Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Year in Running

I began 2014 with every intention of backing off on the running and focusing more on strength training.  I even thought maybe I could find a coach and help me with some lofty goals.  But then I realized, while I enjoy picking up heavy things, my true love is with running.  It is my therapy.  It's my way of cooling off when I'm angry and celebrating when I'm happy.  And the last half of the year, I have used it as a way of bonding with people.  Twenty Fourteen was a pretty big year in running for me, and I could not be more pleased.

January- 167.3 miles

I started 2014 off with a bang!  I ran two races, a 15k and an 8.75 mile run.  I finished the 15k in 1:11 and the 8.75 mile run in 1:03.  It turns out the course was short by a quarter of a mile, but no big deal!  I still PR'd by a whole lot.  That's when I knew I could be fast if I tried.  I also visited a friend in Oregon to help her shop for wedding dresses.  I enjoyed a very cold 10 miles around a town I knew nothing about.  That was stepping way out of my running comfort zone, but I loved every step of that run.

February- 154.8 miles

February started the final semester of the teaching credential program.  I had no races during the month of February, but I continued running to stay sane.  Obviously, my milage went down this month because I wasn't actually training for anything.  I studied a lot, ran a bit, and spent quite a number of hours in nature.

March- 176.7 miles

I wanted to stay in half-marathon shape and there was a 10-miler I hoped to run.  I didn't run the 10-miler due to horrible weather and my ego getting in the way, but I did a half-marathon on the treadmill instead.  I don't think I will ever be doing that again.  This year will be my redemption year, as I am certain my new running friends won't let me wimp out.  I was still going to school and using running as a way of forgetting about all of the stuff I had to do for a little while.

April- 159.3 miles

I didn't run any races in April either.  I was still doing my long runs on Sundays and running random distances.  I wasn't really caring about weekly milage.  I was spending a lot of time focusing on school and my relationship was going down the toilet.  I spent a lot of time sitting at my kitchen table studying for a very important test.  I visited the Bay Area for my soulmate's birthday and ran with her husband.  Running was not a main focus in April.

May-  125.7 miles

May was my lowest milage month the entire year.  I ran a half marathon where I PR'd by quite a bit and that just killed my legs and my running spirit.  I had to take that huge, important test in May as well, so a lot of time was spent studying.  My relationship also ended, so I spent a lot of time distracting myself from that in the form of staying off of technology and in the real world.  I also graduated and officially became a Special Education teacher!  May was a month of mixed emotions.

June- 155.8

My running mojo came back a bit.  It helped that I had met my new running friend.  I spent this month applying for jobs and ended up with not one, but TWO job offers.  I felt incredibly stressed out during this time, so I used the miles to keep myself from going crazy.  I figured out which job I was going to take during one of the June runs.  No races this month, but some good runs happened.  I was also the co-maid of honor in one of my best friend's wedding and I had to say goodbye to my brother who got a job in San Luis Obispo. 

July-  175.3 miles

Summer was in full-swing.  I was teaching summer school for the first time ever, enjoying lots of trips to the river, and running.  A lot.  Getting out of work at 12 gave me all the time in the world to run as much as I wanted.  I visited my brother in SLO and ran around town.  Runs are always fun in unfamiliar places.  My new running friend returned from a 6-week long trip and immediately forced me to join the running club.  This was the best decision I made (or was made for me) all year.  We also did a whole lot of beach running, which really helped with my speed.

August- 165.7 miles

This was the month of the unplanned half-marathon PR.  I signed up for it very last minute (with 13 minutes until race time) and planned on running between 8:10 and 8:20 pace.  Well, 7:20s felt easy and I came in at 1:38:44.  I thanked the incredibly hard, unpacked sand, beach runs I had done leading up to the race.  I also began my first year of teaching and soaked up the last few days of summer.  Most importantly, my niece turned one!

September- 172.1 miles

After joining the running club, I had lots of races to race and people to run with.  My running friend decided to start training for a December marathon and I joined him on many of his training runs.  Naturally, my milage just increased as I surrounded myself with badass runners.  I raced my first 10k and realized that I absolutely hate that distance.  It hurts and it's not nearly as short as the 5k.  I came in at 45 minutes flat and realized that I never want to race a 10k again.  September was a beautiful month, so I spent a lot of time outside.  I also got some cross-training in.  In the form of biking.  September was also my first full month of teaching and I learned a whole lot.

