Weekly Training Report: January 19th – 25th

Jan 19-25

In case you were wondering why I haven’t posted a weekly training report in a couple of weeks, it’s because the two weeks I didn’t post for can be summed very quickly. Ran some races in Disney World and had a HORRENDOUS cold and was down and out for a week.

Monday – 2.00 / 19:47

I was finally feeling much better but I still wasn’t feeling 100%. But at the same time, I was itching to run. I knew that running outside wouldn’t be too smart so I opted to go to the gym and run there instead. Except I forgot the Track team uses the track Monday – Friday from 1-4… so I had roughly 30 minutes to kill. Since I loathe the treadmill, that was not an option and I didn’t want to lift first. Twiddling my thumbs for 30 minutes was not an option either so I decided to row for 25 minutes… and had the blisters to prove it afters… Oooops. Then it was time for my two mile run. Thankfully, I felt pretty good the entire time and only had a few mild coughing fits after the run… which I expected as per my normal getting over a cold (with cough) routine. Lifting was rather difficult with massive blisters on my hands though so I didn’t do what I had originally intended.

Tuesday – 2.00 / 19:58

Back to work and back to the gym again. Since I have no races of distance until the end of the May, I decided to cut back on mileage some. It also gets me out of running in the dark. Back to the indoor track and this run also felt pretty good. Decided that since it was my first week back at working out that I should just run comfortably and not push my pace. I then did some lower body lifting avoiding the machines I used to all the time. Possible that I attempted too much off the bat but it felt good… even if the price would be soreness the following day.

Wednesday – 2.00 / 19:57

Yep… really sore. Forgot how it feels to run the day after leg day. During the first half mile of the run I felt clumsy and like my legs didn’t want to cooperate. My stride definitely felt off but eventually my legs loosened up a bit and I fell into my stride. After the run, I focused on the upper body muscles. It was difficult to do some of the exercises I wanted to do since I still had blisters on my hands… but that was fixed when I did some lat pull downs and the blisters popped.

Thursday – 2.08 / 21:14

I was very tired and wanted to get to bed a little earlier so I decided to skip the gym and just run outside. It felt good to be outside… until I came across a large patch of ice and almost no way to avoid it except go over it. So I slowed down and went for it. There were several other patches of ice and they definitely slowed me down. No worries though since I was just enjoying the run outside.

Friday – Rest

Opted to take a rest day and get one of my errands for the week done. I also managed to get my laundry done… which meant I was able to avoid the errand to go buy new underwear since I was almost out of clean underwear :-p

Saturday – 3.00 / 29:39

It was a gorgeous day… for Chicago in January and I was excited to run in the sun. I laced up and headed out for 5 miles. Except I had an incredibly unhappy hamstring. The entire time it felt like my legs wouldn’t turn over correctly and I had one pesky spot that just would not loosen up. As much as I wanted to push through it, I also didn’t think it would be smart to do so I cut the run short.

Sunday – Rest

Back to my normal Sunday routine… lazy morning on the couch and meal prep for the week. Part of me wanted to do some cleaning and re-oragnzing but knew it would take longer than a day. Instead I decided my kitchen needed a good deep cleaning. So at least I was mildly productive.

Race Report: Walt Disney World Half Marathon

To say I slept uneasy the night before was an understatement. I was anxious… anxious in a way that I hadn’t been for the 5K and the 10K. I always get race anxiety to some degree but this was different.

For the first time since December 2011, I was going to take on a half marathon. I had zero intention of running for time but the fact remained… It had been a LONG time since I had taken on this distance and I knew it was a gamble.

Our new plan of attack, to get on the bus slightly later and thus not have to stand in the cold as long worked out.

As soon as we got off the bus… I felt it… My demons returned. I tried to ignore them but it wasn’t happening. Luckily I had some distractions for a little while.

Vijay and I parted with Eric as soon as we got to gear check (Vijay and I had the same gear check tent). I then waited for Vijay while he waited in line for the port-a-potties. I had already decided to not start drinking water until I got to the start corral and I would then run with the bottle of water (I failed to check the course map and therefore did not know there would be water at about every mile).

