A New Year & New Goals

Welcome to 2016!

2015 was an exciting year, running my first Boston Marathon and then following it up like a ridiculous person with another marathon barely 5 weeks later. While enjoyable, it did set me back a bit in regards to how my knees felt and slowed me down a bit more than I was expecting. Luckily, with no other races planned I kept it light until the end of September with a half marathon. Then I kept with the time off.

Well the madness of the end of the year is gone and I’m back at it. No races on the schedule and nothing planned besides adding exercise back into my routine, including regular strength training and more variety of activities like hiking.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Setting Reminders: Boston Registration

In case you missed it, the Boston Athletics Association announced the dates registration for the 2015 Boston Marathon will begin. Set your reminders for September 8th and keep an eye on their website. That will be the first day of a rolling registration, where runners who beat their qualifying time by 20 minutes or more can sign up.

For the slower individuals like myself, registration isn’t likely to start until the next week on September 15th. My fingers are definitely crossed that I’ll make it in, as I have a 90+ second cushion.

The nice part about the timing is I’m just getting back to it again. That means not quite 3 months to get back into running shape. Then, the running gods working in my favor, I’ll have 3 months to get into training shape before I jump into full on marathon training.

As a complete side note, hotels for the Boston Marathon weekend are crazy!! Super glad some friends recommended going ahead and reserving rooms, just in case. For all of you who are holding your breaths with me to get into Boston, we don’t have too much longer to wait. Good luck!

Joint Pain & Being MIA

I don’t know if I’d call it a mini-hiatus considering I’ve already been MIA for a bit. But still, I’ll lay out the current on-goings.

Joint pain sucks.

As some of you may remember, I can blame my family for not so great genetics. Bad joints, especially the knees, is pretty common for us. And mine are already in a bad way. Normally it’s not too much of a problem. I do exercises from my physical therapist and am not afraid to apply ice.

For whatever reason, my knee joints have been exceptionally painful the past 2 weeks. Even with low mileage and a bit of cross training. So may just take time completely off and lounge out in the pool (that’s not at all good for swimming laps).

No races on the calendar.

Still, I guess it works out since I don’t actually have any races on my calendar yet. The plan is pretty much to take it easy this year. Depending on how well I can ease back into more moderate mileage (30-40 miles per week), I may pick up a few fall/winter half marathons.

At the moment, the only real “racing” I’m considering is picking up my first triathlon. There’s a very popular sprint that’s known for first time racers at the end of July. Since the training necessary to complete a sprint isn’t too much, may just try it.

The point is…

What I’m not really hinting at is that unless I do sign up for that triathlon, there’s not much happening to blog about. Madness with the family aside, I’m not racing myself and I’ve even been slacking at spectating.

That said, I may make a list of worthwhile topics that aren’t racing or training related (at least directly) and space them out across the next few months. If you don’t see any posts, don’t be surprised. I’m still around, just not doing anything worth writing about.

Except maybe scuba diving.

#BostonStrong Comeback

Today was the 118th Boston Marathon but it meant much more than just another event for this prestigious race.

One year later, a field of nearly 36,000 runners went out to show that the running community is stronger than ever. The last year has been spent healing and today was the chance to wash it away with new, greater memories.

It couldn’t have been more perfect conditions. Clear and sunny skies, a crispy 40 degrees for the Elite women’s start and an almost unheard of lack of wind. And the performances by the athletes showed it.

The Elite women’s winner, Rita Jeptoo, set a course record and ran the 8th fastest women’s marathon time. Ever. American Shalane Flanagan took 6th with a  new American Record. And nothing could have crowned the day better than Meb Keflezighi being the first American  man in 31 years to win the Boston Marathon. The last American male winner was in 1983.

As the folks over at Mashable said, “it was more than just a race — it was a comeback.”

I spent the day like any other day, at work, but with the BAA live stream my background noise and a page on my browser refreshed every 5 minutes for updates on my friends running. It seemed everyone came out with their best today; one of the ladies I’ve trained with (and hope to be like some day) ran her own personal best in 3:11. The entire group did fantastic!

If ever you want inspiration to go out and do something, anything, the Boston Marathon is it. Even though I’ve told myself I won’t run a marathon this year, today definitely tested my strength of will to hold to that.

Now obviously, I’ve been a bit silent recently. Lots going on in life but I wanted you all to know that I’m still moving along. Got in a 6.2 miler today in honor of the Boston Marathon and all who ran it this year and the last. For now, there’s no races on my calendar so I’m just chugging along. I’ve been contemplating tackling a triathlon later in the summer. We’ll see if that actually happens or not.

For now, I’ll leave you with this article on Mashable of 15 Uplifting Photos from the 118th Boston Marathon. It’s well worth the look, and in some cases, the caption read.

Gifts to Feel Accomplished

While this may not be your kind of thing, I feel like it’s totally worth posting. My lovely family always seems to be paying attention to the little things I say (and then usually, promptly forget). As such, one of the items I’d expressed interest in months ago appeared as a Christmas gift.

I think all competing athletes should have one.

display board

Considering how much I run and that the habit is going on 4 years, it appears I don’t actually race that often. But every time I look at this board, I feel damn accomplished.

Starting Goals in 2014

2014-Numbers-free-Happy-2014-New-Year-Image-WallpaperFirst post of the new year, yay! Figure it’s only appropriate to broach a few of the topics I hope to tackle this year as an athlete and casual blogger.

I would like to note that I refuse to call these resolutions. Mostly because I feel like people make new year resolutions either drunk or with the knowledge that they’ll never fully commit to making it happen. So instead these are goals.

