I Tend to Get Pretty Muddy…

I’ve gotten pretty muddy on many occasions – you might say I’m a bit of a mud connoisseur. I’ve gotten muddy at work (more times than I care to admit)… At play… And while running… Twice… But the third time’s … Continue reading

Week 13 Training Recap

I went into week 13 knowing that it would be challenge – not because I had difficult workouts planned, but because I had gotten into a really great routine and that would be tested. Normally, my week looks like this: … Continue reading

2012 Goals

I’ve always had a weird relationship with New Year’s resolutions. They always seem to be big, nebulous ideas that were nice thoughts, but didn’t have much planning, foresight or realism to them. At this time last year, I was 20 pounds overweight, pretty miserable with myself, and wanting change. Instead of making resolutions, I set me some goals, made a plan, and made it happen. 6 months into 2011, I had dropped 25 pounds, run a half marathon, grown into being happy with myself, and started training for the whole shebang. It might seem silly, but the idea of  “goals”  vs. “resolutions” worked for me.

This year, I’ve decided to make different sets of goals for the New Year. One set for the spring training cycle, a second set to be determined based on the outcomes of my spring races, and a third set of overarching goals for the year as a whole. I’m sure I’ll revisit and reevaluate these goals pretty often as I kick off and settle into marathon training in January, but here’s what I have for now…

Spring 2012 Training Cycle Goals:

  • Run a 4:30 marathon.
  • Run a sub-2:00 half marathon.
  • Run 1, maybe 2,  spring marathons – Athens and/or Flying Pig

Fall 2012 Training Cycle Goals:

  • Run an early fall marathon – TBD, probably the Air Force Marathon.
  • Based on early fall marathon experience, decide whether I want to run a late fall marathon (November/December).
  • Half Marathon PR – based on spring PR, somewhere around 1:50, maybe?

Goals for the Year:

  • PR in a 5k – 23 and change / 7:30 pace
  • Run 1,200 miles for the year – average of about 23 miles/week
  • Run 3 – 4 marathons and 6 – 8 half marathons.
  • Run at least 12 races total.

These are pretty lofty goals for me, but if I learned anything in 2011 it’s that I underestimate myself and that I need big goals to keep me pushing forward. Playing it safe never brought anyone amazing results, and I’m looking to do amazing things in the next few years!

Bring it, 2012!!

Race Recap: New Balance Girls on the Run 5k!

My first season as a Head Coach for the Girls on the Run of Franklin County culminated this past Saturday, at the New Balance Girls on The Run 5k! There are just too many things to say about the past 10 weeks, but suffice it to say that they have been some of the most inspiring, challenging, heart-warming, and rewarding weeks I’ve had the chance to experience.

Each week, I spent 2 hours with 15 young girls. While most Girls on the Run teams are based at elementary schools, my team was based at a community center called the Run the Race Club. My first day at GOTR back in September was a bit overwhelming. The center bursts at the seams with kids after school, and it was chaotic to say the least. The first weeks are always a little rough as everyone gets to know each other, but as time went on our team hit a groove; then all of the sudden, it was time to for our end of the season celebration – a full 5k race!

In the weeks before the race, our girls received their brand new New Balance shoes. The team was blessed with two generous sponsors, so each girl got a sweet pair of running kicks along with their shirt and 5k registration. It was so much fun handing out those shoes – the girls were THRILLED, and couldn’t wait to put them to good use in the race.

The morning of the 5k came early and cold, of course, but excitement was in the air – we had a race to run! The girls were ready; we had built not only endurance, strength and fortitude, but genuine confidence and positivity. Those weeks held some difficult conversations, challenges in respecting and truly listening to one another, and true breakthroughs in building positive and healthy relationships. We were ready.

After we picked up our packets and got our numbers pinned on, we spent some time enjoying the festivities – the girls LOVED the hair station! They each got sprayed up with different colors, picked out some festive hair ties and pins and we had a blast just being silly and enjoying each others company.