Vijay and I had to part soon after and here is where the freak out really started…

I never said anything to Eric or Vijay and I was doing my best to internalize this freak out but it was difficult. I text someone that I was freaking out. He helped me once before and knowing that he has an odd sleep schedule and might actually be awake was a good thing… I needed support…

My freaking out got worse the closer my corral got to starting. I tried to distract myself with filming the start and the fireworks for a previous corral and then took some pictures but I couldn’t shake it. I was going to be running 13.1 miles with demons…

Fan-Bloody-Tastic

I ditched my warmer clothes and prepared to start my race.

IMG_0274

As soon as the fireworks went off and I started to run I noticed how trashed my legs were. This was going to be painful. Not only was I running with demons but I was also running on trashed legs… lovely

The first stretch of the race was rather long and it was rather un-nerving to have fireworks go off behind you. I knew what it was but it was still a tad rattling… so not what I needed.

There were some characters along the route early on but the first 4 miles were pretty boring. The characters helped a TON as did all of the volunteers and spectators that were out there. But the lack of scenery and the dark only made the demons louder and I was really struggling a lot. I just kept telling myself to get to point A or B. I couldn’t see my watch without turning on the back light so I stopped when I wanted to take a picture and walked through the water stations but otherwise ran. The race was broken up in my mind in small obstacles… I needed to focus on the smaller picture… it was the only coping mechanism I could come up with on short notice.

I started to do better when the sun started to come up. But I still needed to break the race up mentally. It had never occurred to me that my demons would return so I had no plan of attack…. Still not sure if that was a good thing or not

Somewhere shortly after the 5 mile mark (I really was trying to ignore the mile markers to help me cope) we entered Magic Kingdom.

HOLY MOLY!!!! Not only was this insanely awesome but there were a TON of spectators. I stopped to take some selfies (which I really suck at) and just enjoy everything around me.

IMG_0294

My stomach was a tad unhappy and I knew it was the start of GI Distress so I decided a bathroom detour was a good idea (again, I stopped my watch). This was also when I ditched my water since I was felt confident I wouldn’t need to worry about dehydration (Thank you runDisney for the multitude of water stations).

I was briefly amused by the guys near the merry-go-round handing out kleenex and then we were running underneath the castle!!! So much fun!

IMG_0295

I stopped to try to get in a better selfie and a nice gentleman offered to take a couple pics of me if I took a few of him and his GF. Happy to oblige and he got two really great shots of me with the castle in the background.

IMG_0300

Back to this running thing… I was stopping more often in the park for pictures but I was having fun. And well… at least I was distracted enough to ignore the demons…

After Magic Kingdom we were on a stretch of road (later found out this ran in front of the golf course). There were characters and more spectators but the sun was getting higher in the sky and my demons got louder.

The struggle was getting more and more difficult. I was hurting a lot and I still had a good chunk of race to go. Doubting myself became all too common of a thought running through my head. I decided to start using my original running plan… Run until the mile marker then walk a quarter of a mile.

It was helping but I couldn’t shake the demons…

When I hit the 9 mile mark, I text someone again. He had already text me back so I knew he was awake. I told him I was struggling. I didn’t tell him all the doubts running through my head but I think he knew. He cracked a few jokes and told me he had my back… and called me a dork for being sentimental…. which made me only chuckle more.

Nine miles of a race with demons and being insanely sore… more than half way there… just under 4 miles left… My emotions were starting to go haywire.

Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the race was around… I think 11 miles (again… I was trying to ignore the number on the mile markers) they had one of the plastic green toy soldiers from toy story…  I could hear him yelling at people to do push-ups. Each time someone stopped they had to do push-ups. Wasting time by being on your cell phone… stop and do push-ups!

I couldn’t help but laugh. I also thought of someone… It reminded me so much of him… He had faith in me… It was time to finish this race.

