Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wrapping Up 2013

Pondering the past year makes me want to rejoice and cry! 

I've always been very intimidated by idea of running non-stop. I spent over twenty years walking and hiking long distances, taking step aerobics, doing lots of cardio machines and classes, but never had enough confidence to really try to tackle running. 
I kept watching my run buddy, Kasey (for a year) as she was plugging along at her running journey and she didn't die. 
See smiling, not dying 



I also began to notice people running as I was out and about and they were certainly not dropping over, so I finally got up my nerve to give running a shot.
I did hurt, but it didn't kill me so at 46 years old I caught the running bug. I was convinced after my first few runs three or four miles would probably be it for me. I often kick myself now that I didn't start running in my 30's. Why did I wait until after 45...

January through March I had several runs where my strategy was always the same, run as far as I could make it, then walk it out. My running pace: 11:00-12:00 minutes a mile. I kept working on making the shorter runs faster, but it was a challenge every step. I remember my calves hurting so bad it would take almost 3 miles to loosen them up. I was stretching a lot but still getting very sore through my my first few months of running. 

I went through a series of different apps and looking back through my stats I forgot how much I was still power walking. My version of power walking was short bursts of running and brisk walking so I would average anywhere from a 13:00 to 14:00 minute mile. I did a lot of two hour walks on the weekends. I loved putting on my camelbak and heading to the trails. I continued my power walking until April when I finally made the transition to all running. I also purchased my Garmin in April and I love it, having all my stats in one place is awesome. 

April I ran about 40 miles. I thought I was a bad **s.

May I ran 66 miles and that's the month my hip pain started in full force. The pain in my left hip kept changing from a burning sensation to sharp pains, to non-stop throbbing, then back to sharp pains depending on my weight distribution. I had it X-rayed and they said it wasn't a stress fracture. I still wonder to this day what was going on. Bursitis, weak IT band, strained ligament, I have no idea. I went through several different steroids and did lots of hip stretches, and periods of rest trying to get past it. It was totally frustratingI hurt all summer and in September I finally started to have long periods of time where I would be pain free. I still get a few twangs of pain at times, enough to take an anti-inflammatory, but it's not disruptive like it was over the summer. I started reading lots of running blogs during my pain experience trying to find someone who had similar issues and got hooked. I love the virtual running community. 
Before the Run Like a Girl Trail race
June was my first realization that I had a serious problem with the heat and humidity. I ran a 4 mile trail race June 2nd and I remember feeling pretty nauseous throughout.
My heat intolerance is likely because of my thyroid issues (diagnosed slowing), and struggling through VA humidity feels endless...May to October was rough and I am thankful for whatever reason, September took leave from the suffocating humidity and I successfully ran my first half marathon. 

My second half in October is still haunting me.  It was almost 90 degrees on a course with little shade and I got as sick as could be and there were no port a potties on the course so I had to find a bush and ended up finishing in 2:36:50. So discouraging. I have been hesitant to sign up for another.

Even with all the pain and very slow summer paces I made gains and kept at it. Most of the time I try to ignore that I am 47 years old, but going through the hip pain experience scared me (and still does) so I do realize I have to respect that my body needs time to recover. I try to make the most of my workouts but not over train. Age never bothered me until the past year of so. 40 was a breeze and I really didn't feel any different until after I turned 45, but now I am starting to show visible signs of wear and tear, wrinkly (very) skin, age spots...ugh, gray hair, random aches and pains, general fatigue, etc...and it's a little hard to take some days.

I ran 834 miles this year. 
October and December were my high months and I ran just a little over a 100 miles each month. 

Glimpses of progress 
April 7, 2012 Henrico 5K- 34:54
March 30, 2013 Henrico 5K - 29:52 


April 12, 2012  Monument Ave. 10K - 1:22:41
April 13, 2013  Monument Ave. 10K - 1:01:40
March 29,2014 Monument Ave. 10K- ? 
To date I have run 5 10K's in sub 60. Of course, I hope on race day this year to officially record a great time.

September 7, 2013 Farmville High Bridge Half - 2:13:03 

I ran over this bridge during my first half marathon 

Loved this trail 

Looking at the numbers I feel very content in my accomplishments and the fact that I survived! There were oodles of moments through out the past year where I was certain I wouldn't run ever again. 

I am not on a mission to be faster really (just the Monument Ave 10K), I just want my runs to feel a little easier. At times they do; I get the sensation I am just cruising and could go forever. Other days I struggle like I have never run before, maybe that will never go away. 

One of my best weight loss tools this past year has been my Lose it app. I have met some of the most delightful folks, who have encouraged me through my running and weight loss trials this year and I look  forward ♥ to checking in and chatting with all my virtual friends as often as possible. Tracking helped me to lose 16 lbs. over the past two years. I am only 5'2" so I don't carry extra weight well (I look like a meatball). It has been a slow battle with my thyroid issues and I've had to dip (calories) pretty low to lose a few pounds. I still have a few to go and I hope the running will eventually help me shed those.
Tacky Light Run my last event of 2013 
Click here to read about my drenched run
 Running Over The Hill: Tacky Light Run
My long term goal for the upcoming year is a pretty simple plan. Exercise four times a week. Run at least three days, become a stronger runner uphills, and tackle some strength training. 

 I haven't thought about how I will get through the summer heat yet, but I do hope to survive it running even if it means more treadmill. 

My hope is I will be injury free, feeling healthy and strong, and pounding the pavement (or trails) three or four days week. 

7 comments:

  1. Your pace improvements in the 10K are seriously impressive! You are rocking that distance!

    The heat in the summer is definitely a killer. I did most of my runs on the treadmill this past summer ... even my long runs. That was a mental challenge but the heat outside would have been worse! I actually learned to love the treadmill for a while, and I think I'll probably spend a lot of time with it again this summer.

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  2. Thanks Kristina :) That's awesome you can stay on the treadmill for long runs, it sure is a mental challenge! Maybe I will improve at it :) we'll see...

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  3. Way to go for your first year of running! Running will never be easy...but I guess that's why we keep coming back for more. Happy New Year!

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  4. I can't believe you are 47!! You look way younger than that.
    Congrats on some huge progress in 2013. Going from walker to all runner is a big shift! You'll make it through the summer. :)
    BTW, Great photo art too !
    Happy New Year!!

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  5. That's true it probably will never feel "easy"

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  6. I just found your blog (through Meg Go Run). I am loving it. I am 42 and was a runner most of my life. These past few years have plagued me with injury so I am taking a break from running and power walking, swimming, cycling. I love when I find a blog that is so easy to relate to! I am excited to go back and read some previous entries. BTW, did you ever find out what happened to your hip? Hip/glute/hamstring pain are with me almost always....

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