Thursday, June 20, 2013

The year in review...and what's next

While I have been a runner for many years (my first marathon was 17 years ago!!), the last year has been a time of significant growth for me in my life as a runner.

Until last year, running had always been a very solitary pursuit for me.  I did all of my running by myself, partly due to scheduling conflicts but mostly because I didn't know any women runners who lived nearby and enjoyed running longer distances.  I wasn't a member of any running clubs and never had someone to keep me company on my 20 mile training runs.  As much as I loved running, it was never something that I was able to share with anyone else -- literally (as in running with someone) or figuratively (as in writing/reading/talking about my passion with someone else who actually cared).

Last June, I was searching the internet for others who had successfully battled tendinitis of the foot when I came across some running blogs.  I had never been one who read or followed any blogs and didn't have any friends who wrote one, either.

I started reading about these women and their attempts to balance their passion for running and their struggles with eating healthy, raising kids, working (in or out of the home), grocery shopping, cooking, volunteering at their kids' schools, practicing yoga, keeping their houses (relatively) clean and keeping their spouses (relatively) happy.  These women supported each other, encouraged each other, comforted each other and motivated each other.

They certainly don't all have everything in common -- some are married, some are single, some have kids, some are childless, some are young, some are old, some are overweight, some are thin, some are fast, some are slow, some are vegan and some live in the midwest.  [Any vegans from the midwest??]  But they all share a love of all things running.

I became inspired.

I started a blog.
I hired a running coach.
I registered for Boston.
I set a big goal to run a sub-3:30 marathon.
I turned 40.  (Okay, this one wasn't something I chose to do or even wanted to do...but it seemed like a big deal to be doing all of this while turning a pivotal age where most runners are starting to slow down.)
I made new running friends who believed in me.
I put in the miles.
I hit the track.
I became comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I added cross training.
I developed a strict post-run recovery routine.
I started going to bed earlier in order to maximize sleep.
And last, but not least, I started to believe in myself.

a jacket I literally had to work for

40th birthday celebrations

Putting in the miles
The site of many 800m repeats

learning to become comfortable running in freezing temps

post-run smoothie

I've looked at this many, many times during my runs

I almost reached my goal in Boston when I ran a 3:30:30 and then finally did a few weeks later with a 3:25:25 in Newport, Oregon.  I was so happy at that moment that I was ready to hang up my running shoes and walk off into the sunset.

But now that a couple of weeks have passed, it is time to start focusing on what's next.

I took a full week off with no exercise whatsoever and then decided to start the Insanity DVD's.  I had bought them a year or so ago but had never actually done them.  I am almost finished with my second week of the program and am really enjoying it so far.  I thought it would be a good way to strengthen my core while also giving my legs a little bit of a break.  As it turns out, my left knee has been really bothering me every time I have tried running so it is probably a good thing for me to be mixing it up a little these days.  Sometimes I run 2 miles on the treadmill after the Insanity workout but even that short run bothers my knee so now I'm taking another week off from running.

I also am realizing that Hood to Coast is just two months away and, at some point, I will need to start training for it.  Running HTC this year is not something that I was planning on doing.  I ran it one time, about ten years ago, and had a great time but I was a last-minute addition to the team and only knew one person in my van.  I knew I wanted to do it again one day and then the opportunity presented itself about two months ago when a friend offered me an entire team to buy.  I jumped at the chance and am looking forward a fun, exhausting and unforgettable weekend with a mix of college friends, high school friends, friends of friends and my husband!!

I haven't yet thought much past HTC but my tentative plan is to run some shorter races in the fall and then pick another goal marathon for next spring...I'm thinking of Boston or maybe Eugene.  And I'm definitely planning on setting another big goal for that race!

Has anyone done the Insanity program?  Thoughts?  Results??

Anyone else running HTC this year?

Has anyone else run the Eugene Marathon?  Would you recommend it?

- Kristen


  1. I'm so excited to be running HTC with you!! It's a love/hate relationship with that run since it puts you in situations that you may not otherwise choose to run in, which for me is the first leg, often in the hottest part of the day that I dread. Give me an uphill, middle-of-the-night, dusty gravel road & I'm happy!

    May I suggest the San Francisco marathon next summer? It's got some elevation with the Golden Gate Bridge, but the changing scenery is spectacular & how many people get to say they ran across the Golden Gate Bridge?


    1. I'm so excited you'll be running it with me, too, Jamie! I love that HTC offers you the chance to both run in the heat of the day and also the uphill, middle-of-the-night dusty road! I'll be sure to give you that leg of mine at 2am. Ha!

      Did you run the SF marathon?? I'm sure you have already told me but I can't remember. I will definitely look at that one and see if the timing might work out with our summer plans...

      Fun running with you earlier today! :) xo

  2. I have to say that I sometimes like that solitude. I don't listen to music when I am on the road so it lets my mind just wander as I run along. Never tried the Insanity but I have P90X and it's pretty good too.

    1. I definitely agree about the solitude. But as much as I enjoy it, I also think it would be fun to have some friends to run with occasionally.

      I know lots of people who swear by P90X! I decided to try Insanity but wouldn't mind trying P90X sometime, too.

  3. That's what you call a pretty fantastic year!!! I'm so glad we have connecting and getting to meet you in person in 2 months is icing on the cake!!!
    Insanity? Yes! That is what trained me for my 1st adult 5k. Insanity will always have a special place in my heart, ha!

    1. Yes, just two months!! You'll have to keep me posted on all your details as far as your arrival into Portland so that we can figure out a good time to meet.

      I love that you trained for your first adult 5K using Insanity. I did my second fit test the other day and was surprised at how much I had improved, especially considering I thought I was pretty "fit" going into it right after having run a great marathon. Love that I'm getting stronger!

  4. What an awesome year for you! Can't wait to hear what you go for next!!!

    1. Thanks, Jess! Hoping to make it through Hood to Coast in one piece and then we'll see. :) Hope all is well with you and your beautiful girls!

  5. I can relate to this post in so many ways! Running opened up a whole new world for me with friends, blogging, and the whole running *community*. I started off running solo, but then joined a running group which changed my life! Now, though, since I'm following a specific coached training plan I find myself running solo more often and really enjoying that time. I love your BELIEVE bracelet... something I'm definitely working on :) You had one amazing year and I am so excited for you with whatever you decide to do next! Oh, and I would definitely recommend Eugene Marathon... fast, pretty flat and a nice mix of spectators and quiet, beautiful stretches... I want to run it again for sure!

    1. I forgot that you ran Eugene this year! As much as I love running Newport, I am thinking Eugene might be a fun race for me to try. I love the thought of running into the stadium for the finish.

      How are you enjoying having a coach? I can only imagine the workouts that Erin must give to you! ;)

  6. What an awesome year for you!! I also ran causally for years before finally wanting to tap into my potential the last year or two- it's so rewarding to hit those new prs. Excited to see what's next for you!

    1. I am looking forward to hitting new PR's in some shorter distances while I still can. Ha! One day I will take my shoes to the trails and give ultras a try, too. I am looking forward to following your progress, too, as I know you are chasing some big goals!