As shown in a recent post about my Glass Slipper Challenge training, I’m a stickler for a structured training plan when it comes to staying in shape. If I don’t have it on my to-do list, I probably won’t do it. That’s why calendaring out my short runs, long runs, cross-training, and rest days is important when I’ve got a Spring full of 10 mile+ races including 6 half marathons is crucial to me. Otherwise I might just think the races themselves are enough to be like, yeah, I did that, I can do the next one in a month, no intermediate training required.

This week, however, I let my OCD planner-adhering self take a backseat. Because of my new tattoo’s placement on my left side ribcage, Body Pump and yoga felt a little too risky as far as any upper body lifting or stretching risking scarring the tender, healing skin there. Plus, the getting of the tattoo itself meant cutting my Sunday long run short anyway. I was torn about how to make up the mileage, how to cross-train, switching around a rest day, and honestly? Sometimes I just felt tired.

On Monday I usually do Body Pump, but that was out of the question with the new ink. So I ran an easy 3.6 miles instead on the treadmill, taking my tattoo artist’s advice just to pat dry occasionally during the run and the wash well post-run. And then Tuesday, my scheduled rest day, I felt like doing something totally not on the plan.

Another long run.

10miletreadmillI was feeling restless on Tuesday. My grad school lesson weeks run Wednesday through Tuesday, and I had finished my work Monday night, so had an evening free before the next week’s workload dropped. But not having gotten my full mileage in from Sunday was still bugging me, and I had just gotten my Bib number for Glass Slipper (23151 sounds pretty lucky y’all! Corral I for Incredible baby!) and was starting to feel the nerves of the challenge. Sure, I can run a half-marathon, I’ve proven that to myself twice. But the nerves going around the Facebook groups related to runDisney and GSC were starting to become contagious and, well, to be quite honest, I had two hours to kill before bedtime.

So I ran 10 miles. Because I felt like it.

A round, even 10 miles is harder to do outside in my neighborhood, because of rolling dips and hills, the necessity for fuel so I don’t pass out on a lonely road, and the navigation of crossing roads and being aware of cars. I know I have some hilly races coming up but I was like you know what, screw it. I feel like racking up some mileage tonight to get closer to my monthly Run This Year goal, and I feel like zoning out for two hours. In fact, for the first 7 miles I didn’t even listen to music. I just watched the State of the Union address and my mind was so stimulated by analyzing the reactions of Congress, the rhetoric of the speech, and balancing skepticism with hope and optimism that before I knew it, the treadmill had to be restarted because of 60 minutes of activity. (This is how they try to kick you off hogging a machine, but as you can see, the gym was empty.)

I did take a rest Wednesday. I had to fight off the guilt, but I also got a lot of grad school homework done and couldn’t feel too lazy about that. Rest is important, and with a 14.5 mile long run coming up on Sunday, I needed my first rest day in 10 days.

But last night. Ohhh last night.

CaptureI meant to brave the itchy awkward peeling phase of the tattoo and go to Body Pump. I meant to run an easy 2 to rack up the mileage but not put too much stress on my joints and let the squats and lunges strengthen the muscles around my knees and quads and hammies on their own. But I didn’t. I was still too paranoid about the new ink.

So when it got to be close to midnight, and all I’d really done was some reading for school, and take a nap, and the gym was closed for the night, I headed downstairs to the basement and set my pace at 9:31. And I went for it.

The sub-30 5K is something I’ve been after for a while. When I started running regularly and a 5K was my “ultimate goal” (ha, like that was ever gonna stick, I’m constantly looking to challenge myself and raise my own bar), I thought if I ever ran a sub-30 5K I’d be a total rockstar.

This sub-30 time was in a controlled environment, totally flat treadmill forcing me to stay on pace. I’m not counting it as an official PR, but it is by definition a personal record. I’ve never held that pace for that long. And it’s good prep for knowing what pace I should be feeling if I want to stay on pace for an outdoor USATF 5K road race.

And most importantly, it totally shook off the blah of winter SAD and I felt like a total rockstar.

With today being the last day of January, I’m looking back on the month to assess the damage (or the awesome, really). Did I reach my monthly Run This Year goal? Only if I decide to run 9 1/2 miles tonight, so… no. I’m at 107.1 and my goal was 116.67. But that’s what I love about Run This Year. If I hadn’t set the bar so high for myself, I wouldn’t have gotten to 107.1. And MOST most importantly, I always had fun doing it.

Stay tuned for my full January wrap-up and reflection to be posted tomorrow! You’ll get to see JUST how OCD I can be about tracking mileage, right down to which shoes picked up the heat for any given run.

Did you meet your monthly Run This Year goal? 

Or, if you’re not a Run This Year member yet (why aren’t you?), did you set any New Year’s resolutions? How are they doing now that January is ending?

Do you get anal about a training plan or do you go more with your instincts when preparing for races?