Thursday, December 30, 2010

Memory Lane

It's that time of year when we all (most of us anyway) look back on the past year....and then ahead to the fresh new one about to start.

I can hardly believe this year is almost over....and am even more shocked with all I've accomplished.  Although I didn't check off the main running goal I had set for myself this time last year (running Rocket City)....I'm very pleased with where I'm at.  I'm going to take a little stroll down the 2010 Memory Lane...
January-notice the pond is iced over!
I started out January 11th...It was TWELVE degrees outside!  I walked 30 minutes...wearing SEVERAL layers of clothes, including my giant down winter coat!!  By the end of the month, I was hooked.  I was walking to warm up, then running/walking in various intervals (running  up to about a minute), then walking to cool down.  My longest distance was 2.39 miles (which took me 32:41 to complete).  Quote of the month:  "The goal is to get to where I can run comfortably for that middle 10 minutes."  ((Running comfortably for ten minutes isn't even a good warm up anymore!!))

This is when the goofy pre-race pose started!

In February, I signed up for (and ran) my very first (real) race-the Wounded Warrior.  It was supposed to be a 5K, but thanks to weather it was shortened to a basically a 3K.  I achieved all my goals in the race-1) not be last, 2) run the whole time, and 3) pass someone!!  When I run out on that course now I think about that morning (more often than not).  That girl didn't have any idea she could run!!  Notice the cotton long sleeve shirt.  I had one like 3 layers under that, too!!  Plus I was wearing running tights under my pants!  I was in complete awe of all the "real" runners out there that day.  I can't wait to do this race again!

My calves had started bothering me early on.  I wish I had known then what I know now--it was a matter of strength.  If I had worked on over all strength, particularly the fronts of my lower legs, AND if I had RICEd, and rolled, I don't think I would have had the injury that was coming on.  Quote of the month:  Train by my instruments.  (I need to keep that one in mind!)

By March (with an ever painful left calf) I was running 5/1 intervals and had gotten up to FOUR MILES (average pace of 12:26).  I had started a training group with Fleet Feet to train for Cotton Row where I met Speedy...someone who would come to be one of my best friends!!  Who knew that she and I would be coaching the group just a year later??!!  I don't have any pictures from March because it was pretty much "just" training the whole time.  Quote of the month would be a tie between "Keep running and stick with the plan" and "Cross train!"
That contraption on my hip is a heart rate monitor I had to wear for 21 days...
A lot of good things happened in April.  I ran my first "real" 5K (Cookie Dash in 33:19), I won a six month membership to Riveria Fitness and started strength training, I ran hills (and on the trails) for the first time, I went to the doctor (and started PT) because of the pain in my left calf, and I called myself a "real runner"!!  Quote of the month:  "When I get in better running shape, I can certainly see myself trail running." 
I had to take my own pre-race photo since I was all alone that morning!
May...Even though my left calf had been hurting since the beginning, May is the "injury" month in my mind.  The pain had ramped up to the point I was limping a good bit of the time.  I simply couldn't take it any longer and scheduled an MRI just before Cotton Row (my goal race at the time).  Because I go to church with my doctor I found out the results (periostitis) before race day...although I didn't let that stop me from rimping (run/limping) through the 10K (at a horrible time of 1:17:36).  May was a painful month.  Because I had been so stubborn in the previous months I had a TERRIBLE 10K experience ...but I did finish what I had started and found out I'm not as wimpy as I think I am (but don't tell my husband!)  I also ran an 8K that month...and pretty much met my goals for that race (see the goals above for Wounded Warrior).  My time wasn't great (58:27), but I was proud that, other than just a little 10 second break, I ran the whole time (even through pain).  Quote of the month:  "I overlooked the pain I was in."  (Not a smart thing...but -hopefully- lesson learned.)

June was tough.  I couldn't run, and didn't know what the 5-6 weeks off would do to me.  But...I discovered Newtons and spin class, and I embraced a whole new way of eating thanks to the diagnosis of multiple food allergies.  This month was a turning point for me.  Instead of the time off causing me to lose steam, it actually helped me more than I could have imagined at the time.  My husband tells me now that he fully expected me to quit.  It would have been understandable because of all I had been through and given my MO.  Needless to say, I didn't give up.  No pictures, but the quote of the month will only be truly funny when you read my race schedule for the year... "...even though I'd really love to get a bike and train for a tri...I think it's a bit too much right now."

