Friday, December 6, 2013

2013 Goals in Review

Back in January I set some fitness related and personal goals for 2013. Here's how I did...

1.       Run at least 13 races. Accomplished! I will actually be running my 15th race tomorrow (10 live races, 4 virtuals).
2.      Learn to NOT START TOO FAST!! This one kills me ever.single.time. I start races way too  fast, even when I know I started too fast and slow down. I never slow enough. It cost me a sub 1:50 half last year and I won't let it stop me from getting that this year. I am still working on this one. It cost me a PR at the Flying Pirate and a couple of better placings at some 5k's. MUST.CONQUER.THIS.IN.2014!!!!
3.      PR and break a 1:50 half marathon (see above). Nope, see #2. :/
4.      PR and break a 40 minutes 8k. I haven't raced an 8k in a couple of years. This March, watch out Shamrock 8kers, I am finally going to go sub 40 minutes! Accomplished!! 39:10 at The Shamrock 8k. This race I actually tried to pace myself out of the gate and feel I went too slow and could have broken 38 minutes.
5.      Complete Tough Mudder and finally mark this off my to do list! EPIC FAIL!!! TM you are dead to me! If you missed it read about it here.
6.      Not get injured or sick. (This is already a fail, you can read about that in Trail Running Gone Wrong.) Other than falling flat on my face trail running and getting sick over Christmas break, I have been pretty (knock on wood) healthy this year. I did start seeing a chiropractor, which I think has helped my overall well being, but not my overall financial health. #beinghealthyisexpensive
7.      Win my age group in all the small local races I run. (Notice, I didn't say the large races.) They say you peak in you late 30's, well I am in my late 30's. This age group is tough and gets tougher at every race. So not only do I need to PR and be happy with my PR, because according to science it's all down hill from here, I need to win. To me this is my Olympics, the competition is that good! (Side note: I know this must sound arrogant, but if you don't dream big, then you are limiting yourself!) I did win my age group at the Stingray 5k. I came in second at the Equikids 5k, and second at the Untamed Spirit 5k. And I have yet to place at the Military Challenge OCR. We won the team division, but I can't break into the top three. Next year for sure!
8.     Incorporate, really incorporate on a regular basis stretching and movement prep to my training plan. This will help tremendously with #6, the injured part not the sick part. Accomplished!!! It is just part of my routine now. You can read about movement prep here.
9.      800 miles. That is just over 15 miles per week. I know to some people this is chump change, but for me it will probably be one of the harder challenges on this list.  I am not sure exactly how many miles I ran. After my disappointment at The FP in April, I decided to stop tracking mileage and pace for a while. January through April I ran 261 miles. I know I ran at least 16 miles in May and 23 in June. (I know I ran more that that, I just have no idea what. I would guess I averaged 40-50 miles each month.) July through Nov 30th I logged 390. With August being the most at 99 miles. That brings me to 690 miles and I still have December. (If I add 50 miles for May and June, I would need to run about 50 miles in December to meet my goal. I just might do that!)
10.  Run a relay. I have my eye on The Colonial 200, here in Virginia.  I had the most amazing experience doing this race!!! My recap doesn't give it justice, but please read it anyway here. 
11.   Continue to pursue clean eating, menu planning, and hopefully get a vegetable garden put in in February to help with this. We are still on the clean eating band wagon. My menu planning has fallen off though. I still plan at least 1-2 weeks at a time, just haven't been inspired to do a full month of planning lately. Still no vegetable garden. This year it IS going in. We have some other landscaping happening after the new year and it is part of that plan.
12.  To not let training, blogging, Facebooking, and other time suckers like Pinterest interfere with my family. My boys are getting big and I don't want to miss this precious time I have with them.  I stepped down as chapter leader of MRTT, which has freed up a lot of my time. Time that I used to spend on the computer managing club stuff, has been filled with family things. I don't blog as much or spend nearly as much time on the computer as I once did. Life still gets in the way of spending quality time with my boys, but we did have time to make a lot of fun memories this year. I plan on continuing with this goal or lifestyle change for many years to come!
2013 is wrapping up. I am so glad I made this list and was able to reflect back on it. I hope to have time to reflect about 2013 as a whole and from there set some goals for 2014. Hope you all had a fabulous year! I look forward to reading about it and your goals for 2014.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Runway 5k


I've been wanting to get back to how running started for me, small, locally put on, short distance races and this small 5k benefiting Untamed Spirit, “a program designed to enhance and enrich the lives of individuals with special needs through a partnership with horses” was perfect. It was close to home and I knew it wouldn't take too much time away from my family.

