Back to the blog.
My poor blog… it was very neglected this year (I wanted to blog weekly… and I posted only 13 times in 2018, ugh). As were my Shutterfly semi-annual photo books. I just couldn’t see to make the time for it. Or was it energy? Perhaps a combo of both. I also haven’t been making a lot of time for running recently, either. Part of this is due to having two more family members living with us now. My kids went from 2 to 4!
So I realize I have to cut myself a break, and I have, but at the same time, I don’t want to lose sight of what’s important to me while I take care of my family, the household, and continue to work in corporate America. What’s a mom to do?
Before I can figure out my goals for 2019, I want to take a few minutes to hash out what happened in 2018. I don’t have all my race reports written, and I probably won’t. I’ll just start fresh from right here.
At the end of last year, I wrote my year in review post, and felt pretty darn good about my accomplishments. I ran a lot of PR’s, traveled, and then set some goals for 2018. The problem was, I never went back to review my progress on the goals. I lost sight of them quickly. I never wrote them down anywhere, not even on the blog. Learning Spanish? Out the window by February. The others? I honestly can’t even remember. I set an arbitrary goal of running 1,000 miles in 2018, which I came short of reaching (803.7 miles for 2018). Other goals? Run a marathon. Yeah….not so much. Had a terrible time in the spring with this half and this one, so I didn’t even attempt a full. I went back to basics and tried to work on speed. Did it work? Yes… finally! By November, I had run the fastest 5K ever. Unfortunately that was it for PR’s… but I think it was life’s way of teaching me that it’s not always about being the best–your personal best or otherwise–but enjoying the journey is what truly matters.
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Had an awesome 😎 run with my cuz @jmc183 today!! Was surprised to see I ran a 5K PR when I checked my @strava results—finally broke 23 min! My legs went numb but I guess that helped?! The kiddos did great on their fun run! . #oisellevolée #oiselleteamnc @nc_volee #nuunlife #nuunbassador #womensrunningcommunity #doyogarunfaster #momlife #thanksgiving #turkeytrot #daburgh #motherrunners #bamr #runningmom #runhappy #headupwingsout #womanup #irunthisbody #cantstopwontstop
My running wasn’t great this year. I had hoped for a repeat of 2017, where I set so many personal records. Unfortunately, after our cruise in February, I felt that I lost my mojo a bit, then after giving blood in March, I REALLY felt like I lost my mojo. I spent the spring trying to train for a half marathon, but most of my long runs were sabotaged by my GI distress. Those became near-constant reminders that I had such a long ways to go on my ultimate goal: qualifying for the Boston Marathon. If I can’t even run a ten mile training run without stopping to use the bathroom (or the woods, in most cases!), how will I ever run 26.2 miles again? At any kind of pace, let alone race pace of 8 minutes per mile?? I never did figure out why I kept having stomach issues this year, but really didn’t last year.
Sadly, I think all the obstacles or road bumps in my training became a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, where I felt weak or as if my GI distress would ruin yet another run, and therefore could not perform. I didn’t have a great attitude about it. I took a full week off in May, trying to reset. I purchased my friend Ashley’s Lean Fast Strong Capable plan and did that for 6 weeks. I felt good, but usually struggle in the humid summer heat, and this year was no different.
By the time one of my fave races rolled around—the 4th of July 5K in Kernersville—I knew I wasn’t anywhere close to my level of fitness from last year. Sure enough, I ran 3 minutes slower (26:27, 9th place AG), in the same or very similar weather conditions. THAT didn’t do anything for my confidence 🙁 Also my bridesmaid dress had to be majorly altered… not taken in… also not fun!’
At least the wedding was fun!
Then I ran a Spartan with my friend MM and her boyfriend on August 4th. But that was another reminder that last year’s Spartan went so well… and this year’s paled in comparison. Last year I felt strong and empowered, and this year’s was muddy, and I mean MUDDY, making most of the trails difficult and slow, and many of the obstacles next to impossible. Note to self: comparison is the thief of joy, even if you’re comparing to your own past experiences/performances!
In September, I began an 8 week plan with a local coach, Jennifer. Most of my fellow mother runners were training for the local 10K or half marathon, but I really wanted to start back to basics with a fast 5K, and build from there. Plus, I dreaded those long runs where I felt crummy. I ran the Moonlight Madness 5K, as I have for 5 of the last 6 years, and didn’t improve much on my 4th of July 5K time, running 26:33, for 5th place age group. Sigh… have I peaked at age 33? Are there no faster times ahead? I felt like I had been training hard, yet didn’t have much to show for it in terms of performances.
Finally, the weather started to cool, and 6 more weeks of training culminated in my goal race (Hit the Brixx 5K in Greensboro), where I ran under 24 minutes for the 5K for the first time all year (23:51, 2nd place AG). I was pleased with the effort, even though I was still a minute off my goal of sub-23 minutes. At least I had finally made some progress. Two weeks later and I shaved a bit more time off at Shea’s Chase 5K, running 23:18 on a short course. In the midst of this, we had my stepdaughter and her daughter moved in, so my time became constrained, trying to help them and figure out what else needed to be done. My miles were cut short, as I needed to prioritize family first.
After that race, I started on some intervals that worked well for me last year, an idea I found on Triathlete.com. I felt good doing my short sprints, as that is how I became a runner 20 years ago. Sprinting on the track team in high school ranks at the top of my best memories of my teenage years. As an adult, I never thought I’d get back to my level of fitness from high school, but I do see it’s possible now—with a great amount of hard work and discipline. The real test would be to dig up my times and distances to see how I measure up now.
