Monday, December 30, 2013

Hitting the Reset Button

Feels like a little year-end wrap-up is in order, no?

It's been a pretty big year: Moved to Dallas. Did a bunch of construction/remodeling work in the new house. Picked up my running considerably. Met some great new friends through my DRC running group. Fell out of love with playing goalie. G got promoted to partner. I got laid off. And we just hosted our first Christmas with my family.

Lots of change this year, some of it for the worse but a lot of it for the better. Even though we miss our friends in Houston like crazy, we like Dallas, and I LOVE the weather. So nice to have real winter and know that for every nice running day, I won't have to suffer through 20 yucky, humid days (and that's just in winter!)

And between my great running group and new running friends and lovely weather, I've really accomplished so much more this year than I expected. When I left Houston in late March, I don't think I'd run much more than 5 miles at a time. Needless to say, things got stepped up when I left the suffocating humidity behind:
  • Since April, I've run 444.8 miles in 94 hours and 40 minutes (12.77 mph avg) and burned over 57,000 calories
  • Two half marathons (Tyler Rose in 2:52 and DRC Half in 2:30)
  • Had one race cancelled due to Icemaggedon (Isle du Bois Trail 18k)
  • Ran/rode/hated one duathlon
  • Won 2nd place in the Athena division of the Flagpole 8K
  • Ran two 10ks, a 5M and a 15k, and the 8M turkey trot
  • Longest distance was 13.67 (the overly long Tyler Rose half)
  • Hilliest run totaled 1125 feet of climbing on a 10 miler in Dana Point, CA
I'm very excited that I've managed to not have any significant injuries (though admittedly, the small injuries feel huge in the moment), and that I've managed to stay balanced and not burn out. All this has just been the foundation from which to leap to bigger goals, and the first step of that began this week.

My Christmas present is a massage treatment (4.5+ hours of work), basically with a muscle activation  approach (though a little different). My MT does a few tests to see if certain movements point out pain or imbalances, and then she starts jabbing her fingers into painful places to "reset" those muscle attachments and get them responding to brain signals properly.

I've had two of the three treatments so far. It's one of the more painful things that's been done to me in the name of properly functioning muscles. Fingers stuck under rib cage or pelvic bones, thumbs pressing on muscle attachments. Hooboy! But if you like torture in the name of wellness, or just a really good deep tissue or regular massage, my MT is awesome, funny, sweet, and most of all, knowledgeable and passionate about her work. Check her out.

In two days, I'll do a test run of 6 miles (which is where my flexor/groins start to hurt) to see where we're at. She said other clients who've had this work find their leg turnover much more fluid and easy, less soreness in the groin and hip flexors, and improved speed. I'd be happy with any one of these, much less all three, so I'm very excited (and I think my MT is even more excited) to see how we're doing.

Then my first race of the year is Saturday: DRC Frigid 5k/10k (I'm doing 10k because 5ks suck). Really hoping I can run this with around 10 minute miles, but we'll see. I may be expecting too much. Plus, I've been eating like garbage polishing off all the Christmas food. I'm working to tightening this up throughout this week, but hubs is home all week, so it's tough.

Looking even further ahead, I'm also signed up for:
Jan 21-Mar 13 - RunOn! Speed Training (Tues/Thurs)
Feb. 8 - Hot Chocolate 15k
Mar. 1 - Levee Run 10k
Mar. 23 - Dallas Rock n' Roll 13.1M
Apr. 12 - Possum Kingdom Trail Run 20k

I think I'm also signing up for DRC again just to have someone to run long with on Saturdays, but I'm debating whether to do run/walk again or all run. Leaning toward all run. I'd go in the slowest group 2:30 and I know I can keep that pace. And I can always drop to run/walk if I need a break one week.

So, that's the plan. I have some lofty time goals for the year, but I'd love to make them before summer and get to set all new goals for fall! But with only one half marathon on the docket, it's unlikely. Still, can't hurt to try!

Stay with it, mule!

Monday, December 2, 2013

YMCA Turkey Trot 8 Miler - 2013

I've probably mentioned that the following is my motto:

Buy this here
So, turkey trots are seriously my jam. X-number of miles thinking, "Pie, pie, pie, pie..." and knowing exactly what the prize for this run is.

I was nervous about this race only because of the logistics of having to take DART down to the Convention Center and finding the start. I should have known that with 40,000 people running the 5k and 8 mile routes, I'd just have a giant herd of humanity to follow wherever I needed to be going.

It was surprisingly easy, despite the very crowded train, to figure that part out. Also a surprise was when I exited the train platform and who should be right in front of me but my running pal, Rosie! She has beautiful silver hair and is like 8 feet tall, so she's easy to spot in a crowd, but I certainly didn't expect it to be THAT easy. In fact, since she was running with her family, we'd resigned ourselves to likely not finding each other at all and being okay with that.

As it turned out, her family was doing different distances and at different paces, so she found me again at the start and we ran the full race together. What a treat! I think I had yet to run a full race with a friend, so that was a turn of events for which I was genuinely thankful!

As for the running, it was a cold morning, in the mid-30s to start, but we warmed up much more quickly than I expected. I'm not sure what I would have done differently though, other than having a non-runner come with me to take my jacket before the start. Still would have had 20 minutes of standing around in the corral freezing. By the second half of the race, I had my jacket off and my long sleeves pulled up to the elbows.

Once we got rolling and warmed up, we kept about a 10:50 pace most of the way doing 3:1 intervals and ended up with a 10:47 average, which is a PR for me for anything over 5 miles.

Despite the 1100 calories I burned in that race, I definitely didn't go to bed with a deficit. Plenty of delicious food... including pie... most certainly made the run worthwhile. And while I was sore after, none of the nagging pains I'd been dealing with made an appearance. The next day, I felt just fine.

Saturday is my last race of the year *sniff* assuming it even makes. Supposed to be some righteous weather (the wet, frozen kind) coming at the end of the week, so I'm worried that a) the race will be postponed because of a wet trail, b) the streets will be too dangerous to even drive the hour north to the trail, c) see b again, because that really worries me.

But it will most likely be fine and maybe we'll get snowed on a little. Trail running with a dusting of snow sounds kinda magical doesn't it? Get on that, Weather Elves...