Closing the Books on 2013

We’re about ready to close out 2013 and I’m a bit sad to see it go.  Physically, I had a great year!  I really enjoyed pushing myself and seeing what I was capable of completing.  That said, I have a lot of awesome plans for 2014 and I can’t wait to start working towards those goals.

Just to bookend the year, here’s an update on on my 2013 goals:

1. Improve my mental image/self-talk. Yeah, this is still a struggle. It will be following me over to next year’s goals, also.  A few weeks ago my husband took a very flattering picture of me on the beach and sent it to me. I literally asked if that was what I look like or if was just a super good angle.  I know he thought I was off my rocker but, in my head, I’m still extremely large.  Some days the mental image and physical reality align somewhat but it’s not often enough.

2. Stop qualifying myself – “I run but I’m slow” is not allowed! Huh, well, I just told someone that I was too slow for them to want to run with me yesterday so… I guess this will be following me over to next year, too!

3. Do 5 new exercise “things”

TRX (for core work) – still loving it, even though I’ve had to take a break for a few weeks.  I plan to get back to it in January.
Trail run(s), maybe a mud run? Done! I did several trail runs and races, including a half marathon and really loved it.  I will be doing more next year!  I also did two obstacle races and enjoyed them.  I’m doing a Spartan Super next year (hold me!)
Improve my swimming skills so I can try a triathlon next year. Didn’t happen. Swim classes start on Jan.  4th
Try Pilates or a regular yoga class (for flexibility) Didn’t happen.  I took a Metro Barre class and liked it but my foot did not.
There was no fifth thing. 😦

4. A sub-30 5K (July?) DONE!  Just a bit late.  My November Turkey Trot had a 29 minute 5K as part of my 1 hour 10K.  Next year? A 10K in comfortably under an hour.

5. Finish a half and full marathon without sweating the time. DONE!  Next year I will be focusing on improving my time for both distances.

So, that’s it.  Overall, I am very happy with this past year.  There are some things that could have been better but I learned from each and every training run and race.

My Top 5 Lessons:

1. Never skip a water stop if you are running more than 3 miles.

2. Taking a minute to stretch mid race takes a lot less time than having your form fall apart in the last two miles and being forced to limp to the finish.

3. Even if you think of yourself as a “loner”, running with a group can be immensely beneficial.

4. Don’t neglect your speed work and hill work.

5. Find your “cheerleaders” early and don’t be afraid to lean on them when you are feeling doubtful.  The night before my marathon I was a total wreck and the only thing that got me out the door that morning was knowing that people I trust believed that I could do it.

What goals did you achieve this year?  Any “lessons learned”?

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I’m So Excited!

[I was going to embed the Pointer Sisters video here but I didn’t want you to get the wrong idea.  Have you watched that lately? Ahem!]

One of my goals for this year was to do a triathlon. I hemmed and hawed, signed up for a clinic, etc. but I didn’t have a bike.  I thought that was it until my enabler friend graciously said she would loan me her bike.  I thought it was just a road bike.  No, it’s a freaking Cervalo!

Similar to this
Similar to this

That bike freaked me out! I felt I was too big, too clutsy, too inexperienced, too everything for that bike. So, after taking it in for a professional fitting, it sat propped against the wall in my treadmill room. Staring at me.  It got to the point that I wouldn’t look to my right when I was on the treadmill but I could still feel it silently judging me.

Last week I was walking on the ‘mill (damn PF!), listening to Can’t Swim, Can’t Ride, Can’t Run and staring down The Bike.  Finally, I had enough!  I decided that I WILL be doing triathlons next year, come hell or high water!  I had finally reached my internal tipping point. Even though I said I wanted to do triathlons earlier, I was too consumed with MCM to make the full commitment.  Now, though, I’m all in!  The next day I asked the awesome Swim, Bike, Mom if she had any coaching slots left and she replied that she had one left!  I kinda believe in signs like that so I immediately sent in my coaching fee.  I received some funny looks when people learned I had hired a coach for a super sprint (the absolutely shortest distance) but I really need that one-on-one interaction that I haven’t yet found in other places.  I can read until my eyes fall out but unless I have someone to verbally walk me through things (and give me hints like “practice clipping into and out of the pedals while you’re in the house”!), I’m going to wind up frustrated and overwhelmed.

Right now, though, I’m riding high!  I’m looking forward to starting my training in January and I can’t wait to see what challenges it brings!

Running Deficit Disorder

I have determined that I have RDD, Running Deficit Disorder.  It is known to set in during periods of prolonged, forced inactivity.  The key symptom is spending obscene amounts of money on running and race related events and gear when you currently can’t run even a mile.  To whit, in the past few weeks, I have:

  • Registered for the Fairfax 4 Miler on New Year’s Eve, even though I may be just walking it
  • Registered for the Cupid’s Undie Run in February (it’s to benefit children’s cancer research so feel free to click on the link and donate!)
  • Registered for Rock ‘n Roll DC half in March – It was  a good deal!
  • Entered and was accepted for the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in April – It was a good deal!
  • Registered a team for the Ragnar Trail Relay in West Virginia in June – it was a … oh, who am I kidding?
  • Registered for a Spartan Super in August
  • Signed up for swim classes beginning in January
  • Signed up for tri training with Swim, Bike, Mom

I’m pretty sure I’ve done more but I can remember what.  I swear, I’m spending money faster than a drunken sailor on shore leave!

