A year of Running: 2010

Wednesday, January 5, 2011



This is a long post. I'm okay with it, and I hope you are too. Wait until you've had a cup of coffee, or you've checked facebook 12 times in 5 minutes and the latest update on your newsfeed is still the same as the first time you checked it, or until your boss has left your office and you decide that the report he wants you to finish is not as fun as reading the blabber I've set forth for you.
I honestly have no idea how it's 2011. I'm thinking back to the beginning of 2010 and losing my mind trying to decide where the year went.
I suppose a lot of it was dedicated to running...something I'm sure I never thought I'd say.
Reading over blogs recently, a lot of people have taken a moment to reflect on their year's worth of ups and downs, recipes, photos, etc. One blog I'm slightly obsessed with, Cate's World Kitchen, beat me to the punch and wrote about her year in running.
Delayed, but nonetheless, here is mine.
As of today, it's been 4 years since I decided to lose 100 lbs., and change my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined. There is no need to get into all the specifics and ways that my life has evolved, but never did I imagine that the journey would lead me to running. Oh, not just running, but a love for running. Yep, I said it. I love running.
Not every day, not every mile, and definitely not when it's 35 degrees and dark outside, but I love it. And anyone who's experienced the unadulterated high that comes from lacing up your shoes, pushing yourself beyond your limits, and ending a few miles with less breath, weak muscles, and more will power than you expected, understands what I mean.
When I blindly ran my first race in November of 2009, I had absolutely no clue what I was getting myself into. The 10k on Thanksgiving, with 30,000 other people, was more miles than I'd ever ran. Then, when I completed that race, with an 11:39 mile pace, a free t-shirt, and my family and a friend at the finish line, I thought MAYBE this could be something I'd do again.
But, I have a tendency to make grand plans without realizing just how much work, effort, blood, sweat and tears will actually go into them. In particular, deciding to run a race a month for 2010. Technically, this is all N's fault, as she decided her 2010 goal was to run a half marathon a month; something I knew I had no business doing, but as with everything, I modified her plan and turned half marathons into any old race I could find.
Let's recap a few highlights, shall we?
I actually only ran 11 races (December's was canceled due to flooding), and the 11 races actually took place in 10 months (July got too crazy, so I stuck two in October).
The first race in January, a 5k, was by far one of the toughest races I ran all year. Batting some health problems, I just didn't feel like myself and my running suffered terribly. I spent Feb and March running a 4 miler

and 10k, mostly preparing for my big kahuna: a half marathon with N, in Portland.

Without a doubt, my favorite race of the year. Could it have been because I challened myself to run 13.1 miles? That I got to run and talk with a friend for 2 and a half hours? That running through the streets of my second home was even better than I imagined, or that I scarfed banana nut french toast from a favorite cafe afterward? Okay, okay, all of the above.
May, June, August were all 5ks and I must admit that after my half, my motivation to train depleted and I got stuck in a slump of churning out the same few miles every day. I think I tend to forget that running is a relationship- one that I must foster and one that will have its ups and downs. I'm still learning tobbe okay with the downs, but the more runners blogs and books I read, and runners I talk to, I slowly begin to tolerate, and hopefully one day, celebrate, those, how should I say it? Shitty Runs.
In October, I set myself up for a 5k and a 10k. Remember those downer runs I'm gonna work on liking? Let's just say they could have preapred me for that October 10k- I was NOT ready. And I kicked myself, er, TRIED to kick myself (I was too weak from those 6.2 miles) for not training better and allowing 6.2 miles to beat me up so badly. But there were Chipotle coupons at the finish line, so all is right with the world.
Plus, my 5k turned out better than I expected and I killed my times in that one. It sorta helps when you are competitive and run it with your bf and decide there is no way in hell you're going to let him get to the finish line without you.

Oh, and one more side note for a minute. Besides N, I need to give a shout out to Erin,

who became my running buddy along many of these races this year. If it wasn't for her (and N's) ability to keep me entertained with gossip, stories and puzzling life questions through these miles, I'm not sure I'd have come out the other side with as much love races as I seem to have acquired.
Somehow we're already in November and I came back with avengance. I had a PR in a Thanksgiving run (my 2009 10k time has been shattered by about a minute and a half per mile)...mostly due to the 16 year old kid I was trying to out run the last 1/2 mile (thank you for that, p.s.).
And that was it...flooding in December, so I slept in...it was pouring down rain, give a girl a break.

I made my plans to run 12 races well known to anyone who would listen, and even those who probably didn't care. I wanted to hold mself accountable for this grand idea I had. People I forgot I told are asking me, "So, are you running 12 races in 2011?"
And to that I say, "Without a doubt I am absolutely not."
Do you know how much money races cost?!
Yeah, this was a big news flash to me. Yes, I appreciate my drawer full of t-shirts (I think I broke the dresser trying to shove them all in) and the photos and race bibs I accumulated

and more than anything I'm happy for the satisfaction, friendships and experiences the races brought me, but my bank account is screaming at me to calm down, and I must obey.
But, don't think this means I'm not doing any races in 2011. I honestly don't think I could ever go back to never racing. It's just too much fun.
Here's what's ahead for 2011:
1 10k (probably my June 2010 run in Lincoln)
1 5k (my October Run for Breast Cancer- this will be an annual thing with the bamfs from 2!LL)

1 trail run (A run I've never tried...could 2011 be the year I become crazier than I already am and decide trail running is my thing?)
2 half marathons (Portland is a definitely and I'm shooting for Urban Cow half in October. Fleet Feet is gonna love me this year)
My other running related goal for 2011 is to blog more about the actual experience of running, whether that be poor training runs, a photo of a gorgeous sunrise, and some more book reviews, too.

As cheesy as it is to add an inspirational quote to a blog post that's already been all about goals, I'm doing it anyway. Becuase I can. Because there is no teacher to grade this and tell me that quotes are cliche and sentimetal (that word is code for sappy sweetness that makes you wanna barf.)
Every journey DOES begin with a single step. It's tough to look at the big picture, or the end result and comprehend just how you could possibly be expected to finish whatever goal you've set out for yourself. Whether it's to lose 20 lbs., run a marathon, save money for your wedding, write your thesis, get to work on time every day, goals are supposed to be challenging. And when you actually achieve them, you get filled with this awesome sense of pride and ability because YOU did it. And maybe along the way you'll modify your goal and decide that a new pair of Jessica Simpson boots are way more important than that extra $100 in the bank this month, but that's okay because the journey is not only about the destination (It's total crap to me to say it's not about the destination at all- be damn proud of where you get to, people). But it is also about every step you take along the way- even the ones filled with shin splints, legs that could qualify for the Jell-o wiggling contest and fallen off toenails (yeah, that happened to me this year).
Goals are for you. No one will arrest you, demote you to 3rd grade (but wouldn't that be fun?!) or send you to Mexico (actually, that could be fun too) if you fail. And when I set my New Year's goals, NOT resolutions, every year, I try to do it selfishly: 100% for myself. Along the way I realize I may be doing some of it for the greater good of mankind, or to help relationships, etc, and if my goals got you thinking about running a race a month this year, or training for your first half, then I've achieved even more than I'd hoped for. And more than anything, my goals come from the sources of inspiration around me. So yay me for having the most hilarious, active, smartest, enthusiastic, running crazed friends around...or races of 2011 could have turned out to be t.v watching marathons instead.

2 comments:

michele said...

this is a great post. i had no idea you made that drastic of a lifestyle change. Good for you and you're awesome!!

AB said...

Thanks, Michele!! I appreciate your support and thank you for reading. :)

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