Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year In Running 2012


4 PRs



Nine races



Over 600 miles



My first half marathon



3 pairs of shoes



My first running injury



Countless new running friends



3 months on the figurative bench



My first 30 mile week



One new lease on running life






Best race experience.


Running down the 2 hour pacing group


and beating them to the finish line


at my first half marathon.




Best run.


A perfect-weather 5 miler in June with


Siri and Greg that introduced me


to one of my favorite new routes


and a gorgeous side of this city


that I hadn't known before.




Best new piece of gear.


My Brooks PureCadence




Best piece of running advice.


Make friends, join a group, make it social.


Not from anyone in particular, but


something I've picked up and taken to heart.


The difference it makes is staggering.



Most inspirational runner.


I was inspired by all of the ladies of the


Run Like a Girl running group,


who went to Boston


and brought it, even in the hot weather.




And the 80 year old man who I had the


honor of giving a medal to


at the end of the Richmond Marathon.




Sum up your year in a couple of words.


Wonderful, heart-breaking, elevating 


Final Resolution Check In of 2012!


Running - Goal: Run at least 500 miles this year; run at least 1 half marathon
[Seeing as how I broke my foot and all, I'm going to include miles biked in brackets.]


Through December 31
January: 47 miles
February: 72 miles
March: 80 miles
April: 69.5 miles
May: 76 miles
June: 81 miles
July: 67 miles
August: 108 miles
September: 14 miles [44 miles]
October: [112 miles]
November: 13 miles [44 miles]
December: 25 miles [51 miles]

Total for the year: 652.5 miles [865.5 miles]

Reading - Goal: Read at least one book per month

January Books
Riggs, Ransom - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Bray, Libba - A Great and Terrible Beauty

February Books
Moran, Michelle - Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution

March Books
Massie, Robert K. - Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
Sussman, Ellen - French Lessons
Gilbert, Elizabeth - Committed: A Love Story

April Books
Clark, Colin - My Week with Marilyn
Morgenstern, Erin - The Night Circus

May Books
Raybourn, Deanna - Dark Road to Darjeeling
James, P. D. - Death Comes to Pemberley

June Books
Martin, George R.R. - A Song of Ice and Fire Book 3: A Storm of Swords
James, E.L. - 50 Shades of Gray (for the record, I hated this book)

July Books
Martin, George R.R. - A Song of Ice and Fire Book 4: A Feast for Crows
Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Mantel, Hillary - Wolf Hall

August Books
Dunant, Sarah - The Birth of Venus

September Books
Worked on Anna Karenina... didn't finish it.

October Books
Gabaldon, Diana - Outlander
Flynn, Gillian - Gone Girl
Irving, Washington - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (short story)

November Books
Davis, Kathryn - Versailles: A Novel
December Books
Gabaldon, Diana - Dragonfly in Amber
Moran, Michelle - The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court
Weir, Alison - Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey

Movies (no resolution; just to keep track)
The Artist
Underworld: Awakening
The Hunger Games
Wrath of the Titans
The Avengers
Mirror Mirror
Men in Black 3 
Magic Mike
The Dark Knight Rises
Lincoln
Anna Karenina
The Hobbit
Les Miserables

Friday, December 28, 2012

Things I Believe Thursday VII

BFF is going to love this one...

I believe that counting calories during the holidays should be outlawed.

And to clarify, I believe that this applies to Christmas Eve through New Year's.

(Also, apologize for the tardiness of this entry. Yesterday was my first day back to work after the holiday and it felt like a Monday... in fact I thought it was a Monday until I got home and Husband reminded me at dinner that it was a Thursday.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Things I Believe Thursday VI

Despite my own recent apocalyptic dreams and months of irrational thoughts revolving around Doomsday, I believe that we will all still be here tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Visions of Shamrocks

While everyone else is dreaming of sugar plums and presents under the tree, my mind is filled with visions of half marathon training since this week is officially my first week of training for the Shamrock Half Marathon.

But first, I suppose I should report on what is making this training possible: last Tuesday I officially "graduated" from physical therapy! When Steve walked up to my therapy table with my file in hand and said, "So is today graduation day?" I didn't get what he was saying at first. I suppose that PT has become such a regular part of my life that I hadn't considered the fact that one day I would no longer need it.

Once I realized what "graduation day" meant, I was ecstatic and immediately whipped out the training plan that I had had folded up in the pocket of my Lulu jacket for a month. I shoved it under his nose like a kid showing off their straight "A" report card to Dad and said, "Awesome! So can I do this training plan and the Shamrock Half??"

