Monday, December 31, 2012

Hello, 2013.

Back in January, I set some goals for myself for the year.  Before making new goals for 2013, I thought I should recap how this year's turned out:

1. Run sub-2 hours at my half in March.  (Done, just a little late.  I ended up injured and not running that half.  I signed up for a replacement race in the mountains in May, and finally went sub-2 on my second attempt in October.)

2.  Finish a marathon.  (Not done.  Finishing a marathon is reason that I started running again, but it quickly became apparent that taking some time to work up to it would be prudent.  Hold this one over to 2013.)

3.  Do a pull up.  (Not done.  This was a CrossFit goal, but I haven't been back since January.  I was close at the time, but I'm sure it's not doable for me anymore, and it's not something I really care about anymore either.)

4.  Eat more veggies.  (Done, but I'll come back to this one in a minute.)

5.  Travel to 3 new places.  (Not done.  So lame of me, but I can only think of 2 news places that we went this year - Tybee Island and Denmark [to be clear - that's Denmark, SC].  We had tons of weddings which were awesome, but definitely ate into our travel budget and time off.  This one is also going to be held over to 2013, and I think it will be more successful.)

So, let's talk about that "eat more veggies" issue.  About a month ago, I decided to eat strictly vegetarian (meaning no fish or shrimp either).  I really hadn't been eating a ton of meat anyway, but it is very important to J, so it's been an interesting transition in that we basically don't eat the same dinners anymore.  So far we've been pretty good about at least still sitting down to eat at the same time, and I think that's really the most important thing.  Moving to a vegetarian diet is something that I had been thinking about for a long time (because of ethical and environmental concerns), and after my mom's cancer came back, the idea that there might be a link between animal protein and cancer was the final straw. (SN: I'm not a doctor/scientist/nutritionist; don't listen to me.  Go do your own reading and research and draw your own conclusions.)  I was concerned at first about whether it would affect my running/work outs, but so far, so good.

On to 2013 then.  Here are my goals:

1. Finish a marathon. I'm thinking hard about Chicago.  We'll see.

2. Travel to 3 new places.  Nashville still needs to happen, and I'm likely going to Anaheim for work in April, so that would be 2 of 3.  

3. PR in the half marathon.  I'm not sure it's possible in March, but assuming all goes according to plan, there will be at least one other attempt this year.

4. Run at least 2 trail races.  I loved my first trail experience, and I'd like to keep it up in the new year.

5. Post on this blog more regularly.  Right now I'm averaging a shameful one post per week.  I need to step it up.

Do you make goals/resolutions every year?  What are they?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Race Recap: Rudolph's Rampage

My first trail race is in the books!  Despite the unholy freezing temperature at start time, which can't be helped, this race was super fun.  It was definitely a learning experience, and I felt a little outside of my comfort zone at times.  Trail runners definitely do things a little differently.  

For example, I had no idea I was supposed to check in, so I got called out at the starting line.  I picked up my packet, I had my bib on, what else do you want from me?  Oops.  Also, I started pretty slowly because I wasn't sure what to expect (and I was pretty cold, so I just wasn't moving very quickly), so I eventually wanted to start passing some people, but it took me a while to work up the courage.  The course was almost all single track, so passing was tricky.  I was terrified I'd try to move around someone and end up eating it.  Luckily I wasn't that lame, and I got the hang of it eventually.  I also got passed (um, a lot) myself, and I was trying to be nice and kept moving off the trail to let people go by.  Apparently that was not the right thing to do because I got yelled at not to go off the trail.  (I was off like literally two steps, but ok.)  Now I know all the rules though, and I'll be good to go next time.

I didn't fall at all, thankfully, but my right arm did start going numb/feeling tingly.  (And after seeing my atrocious form in this picture, that makes a little more sense. Yikes!)  I also felt a little under-fueled.  We didn't have a very big dinner the night before, and even though I ate my usual pre-race English muffin with PB and banana, by mile 3.5, I was hungry.  I've made a pretty major change in my diet recently, so I think that was a big factor, but that's for another blog post.

Anyway, the course took us on some trails that I'd never been on, so it was cool to see new parts of the forest.  The only problem was that I really had no idea what was ahead.  About 20 seconds after this picture was taken, there was a big hill and I looked/felt like death for the rest of the race, so I'm glad they chose the bottom of the hills for the photographer.  My splits make much more sense when you compare them to the elevation chart.

I walked around for a little bit at the finish before I remembered to stop my watch, but J took some finish line photos, which I shall not inflict upon your eyes (back side angle, no thank you), that show my finish time was 1:04:34.  I would've liked to be closer to an hour flat, but given my recent lack of training, I was pretty happy with my performance overall.  I will definitely be doing more trail races in the future!

I did notice that my calves are very sore today, which I'm guessing is from the fact that my trail shoes are minimalist(ish).  I took a planned rest day today, and will take one again tomorrow, then Tuesday is my first training run for the Columbia half.  The offseason is officially over!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Planning Plans.

I'm racing this Saturday, but not race-racing.  It's my first trail race, so no matter what happens, I get a PR.

I am planning to race-race the Columbia half in March.  This is the race I was training for last year before I got sidelined by the stress fracture/shin splints.  It's pretty hilly, but I've got the hometown advantage, and I will definitely be doing some of my training runs on the course.  

