Thursday, January 9, 2014

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Like everyone, I'm finding it hard to believe another year has come and gone.  2013 was much different for me, but the good news is that even with the June injury, and training adjustment, the year was fun and successful.

Even though my training volume was much lower, I still like to look at the numbers.   For me, it's interesting, it's relevant, it's a teaching tool.
 (I know, I know, most of you "don't do numbers" so feel free to skip ahead)

Running mileage - 1240 miles
Walking mileage - 227 miles
Biking mileage - 222.5 miles
Total mileage 1689.5 miles

as a comparsion

Run - 2012 miles
Walk - 314 miles
Bike - 125 miles
Total - 2451 miles

Run - 2001.5 miles
Walk - 250 miles
Bike - 300 miles
Total - 2551.5

Run - 1660 miles
Walk - 300 miles
Bike - 60 miles
Total - 2020

so you can see that my run mileage was down this year, and my total mileage was down.  Did I meet all of my 2013 goals - nope, sure didn't,  but here's the thing, I'm totally cool with my year.  This is what I managed to accomplish.

March was the highlight of the year:
* my highest mileage in a week at age 45 - 80 miles  - March  (makes me smile)
*highest monthly mileage -  280 miles - March (another smile)
*5k PR - March - (22:49 at age 44)
* "found my limit" (see below) and with that,  * "found satisfaction"
*1/2 marathon PR @ the Mercedes half marathon, Birmingham, AL on hills :) :)  (1:43:55)

I also had a few other non-running related achievements in 2013
*I've been "processed sugar free" for several months (yes, including the holidays,  & yes including long run - gel free)
*with the lower run mileage, I'm not "starving" all of the time and have found that I have been able to improve my diet again.    Because of some family history, and concerns with some lab work earlier this year, I'm doing a low grain diet.  I've already seen improvement in the lab results so I think I'm on the right track,  but I'm not totally convinced about all of the "wheat-free - no grains hoopla", so the jury is still out on this part of the equation, for me.
The good news is,  I don't have to question the "sugar" part.  I know without a doubt, it's toxic and HIGHLY addictive.  I'm proud that I've been able to get this part under control.  Success ! 

continuing looking back.........
In April,  I ran my 2nd, and possibly my last (never say never) Boston marathon.
Before Boston 2013, and now months after it, I think 2 Boston marathons will be enough for me.  I improved my Boston course time,  2013 I finished Boston at 3:57.  In 2010, I ran 4:08. 

After Boston, I took 3 weeks off from running. 
May 6th was my first run, post-Boston
June 6th - injured.  I've been calling it "my first run injury", but in looking back, I'm not sure if it was running related or not.  I had one leg that was 1 1/2 inches longer than the other, which eventually caused hip and back issues.  
Is this caused by running?
Was it the high mileage in 2012, and peak mileage in March 2013?
or was it from a non-running fall that happened back in the fall of 2009?
I have no idea......

If you look at the top of my blog, you see this:


Whether the injury was "run related" or not, I think I've found my limit.  It's actually weird, in that, prior to the injury, for YEARS, I had a tremendous passion for intense training.  You can see it in my yearly run mileage above.  Each year, I wanted to do more,  to go faster.  I wanted to see how far I could go, and what I could do.    For years, I was injury free, and continued to test my limits.  It was FUN, it was my passion!   During the time of my injury, not realizing it at the time, I began to find satisfaction with my running.  I started back running and have come back REALLY, really slowly.  I've used the Maffetone heart rate as a guide, but haven't fully implemented it to do the testing etc.  My goal with doing MAF was to come back in a healthy,  reserved way.

I've been back at it for months now, but my drive and desire to train at that level have not returned.    I've lost most of the speed that I worked so hard to build over the past 2 years.  Did I gain anything ?  I would say yes !
 I think I've found peace and satisfaction with my running.   

 Now,  I would say I'm more of a "free runner".  Please do not misunderstand.  I loved the intensity that I maintained for years, but I'm thrilled that I've found low key running fun too.  I truly didn't think I would EVER enjoy low key running, but I do, "so far."  Tomorrow this may change,  and I may find a renewed passion for training hard, but for now, I'm chilling.  I thought I would quickly get bored with the "free, low-key, no plan running", but so far I haven't. 

A Look AHead - 

tomorrow I leave to go on a girls trip to South Carolina to run a half marathon.
 will I be racing ?  - ha ha ha - 
am I in shape to race?  ha ha ha
am I in shape to cover the distance and enjoy the day and road trip - oh yeah !

I'm taking this year as it comes......
if I want to continue easy running, I will
if I decide I miss "really training" - I will train
until then,
 I'm living in the moment, and enjoying where I'm at today.
I wish the same for you!
Happy Running 2014 - whatever that is for you.