June Challenge Day 7

Today is the seventh day of my June Mile-a-Day Running Challenge and you’ll be amazed at what I found out!

See? I can do clickbait with the best of ’em!

I’m surprised I made it this far. Usually I would have given up by now despite announcing publicly that I would do it. 

I’m particularly surprised because except for the first day, I’ve run all the days IN THE MORNING!

Yes, Friday was not a fluke. I’ve actually gotten up early, even on the weekend (hey, 7am is damned early on a weekend. My normal wakeup time is well after 9am). 

Am I becoming a morning person?

You tell me. This morning, after finishing my run and getting ready for the shower I noticed that I had my shirt on inside out and I was wearing a Brooks Adrenaline 17 on my left foot and a Hoka Clifton 3 on my right and I never even noticed.

Additionally, I have decided Friday was an aberration after all and not a trend. The getting to work and being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed was a one-time occurrence. The rest of the mornings I’ve struggled to stay awake for the first couple of hours at work, as well as falling asleep during the church service on Sunday.

To answer the question plainly, I am definately still not a morning person. 

Which isn’t to say I might not continue running in the morning, despite being in a near comatose state.

The pros of a morning run are:

  1. It gets done — I don’t have to worry about missing a run because of evening scheduling conflicts or because what I ate isn’t sitting right.
  2. I can fall quickly asleep at night and not suffer from insomnia or joint stiffness.

The cons of morning runs:

  1. I put on two different shoes. 
  2. If I want to run more than a mile, I would have to get up even earlier than I do now.

The pros of the evening run are, for one thing, it seems to drive away the stress of the day. I finish exhausted, but refreshed in a mental sort of way. Like a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I don’t get that from a morning run probably because I’m too groggy to be worried about any of the previous day’s stressors. 

I can also run longer in the evening. I don’t have to rush to get into the shower, make breakfast, and get ready for work. I can just run. 

And lastly, I seem to be able to push myself, motivate myself, easier in the evening. In the morning, so far, I seem lucky to make it through the mile at a decent pace without slowing down or even quiting, but I don’t have the motivation to really push myself. Evenings I am more motivated do intervals where I sprint for an extended period of time or to do faster long runs.

I’m debating if I should continue morning mike runs after the challenge, but also incorporate three more strenuous workouts in the evening per week.

I wonder if my body, at my age, can take that much running with little or no recovery time between runs?

Only one way to find out.

As far as any changes resulting from my mile-a-day challenge, I think it’s still too early to notice any trends. I’d like to say that my heart rate recovery after about two minutes into my cool down walk after the run has been improving, from about 124 to 118 or so, but I can’t. That’s because recovery heart rate wasn’t something I tracked prior to this challenge. My bad.

I also only weigh myself on Friday’s,  so I can’t report any changes there.

To be honest? I still feel the same and my mile time is still the same.

But I haven’t given up, so that’s a plus.

Run. Rest. Drink some coffee.

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June running challenge

I decided to challenge myself this month. In June, I am going to attempt to run a mile every day.

I’ve been rather slothful lately in my workouts, running only once, maybe twice a week, if that, and I’m feeling a little schlumpy, if you know what I mean.

If you do know what I mean, tell me so we’ll both know.

At this morning’s weigh-in I realized I was above the 200 pound plateau I was so happy I’d finally broken (200.5 pounds, to be exact). The weight gain might have contributed to my recent running slump or the running slump contributed to the weight gain. Whatever.

On the last day of May, the 31st, I ran a slow and schlumpy 5k on the treadmill. For whatever reason, I just didn’t have the energy to run at the more intense pace I’d reached just a month prior. I kept slowing down, even walking, before forcing myself into a sprint, with the hopes of burning off the lazy. It didn’t and I finished the run very disheartened and unsatisfied. 

Because I felt so out of shape  (even though I’m still in better shape than I was just a year ago when I returned to running), I decided to take up the … drumroll, please  … June Mile A Day Challenge

I believe Runner’s World has one of these mile-a-day challenges going on, but when I looked it up, I was already too late. It started on Memorial Day and will run until the 4th of July. I guess that adds up to 37 miles in 37 days.

Since I missed it  (although I guess I could have cheated and said my 5k counted as a mile for May 29, 30, and 31st), I decided to run my own challenge starting on June 1st.

Yesterday I ran a decent mile in about 8:48, I believe. 

This morning, yes, I said this morning. I know, right? Me, an affirmed hater of mornings and morning people, actually getting up and doing something strenuous before I’ve had my coffee?

To put this in perspective, the last time I ran in the morning was 1985. I hated it and never did it again. And before that, it was a decade earlier at boot camp, where I didn’t have much choice,  except in the hating of it.

But I figure, if I’m going to complete a challenge of running a mile every single day, then I don’t want to take the chance that something might come up in the evening that could interfere with me getting my run in. 

Thus, I ran this morning.

Typically in the morning, my wife gets up first, takes her shower, then I get up and stumble downstairs into the shower. This morning however, I got up when she did (on the sly so she wouldn’t ask me a bunch of questions before I had some coffee — yes, I’m a complete bear in the morning), did some calf stretches, put on my gear, and hit the treadmill. 

And To be honest, it wasn’t that bad of an experience. I did not hate it, which I was totally prepared for. I got a decent time in, I forget exacts — c’mon, it was 5:30 in the morning! — but it was slightly over 9 minutes. Not too shabby for my first morning run in over thirty years.

Afterward, I took a cool, almost cold shower, which again, if you know me is completely divergent from my normal shower which is so hot it’s like a steam bath in there when I finish. Since I was already hot from running, I figured the shower would cool me down.

One benefit of a morning run I did not foresee — and since it’s my first morning run I can’t really extrapolate today’s experience as the new normal — is that I was not tired and sluggish when I got to work.

Mornings are usually a struggle for me to stay awake, no matter how many coffees I guzzle, which is why I’ve always hated them. I operate in this fog for the first couple hours. Given my druthers, I would rather sleep until 9:30 am to avoid feeling so muddled.

But this morning, I felt bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as they say. If I discover this is an actual sustainable benefit, then I might continue to run in the morning. *shudder* Did I really just say that?

I hope another benefit of morning runs is that I won’t struggle to fall asleep at night. As I’ve mentioned previously, evening runs tend to make for restless nights. I haven’t figured out why. Usually an aspirin or two and a melatonin help. Last night they didn’t. But with a morning run, all that excess energy or adrenaline or whatever it is that courses through our veins after a run will have long since disappated by the time I lay down to sleep.

Maybe that’s why I’m more alert this morning, because the post-run juices that prevent me from falling asleep are helping to keep me alert now.

One last thing just so there’s no misunderstanding: I am not now, nor will I ever be, a morning person

Just because you happen to see me up and running in the morning and you give me a chipper “Good morning!” along with a cheerful smile and an enthusiastic wave, does not mean I will reply in kind.

If I do growl, “morning,” however, it is merely an acknowledgement as to the time of day and not to the quality of it.

A curmudgeon I am and a curmudgeon I will remain until the sun reaches its zenith and I’ve had my four cups of coffee.

Have you joined the mile-a-day challenge?

Day 2, Mile 2.

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