I saved this BIG guy on a run--he was easily 4-5 inches long!
Ah July, month of independence.  When I think back over the year, July is when I would say I really started running.  Having healed from the injury, and having given up all the foods that were wreaking havoc on my immune system, I felt like I had emerged from a cocoon!!  I started running with Turtle, swimming with Flipper, and even went on a trail run with friends.  I discovered not only yoga...but also my GLUTES!!  I remember feeling incredibly nervous, not sure what would happen.  Quote:  "Next year, I'm going to do the HiWAAY Sprint Tri--run 3 miles, bike 6, then swim 400 meters. Heck, maybe by then I'll do the Olympic distance Rocketman Tri (1.5-km swim / 40-km bike / 10-k run).....or maybe I won't do that!!"  (You can see where this is going, right??)

August ...I started coaching NOBO and running with Daisy.  I have to be careful here because if I start talking about Daisy I'll start gushing like a school girl.  Suffice it to say, I love her.  (Not in a freaky way...don't go there.)  I ran the Running of the Bulls 5K (and set a new 5K PR of 32:44) and was just so disappointed in my performance I wanted to cry.  I didn't stop to think about where I'd been...just where I was on that particular morning.  If I could go back to that day, I'd just have to slap myself and remind myself of something I had said just days earlier:  "I'm just so darn shocked with how well I've been doing."  One race shouldn't make or break me....ever.

Can you tell I've lost weight??
In September, I didn't tell anyone but I made the difficult decision not to run Rocket City.  Several factors impacted the decision not the least of which was my resolve not to train myself into injury again.  I took the pressure off and relaxed.   I had several good (dare I say GREAT) runs with Daisy and a completely amazing first Half Marathon (I can say that now that the sting of the loss from that day has cooled).  My time wasn't fantastic (by my standard), but was a VERY respectable 2:38:59.  (Certainly something to beat!)  I noticed a marked improvement on my pace...which lead to the quote of the month: "THAT is the power of speed work....and hills for that matter.  When it was over, I was glad I had done it....but it still didn't feel good."

Ah-ctober.  I started doing P90X, and riding a real road bike (borrowed from MV8r).  Most notable happening of the month:  I WON FIRST PLACE IN MY AGE DIVISION IN MY FIRST EVER TRAIL RACE.  Now, I won't belabor the fact that most of the serious runners were competing in the longer race being held at the same time, that's beside the point!!  (I came in 6th place out of 25 women!!)  Knowing I really didn't run my very best race that day (for a long list of excuses I won't trouble you with) is surprisingly still very encouraging to me.  I think that little Alabama shaped medal helped me BEGIN to think I really can run well.  It got me to thinking about what it means to do my "best" and if there would ever be a "good enough".  The answer is this month's quote:  "No, "my best" is not "good enough"....and that's exactly why I'm afraid I won't do good enough, because even my best doesn't cut it."  Interestingly enough, I was very upset with myself when I wrote that post.  I thought it was wrong to think I wouldn't reach a point where "my best" was "good enough"...but now I think the truth is that there's "always" going to be room for improvement.  So "my best" really will continue to change.  Reaching for a result that is just beyond what might be "my best" right now in this moment is NOT a bad thing.  It doesn't make me a bad person, or any less content with what I have right just means I recognize that I can get better.  That is a very humbling thought.

Before I put on my tiara....

Although I ran FOUR races in November, it will forever be the "Chasing the Turkey" month for me.  Neither the Huntsville Half, the Krispy Kreme Challenge, nor the Jingle Bell Run were "my" races.  I paced in both of them.  The Turkey Chase was going to be "MY" race....but it turned out to live completely up to it's name.  I chased the turkey'll have to read the blog post for the full story.  (((I'll change the picture once I have the photos in my computer.)))  I think this month's quote is what helped December be as good as it has been.... "...the truth is as long as I'm not trying my hardest, I'm failing before I even start."

From Jingle Bell 5K (notice how warm it was that day by my outfit!)
December has been my best running month yet.  I can NOT get over how much I've improved in one short month.  I set a new 5K PR in the Rudolph Run (28:45) to prove it!  I don't know if it has been a physical improvement as much as it has been a mental one.  I don't even feel like the same person.  The exciting thing is I believe I'll continue to see exponential improvement.  I don't have a quote for the month yet...I still have one more post to write before the year is over.

Thanks for taking this stroll down memory lane with me.  It's been a great year!!  Come back tomorrow to read about my goals for 2011.


1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year! Here's to another great running year!!!


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