Steve approved the plan that I had chosen, with a few minor adjustments. This plan is the most conservative little baby beginner half marathon plan ever. Don't laugh when you see it:



Compared with last year, this thing is a breeze. And a good thing too, because I'm afraid that I may have lost more of my cardiovascular endurance than I thought.

My rules for this training cycle are:
  • No back to back days of running. No matter what. I'm already having trouble with this one. It is really hard to not just put on my shoes and go out when I feel like it.
  • No more than 3 days of running per week accompanied by...
  • 2-3 days of cross training.
  • No more than a 10% increase week over week, as much as possible. There are two spots where the increase is slightly more, but they are Steve-approved.
  • As many miles as possible on soft surfaces like the vita course or the median of Monument Avenue, at least through January.
  • Ice foot after each and every run.
With these in mind, I've sketched out a schedule that looks something like this:
  • Monday - Run
  • Tuesday - Cross training: yoga or bike
  • Wednesday - Swim or Rest
  • Thursday - Run
  • Friday - Swim or Rest
  • Saturday - Run
  • Sunday - Swim
Of course I doubt that's how things will actually work out as the training progresses. I might play with the run days and attempt M-W-F instead of a weekend long run. This is what I did last year, and it worked out well. The only problem with that plan is that M-W-F are the best days for swimming at the Y so we'll have to see.

And I've officially just bored you to death. Sorry, I'm just happy I get to use the word "training" again and actually have a plan to plot. Yippee!

So, to my first run this past Monday. Things didn't start out so well. As I changed from work clothes to workout gear, I realized that I had forgotten a sports bra. The thought of sweating into my nice bra was not appealing, but I was scheduled to meet Greg, the weather was nice, and it was only 3 miles.

"Suck it up," I said to myself.

So I did. And boy was I going to regret it.

The run itself was good. Earlier in the day, I had told Greg that he needed to "make sure I don't go too fast" because I was (and am) fighting off a cold and wasn't feeling so hot. By the afternoon I had gotten DayQuil-fueled second wind and the whole not-going-fast thing went out the window. Instead Greg pushed the pace and we ended up running negative splits with Mile 3 being an 8:10.

I felt tired - dog tired - at the end of the 3 miles. I'm still not sure if this is because I've lost THAT much endurance or because of this pesky cold that just refuses to go.

I had also earned myself a first time visit to Chafe City. Wearing my underwire bra to run 3 miles had not been such a good idea. At all. The results are too gruesome to describe in a public blog, but let's just say that it was a very painful post-run shower that evening and Neosporin and Band Aids have replaced Steve in the New Best Friend department.

In positive news, nothing else hurt when we were finished. In fact, these days I've almost forgotten that my foot was broken.

Almost.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Zen Running

Last night I hit the vita course for my first real no-walking run.

Boy did I need it. It was a rough day at work for me. I'm in the midst of trying to write a grant for funding for new windows in a historic house.

Making new windows sound sexy is difficult. By the time I left, I had a very big headache.

 I got to the course and was taking a moment to stretch when it dawned on me that I didn't have my tunes with me. For a minute I was unsure of how to proceed and considered going back to my car to dig through my gym bag, hoping that the iPod and earphones were in there somewhere. But to be honest, I can't even remember the last time I ran with tunes, so I figured that instead of blasting music directly into my skull for the next 30 minutes, I'd instead take some quiet time.

I'm so glad I did. I spent my first three pure running miles in months tuning into the run, soaking in all those things I had missed.

I listened to my foot falls on the soft gravelly surface. A steady, even, wonderful "thwomp thwomp thwomp."

I concentrated on trying to keep my steps as light as possible.

I heard the swish of my hair as my pony tail swept from side to side on my back and realized that my hair has grown a lot since the last time I ran. I don't remember hearing that sound before.

I paid attention to my breathing, noticing that maybe I'm not quite as out of shape as I thought.

I noticed when I hit that point when I wasn't cold anymore and the wind actually felt good. I forgot how much I love that feeling - when you start out and it's so cold that all you want to do is go back inside, but before you know it you've warmed yourself up and welcome that breeze that you dreaded a mile ago.

I also realized that I have a lot of work to do between now and the half marathon. Even though I felt good, the three miles was still not as easy as I remember.

When my Garmin beeped marking the end of mile 3, I checked in on my pace and was shocked to see that I had completed the 3 miles with an average pace of 8:50. I was even more impressed with myself when I downloaded the full data at home and saw that I somehow managed to run the exact same pace for miles 2 and 3.


