Friday, December 27, 2013

The Journey

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” - Ernest Hemingway

I had several goals for 2013, some of which were met. Some were adjusted along the way. Others were not met at all. Through amazing experiences and some failures, I learned some things and hope to take all of my 2013 running (and recovering) experiences with me into 2014. Here's a look back at my 2013 Goals and how they turned out. 

2013 Goal 1/MARCH: Complete my third Half Marathon: the Reston Half Marathon. Do not come in last, PR. 

What I'm proud of: The training was perfect. I'm Hal Higdon's biggest fan. I'm proud of myself for sticking to the training plan through winter. I made an early decision to do all of my weekday runs on a treadmill for the first time ever. It ruled. Once I adjusted to the treadmill (I had very little running experience on a treadmill before this training began), I loved it. I really enjoyed being in lightweight clothing and running inside during darkness and especially on icy days.  When race day came, I felt ready to go, despite a nagging little pull in my right foot. The race was a blast. I was so happy to race with my friends Tricia  and Tora  and the vibe of the race was great. It was one of the few that my husband has been able to attend, along with my running partner Matthew, and my friend Alyson - what a cheering party! What was wonky: I did not PR. No, no, no. Reston is no Annapolis. I'm going to have to run a really flat course to beat my race at Annapolis.  What was really wonky: I did not know at the time that I was running on a broken foot. 

2013 Goal 2/SEP: Run two Half Marathons in one week, PR the first one, run in a tutu at the second one. 

What I'm proud of: I learned a couple of weeks after signing up for these races that I had a broken foot and was subsequently put in a cast for 8 weeks and I still managed to run both races. The first one was the Chicago Half and I ran it with my little brother Mike. We met in Chicago for an Epic Brother/Sister Running Weekend and we had a total blast. The race was amazing.  We also ate and drank our way though the awesome city of Chicago. The second race was Diva's Wine Country Half in Leesburg, Virginia. I met up with my friends Tricia and Tora and Shirley and met (for the first time "in real life" several other women from my virtual running group, My Running Girl Friends. If there are any female runners out there who are interested in joining this international running group, leave a comment below and I'll give you details.  I wore a costume (yes, a tutu) which was a definite first for me. I have this "thing" with costumes and running: if you're going to wear one, you had better be confident and good! These are two feelings I struggle with in my running and thus, I didn't feel "worthy" of the tutu. This is, I realize, completely ridiculous. I know that now. I joined tons of women in costumes who ran a really really tough course after a huge start delay and despite having raced 6 days before, I felt great. What was wonky: Nothing really. I didn't PR Chicago but mofo, I thought I would have to walk portions of the race because of my foot and I managed to run the whole thing with a smile on my face. That race was so so so fun. It's flat too. With a longer training period, I could have raged. I love Chicago and hope to run that race again one day. It's so huge that logistically it's a little scary, but they do a good job and running with thousands and thousands of people is such a boost.  Diva's was a total blast. There were logistical nightmares but I think because it was my second race that week, and I knew I was just there to have fun, that the start delay and the major error in course description didn't really bother me. I loved running an (almost) all female race and though it is my very very slowest Half Marathon, it was also the one during which I laughed and smiled the most. 

2013 Goal 3/OCT: Crew my running partner at the Boulder 100

What I am proud of: Mostly I'm proud of Matthew, for running a freaking hundred miles. Also: I'm proud of myself for staying up for 33 hours, for being a pretty good crew captain, and for pacing Matthew for an unexpected 26 miles. What went wonky: Not too much. There were no emergency errors and the things we forgot or could have done better were relatively minor and have been added to the crew list for the next one. At Bull Run 50, I was fastidious about recording splits. At Boulder 100, the course was a loop, and there was an official checking times at each completed loop and half loop, so I wasn't paying as much attention in the middle of the night and instead went off the "official" times. This is a story for my Boulder 100 race report, but suffice to say, it will not happen again. The race was a life changing event. To watch people run 100 miles through day and night, is shocking and beyond impressive. To have a crew of Jeff and our friends Sandy, Dayna (and her girls) and Matt made the race so much fun. Having Matthew's coach Tim  there saved us from questioning anything - his wisdom and hilarious personality combined with a lifetime of athletic experience made the race go from surreal to achievable. Having all of the support from everyone I mentioned made the race so awesome.  What went really wonky: Besides nearly murdering a race official for mis-counting Matthew's number of loops completed, I didn't realize that while pacing, I had somehow broken my foot again.      

2013 Goal 4 / NOV-DEC: Fuck the long runs, and speed up! Choose 2 5K races. Use the first for a base pace and use the second as a measurement of improvement. 

What I am proud of: I worked hard on speed and cadence. I started using a metronome. I had NO idea that my turnover was so slow. I started getting faster! I definitely respond well to speed training and feel like I'll be able to get so much faster with some more training. What went wonky: I learned shortly after the 100 that my foot was re-fractured so I went back into the boot. I missed my first race. Just about the time I started running again, I got the flu and missed my second race. So much for the 5K. Maybe it's not my distance after all?   

Weird year. Fun, for sure. I had a blast running with my running partner and friends. I learned to run faster for a short period of time. I learned to run for fun. It was a frustrating year as well. Lots of broken foot time. I learned about taking time off to heal. I learned about cross training (cycling and yoga are my new go-tos and don't bother my foot). I learned patience. I learned to stop when something feels really strange. I learned about humility. The irony is that after all the time that I diligently spent in the cast and boot, I have a feeling that I've been mis-diagnosed. That's something to figure out for 2014, after I look at races and think about distances and make a running plan. I hope we'll be able to run together next year!    

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