The Casual Runner

Hibernation Ends Now

By: Steve DeGenaro, Team Casual Runner

Hey Casual Runners, I thought I’d poke my head out of a close-to-two-month hibernation of both running and writing to share my reflections as I approach my sixth month runnerversary and the turn of a new year, as well as go on notice about my resolutions (runsolutions?) for 2015.  Going to be a bit rambling (like my running, I am sure my prose is out of shape), but trust me, there is a theme here.  Now, on to it!

Steve Pic E

First, the vent: I am pretty bummed to reiterate that I have not done a lot of running since my last half marathon.  Some of it has been laziness, but also, a lot of it has to do with the onset of winter weather.  I won’t beat around the bush: I have been pretty wimpy about getting out when it isn’t beautiful running weather.  All in all, it has been a very disappointing stretch since my last race.

But the glass is half full because I feel that I have learned a couple of things that, hopefully, will make 2015 an even more successful running year than 2014 was.  For one, I have learned that my best motivator is having a race to train for.  To that end, I will make sure that in 2015 I have my next race planned before I toe the line.  More importantly, however, I have noticed a subtle change.  This isn’t my first extended lapse in running, but now it feels different.  Before, it felt more like a matter of if could get myself to go out running.  Now, it is more of a matter of when my next run will be, not if.  A subtle, but significant change.

So, in the spirit of the new year and in honor of my sixth-month runnerversary, I will make that my first resolution: I resolve not to let winter beat me.  It is a cold fact of nature (yup, my puns are still in midseason form!) that Ohio will have long stretches of freezing weather.  For better or for worse, I will need to adjust to that fact, or turn into a seasonal runner.  I could do that, but I feel this would really narrow the portion of the year I could race in (assuming that the first two semi-warm months are needed to build up mileage).  Plus, I do miss the relaxation that comes from finishing off a run.  Time to toughen up!

Steve Pic D

While I am sure that braving the winter weather is no small feat, all this motivational talking has me feeling ambitious about the new year and one resolution will not suffice.  So here are 3 more “mile markers” I hope to pass in 2015:

First, I resolve to run six half marathons in 2015.  Part of this is an accountability thing.  Knowing that I’ve committed myself to running that many races, I now have a very public declaration I need to hit by this time next year so I don’t end 2015 like I have this year: wishing I had run more.  And to fit six into the year, I probably need to start shopping around for races to do right now.  If I have a race coming up, that means I probably need to start training for it.  Which means no more excuses about going outside when it is cold…

This also serves as a “teaser trailer” for a goal for 2016.  I would like to try running a marathon at least once (Note to past self: this is how it starts.  It’s only one, for now…).  I think that I would be well-positioned to run one in 2016 with at least 8 half marathons under my belt, plus maybe 1-2 used as part of the training.  But for whatever the motive, it feels great just putting that challenge to myself in print: gauntlet thrown!

Steve - My First Mile Pic 4

Second, I resolve to write more, and no my editor isn’t just making me say that (Editor’s note: but he really is)!  If I have as productive a race schedule as I hope to (see how clever?  Each resolution is connected to the other!), my output should improve considerably: that’s at least six race recaps, to say nothing of any training pieces that pop to mind throughout the year.  I also want to write more because it lets me share something I really love.  Like I said, the biggest disappointment about the winter weather is that it lacks the ease or excitement that I found in anticipation of running during the more hospitable temperatures of late summer/early autumn.  This adventure really is absolutely a passion of mine, and I want to share that with any people who also have that passion.  And if that inspires new runners, all the better.

Finally, I resolve to indoctrinate hook one new Casual Runner.  The reason I got hooked on running this past six months is because I had a friend take me running every now and then.  Eventually, I was goaded into running a half marathon and the rest is history.  But that all started because I was encouraged to start running and had somebody help make it stick for me.  Being the person who gets another person interested in running is the best way to pay it back.

And of the four resolutions, I’d say this may be the best one for others to adopt.  Finding/making a new running buddy has plenty of benefits.  Selfishly, a strategic decision to encourage a friend to run with you will give you somebody who will hold you accountable to your running plans when you feel lazy.  The more new Casual Runners added means that more people will read my articles (withholding decision of whether this is a good thing).  But most importantly, it is a chance to start the new year by adding for you a new hobby to share with a person you care about.  Whether you are already a Casual Runner or a Casual Runner who doesn’t know it yet, we can all agree that that is certainly a good thing.

Well, that’s all I have for now, but I am sure I am not alone in setting some running goals for 2015.  Sound off readers, what are your running-related resolutions for the new year?