so torn up over the prospect of quitting. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of days when I don't want to run, it's not necessarily the anticipated loss of my coveted daily run. And let's be clear, I love running, but I am just really starting to feel drained.

Since deciding that I would streak this year, I decided to try to meet the initial (Neptune) qualifications for the Half Fanatics club. So I am now trying to get everything lined up to run three half marathons in 90 days this spring. Along with running those three half marathons, I am trying to set a ridiculously impossible new half PR. Keep in mind that I am only on the second week of training for the first of three half marathons, and I am feeling like these new goals on top of streaking is seriously going to be detrimental overall. I have never attempted streaking before, and I have never run more than one major race in a racing season before either, so I can't help but feel like I have taken on too many things at once in true Michelle style. On the other hand, I just keep feeling like quitting the streak would be failing.

Well, I'm not sure where to go from here because I really thought that writing it all out would lead to a clear conclusion. It seems that I was wrong because I still feel just as torn as I was when I started writing this. I guess I will be posting an update at the end of the week!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Runner's Rambles: January is for Dreamers

For the most part, I think about running all day long. I left teaching to work for a running company, so I am really not exaggerating here, folks. I really like running, and I like my job, but it sort of turns out that this is a bit of a blessing and a curse. Why? Because I sure can put quite a bit of pressure on myself. I have been running for a few years now, but I am just getting comfortable calling myself a runner. And I’m not so sure I’m “comfortable” with it at that! I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have to fit into anyone else’s vision of what a runner is, and that I can and have to decide who I am and what defines me daily.

In the February issue of Runner’s World, Mark Parent wrote a great article for his Newbie Chronicles column.He wrote about the way we change over time, how we define ourselves, and what we are willing to do to reach goals we set for ourselves. He addressed the elephant on the calendar, so to speak, that many people are looking to redefine themselves during this time of year. He took the stance that things like New Year’s resolutions often don’t stick because we associate them closely with an event that happens once a year, which turns the goal into a one shot kind of effort. He writes, “January is a month filled with ghosts of failures past. January is the month of dreamers.” I think I might agree with him on a certain level because I cheated a bit on my New Year’s resolution; I started in December.

Parent remarks, “February is for doers.” I am excited for February. As I sit reflecting on the past two days’ runs that I had to drag myself out the door to do, only just beginning training for my first half marathon this year, I can’t help but look forward to February. I want to be a doer. I want to be a person of action. I want to be excited to act. I think a day will come when streaking just becomes second nature, and that’s the day that I am really looking forward to. For now, I will just keep moving closer to that day, one determined step after another. It is a choice that I will continue to make daily. That’s the thing I have really learned about defining yourself; it is constantly a work in progress.

“Finally, there is a day when you say to yourself, I’m in. This is me.”--Mark Parent

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Training and Racing and Streaking! Oh my!

It's that time again! Spring race season will soon be upon us, so training starts tomorrow. As of right now, I have two half marathons and a five miler on the books for this spring. I am not necessarily going to be doing speed workouts for the first of the two half marathons, but I will be continuing to STREAK, so the rest days will actually still be running days for me. The designated "walk" on race week of this schedule will also be a run for me. I am pumped for my half marathon in March because my Anything For 10 sister, Grace, will be joining me again! I will be running the five miler with a co-worker, and then it looks like the second half this spring will be my solo race to focus on smashing my current half PR.

Today was day 32 streaking! I have been Instagramming my streak, so if you want to keep up with me more frequently than my blogging currently allows, then follow me on Instagram @mdickersonruns! I am also sure that training will lead to more introspection and crazy encounters for your enjoyment here on my blog.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Year in Review and Looking Forward to the New

I set out to be a more thankful person in 2013. As I look back on the year, I realize how simple that goal should have been for me. There were days when giving thanks for what I have seemed more difficult than others, but I truly am blessed. In 2013, I counted my blessings, left the teaching field to pursue a job where I can connect with people and talk about running, ran a marathon, started a running streak, and best of all, I married my favorite person. It seems that for me, 2013 truly was one for the books.

I love making a resolution every year. It is nice to feel like you're starting new and moving forward with purpose. This year, I have decided to try to run 365 consecutive days, and focus on keeping my house more organized. I am thinking the organization will prove to be the harder resolution. I am not an organized person in general, and we plan to make a small move here in PA this spring. It seems that I may in fact be making a resolution for Matthew to also be more organized so that we can stay on track with everything going on this year. Hahaha! I am also hoping to shave some time off my half PR and run my second marathon.

Happy New Year to everyone, and remember throughout 2014 that you can do ANYTHING FOR 10!! 
Be happy, healthy, thankful, and present in your life this year!