Except we had several on/off ramps to deal with. My legs were not happy with hills. The sun was up in full force and I was beyond emotional at this point. I was tired and my legs hurt and I was starting to get cold (go figure)

Less than a mile to go and we are now running through Epcot. I knew the end was near but I couldn’t keep my emotions in check.

Without a doubt, I knew I was finishing this race… But I still had a pesky demon on my shoulder and my emotions were out of control… Although, it is difficult to run and cry at the same time… thankfully…

I stopped several times for pictures and tried to enjoy the last mile. There were a ton of high-fives but I was struggling to not cry… although… lack of water in your system does help

IMG_0308

As we started to round the last few turns… the ones that had been the same the previous two days, I got my phone out of my pocket and turned on the video to film my running into the finish line… It’s a horrible video because of all of the shaking but I am happy to have it

Somewhere, somehow, I managed to speed up a little bit and crossed my finish line.

If I had an liquid in my system I would have cried. Those demons are gone…. Or they damn well better be now

I text someone again to tell him that I did it… that I finished the race. I got my medal and was ecstatic… sore but ecstatic. I happily stopped for the photographer who wanted to take pictures of runners with medals. Then I looked at my watch… excluding my detour to the restroom it was a PR… HOLY $HIT!!! I thanked him again for talking my through the last 4 miles and he told me to go get bacon mac and cheese… which sounded incredible but wasn’t on the menu for us.

IMG_0313

Eric was waiting for me right outside my gear check tent when I walked out. He told me how his race went and I told him about mine. He also informed me that there was gear on sale… Since I was cold and didn’t have enough with me to get (or stay) warm for the immediate future, off we went. Totally ingenious BTW

IMG_0314

I text several other people and told them what happened while we waited for Vijay to finish. Once he did, we immediately headed for the monorail for our brunch reservation at Chef Mickey’s!

FullSizeRender-4

IMG_0321

As for my “official” time… well, yes it is slower than my watch since it includes my restroom break…

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 7.11.51 PM

But I don’t care because I DID IT!!!!

WDW Half Finisher Cert

 

Race Report: Walt Disney World 10K

3:00 am wake up call… ugh! I am a morning person and this was brutal for me. Luckily we had less wind today so it was chilly but not nearly as cold out. Much more manageable.

We were on the bus by 4 am as per the guideline for getting to the race on time. And again there was a LOT of waiting before we could start. Eric and I finally had the epiphany that maybe we could wait a little longer since our hotel was so close to the start… thus a better game plan for the next two days.

Vijay was, again, our personal gear check which was nice. Eric also decided to forego his A corral placement to wait with me in my C corral… we just wouldn’t run together. There was also a lot less huddling. Vijay text me that he wasn’t able to stand in the spot as the day before so I would need to look for him after crossing the start to toss him my sweater.

With a round of fireworks, we were off and running… but I couldn’t see Vijay. Luckily, he spotted me and shouted out my name. I then saw him and tossed him my sweater… and hit a women smack in the face… oops.

And as much as I hate to admit it, I chuckled about that. It wasn’t intentional but I guess that is the dangers of standing near the start line of a race when it is chilly out.

Eric and I quickly parted and I noticed instantly that this course was drastically different than the previous day. We were lead out of the parking lot and running on a street. I saw that soon we would be running on an on/off ramp.

I originally had a plan of attack for the race but ditched and just sort of went with how I was feeling. As always, I walked hills… and with an on/off ramp so early in the race, I walked rather soon after the start.

Not going to lie… the first half of the race was insanely boring since we were going through highway before we made it into the park. As we got closer and closer to the halfway mark I noticed how badly I had to pee. It was only getting worse and I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold it for another 5K. I decided to wait until I was at least in the park to use an actual restroom instead of a port-a-pottie

Except… apparently I wasn’t the only one with this idea as there was a bit of a line. I decided to stop my watch to get an idea of my time without the restroom break knowing my official time would reflect higher because it would include the restroom break.

After my little detour I started running again and felt MUCH better… running felt easier again. Amazing what happens when you don’t have to pee :-p

We were running through Epcot again and the first part of the park that we would be running through was the world showcase. This time, since I wasn’t running with Eric, I opted to stop and take some pictures whenever I saw something I liked.