These are things I plan to accomplish {goals are partially about how you frame them in my mind: not ‘wish’ or ‘want’ which is intangible, but an active word like ‘plan’}. All are long term and some will be creating the standard of ‘habit’ instead of ‘occasional’ action. They are also in no particular order to complete.

Run injury free.

This seems obvious, but is harder to maintain than it seems. Luckily 2013 went fantastically in regards to a lack of injury. Yes I am always dealing with the issues in regards to my knees (more like a medical condition than an on-going injury) so this is more not getting hurt in a way that takes me out of the running game.

Incorporate strength training as part of my routine.

Last year when I was moderately doing strength training my running showed improvements. Having a stronger body in areas I was previously weak, like my arms and core, seems to have a positive effect on my running ability. Besides, I just want to be healthier and stronger all around (and able to do better at a Tough Mudder). So I want this to become as natural to my routine as the running is.

Be spontaneous.

With such tunnel vision in 2013 on racing the Marine Corps Marathon, I really threw away several chances to just go out and race with friends. It’s those events that I may not have committed to until the night before, which is something I strategically avoided last year. But I remember the fun of just randomly choosing to do a race within days of it. So in 2014, I’d like to be a bit more spontaneous about jumping into events. Without anything giant on my calender past February, I think this one will be relatively easy to accomplish.

Cross train.

With no crazy marathons coming up, there is no reason to feel guilty for substituting a run with a ride. Ideally I’d like to have double days where I run and ride (and in the warmer temps, swim). For 2014, I’ll build my ability to cross train which may just lead to my first triathlon.

Go out of my comfort zone.

I took a huge leap out of that zone by tackling marathons. Now that I’ve got 2 under my belt, I’d like to continue to challenge myself in more than just chasing PRs. This may mean tackling sports or events I’ve never done before (hint: triathlon). Eventually I’d like to try an ultra (50K and nothing longer!) though that may be saved for later. Already started in 2014 with my first Ragnar Relay in early February and a potential challenge event at Gasparilla.

Post more that isn’t just training or race recaps.

Yeahhhh, this is my weak point. I go through stages of having ideas for general topics. Then nothing unless it’s about a race or something specific in training. So I’m going to try and be better this year about writing down topic ideas as well as discussing a bit more of the above listed items. To prove I’m at least trying.

That pretty much covers my main areas to tackle. Though I will add as a wishlist sort of thing that I totally want a GoPro camera so I can make videos relating to sports. It would be mad fun. But as much as I want it, I’ll usually spend that money on running shoes or a race entry…

A Running Year in Review: 2013

be happyWhen I started this year off still bouncing back from 6 months off and physical therapy, there’s no way I could have imagined how it would go. The first half of the year took some time to gain steam and was my hardest struggle across 2013. Nothing seems more difficult than having to start from the beginning all over again.

Luckily I forced myself out of complacency by joining The Little Things for Cancer charity team to tackle the Marine Corps Marathon. Now there was a goal to work towards and no excuses.

That effort allowed me to stay strong as I worked back into shape and I celebrated it by taking part in I ❤ to Run‘s March challenge to run every day. That was definitely hard even if “easy” days were just one mile. March was topped off with my first 15K (race at least) ever in the Hot Chocolate San Diego 15K that went much better than I was expecting at the time. I got to set my first PR for it and did better than my training had predicted.

Coming off the positive vibes of the 15K saw me through the next few months as I worked to have a solid base in preparation for marathon training. Without a race near on the calender, hitting those 40 mile weeks consistently was difficult. Eventually I returned to Florida in June so that I could train with the group and coach who had been with me through the past 2 years.

The end of June saw the start of marathon training and the height of the Sunshine State’s summer. With a 3:40 time goal at MCM there could be no slacking just because of warm weather. Summer made me a bit wary of chasing a faster finish time since I trained through fall and winter for Miami, but being Type A and very competitive meant going for it anyways.

Proof that experience helps showed in the fact that handling the mileage load was easier this time around. It culminated with my highest week ever at 64 miles! That was kind of crazy for me as I always remember being the underachiever when I was younger. Marathon training went much better than the first time and I had a solid 18 weeks of running to prepare me for MCM.

I’m pleased (read: mad excited!) with all my running accomplishments this year, but nothing was more amazing than running the Marine Corps Marathon. From all the Marines on course to having a 26.2 mile sight seeing run, I was in awe of the entire experience. Only for it to get even better with a great race where I didn’t hit the wall. There was the thought that one day I would aim for a Boston qualifier, but I truthfully did not believe it would happen at this race.

What made it even sweeter was being able to share that accomplishment with running friends and my family. I’m not sure many other races will compare to having my mother travel up to D.C. just to see me run this race. Or to find out my father was constantly following the updates and posting to Facebook as I progressed through the race. The sheer amount of support from all of my family and friends leaves me without words to properly express my thanks.

Then I got to follow it up a month later with a PR and age group win at the Women’s Half Marathon running 3 minutes faster than my last PR. Huzzah! And of course, a week later letting the rest of my running friends race a half while I tackled the shorter 5K for another PR.

There may not have been a lot of races on my calender in 2013 but they were of such a high quality that I cannot complain. Without any doubt, I am happy with the path I’ve traveled this year.

happinessIf 2013 has taught me nothing else, it’s that there is always a little bit further you can go, a little more you can give, and what you are possible of may just surprise yourself. I wish you all great running and fun races in 2014. On to the new year!