Crazy, right? This out of the girl who cannot pace to save her life.

Aside from discovering an ability to maintain speed, the run also solved my headache problem, reminding me just how much better my life is when I'm running.

Feels good to be back.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Things I Believe Thursday V

I believe that it just doesn't feel like Christmas unless it's nice and cold.

...and that snow makes it perfect, though that rarely happens in Richmond, VA.

With that knowledge, you won't be surprised that one of my favorite Christmas movies is White Christmas. Bing and Rosemary are on my side, I can't be wrong.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The New Routine

I think that I have officially gotten used to my new fitness routine... and I think  I'm happy about that.

These days, I'm "running" a 5k once or twice a week, swimming once or twice, and stationary biking once. A far cry from my run, maybe yoga, run, run, run schedule of yore.

Swimming has been the toughest to improve at. After initially taking a week or two to remember how to swim effectively, I found myself at a plateau of around 25 minutes and 1000 yards or meters (depending on whether I was at the Downtown Y or Chester Y). For whatever reason, I just couldn't get past this point.

Back when I was a baby runner, I had the same kind of problem. For me, my wall was the 3 mile mark. For months and months I ran 3 miles on the dot and just couldn't bring myself to go beyond it. Don't ask me why... I guess I was afraid of what would happen if I did. Would I collapse in a heap, too exhausted to move? Would my calf muscles pop off like rubber bands stretched too far? Would I pass out from the exertion? Die of boredom?

I can't remember when I finally broke down the 3 mile barrier, but I obviously managed to do it (I believe with the help of lots of distractions including TV, trashy magazines, and music) and of course, nothing bad happened.

On Wednesday night I hit the pool, expecting to do my usual 25 minutes or 1000 yards, whichever came first. There was only one other person at the pool, which was strange. Usually people are sharing lanes and there is at least a kid's swim class going on. I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of people and was able to choose my favorite lane and have it all to myself. I made note of the giant pace clock (36:30) and set off on my laps.

After my first 200 yards, I checked pace and wow... I had finished in 4:30. For me, that's pretty speedy. The next 200 yards of breast stroke were about the same, and I was feeling great, so kept up pace. Before I knew it, I had finished my 1000 yards in 23:30 and I was still feeling good. Usually when I hit the 1000 yard/meter point I'm pretty exhausted and just want to get out, but not that night.

So, I decided to take the plunge (punny!) and let this be the night I go for 1200. I finished the additional 200 yards easily and jumped out feeling like I could have kept going. Finally, I've broken my swimming wall.

My bike wall.... not so much. I loathe the stationary bike. LOATHE. It might get ditched when I can start running for real again.

Not in the mix is my beloved yoga. I can tell that I'm losing the small amount of limberness (Is that a word? Apparently yes... good to know.) and excellent balance that 3 years of practice had given me. I miss the familiar faces and flow of class. I miss Penny, my teacher. I miss feeling both powerful and completely calm at the same time - a feeling I only get from yoga.

The thing that really stinks about it is that I am afraid to go back. When I intially broke my foot my theory was that the fracture had initially taken place in my yoga class when I went too far in a pose. Who knows if that is what really happened... it could just be me looking for a reason for the break. But it has been planted into my brain as a possibility and now I am terrified that if I go back, it will happen again.

Of all the bad things that came out of my injury, the fear is the worst thing. I'm still afraid to truly run again, and now that fear is taking yoga from me too. I'm also afraid to wear high heels (probably a good thing), to jump up and down, to hop over something leading with my left foot, to kick a door shut with my foot, to stomp. It really stinks.

I can only hope that the fear starts to fade. I remember that at my first physical therapy appointment, Steve told me to stand with my weight evenly distributed on my two feet and I was terrified to do it. But I did it and my foot didn't break. At one point I thought I'd never walk normally again (dramatic and silly, but it really did feel like that) and here I am 99% normal.

Someday the confidence will come back, right?

Until then, it's run, bike, swim, run, swim.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Resolution Check In

Running - Goal: Run at least 500 miles this year; run at least 1 half marathon
[Seeing as how I broke my foot and all, I'm going to include miles biked in brackets.]