Yea… that running plan I had… total crap shoot at this point.

I was having a ton of fun though and I loved running through Epcot. Soon we were running through the Boardwalk… which I have no recollection of from my prior trips when I was 5 and 9. It was cool to see another part of the park and we had a ton of crowd support too. Although I am sure of these people were staying in hotels and awoken by our running. Since it was still rather early (99% sure it was still before 7 am), I imagine they would have preferred to still be asleep.

As I neared the finish line, I started to notice that my legs were trashed. All the walking from the previous two days and the two days of running were already catching up to me. I briefly realized running a half the next day was going to be painful… especially since we had another park visit after the race.

IMG_0222

But no matter…. I was having fun and just enjoying myself. Time was not important to me so I enjoyed everything around me and even tried to give as many high fives as possible. I also stopped for a selfie

IMG_0223

After crossing the finish line, I checked my watch. Excluding my restroom break, the race was not a not personal worse for a 10K so I was pleased with that.

IMG_0231

I grabbed two bottles of water (I would need to hydrate a LOT throughout the day), a powerade and my snack box and quickly found Eric and Vijay.

We immediately headed to the buses to take us back to the resort and luckily this time, we did not have to wait and were able to get right on the bus.

IMG_0229

Two races down and one to go (for me)… I didn’t know then what was in store for me the next morning…

IMG_0235

Oh – and my official results for the race

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 7.08.53 PM

Race Report: Walt Disney World 5K

Packing for a trip to the south when you live in Chicago and will be traveling in January is always quite the challenge. We had been diligent in checking the weather before leaving… But mother nature is fickle…

At the last minute, I had tossed in my lightest running hat, gloves and arm warmers. I had also decided to pack my sleeveless wind-breaker. What I failed to pack were pants, wool socks and… well… the rest of my winter running gear. I also came to the brilliant conclusion that the sweaters I had been meaning to donate for about a year now would make wonderful “ditch” clothing at races. I would be able to stay a tad warmer and the races always donate the ditch clothing anyway so win-win. So a sweater was thrown into the bag along with a few long sleeves I decided I no longer wanted.

We awoke on Thursday to temps of around 40… and windchill of 28-30. I may be a Chicago girl but it was COLD. Arriving at the race site with more than an hour to kill before the start didn’t help either. As I looked around, I quickly realized a good portion of the people running the race were southerns and therefore had no idea what to wear for the weather. In fact, I saw most of them run the entire race with their plastic bags around them the entire time… which I will admit, made me chuckle a bit.

IMG_0168

Eric was seeded in Corral A but I was in Corral C. He decided he would wait with me in my corral and then we would part ways once we started to run. My original plan was to run/walk the race with planned out intervals. But on race morning, I ditched my plan because it was cold and I knew I would want to keep moving.

When we got into the corral, everyone was huddled together so we joined in the pack. It didn’t take too long before people filled in behind us and it was a little warmer with some of the wind being blocked. One thing is for sure, when you are freezing, you do NOT want to wait to start running. Unfortunately, the 5K had approximately 8 minutes between corrals…

As soon as our corral started moving towards the start line, I noticed I had to pee but it was too late. I saw Vijay before the start line and was glad I was able to toss him my sweater so I could wear it the next day as well.

After our fire works, we were off and running… and it was CROWDED.

Most people didn’t want to part with their ditch clothing which made it a little more difficult to get around people. But we weaved and bobbed and managed to find some space to run.

The entire 5K was through Epcot but there were some back streets and a little bit of parking lot as well. It was also pitch black. The race had a ton of lights set up so there was never an issue seeing the course but the lights were a little blinding at a few points.

It wasn’t long before we were running through the world showcase at Epcot and I was having a blast… except I REALLY had to pee. I knew I could deal for a 5K but it was nearly impossible for me to run a faster pace and I kept asking Eric to slow down.

