I hope you all had as fantastic a New Year’s celebration as I did! It was the most fun New Year’s Eve I’ve had in a long time, and I think it was because it was so low-key. My high school friends and I have two or three yearly traditions – 1) we spend 4th of July at my friend Laura’s for grilling burgers and dogs and goofing off in her pool, 2) every Black Friday, everyone comes over to my house for Texas Hold ‘Em, and 3) we spend New Year’s Eve back at Laura’s. I had missed the last few years for various reasons, but it was so good to be back. Old friends really are the best friends.

I spent most of my day lazing around in bed taking advantage of the mid-week holiday. New Year’s Day is nice because unlike Thanksgiving or Christmas, there isn’t a ton of preparation and cleaning cooking going on in anticipation of company or anything. It’s a day of “recovery,” so even though I wasn’t hungover or anything, I let myself hang out in bed with my cat for most of the day.

But of course, what would the first day of a new year be without both a refreshing run to keep you honest and on track for your Run This Year goals and half marathon training, plus a new step toward a new fitness goal? Not wanting to set a precedent for the New Year by wimping out on the cold and doing my miles on the treadmill, I suited up and headed out for my scheduled 4 mile easy run.

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And boy does it look like I took it easy. It didn’t feel easy, though. My arches were killing me from wearing heels on New Year’s Eve, my right hamstring feels a little tight, and my quads weren’t happy about the cold. My mantra had to keep being “you do not want to start this year by wimping out” and “run this year, don’t let it run you.”

It’s about this time of year my SAD really goes into overdrive. Once all the anticipation and fun of the holiday season is over, it just feels like a destitute long walk to spring. Which is why I’m so excited to be part of Run This Year.

This month’s theme is RUN DETERMINED. I kept thinking about that as I trudged through my run. I am DETERMINED not to let seasonal affective disorder get the best of me. I think instead of year-long huge resolutions it’s so important to break things down into weekly or monthly resolutions. So instead of calling it a day after my scheduled run was over (and don’t get me wrong, once I had gotten through it and knew I had stayed on track, I felt WORLDS more positive as I showered off), I added a new monthly resolution: plank a day.

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Muscles in my biceps and shoulders are starting to show a little bit, which feels really cool, and my calves and thighs have felt stronger for quite a while. But I have a very weak core. I’ve never been able to do a single real push-up in my whole life. So I’ve decided that just for the month of January, I’m going to plank for 45 seconds every day. Maybe in February, I’ll up it to a minute.

So begins 2014! 4 miles and a 45 second plank. I’ll take it.

A look back at my last week of training in 2013:

Wednesday (Christmas): Wimped out from the cold – 0.5 miles
Thursday: 5 miles outside
Friday: 3.5 miles on treadmill to make up for Christmas, plus light elliptical and hand weights
Saturday: 4 miles outside
Sunday: 8 miles on treadmill
Monday: Cross training – 15 minutes elliptical, 15 minutes weights
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday (today): 4 miles

So that’s how I ended 2013! Looking forward to racking up the miles this week/weekend and my first race of the year, the Charleston Half Marathon, in just over two weeks!

How did you kick off running 2014? Did you race, train, or take it easy on a holiday? 

What are your 2014 running goals? 

What does “run determined” mean for you?

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