Holiday Running

I thought for sure that doing a marathon early December would be the key to getting through the holidays without gaining a ton of weight, going crazy and maintaining fitness. I do believe it got me through Thanksgiving. What I forgot though, is that life post-marathon tends to quickly become directionless. Training is all of a sudden over. The race is over. The high mileage weeks are over. As we approach December 31 and therefore New Year’s resolutions I wanted to reflect on how I handled ‘holiday running’ this year.The week after the marathon I desperately wanted to keep my mileage high and in my head I was ready for that but as reality would have it, I needed to give my body some recovery time and only did a few runs in the 3-5 mile range. The following week, Dec. 17-23 (my running weeks all start on Monday!) I made a promise to myself to run a total of 20 miles for the week. When I set goals like this I am no longer able to negotiate with myself that I can skip a certain run or do it later. Eventually I will run out of time to run (no pun intended) and I was determined to meet that goal. I definitely did an evening run with the baby jogger just to get the mileage in. I’m not positive Connor appreciates evening winter runs but he is a trooper! By the time December 23 rolled around I was right on schedule and just wanted to run between 5-6 miles. It also happened to be my birthday and a few years ago I also made myself a promise that I’d always like to run on my birthday as well as all major holidays. So I had a great birthday run and totaled a little over 22 miles for the week. Mission accomplished!

And then Christmas Eve hit. Due to my birthday being the day before, it is nearly an annual tradition to be hungover on December 24th. I did not run. I did, however, have brunch and an enormous dinner with many drinks and sampled approximately four different desserts. Whoops!

Christmas morning I got in a nice 5 miles. And then I had brunch, snacks and a wonderful dinner of turkey, potatoes, beans, bread and another sampling of many holiday cookies. The run did not justify the eating. Another whoops!

Dec. 26 it sleeted, snowed and rained. I did not run.

Dec. 27 I was tired. I did not run. My husband and I decided to do the Whole30 program starting January 1 so we are scrambling to eat the last of the pizza, bread, cheese, granola bars and snacks that are in the house before we become complete herbivores with a side of meat for every meal.

Dec. 28–today I ran 5 miles. It was glorious. There was a full moon which is my favorite type of morning run. I needed today’s run. I needed some clarity, time to think, time to just run. I thought about how I’d like this to also be a 20 mile week and so long as I run 5 miles tomorrow and Sunday that will be plenty doable. I’m not certain the weather will cooperate but I’ll do my best!

I will definitely run on December 31 as it is a major holiday and I prefer to end each year with a run and start each New Year with a run (admittedly, not usually a quality run).

So all in all, I could have done better this holiday season. I think I did fine with the running but I really enjoy drinking with friends and family and I have a crazy sweet tooth and no willpower. There is no doubt that holiday running helped. Of this I am sure.

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