IMG_0171
I realize this is blurry but I was running while taking the picture

I was able to pick it up a tad at the finish line… but I think my motivation there might have been getting to a port-a-pottie :-p

We got our medals and even though they are vinyl, I really like them. The race had full bottles of water and powerade for us along with snack pack boxes.

IMG_0185

We found Vijay quickly and headed for the line to take the shuttle back to the hotel. As soon as I realized we would be waiting more than 5 minutes (Our hotel was only about 10 min away and I thought I could hold it until we got back) I decided to use one of the port-a-potties conveniently located right next to the lines for the shuttle.

IMG_0181
Sort of thawing out on the bus back to the resort

The 5K was not “officially” timed unless you were doing Dopey but my time was 33:54 for a 10:40 pace. Not my best 5K time but it also wasn’t my worse and I never had any intention of running the race for time.

IMG_0178

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – Overview

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – 4 Races in four consecutive days… A 5K on Thursday, 10K on Friday, Half Marathon on Saturday and a Full Marathon on Sunday

I can sum up this experience in three words… Amazing but Exhausting!

This trip was two years in the making… Eric and I decided we wanted to give it a go. He would do the full challenge of all 4 races (known as Dopey) and I would take on just the first three races (In case you missed the memo… I will not do a full). We then decided that Vijay should join. I told him in no uncertain terms that he would be traveling with us. Luckily, he is good natured enough to agree.

Full review of each race will be coming soon but first I wanted to talk a little bit about the overall experience, the packet pick-up process and the organization. Before I go further, I need to mention that we decided to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort. Logistically, this made the most sense and when you net out the cost we really weren’t spending much more by staying at a resort. And really, the convenience factor alone is worth any extra cost.

I was fortunate in that Eric planned the entire thing. He price compared, got fast passes for the popular rides we would want to try out and made reservations for meals… essentially he did all the research and all Vijay and I had to do was follow. So really, there was very little for me to do outside of pack… he was even nice enough to pick up my suitcase from my apartment so I didn’t have to lug the thing to work with me!

We arrived Tuesday night and after taking the shuttle to the resort and checking in, we all went to sleep. There was a long day ahead of us on Wednesday and then we would have 4 days of racing (well, 4 for Eric, 3 for Me and 1 for Vijay).

Wednesday we were up early so that we could be on the first shuttle to packet pick-up. The Dopey challenge folks had it the easiest… well I suppose the Goofy challenge folks did too (those doing the half and full) but I am not positive of their pick-up process.

It is unfortunate that there was no challenge for people who only wanted to take on the first three races instead of all four. But as it was, I had to go to each individual kiosk for my race packet. It was all extremely organized but there were other people picking up their packets so I had to wait in three individual lines which kind of sucked.

We then wandered around some of the official merchandise and I found plenty of things to spend my money on. After that, we had to go to a different building to get our race shirts… odd but it wasn’t difficult. Luckily the lines for that were short. My shirts were a little big on me but when I registered, I hadn’t lost any of the weight I had gained back… now that I was back down to my old size, the shirts were big. I didn’t want to hassle with exchanging so I just stuck with the original sizes I requested when I registered last April.

Once we were done wandering around the expo, we headed back to the hotel to drop everything we bought off and then headed to Magic Kingdom for lots of fun.

Thursday was the “latest” race start time of 6:15 am so we had a pretty early alarm. Vijay was kind enough to be our personal gear check for the 5K and the 10K. Getting to the race site was insanely easy. The corrals were well managed but I didn’t really enjoy the long wait between corrals. Totally loved the fireworks to start each corral though!

The 10K on Friday was also just as easy to get to and luckily there was less of a wait time between the corrals. And still totally loving the fireworks, which were bigger for this race.

