First, I hit my first 50 mile week in over a year. Looking back at my training log, I noticed that ever since my stress fractures in January 2011, I have shied away from higher mileage, even though it wasn't high mileage that got me the stress fractures. I had been substituting one run a week with a pool run and swim for the sake of injury prevention. I think I'm ready to return to the 50's, where I used to regularly train in 2009 and 2010.
This week was a scheduled "cutback" week, with the intent of giving my body the opportunity to properly recover from the past few weeks of build-up, so that I am ready to keep building safely.
I also recently caught the stomach flu, which I haven't had since high school. The stomach discomfort wasn't all that bad, the main thing that sucked was getting a fever that steadily rose to 102.7 throughout the day. My body was burning up and yet I was shivering. I laid in bed all day long, watching my fever rise and feeling less and less able to function. I finally took a Tylenol PM, feel asleep and spent the entire night sweating out the fever. I lost 3 pounds overnight just from sweating and kept waking up and changing my t-shirt. Surprisingly, I woke up feeling semi-normal again. It truly was a 24-hour bug. However, I continued to have zero appetite for the next few days with occasional nausea.
Surprisingly, I was able to return to running very quickly, and my runs post-stomach flu felt pretty good! I drank tons of Pedialyte and G2, so I think that played a huge part.
Greg never caught it-- just like he never got my mono. That man has an immune system of steel!
And now, onto the questionnaire for 2012.
Best Race Experience: Cherry Blossom 10-Miler
I hadn't originally planned on doing this race and I approached it with a very casual attitude, which is probably what led to my success. I totally enjoyed myself and set a huge PR. It was perfect weather for a race and many of my CAR teammates were there.
I had some pretty kick-ass track workouts, but in terms of what I look back on and think of as the best--- probably my last 21-miler before the Shamrock marathon. I ran it with my CAR teammates, and we did a very scenic route through Rock Creek Park, with a fast finish. It was really, really windy that day, but I toughed it out and finished strong.
Best New Piece of Gear
I'd probably have to say the "Be Cool Bands" which are little wrist pouches that keep your wrists cool. They only last for 30 minutes if it's really hot out, but you can go back to your house mid run and swap out the ice packs, giving you another 30 minutes. I only got to test these out once because I was unable to run for most of the summer. But the time that I did use them, they seemed to help and they felt really good!
Best Piece of Running Advice You Received
I would say "focus on the process, not the outcome" but that's a bit vague. I've received so much great guidance from my sports psychologist, it's hard to just pick one thing. Probably the idea of constructive post-race reviews and post-workout reviews to build confidence. As a perfectionist, I tend to get upset if a run doesn't go well. I especially do this for races. But I've learned how to make my post-race reviews constructive and I've learned to temper my emotions.
I've written numerous blog posts on all the great stuff I am learning about myself and the progress I am making from a mindset perspective. There's no running/training advice nearly as valuable to me at this point in my journey as advice on how to keep myself relaxed and how to build my confidence.
Most Inspirational Runner
My friend Kathy. I met Kathy about two years ago when we both had stress fractures, and were spending a lot of time in the pool. Kathy, similar to me has struggled with marathons for the past few years. She's had bad luck with weather, primarily, and has never felt she's been able to run a time truly reflective of her training. She's also had injuries from time to time. I instantly bonded with her because we had a lot in common, and she was just a lot of fun to be around.
I had the opportunity to go on a long run with her a few weekends ago. This past fall, she set huge PRs in the 5K, 10-mile and marathon distances. She was just on fire with every race she ran. I said "your training must have really been amazing!". Her response was that she didn't do anything much differently from what she had been doing in years past. The thing that had changed was her mindset. Without revealing too much about her personal journey in my blog, she explained to me how she just changed her perspective on things and suddenly things just fell into place. Her story inspired me so much, because this is exactly the type of change that I have been trying to make in my life over the past six months. She seemed so happy, so relaxed, and it inspired me that I could do the same.
Sum Up Your Year in a Couple of Words
Primarily, I am referring to the obstacles that I tend to put in my own way. Obstacles that create a great deal of anxiety and frustration. Secondarily, health obstacles. I spent most of the summer with mono and then it took me about three months to get my fitness back to where it had been. I still don't know if I am entirely there yet, but I am pretty close.
I'm sure there will be more obstacles to overcome in 2013, but I hope my year isn't all about that. 2012 kind of sucked from a running perspective, but it kind of needed to in order for me to really grow.