This is my third Janathon, a-do-something-everyday-blog-everyday festival that has been uniting people online for five years. In an effort to maybe stretch out those New Years resolutions, the shindig has the potential to maybe affect a permanent change in people’s routines. Doing something every day to make yourself happy and healthy is an awesome idea. Luckily, there are lots of folks who agree on this.
My first year participating, in 2013, I placed second in running – I ran more in one month than I’d ever run before. I think I did an ungodly 323 miles, and it took me about a month of Valentine’s Day candy to wreck all the progress I’d made. Before Janathon I never ran on a daily basis. There are some people who can manage that for decades, but I couldn’t. So…I wanted to improve. And come June 2013, I signed up to participate in Juneathon. I think I ran about 240 miles. The heat, and running my first ultra-marathon at Highlands Sky 40 Mile Trail Race in West Virginia kept me on a more conservative schedule. The Janathon 2013 race was incredibly important to me. I placed second in a race that saw the lead competitor pull away by over a hundred miles, but I ran neck-and-neck with a runner-up to the very last hour. I maybe beat him by 8 miles. It was ridiculous. Why do it?
And so, last year, I entered again. Competition was pretty much easy to beat, and I throttled down for the first week, found I’d been trounced by a late-reporting runner, and had to keep up with him, had to erase a 25-mile lead with about three weeks to go. I checked weather reports for the UK against what I was experiencing in Pennsylvania’s historically bad, freezing bad, cruelly freezing bad winter. I ended up running at night anyways. I had a new baby, and I had to run at night, often in single digit weather (Fahrenheit). I ended up damaging my lungs and developed more severe bouts of bronchitis (I’d been getting it every month since December 2013) and I continued to fight that for months. Each round became a little more painful. In fact, last Juneathon, I ran the Highlands Sky 40 miler – my favorite race, ever – three days after running a fever of 103.7F (39.83C). I didn’t even know I had bronchitis. Shit, I thought I had Lyme Disease. I still do…but I can’t get anyone to test me. My last bout of fever and sucking lungs was in August. I killed that round of fever and migraine-inducing coughing/vomiting with a round of Prednisone, a steroid treatment. It worked. It also helped reduce the swelling in my hip and groin after performing a split in my backyard after slipping on a hill mowing the lawn.
I’m still recovering from that injury. I barely ran at all the last three months. My nips chafe at mile ten. I haven’t even completed a half marathon distance since August, so Janathon is a way for me to get back into a training routine that will hopefully help me prepare for my penultimate goal of running a 100 mile race, the O&B Canal Race this spring. A tip of my hat to all runners. Come with what you have, and leave it all in the shoes, hold back nothing. Or, dress up like a lobster and ride a tricycle. Or, paddle a city fountain in a trash drum while people hurl shots of whiskey to you. Or just do shots of whiskey and avoid aqua sports altogether.
I have masks I could run in but I’m worried I might get shot by a cop. “I couldn’t catch that bugger, so I blew a hole in his Mexican wrestling mask the size of a tostado. He was advancing towards me.” Or anything like that.
Yesterday I ran a mile in sneakers. I also ran to the toilet four times, wrong runs, indeed. I had to drink a bunch of coconut water and take some potassium to feel right today.
Today I banged out eleven miles. I feel pretty good about it. My goal is 250 miles for the month. I’m a runner.
Last year I ran 356 miles for Janathon, a personal best.