By the half on Saturday, we were all pretty tired and Vijay was running as well so we had to use gear check. I was highly impressed with the drop off and for the first time did not have to wait in line to drop off my bag at gear check. There was a bit of a hike to the start corral but everything was labeled well and clearly. I also have never seen so many port-a-potties at a race before. Not only did they have a ton before we got to gear check but they had a ton after gear check and even more closer to the start corrals. The one thing I loved about the half that I have NEVER seen at any other half is that there was a water station just about every mile. I had started off running with water (I did not check the course map ahead of time) but quickly figured out that I water wasn’t going to be an issue for this race. Since I was a tad worried about my water intake, this was a HUGE relief for me. The other thing that was ingenious was having Half Marathon gear for sale after crossing the finish line. I was quite chilled and took full advantage of being able to purchase a sweatshirt after the race while Eric and I waited for Vijay to finish.

Between all the water stations at the races, the transportation to and from the races and the on course support, I am beyond impressed with runDisney. I went into this event considering it a one and done but I would happily do another runDisney event in the future. Without a doubt the most organized series of races I have seen… especially considering the size of each event. We were told there were 12,000 each for the 5K and the 10K and then 22,000 for the Half and the Full.

I had an absolute blast running through the parks and even though I was beyond exhausted by the end (so much so that I came down with the worse cold I have had in years) I would recommend this series of races to anyone.

2014 in Review

I made some pretty basic and simple resolutions for the year. I knew where I wanted to be with my running and I knew how to get there. As far as my running goals go, I had two. I wanted to build a solid base and focus on running 5 days a week. These two goals go hand in hand and I choose to take a very slow start to the base building. So let’s review…

All Jan 2014

In January, I spent most of my time at the gym. In case you lived under a rock… or decided to completely block it from memory, it was BRUTALLY cold in January… Well all of winter really but January was by far the worse. I focused mainly on running at least two miles a day five days a week and for the most part nailed it. I am also strength training on a regular basis. Only ran one race because I took a DNS on the first. Not bother by that as much as I had been because the weather was just horrendous. I would say January was a HUGE Success.

Feb 2014 All

For February, I had originally wanted to focus on running three miles a day five days a week. But that didn’t entirely happen. We were busy at work and I was working longer hours plus going to gym straight from work. My days were roughly 15 hours long and I was starting to feel the fatigue. To top it all off, I was finding it more and more difficult to get in the mileage indoors. Mentally, it is a lot more difficult to run indoors for me and it was becoming a losing battle. So I started to add in some extra rest days. But despite taking more rest days, I still had my highest Feburary mileage ever so there was that.

March 2014

By the beginning of March, I was DONE with indoor running. I found a good spot to run that was clear of ice and always well maintained… the zoo parking lot. Started running laps there to avoid the LFT which was beyond bitterly cold… being just a couple blocks off the lake was a HUGE help. Despite thinking I was over my fear, I later learned (though never wanted to admit) that the fear was very much still real. I was adding in a longer run once a week but I was still anxious every time I needed to do the run. The month was successful but the fear and anxiety was starting to get ugly toward the end of the month.

April 2014

I went into April with a lot of hope and then everything went to hell in a handbasket. My first week was a success and then everything after that was failure after failure. And thus, fear and anxiety won again. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the main reason I started to bail so easily on running was fearing my longer run. I HAD found the cause of the nausea issues and it was gone but the fear was still there and I failed to notice that. Further, I failed to analyze what was really going on with me. Easily the highlight of the month was my trip to Boston to spectate the Marathon. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget.

May 2014

To say that May was a bad running month would be an understatement. I threw in the towel on training and decided that ignorance was bliss when it came to running SF10. If I didn’t run and discover how much I had lost then I could be completely unaware of how horrible a race I was going to have. But despite that theory, I also prepared myself mentally for a REALLY bad race. But the race was not as bad as I had anticipated and if not for some GI Issues, I likely would have nailed my goal. After the race, It was time to get back on track and I used the Summer Run Streak to get me there. At least one mile a day from Memorial Day to 4th of July.

June 2014

June was the month of the Run Streak. When I started the streak, I wasn’t sure how it would go. I had never run every single day and I suspected that my body would fight me for it. But, as the month went on, I discovered that I was surviving. If I felt tired I would only run my mile to keep the streak going. The other thing that I started to notice was that my pace was starting to get faster. It was also a really busy month in general. I had a couple of races, took some really awesome workout classes and volunteered at Ragnar where I met some really awesome people that lead to me joining a new team which continued the meeting of really cool people.