And then, it was time to line up at the start! Each girl is assigned a running buddy who is there for moral support and to ensure her safety before, during and after the race. I started the race walking with 4 girls from my team, but one, K, wanted to run a bit, so I went ahead with her while another coach walked with the other girls. All through the race, K did an amazing job – she ran for awhile and walked when she got tired. I set small goals for us – run to that tree! walk to the lamp post and then run again! Jog to the water station! After a few minutes, K caught on, and started setting her own goals. I really loved spending so much one on one time with her, and we talked about all sorts of stuff!

Before we knew, it we hit mile marker 3, where we had already decided we would sprint to the finish. Watching each girl cross the finish line and receive her awesome GOTR medal was one of the coolest experiences! I got to cheer in most of my girls, and it had me nearly in tears…

I never could have guessed 10 weeks ago how this experience could have changed me; but in those weeks, I saw how these lessons impacted each girl. Each week, they shared stories about how they had taken what they learned at GOTR and used it – how they had heard hurtful gossip about a classmate and put a stop to it, were welcoming to a new girl in class, and stood up to peer pressure. I’ll admit, at first I wondered whether the lessons would stick. Sometimes, the conversation starters we threw out were met with little more than crickets. But as they came back, week after week, I started to notice something different –  a small spark that wasn’t there before.

Maybe 10 weeks isn’t long enough to truly make a lifelong change. But, it is certainly enough to light a spark, and hopefully the lessons these girls learned through GOTR can be fanned into something truly amazing – strong, confident and healthy women!

Race Recap: Run To Empower 5k (My First Race!)

Well. This is certainly awkward. I mean, there I went and said I was going to be blogging more, and promptly disappeared for another week. Or more. How embarrassing.

But in my defense, life has been absolutely, certifiably, 110% bonkers around here. I have about 4 weeks + a week of “finals” left of grad school, and in those 4 short weeks, I have to defend & revise a thesis, finish, present, & revise a leadership project, and in the meantime, keep up with my 2 classes and put in 8 hours a week for my graduate scholarship. I turned in my thesis manuscript Sunday morning, after 4 consecutive 13+ hour days of whipping the little bugger into shape. Can you say S-T-R-E-S-S-F-U-L?

The good news is that I RAN MY FIRST EVER RACE on Saturday, October 9th, 2010! That’s right, I partook in the Race to Empower 5k in good ole’ Athens, Ohio. Proceeds from the race go to the Empower Campaign, an educational initiative in Africa, so not only did I get to run my first race, but I also contributed a little something to make getting to school for Ugandan children just a bit easier.

The race itself was great! Going into it, I was a bit worried, since I hadn’t run in about a week, and before that my training had been sporadic thanks to a weird shin/calf injury I had going, but the miles flew by, and before I knew it we were 2 miles in. It was much hotter than Ian or I were expecting, and being out on the bikepath made it that much more noticeable, but all in all, it was a raging success, I’d say! We both finished in 34 minutes and some change, which I was happy with. Not so fast, but about the same as I had been running before my shin started acting up, so I was pleased!

Depending on how my leg is feeling in the next couple of days, we may be signing up for another 5k on Halloween. Half-marathon training has been un-officially suspended, due more to the sheer insanity of life at this point, but I’d like to see how the leg holds up before I make a final decision about anymore races. It didn’t hurt at all during the race, but was pretty sore on Sunday. When I went to have it looked at, they said it was most likely a tendon sprain and that I should “try not” to run for 6 – 8 weeks, whatever that means. Well, that didn’t exactly happen (I know, I know), but I’d still like to play the “better somewhat safe than really sorry” card.

I know I’ve said this before, but I really do want to continue blogging more. It really (REALLY!) helps me to stay motivated and inspired, and I need some of that right now.

How do you stay motivated and/or inspired when life seems to get in the way of your best intentions? I’d love to hear some of your tips! 🙂