Sunday, December 28, 2014

2015 - The year of awesome

I tend to do a lot of reflecting as I near a big race. It usually happens after a meltdown moment and I had mine today. I was supposed to do my 14 miles yesterday and I listened to my hubby when he said there is no way I was attempting it. I woke up feeling sick and really rundown. I figured it wouldn't hurt to push it out until tomorrow in favor of quality. I headed out this morning and it was definitely cooler than it had been. I decided to go out 2.5 miles from the house and come back to warm up a bit and refuel. It became apparent about a mile from my house on the first leg I was still sick and I was calling the run at 5 miles. My body was getting colder and colder and I couldn't get warm. While I was disappointed in myself, I knew this was the right decision to ensure I was ready for Disney. Thankfully my coach helped to reassure me that this was not the end of the world and it would be ok. As I lay in bed resting, I am thinking how 2015 is shaping up to be even more amazing than 2014. 

2014 was pretty amazing but I have some pretty lofty goals for myself in 2015. From a running perspective, my plan is to run a total of five full marathons, a 50k, at least two half marathons, and a half Ironman.  A year ago, I would have laughed at that list saying there is no way I can accomplish this. The truth is that I certainly can accomplish this. 2015 is going to be a year of focusing on quality runs that help me get to a 2:15 half marathon. I know it will be tough but with the right training, I will meet this goal. It is going to require me being ok with being uncomfortable but I didn't get where I currently am by staying in my comfort zone. 

From a business perspective, I plan on growing my beachbody business. I truly believe in helping others reach their goals. I had people in my corner supporting me on my journey and now it's my time. It's great when a hobby and a passion collide. 

From a family perspective, I plan to be more present for my kids. While I am there for their activities it gets tough with my daily commute to work. This year tough decisions will be made to get rid of that commute. People may not understand but we will work on things as a family. And just to set the record straight, no one is splitting up and I'm not quitting my job. 

2015 has the potential for growth for me personally and professionally. I am going to search for these opportunities and embrace them rather than run the other way. I want my kids to see what is possible when you push yourself outside your comfort zone. To a great 2015. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lessons learned

I am a little more than 2 weeks out from my second marathon.  This round of training has been much different than my first round of marathon training.  I am by no means an expert in running or marathoning, but I have learned some valuable lessons in these last two rounds of training.  


Lesson 1:  injuries happen

Injuries are not just reserved for elite runners cranking out mile after mile each week.  They happen to all of us at some point in our running lives.  This round has been much easier on my body than the last round but I did have some bumps in the road along the way.  Listen to your body, don’t try to cram in missed training, and let yourself heal.  It can be hard when an injury takes you out for a few days but don’t rush back into it or you could do more damage to your body.


Lesson 2:  Stop comparing

I spent much of 2014 comparing my times to others and letting myself be discouraged that I wasn’t faster.  In reality, I should have been celebrating the PR’s I was nailing, the distances I was covering, and the miles my legs were taking me.  I couldn’t see those as victories because I wasn’t what most people consider “fast”.  I am now embracing my times and recognizing them for what they are:  strength, improvement, and growth.

Lesson 3:  Understand the struggles

Fueling has always been an issue for me.  I struggle with when to fuel, what to fuel with, and how much I really need.  Some of it has to do with things other runners have told me.  That goes back to lesson 2.  Stop worrying about others and do what works for you.  I struggled in Chicago because I lost some of my gel packs along the course.  I became desperate at the end and took every scrap of food I could find along the course from the bananas volunteers were handing out to pretzels being handed out by spectators.  I also resorted to drinking Gatorade which I stay away from in races because it causes major bloating.  I should have learned this as I went into last Friday’s 20 miler but I was stubborn.  I have one more long run before the marathon and this will be focused on covering the distance with the proper fueling.  I will fuel even if I am feeling good because if I push too far without it, there is no recovering from that and the last part of the run will suffer. 

Lesson 4:  Carbs are my friend

I am a runner that needs carbs.  I have tried restricting but realized my long runs suffered.  Some people have told me it isn’t necessary for running but I have found that for me they are.  I now fuel up on healthy carbs leading up to my long runs and it has made the difference.  What works for me may not work for others and that’s ok but I need to perfect my strategy to get results. 

Lesson 5:  Ask for help

When training for a marathon, it can be easy to be overwhelmed with training, work and family.  I found this was happening to me as I headed into peak training weeks.  Finally I had to ask for help and give myself permission to forget about things that didn’t really matter.  So, this year my hubby wrapped ALL the Christmas presents, I shopped online and I skipped the Christmas cards.  I started to feel guilty but I realized that it’s ok not to get to everything and Christmas will still happen as planned. 

Lesson 6:  Use the right training plan

It is super easy to find a plan in a book or on the internet and use it to run a race.  It can lead you to a successful finish in many cases.  In my case, a one size fits all approach didn’t work for me.  I tried a plan and it was geared at someone faster than I was.  I became burned out, tired and by the time I reached the start line I was over trained which led to a finish but one I fought hard for.  This time around I hired a running coach who developed a plan just for me based on my capabilities and paces.  It has made all the difference in the world for me.  I have found myself running distances more easily and being able to hold a more consistent pace.  I am hoping this is an indicator of a positive outcome for marathon number 2. 

Lesson 7:  Running is mental

The body is capable of amazing things.  It is often your head telling you to give up not your body.  Once I finished that first marathon, I find it easier to push through my training runs.  In fact, most of the time when running outdoors, I leave the music and running apps behind.  I run based on feel and have found that approach has allowed me to push myself when necessary and also when to hold back. 

I am sure this list will evolve as I continue to run more marathons because my love for distance running isn’t ending anytime soon.  I am a lifelong runner and am looking forward to my next adventures.