July 2014

I decided as the streak was coming to end and July was starting that I wanted to extend the streak. But my body had other plans and apparently really does need a rest day. I got a cold and was sidelined for a week, thus ending my run streak, and forced me to take a DNS on a race I was really looking forward to and thought I would PR. But despite that, I still had a very successful month. I also noticed that my average pace dropped even more. I was getting faster and wasn’t entirely sure how or why since I wasn’t doing speed work. The last day of the month, I received a HUGE curve ball when I was laid off from my job. All of my original plans went out the window.

Aug 2014

August was… well… interesting. The first week of the month I was an emotional roller coaster. There was a constant battle of wanting to be alone and also not wanting to be alone. Which doesn’t make that much sense but there was a constant back and forth. But in the end a trip to MI to visit my Aunt and Uncle… and do lots of Jell-O Shots, helped me deal. There were also a handful of people that really helped me through it all. Despite having all the free time in the world, mentally, I just couldn’t a lot and I lost a lot of the motivation I had to start strength training again. Instead, I threw myself into running. In fact, I clung to it. For the third month in a row, my average pace got faster. No longer did I think that was a fluke and instead it became fact… I WAS getting faster. I also used the lack of a job and more free time to start trying out a new nutrition strategy. I ended the month with a 5K Race and finally nailed a goal that I had been chasing for three years. The month started off rocky but at least ended well.

Sept 2014

With September came my good friend fear and anxiety. I never sat down and made the conscious effort to deal with my running demons, but that is exactly what I did. The entire month was a mental battle. A failed attempt at a longer run (which I ended up completing successfully) didn’t help matters either. I was forcing it and not having a job made it a little easier to force it because I could completely freak out if I needed. And oh boy did I do a lot of freaking out. I was lucky in that I had someone fully supporting me throughout all of this. This person had far more faith in me than I did in myself. They knew I was completely capable and supported me even when I had zero faith in myself. For me, it all came down to one run… an 8 miler… an 8 mile run with demons.  The run scared me to no end and I was beyond freaking out. But a phone call of support helped me out big time. It calmed me and it gave me the mental strength to do battle. The run was a huge success and I finally felt like I had trust in myself to train the way I wanted to. For the 4th month in a row my pace was faster. I also managed to pull a random 5K PR out of thin air… A race that I never set as a goal race and had zero intentions of running for time. Kind of amazing what happens when training goes well.

Oct 2014

October was an incredible month. My 8 mile run was what I needed to get rid of my running demons. I had a LOT of solid training. I did CrossFit twice which I really enjoyed but lack of car and schedule has made it difficult to get back out there. I also managed to do my longest training run ever! I wasn’t alone on that run and the support was awesome… It was also the first long run without a freak out in years. I got in my first ever trail run and LOVED it! I also want to go on more trail runs… but that requires schedules aligning with the person who will take me there. I focused on my race at the end of the month. A goal race for me. I already had a new shiny PR but I wanted a new goal… and it would also be a PR if I nailed it. I also had someone running it with me. The day before the race, I was offered and accepted a new job. And in less than a week I would be in NYC to have a lot of fun with friends. Not only did I nail my goal… but I smashed it… by a LOT. And thus came another shiny new PR. The last week of the month, I realized that I was within reach of a 100 mile month… which I missed because my left calf was overly tight which caused a weird in the back of my knee. With another goal race a week away, I didn’t want to take any chances. Missing the 100 mile month still irks me…

