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. 


  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.

  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...

  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!

  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!!

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

  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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