The month of January and the start of 2017 has been a Nightmare After Christmas, our team name for the Winter Warrior Challenge, to say the least. But this isn’t in the literal sense, for much has happened…in a good way. To start off the new year, I signed up for a running challenge put on by my local running store, Runner’s Alley, Winter Warrior Challenge. The challenge was to run/walk 1, 3 or 5 miles a day, everyday for the month. Some friends and I thought we would create a team and strive for running 5 miles a day. At the time, 5 miles a day seemed like a lot. This is coming from a guy who likes to jump into the deep end of anything and fully submerge myself in it. Little Bear, Speedy and I started the challenge off with a 14 mile run, which is the longest I’ve run since I got back into running last year.
As the days passed and we continued to get outside everyday logging the miles, I started to let my competitive side take control and I ditched my half marathon training which was ending and starting again in January. I was content with maintaining 2nd place, as my friend was in 1st. A couple of us even decided to run a 50K 2 weeks into the challenge to get more mileage and help separate us from the other top 5 runners.
Why run from 14 miles to 31 miles?
I had the itch to push myself, distance wise, and knew I physically I could handle the mileage after the past 3 months of half marathon training with the girls. I knew the trail was very flat and the pace wasn’t going to be demanding. It took the 3 of us about 6 hours and that was time included to refuel at the car parked 7 miles out from the start. The trail conditions were not as pleasant as one would like. We had sections of the trail from start to finish that were completely glazed in ice, some sections stretching out half a mile long. Of course, none of us had any additional traction since we didn’t think we would need it. I fell twice walking on the ice in the beginning and decided it was better to run and stay on the balls on my feet. I didn’t know how my body would respond the days to follow, but I didn’t feel like I just ran 31 miles and the legs felt good.
A couple of days later I stated to get into a slump and my body was starting to feel really beat up, so much, that I wanted to just step back and forget the challenge. I couldn’t risk jeopardizing my “A” race in May for this challenge. It’s amazing what a new pair of shoes can do and how fresh, rejuvenated and mentally ready I was after switching out shoes. I was a little disappointed my Salomon Sense Link died on me about 100 miles too soon. I didn’t know if it was due to running in the winter and dealing with all the sand and salt that is on the roads, who knows?
The days continued to pass and finally the challenge was over! I ended up in 1st since my friend got injured along the way and I finished the challenge with 430 miles, 275 of those pushing the double stroller and 10 miles of walking the dogs. I was happy it was over and felt free after the last 14 miles we ran on the 31st on January. I am looking forward to hitting the recharge button with no running for a week before I get back to half marathon training.
In addition to the challenge, I also placed 51st overall in the Luluemon challenge on Strava. I believe there were about 20,000+ runners doing it. You had to run 40K or 80K in back to back weeks. It’s awesome that upon completing the challenge they are giving Strava users a free tech tee and shorts if you did the 40K and 80K challenge. Free is always good!
The icing to my January cake was finding out that I won a free pair of Saucony Freedom ISO shoes for an Instagram contest put on by Saucony and Runner’s Alley. The contest was to post a picture of what winter running looks like in NH during the month of December. I was so stoked on the news and definitely needed a new pair of shoes.
Overall, January has been a learning experience of all sorts. I learned that stretching is key when accumulating high mileage weeks, along with foam rolling. Prior to January I was averaging 30-40+ mile weeks. I also learned my body and mind are capable of so much more than I previously knew, which I think will help me in my next training block before my race in May. I started this month running my longest run of 14 miles, only to run a 50K and multiple 20+ mile days, something I never thought I would be doing. People kept asking me throughout the month,”what are you training for?” and every time my response was a half marathon, haha. I ended the month averaging 13.9 miles a day and still feel like I could log another….but let’s be real, this dad needs some recovery time and to get focused again on my “A” race, the Wallis Sands Half Marathon.