Saturday, December 31, 2016

Out with the old, in with the new

It's become a tradition for me to write a blog on New Year's Eve (or thereabouts), in which I muse about the previous year, as well as set goals for the upcoming year.  As I've mentioned in the past, goal-setting has been a part of my life for decades.  I have always loved to make New Year's Resolutions, and the desire to improve myself has not ebbed as I've aged.

First, though, I must think in retrospect.  2016... wow.  It was quite a year!  The goals that I set including training smart, qualify for the Boston Marathon, compete in my first half-Ironman, and find gratitude in every run.  If this were a report card, I would have earned a 75%.  And if you know me at all, you are fully aware which of my goals were not met.  Boston continues to elude me, and once again this year, it was due to a last-minute injury that occurred tragically right before I was to compete in my third marathon.  A hip stress fracture left me on crutches and once again cheering from the sidelines for my friends in Toledo.  It was a definitely deja vu experience, one that I truly hope to never experience again.

But the other three goals--check, check, and check!  I'm super proud of my first half-Ironman race, especially as I had to come back from the stress fracture.  I honestly didn't know if I'd be able to compete in the race up until a few weeks beforehand.  The cherry on top was breaking six hours, which is a time that was beyond my wildest expectations when I started the race.  The gratitude, well, that came easily this past year.  Especially after being on crutches for six weeks... I still breathe in the air of thankfulness each time I lace up.  As far as training smart goes, I had high hopes of escaping injury in 2016.  Unfortunately, my title of oft-injured runner was difficult to avoid yet again.  But... there's always 2017!

Well, it's out with the old, and in with the new!  Here are my aspirations for the upcoming year:

1) Race in a marathon.  I've downgraded my hopes of qualifying for Boston (which has been a goal of mine for the past two years) to simply competing in a marathon again.  I have trained for four marathons and only raced in two, due to injuries in 2015 and 2016.  More than anything, I just want to race in a marathon again.  The time that it takes me to do so at this point is inconsequential.  Finishing 26.2 miles again in and of itself is my dream.

2) PR in the half-Ironman.  I took the plunge once again and registered for Ohio 70.3.  This year's race will take place on July 30, promising hotter, more difficult conditions than 2016.  Yay... not.  I waffled between registering for this race or another 70.3 when it would be a bit cooler, but I loved having the support of friends and family, as well as not having to worry about lodging, travel, etc.  This year, I want to go into the race fully prepared to give it my all!

3) Become a scholar of the heart.  Heart-rate training, that is.  I was introduced to using a heart rate monitor by my triathlon coach Betsy during the final 6 weeks of training for the half-Ironman, and quickly found a place for myself within the data and numbers.  I have recently hired a running coach, George Roulett.  He is a local, well-known runner who embraces training by heart-rate like no other.  I am ready to allow my heart to be my guide, and let George guide me in this school of thought.  So far, this means to run slower than I ever have before.  I admit, it's not been easy.  ("What do you mean, run a 10:30/mile?  I can't run in the 10's... I just can't!")  I figure, though, that at this point I have nothing to lose.  If heart-rate training will allow me to move forward as a runner, then I am all for it.  I have nothing to lose!

...and if I could have abs like hers, that'd be an added bonus LOL!
4) Compete in a swim meet.  This last one was something that literally just popped into my head.  I have been training a couple of days a week with a local Master's team for the past few months.  I seriously LOVE being a part of a team again. One day, we did a set where we had to go off the blocks.  I haven't dove off the blocks in about two DECADES.  Yikes!  But wow, was it ever fun!  I want to go to a Master's competition and actually suit up and race.  It'll be crazy to compete in a pool again, but my heart is pulling me back to the chlorine again.

This picture gives me HUGE butterflies!!!
And there you have it... my 2017.  More than anything, I would love to have a year where I do not have any true injuries.  Little niggles are fine... but please, running gods, no fractures, tears, or anything else that keeps me from what I love to do for more than a few days!

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