When I started making my training plan and counting back 12 weeks from race day, I realized... oh crap... I'm gonna have to start training on Monday!  That was not very well planned on my part, but what can you do? (You can look at your calendar when you plan your race schedule, that's what.)  Anyway, since I haven't been running very much the past few weeks, I don't want to jump into too much too soon and end up sitting out this race for the second year in a row.  Also, I will be in Florida for like 9 days at Christmas, so the first 3 weeks less intense - more rest days, no speedwork.  We'll see how it goes.

The Make My Day 12K is a trail race, and I'm hoping that some of my weekend runs will be on the trails as well.  I definitely slow down on the trails and use different muscles, so hopefully mixing in that off-road time will add something to my training.  Plus, I just love being out there, especially since J seems to enjoy it too, so it's something we can do together.

The Columbia half is the first goal race for 2013.  It's also part of a larger plan, which isn't finalized just yet, but if everything works out like I'm hoping... 2013 will be the year of the marathon! Eeek!  That's the whole reason I started this blog, to document getting to the marathon.  Running one has been something I've wanted to do for a looooong time, but I never actually did anything about it because it seemed so overwhelming.  Hopefully next year will change that, but first things first.  I'll be Rampaging this weekend, then we'll take it 12 weeks at a time. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Race Recap: Main Street Crit

So, it might be hard to tell since my posting on here is pretty sporadic and lame anyway, but I haven't been running much in the past 2 months.  I've talked a couple times about my family situation, and I actually received the first bit of bad news like maybe 20 minutes after crossing the finish line in Georgetown.  Since then I've lost count of how many trips I've made back and forth to Florida, plus things have been very busy at work, and mostly... I just haven't felt like running.  I'm tired and stressed out.  I'm also getting fat, so thankfully my motivation suddenly reappeared this week.  

Just in time, because I raced last night!  

A few weeks ago, J and I decided to run the Main Street Crit.  This was the inaugural running, and it's really a unique race - at night, in downtown, 8 loops of a 1k course, with elite runners and prize money.  J and I are really big supporters of Columbia's Main Street, which our mayor has/is working really hard to revitalize.  We live downtown, and we both work on Main Street.  We also really try to support local businesses in the area, and the pastor of our church (which is also downtown, of course) was one of the organizers for the race.  There was also the Willie Nelson concert in town, so I debated which one we should do (I LOVE Willie and have never seen him live), but in the end, running and supporting Main Street won.

It was billed as an 8K, though the course ended up being short (about 4.3 mi).  I actually wasn't sure I had run the correct number number of laps because my Garmin was showing me 4.29, and I was expecting 4.9ish.  Turns out I did run all eight, and I ended up finishing in 35:29; J finished in 33:31.  I only had 2 goals: (1) finish under 45 (I was expecting 5 miles, not 4), and (2) don't get passed by J.  Done and done.  I did get passed by the guy who ended up winning... twice.  But overall I felt really good.  I thought there was no way I could run 8:20ish pace for that long, given that I've taken about 6 weeks off-ish, but even if I had needed to run another lap, I felt like I could've kept it up, so I was very pleased.

There was also a team competition.  You could sign up as many people as you wanted on each team, and the top 4 times were totalled up - lowest total time wins.  The team from J's Crossfit gym took first, and the Cola Run Club took second.  I actually ended up being the fourth person on the CRC team, so that was cool.

After us "regular" runners were finished, there was an elite race, with $8000 in prize money up for grabs.  Holy Guacamole, those peeps are faaaaast!  The top guy came in at just over 21:00, and the top girl ran just over 23:00.  I also had my first celebrity runner sighting - the second place female finisher was Alissa McKaig, (look on page 32 of the January Runner's World).

Even though the course was a little short, the rest of the race was really well done.  It was pretty cool to be running downtown and at night.  There was a band on every corner, and because the course was confined to such a small area, there were lots of people cheering you on.  It was a really fun event, and we would definitely do it again.

Next weekend is my first ever trail race, and then it will be time to start training for the Columbia Half coming up in March!  Taking this downtime was the right thing to do, but I'm really glad to be running and training again.  

2013 is gonna be big! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas cheer.

We had some grand plans to put up all of our Christmas decorations this weekend, and uhhh that did not happen.  We went to Festivus on Friday night, and ended up being mostly useless on Saturday.  All of our inside stuff is up though, and I think the tree looks pretty darn good.

I also put up our stockings.  Penny and Charlie's are the big ones on each end, obviously.  

This picture would be so much cooler if there was a fire in that fireplace, but we don't actually know how to work it (it's gas).  Lame.

I told y'all about the Pinterest project my mom and I made when I was home for Thanksgiving.  This is the finished product on the front door.  I think maybe it needs a big bow.  What do y'all think?

J is working on getting the lights up outside.  Target was out of garland for the porch, so that project is stalled for a few more days.  Thankfully, I finally bought matching lights for the porch and garage.  One string was warm white and the other was that LED blue, and it drove me crazy for the past 2 years that they didn't match.  This year, we also finally sprung for a tree skirt.  Movin' on up!

I feel like such a real adult... I have a Christmas tree, with a tree skirt, and stockings, and matching Christmas lights.  Yikes!

Are your Christmas/Hannukah/Festivus decorations up?