Through November 30
January: 47 miles
February: 72 miles
March: 80 miles
April: 69.5 miles
May: 76 miles
June: 81 miles
July: 67 miles
August: 108 miles
September: 14 miles [44 miles]
October: [112 miles]
November: 13 miles [44 miles]

Total for the year: 627.5 miles [814.5 miles]

Reading - Goal: Read at least one book per month

January Books
Riggs, Ransom - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Bray, Libba - A Great and Terrible Beauty

February Books
Moran, Michelle - Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution

March Books
Massie, Robert K. - Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
Sussman, Ellen - French Lessons
Gilbert, Elizabeth - Committed: A Love Story

April Books
Clark, Colin - My Week with Marilyn
Morgenstern, Erin - The Night Circus

May Books
Raybourn, Deanna - Dark Road to Darjeeling
James, P. D. - Death Comes to Pemberley

June Books
Martin, George R.R. - A Song of Ice and Fire Book 3: A Storm of Swords
James, E.L. - 50 Shades of Gray (for the record, I hated this book)

July Books
Martin, George R.R. - A Song of Ice and Fire Book 4: A Feast for Crows
Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Mantel, Hillary - Wolf Hall

August Books
Dunant, Sarah - The Birth of Venus

September Books
Worked on Anna Karenina... didn't finish it.

October Books
Gabaldon, Diana - Outlander
Flynn, Gillian - Gone Girl
Irving, Washington - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (short story)

November Books
Davis, Kathryn - Versailles: A Novel

Currently reading:  
Tolstoy, Leo - Anna Karenina (I'm about to throw in the towel on this one)
Gabaldon, Diana - Dragonfly in Amber

Movies (no resolution; just to keep track)
The Artist
Underworld: Awakening
The Hunger Games
Wrath of the Titans
The Avengers
Mirror Mirror
Men in Black 3 
Magic Mike
The Dark Knight Rises
Lincoln
Anna Karenina

Things I Believe Thursday IV

I believe that travel makes you a better person.

It helps you not only learn about what makes us different, but reminds you that really we are all the same.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Better Late Than Never: Jingle Bell Run 5k Recap

You'd think that now that I can finally run again, I'd be writing up a storm. Guess not! I'm terribly delinquent on this race recap.

On Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early at 5:30 am to drive allllllll the way to the Jingle Bell 5k at Stony Point Fashion Park. Last year, I did this race by myself and it was a pretty sad experience. Not wanting a repeat, I set about getting Marcey to do this with me. Luckily, she wasn't very difficult to convince.

We met up 30 minutes before the start of the race so that we could each don our "festive" gear. Last year I did not wear anything festive and felt very left out. Generally, I'm not a big fan of wearing costumes or decoration while running, so I went minimal.

Jingle Bell run indeed.
After tearing ourselves away from the heated seats in Marcey's van, we wandered to the start line about 5 minutes before we were set to begin. Marcey had gamely volunteered to run/walk with me (despite my protests), so we lined up in the middle of the pack of about 300 runners (who knows how many there really were... I'm terrible at estimating this kind of thing).

I hadn't shared this, but my foot hurt all week long last week. I made a very stupid footwear decision on Sunday the 25th and for the rest of the week it felt like I had gone back in time to the beginning of November. My foot hurt again... a lot. I did not run at all leading up to the Jingle Bell, instead opting to swim and bike. I confessed my sins to Steve at PT on Thursday, who was baffled as to why 30 minutes in a pair of high heeled boots would cause my foot to freak out as much as it did. He was also mystified by my decision to wear said boots to the grocery store. (What can I say... my flats looked ridiculous with this particular pair of jeans, ok??)

Despite my nerves about my foot crapping out on me, I wasn't exactly keeping an eagle eye on my Garmin to ensure that we were running exactly one minute and walking one minute. The course for the Jingle Bell 5k starts at the shopping mall then involves some pretty steep hills in two office-complex cul-de-sacs before coming back around to the mall. Sometimes we walked longer if the walking leg was going uphill and then ran longer as we went downhill.



Anyhow, I was extremely nervous about running this 5k, so did not push it as far as pace goes. The race was not officially timed, but the almighty Garmin says we ran it in 34:17 (10:42 min pace), which isn't too shabby considering the run/wak and hills.

In fact, we did so well that we literally jingled our bells off.


I don't have much to report as far the actual race goes because really it was just a vehicle (read: excuse) for getting together with Marcey for a run. It's a pretty casual affair that includes dogs, walkers, strollers, reindeer antlers, and elf costumes. ID's are even required for packet pick up. It's small and generally well-organized and a nice opportunity to raise awareness and money for arthritis.

So "Road to Recovery" race 2 is now complete. The best thing about it was that I got to start AND end with my beloved HMR. Thanks for being there for me, Marcey. You're the best.