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I have the utmost respect for the military but put a race bib on him and this could be me!

In an effort to reign it in a bit, I have decided to not push for three half marathons in March/April that I would need to “moon up” a level in the Half Fanatics group.  One would require travel and the other is pretty pricy so I’m going to let them slide.  I also plan to restrict the travel races next year to just the Spartan, Ragnar, and maybe one in Pittsburgh (I really want to do a race there and spend the weekend so Little Runner can have fun at the museums).

Unfortunately, the only “cure” for RDD is to get back in to training.  For my bank account’s sake, I hope that’s soon!

Race Report: Surf n Santa

I owe you all a race report!  We’ve had some “weather” where I am and that seems to have thrown the whole region off its axis.

Anyway, Saturday was the Surf n Santa 10 Miler, Frosty 5K, and Rudolph 1K in Virginia Beach.  Little Runner and I have been anticipating this race fore-ever!  This was to be his first 5K (the Commitment Day Death March on Jan. 1 doesn’t count!) With my foot still acting dodgy, I wasn’t sure but I really didn’t want to disappoint him.  I didn’t think we would be running that hard so I popped some ibuprofen and prepared to lace up!

I adore the J & A Racing events but they are all in the southern part of the state and traffic is always a bear so we decided to go down on Friday morning so we could actually enjoy the beach and not be stressed.

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Beautiful!

Brilliant idea!  Our hotel overlooked the ocean – it was the same one we used for the Virginia is for Lovers 14K – and they had holiday lights set up along the boardwalk that we could see from our balcony.

While Friday was beautiful, the above mentioned weather was making its move that night so Saturday was cold, wet, and windy!  Bleck!  Luckily, our costumes were fairly warm.

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The Gingerbread Boy and the Fox!
SnSfunny
“Run, Run as fast as you can!”

Little Runner rocked his Rudolph 1K and he proudly told me that he didn’t go as fast as he could because he wanted to save some energy for later!

Our race began promptly at 8 am.  LR was whining a bit in the start corral – we were wave 4 – and we had an incident with the M&M candy cane he was carrying but things settled once we started moving.  I know I sound like such a gushy mom but he made me so proud!  He ran almost the entire time with just two brief walk breaks (one to eat the Mike and Ike’s from the candy stop) and we spent the entire time making up alternate holiday songs* and fantasizing about swimming in giant cups of hot cocoa.  The race started at the convention center, wound through a few side streets, and then went along boardwalk for about half a mile before turning back toward the finish.  The boardwalk was the worst because of the strong wind and blowing rain.  We started mile 3 shortly after turning from the beach and LR was beginning to tire.  Instead of giving up, he started shouting motivation slogans! “Don’t give up now!”, “Don’t quit”, “Keep going!” One of the runners by us asked if he could follow her on the 10 mile course and keep shouting that at her.

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Wet and happy!

We finished in 44 minutes and yes, hot chocolate was had with our lunch.

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Double Bling, Baby!

Registration and Packet Pick Up

J&A races are relatively inexpensive and never have registration problems.  They also have a very smooth pick up process.  We received personalized bibs and very nice race shirts, cotton for the 1K and tech for the 5K.  The 10 Miler had a race hoody that I LOVED!  They also had Santa hats and jingle bells for free.

Expo

There is always a little expo that consists mostly of  booths for other J&A races as well as some on the Outer Banks.  There was some gear, a bank, and a few other random booths.  We did finally get some running themed Christmas ornaments (I have one as my profile picture on Facebook) so I was happy.

Course Support

There was one water/Gatorade stop for the 5K and a candy stop with Mike and Ike’s.  There weren’t many spectators due to the weather but there were a lot of volunteers and two groups of professional carolers.

Finish

The finish was inside the convention center so we were immediately in a dry, warm space. There were even bleachers for our support people! There was water, power bars, and bananas in the chute with hot soup for the runners.  They also had three free beers for all runners (of age)!  I think that’s the most I’ve ever seen! My only complaint is there was a very loud band playing on one end of the exhibit hall and it was impossible to hear anything.

Final Grade

A+ I loved this race so much for many reasons!

*Dashing through the streets

With a 5K bib in hand

Through the rain we’ll go

Laughing across the land!

Ugh

This one’s a downer. Sorry.

This “no running” thing is killing me.  Not only am I seeing zero improvement in my foot, but I’m just finally (mostly) recovered from my fall last week so I’ve been on 100% rest since Nov. 23.  I know it may not seem like much but I’m really struggling right now.  I’m being smacked with some of the same mental/emotional issues that pushed me to running in the first place only now I can’t even do that.  I’m feeling very broken on so many levels and I don’t like that.

I hate sitting here, losing ground. I hate that I will have to work doubly hard to get back to where I was. I hate that I feel like the freakin’ Stay Puft man.

Blargh
Blargh

I know this will pass. I know my foot will (eventually) heal.  I know that I will be able to move to my Plan B exercises soon.  I know, I know.  But that isn’t helping me right now.

And my attitude sucks
And my attitude sucks

But, tomorrow is a new day and my body has had more time in which to heal. I may not see or feel the difference yet but I have to trust that it’s getting better.