October-  158.4 miles

My "goal" half-marathon happened this month.  I was planning on PRing in this half, and I did, but only by a few seconds.  After the half, my legs were dead and I took a little bit of time off, so my milage for this month was a bit lower.  I also ran my very first 5k and found out how much they hurt.  I like the 5k distance.  When it's over.  It was a long month in terms of teaching because we had absolutely no breaks.  I ran a lot with my running friends to stay sane.

I photobomed the start of the marathon.  Can you spot me?

November-  177.9 miles

This was the month my friend was deep in marathon training.  I ran the majority of his training runs (except for speed and long runs) with him.  We work only 2 miles apart, so it was really easy to meet up right after work and just go.  Plus, the weather was phenomenal.  I also bonded with another woman from the running club who is quickly becoming my favorite running partner.  She was my competition, but thanks to birthdays, we are no longer competing in the same age division.  I raced an 8-miler and a 5k this month.  I also went to Ashland, Oregon with my best friends and finally got a break from work.

December- 180.9

I honestly don't even know how my milage for this month is so high.  I haven't done any double digit runs over 10 in a very long time.  I just have been running for about an hour, which usually gets me close to 8.  I also have a lot of running friends to choose from.  Finding my people has been the biggest blessing of the entire year.  I cannot wait to continue running with them and see how far I can push myself.  The best run of December was the 10-mile trail run.  Unfortunately, one of the women fell and hurt her ankle pretty badly, but it was still beautiful and amazing.  It has helped having 2 weeks off of work, which gives me a million hours to run as much as I want.  I also raced a 4-miler, staying under 7-minute miles the entire time, even though the second half is all uphill.

This photo is courtesy of my friend Karen.  Please go read her blog.  She's a freaking badass runner. The pink dot is me.

So, I am ending 2014 with 1970 miles (exactly, because my OCD won't have it any other way.  I PR'd 2 times in the half-marathon, ran my first 5 and 10k, and PRd in the second 5k of the year.  My running friends think my speed is only at the tip of the iceberg, so I cannot wait to see how far I can push myself in 2015.  I don't have any specific goals or races in mind just yet, but I am always looking for a new challenge.  Is a marathon on the horizon?

Happy New Year!  I hope your 2014 was amazing!

Monday, December 29, 2014


I cannot believe that it has been almost a week since my birthday!  I swear time speeds up every single day.  I don't even know what I've been doing with myself.  Okay, I do know.  Lots of running, lots of exercising, lots of laughing with good friends.  We have one more week off school and then it's back to the grind.

Ever since I can remember, we have had a party on Christmas Eve.  I always spent Christmas Eve with my mom and Christmas with my dad.  Even though we are adults now, nothing has changed.  We eat crab and play games.

We also always get new pjs to open.

My favorite part of Christmas Eve, of course, was playing with this little one.

We used to wake up at the crack of dawn to open gifts.  And by the crack of dawn, I mean 4:30am.  This tradition lasted well into our late teens.  Then, we grew up and started sleeping in.  This year, my brother was really sick and took 2 Benadryl, so we woke up later than we ever have before.  Santa always brought us one gift that our mother couldn't afford.  That tradition still hasn't changed.  This year, Santa brought me a camera!  But my brother won Best Gift of the year.  He always does.

We got Christmas Crackers in our stockings this year, so the morning was spent wearing crowns.

Even my grandma gets a stocking!  And a crown, of course.

After eating breakfast and drinking coffee, we mozied over to my dad's house where he raked in the gifts.

My brother and I both had colds, so we were a little groggy on the couch together.

I got something I've had on my Amazon wish list for at least 2 years.  A heart rate monitor!  I was so excited.

My brother got golf clubs.  I didn't even realize that he likes to golf.

Then it was time to put the new present to use and go for a run.  It was beautiful outside and I just kept going until I had hit an hour.  I did a little at-home strength training when I was done running.

Milo was a huge help and spotted me.

Dad made us bison roast for dinner.  Here he is in his natural habitat: the kitchen.

My brother sat around drinking wine and looking classy.

I drank a lot of tea out of my new favorite mug.

My sister and brother-in-law napped.

I also posed in front of my dad's tree in the other shirt my brother gave me.

After dinner, we spent time in the living room just hanging out with each other.  We like each other a lot.

My dad and brother had their ping-pong tournament. 

And this little one joined the party after a long Christmas nap.

She opened her presents and my brother read to her.

It was another really great Christmas.  After the craziness of my birthday and the partying on Christmas Eve, Christmas always feels so mellow and relaxed.  I love the feeling.

Tell me about your favorite Christmas present ever.