November 2014Ahhhh November… Not the month I planned for but such is life. I started off the month by crossing a huge must off my running “to do” list… run through NYC and Central Park with the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line. I figured if I ran a race in Boston that crosses that finish line (and continues on for another half mile) and I have run a race in Chicago with the same finish line (Shamrock months before the Marathon…) then why not cross the same finish line of the NYC Marathon? The weather was less than stellar but I still enjoyed the race. I also got see an awesome play while in NYC with Chris… awesome and also quite the tear jerker. Spectating the marathon was fun and it caps off a year of World Marathon Spectating. I then discovered that apparently I cannot read a calendar correctly and ended up road tripping it back to Chicago with Chris. It was a fun trip… even if his singing involves hitting notes that only dogs can hear. Then I had a goal race to prep for… except everything I did in NYC and back in Chicago leading up to the race was counter-productive. I still managed a nearly 14 minute PR at the Navy Pier race but I missed my goal time by close to three minutes… and it still bothers me. I started my new job and the entire month was spent adjusting. The running took a bit of a back seat and I discovered I hate running in the dark.

December 2014

I’d like to say that I ended the year on a high note but for the most part I slacked off. Despite that, I managed to get in some decent miles to give myself my highest ever December Mileage. To top it all off, I also hit my lofty goal for the year and ran just over 700 miles in total for 2014. Started cross-training to a degree with doing stairs as often as possible with my co-workers. It was my first month with no races since February… which is an odd feeling. There were some races during the month that I considered signing up for but ended up deciding against it. Oddly enough, this December was far better weather wise than last December so racing wouldn’t have been a bad idea but oh well.

YtY 2014

2014 can easily be summed up as my return to running. It was a terrific year! There were a few bumps in the road and I didn’t COMPLETELY stick to my goals but looking at the broader picture, I would say that overall I accomplished all the goals I set for myself. 2015 is a new year and I have new goals for myself. For the first time in a long time, I have confidence in my running. I know what I am capable of and I plan to use this new found confidence to tackle 2015.

Month in Review: December 2014

December 2014

Let’s just say that December was hardly the month I planned to have. Running in the dark and adjusting to a new schedule was starting to get to me. Not to mention everything that goes into the Holiday season with mulitple parties to attend. I even got a slight head cold which told me I needed to slow down a bit. But I made the best of it.

Toward the end of the month, I started to do stairs with some co-workers. It is a daily thing but I am not always able to join. Sometimes I do actually have to work :-p It has been fun joining the group though and I am really enjoying it. Definitely does not hurt to get in a little extra exercise during the work day.

Dec 2014 Short

To put it mildly, I started to slack on training. Once I started to realize that my body needed a little more rest than it was getting I started to really think about my goals for the beginning of 2015 and the races I had coming up. The reality is that I have NO goal races on my calendar until the end of May. Yes, I have this little series of races in January but I NEVER planned or intended to run them for time. I know I can finish the races and since time is not my concern then I don’t really need to kill myself in training right now. It might hurt a bit, don’t get me wrong, but I can survive that.

Once I realized that, I stopped stressing about running and just did what I could when I could. However, that didn’t stop me from giving myself a little tester. One day I decided that I really wanted to get in 8 miles. It has been a few months since I have done a training run by myself… and really, the last training run I did by myself was the 8 miler I did at the end of September where I completely freaked out. So I really wanted to see if I would freak out again. I am happy to report that I did not.

Dec 2014 YtY

Despite my less than stellar month, I still managed to get in some decent mileage. As such, I ended the month with my highest ever December Mileage. So definitely please with that.

YtY 2014

In addition to having my highest ever December mileage, I also had my highest mileage for the year. I managed to get in just over 700 miles for the year. It was a lofty goal that I had set myself at the beginning of the year that I was never sure if I would be able to hit but as soon as I noticed how close I was, I made sure to get in the miles.

Avg Dec 2014

Even though there were less running days, I did make those days count by trying to keep the mileage a little higher. Even though it would have been smarter to keep the average above 5 miles, I am happy with 4 miles. Also glad that I was able to keep my pace under 10:00. I have definitely noticed that I am slower in the extreme cold so it is good that I was still able to keep my pace at a decent clip.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 I look back at my December and though I know I started to slack, I also know that I put in some good work on the days I did run. I am not the runner I was last year and I am certainly not the runner I was years ago. With that knowledge, I am excited for January!