It took place at the Virginia Beach Military Aviation Museum, located in rural Virgina Beach. We would be running a cross country course on the grass runway and through the dinosaur park.
The race coordinator warned us that we wouldn't get a PR today, but I always *hope* I'm going to PR. I can't help it. Getting better is why I compete. 

It was a cold and windy morning. After warming up I was comfortable and decided to keep my outer layer on. A decision I would quickly regret. I hadn't thought too much about my race strategy either, another move I would regret. I was given some sound advice to start a bit slower and then hit the gas a little later into the race. Even though, I wanted to do this, it didn't happen. In true Courtney fashion I put the pedal to the metal right out of the gate. By mile one I was slowing down and HOT. I decided to not worry about speeding up. Instead, I wanted to concentrate on keeping a steady pace. Even if I wasn't going to PR I thought I could hold onto third place as I noticed that only two women were ahead of me. 

I knew I would never catch #1. She ended up running it in 22 and some change! I did, however, keep #2 in my sights. She too was hot, shedding layers as she ran, but more importantly she was slowing!

So here I am, hot and already fatigued, running on a grass runway trying not to slip and then they throw you for a loop, literally. I was looping through a grassy knoll littered with dinosaur replica’s. All the looping back and forth slowed me down.

This was obviously not taken on race day :)
Once we were out of our little loop through Jurassic Park, I steadied my pace and was able to close in on #2. She must have tried to make up for lost time running around the dino's and sprinted ahead to only tire herself out as she was now taking walk breaks. I tried not to think about her and just run my race, but as I got closer and the finish was near, I new I was going to try and go in for the kill! I didn't want to start my final kick too soon and run out gas before the finish. And I didn't want to start too late and not be able to catch her, so with about three tenth's of a mile to go I made my move...

I closed the distance between us quickly. As soon as I was on her heels she felt my presence and started sprinting too. As we are sprinting that last tenth of a mile, neck in neck, I could hear everyone cheering, but I couldn't see anything but the finish  line. I have this weird tunnel vision thing happen when things get intense. With maybe 20 feet left to go, I could feel her edging over into my space. WTH! Is that even legal? I don't know if it was intentional or not, or even if it really happened! I might have edged into her space? I don't know, anyway, it doesn't matter. What matters is that with her edging me over I fell a step behind. She crossed the finish line first @ 24:44 and I was 2 seconds back with 24:46. 2 little seconds! 2! And you know what? I don't care. I mean I care, of course I care, BUT, it was so exciting!! I loved the excitement! The thrill of competition! It was an awesome feeling! A feeling that somehow has escaped me during this last year of running. A feeling I hope is here to stay! I enjoyed this race so much more than I have enjoyed most of the races I completed this year.

I ended up taking 3rd overall and second in my age group. It was such a small race that they only gave out 1st place overall awards. Everyone else went to the age groups. Even though, it was a small race, my age group, 30-39 was tough. The first place finisher overall was 33. #2 was second overall and first in our age group at a whopping 31 years old. Then I come with my walker to take 2nd at the ripe old age of 38! The 3rd place finisher was 30.  I can draw a diagram if you need help sorting that out, but on paper, not on the computer. Us old people don't know how to do that! It actually makes me feel pretty good that I was able to hang with those kids! Apparently, runners peak in their late 30's. Does that mean I am now looking at the back side of the mountain? I don't think I am ready for that just yet! Oh and the organizer  was right, no PR for me. Next time for sure!

I'm still not sure what this guys costume was all about.
Or this one...but it made for a good photo.

Some of my MRTT momma's.