My last two races of the year were also 5K’s. I like how this blog post became a very quick (or not-so-quick?!) synopsis of all the race reports I didn’t write 🙂
For Thanksgiving, we traveled to PA to visit my family. On the way, we stopped in Pittsburgh, and because my grandma didn’t have room for all 6 of us to stay, we stayed in a hotel downtown, right across from PNC park. Therefore, running the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning became a no-brainer! My cousin Jamie met us there, with his parents, and we ran together. I loved having someone who was my pace, and we pushed it hard. We talked a little, but mostly focused on a fast 5K. When I finished, it wasn’t apparent to me that it was a PR. Only when I downloaded my run and looked at Strava did I realize that I finally broke my 5K PR! The race was 3.3 miles, so it doesn’t appear like it’s a PR, but when I crossed the 3.1 mile mark, I went sub-23 for the first time ever. I finally felt vindicated, as my patience and hard work paid off. Also worth mentioning: I read Deena Kastor’s book “Let your mind run”—which I HIGHLY recommend—so I did change my attitude quite a bit from earlier in the year. That makes such a big difference.
After the Turkey Trot, I attempted to continue my interval training, but had a bout of a cold, and some pain in my left leg that I feared was a stress fracture waiting to happen. I took a bit of time “off” (not completely off since I’m still doing my run streak of at least 1 mile every day) to heal, and it seemed to work. I haven’t had pain in my leg in December.
The last race of 2018 was the Jingle Jog 5K with Luna on 12/15/18. I ran it last year and had a fast time, so I thought I’d bring Luna and run a dog-assisted 5K PR (which we did!) I was surprised we weren’t faster but we had several issues that I will try to correct for next time:
- I allowed Luna to go out way too fast, so my legs were shot after mile 1, and I just tried to hang on the best I could.
- It was cold and rainy, so I wore a jacket, but did start to get too warm about halfway through the race.
- On the downhills, Luna wanted to sprint, and I couldn’t keep up, so I had to apply my “brakes” which really pounded badly on my shins and calves.
- Lastly, rounding the final turn, with another runner and her dogs in front of us, Luna got confused a slowed down. I thought we had a slight change of catching them, but with her slowing down, we came in 4 seconds behind ☹ Of course you already know how I felt about that!
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Luna & I had a great first race 🏃🏻♀️together on Saturday! Mile 1: I let Luna pull/drag me wayyyyy too fast, resulting in a 6:30, and me thinking “omg how will I run two more?” 🥴 Mile 2: lots of hills and turns. I tried to remain calm despite the voice in the back of my head saying “you’re red-lining!!” 😳 Mile 3: I could feel myself slowing down big time. Luna still looked like it was a walk in the park. I tried to catch the girl with dogs in front of us, but I just couldn’t push any harder. I thought maybe I could get them at the finish, but as we turned the corner, Luna got confused and slowed down! 😏 Result: fastest dog-assisted 5K, 22:36. 2nd place age group. Still not sure why @strava didn’t show my new achievements?? Anyone else have this problem? Besides my shins and calves that took a beating on the downhills, I’m quite pleased with how this turned out. Maybe next year I’ll be able to keep up a little better? 🐶 . PC: @junction311 Gina 😊 #medalmonday #womensrunningcommunity #oisellevolée #gofarfeelgood #dogrun #jinglejog5K #pr #altrarunning #cantstopwontstop #nuunlife #nuunbassador #medalmonday #motivationmonday #oiselleteamnc #weim #weimaraner #bestrunningfriend #motherrunners #runnerd #runhappy #irunthisbody #irunwithmydoggie #raceface 🤪
My run saga of 2018 comes to a close with a whisker over 800 miles and 140ish days on my run streak. I think I’ve fallen back in love with running, and feel the desire to continue to improve, albeit slowly. I realize that qualifying for Boston is a dream that will take many years to accomplish, if I ever do, and I have made peace with that. I bought Brad Hudson’s book “Run Faster” and I’m more than halfway through it. After reading the book, it looks like my main problem is not running enough miles. He says for non-elite 5K runners to run 30ish miles a week. I have never averaged more than 25 miles a week, and that was for marathon and half-marathon training! So I know my main goal is running more miles in 2019, and focusing more on race-specific workouts, and my main obstacle will be finding the time to do it.
Highlights (and a few lows) from 2018:
- Gabe turned 7 in January.
- Our Disney cruise! Finally got to show the boys Puerto Rico, and had a blast exploring a few new places.
- Asher lost a tooth in a collision with another boy at daycare (definitely a low!) He was a champ about it though.
- I turned 33 in April and my mom and aunt came to visit.
- Asher turned 4 in May.
- Gabe ran his first 1 mile fun run in about 10 minutes (I didn’t time it!)
- Javi & I celebrated 8 years of marriage.
- Javi got his dream car–a Maserati (also counts for birthday, Father’s day, graduation gift, and Christmas… for the next 10 years! LOL)
- Javi graduated from Norwich University, so we took a little trip to Vermont to see him.
- The boys participated in a kids track meet (Asher’s first time)
- J & I traveled to Arizona for Jen’s wedding, leaving the kiddos in PA with my fam
- J celebrated a milestone birthday in July and we threw a big bday bash for him!
- We survived hurricanes Florence and Michael
- We traveled to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving
- We survived Snow-mageddon (8 inches of snow in 8 hours?!)
- We traveled to Jacksonville for Christmas
- We stayed home for New Years… just how I like it!
What was the best part of 2018 for you?
I’m going to share my 2019 goals in a separate post, as the kids have interrupted me here about 237 times in an hour (and I already had most of this written during our car trip to FL!)