Learning to Lower My Expectations

Perfect gif for this post, right? (source)

Hi-diddly-ho, readers! When I last saw you, I was gushing with excitement at my Grand Return to Running. Since then, I’ve been for one more run. It didn’t go as well.

It was that kind of morning.

I think I wrote a few posts ago about how having a baby has made me realize I need to go with the flow, since the Bairn has a way of foiling any plan I make. Want to meet friends for lunch at a specified time? Oops, morning nap turned epic and now I’m late. Want to stop at Target to grab some things since the Bairn is sleeping peacefully in his car seat? Oh wait, he’s awake and no longer peaceful. Want to watch an episode of Kimmy Schmidt after the lad is down for the night? Just kidding, did I really think he was down for the night? And so on, ad nauseam.

Unsurprisingly, this includes any attempts I make to run, go to the gym, or otherwise not feel like a lump. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I quite like being a lump sometimes. But sometimes I need to move!) And that’s been hard.

I was by no means expecting to be running races again immediately after giving birth, but I was hoping to at least take the Bairn out for walks and work my way back smartly. I wanted my Grand Return to Racing to be the Worcester Firefighters 6K; being in June, I figured 5 months postpartum would be plenty of time to be ready for that. I didn’t need to PR, I just wanted to complete the course. Alas, poor DGobs.

I think I took the Bairn for 3 walks during my maternity leave. He was born in January and, this being New England, of course the weather didn’t cooperate fully. We did have a few warm days that were perfect for walks, but they tended to fall after snowstorms and – as I’m pretty sure I’ve complained in this space before – people in my city rarely clear their sidewalks. Not conducive to pushing a stroller. I had a wrap, but the Bairn was so tiny (he was just shy of 5 1/2 pounds when he was born) that I didn’t feel comfortable carrying him in a wrap built for babies 8 pounds and up. I couldn’t easily take him to the mall for walks either, as I’d had a C-section and my midwife advised against driving for 6-8 weeks.

All that to say, the Bairn and I got used to being lazy cozy in our warm, snug house, and exercise wasn’t so much happening for me. I was dying to get to the gym – Expresso Bikes kept emailing me about fun new challenges! – but logistics were complicated and honestly, whenever Drew offered to take Baby Duty so I could go, I’d usually opt to sleep instead. (I’ve opted for sleep the last several times he’s tried to shoo me out to run, as well. I’m tired, yo.)

Anyway. I managed a few stroller walks eventually, and after going back to work, where it’s a 10-minute walk to and from the T plus a continuous stair workout as my desk is on a mezzanine – I was feeling stronger and once again setting my sights on the 6k. The Shammies promote a race at the beginning of May, and I figured it would be a good test run.

By the end of April, there was no way I felt ready to run a 5k. I still wanted to support the race (which supports the local Boys & Girls Club) so decided to sign Drew and myself up as walkers, figuring we could push the stroller and still take part. I was a little wary of signing up ahead of time – remember what I said about the Bairn and my plans, and mice and men and all that – but knew it would be much harder to get us all down to the race if we weren’t signed up and committed. So I bit the bullet.

Race day arrives. The Bairn is recovering from bronchiolitis, and none of us have been getting much sleep for over a week. The 10:15 start time, which seemed so luxuriously late, came and went while Drew was still in bed and the Bairn was napping on me. Ah well, at least part of the race fees went to a good cause. And we did swing by the post-race festivities to show off the Bairn, where he was awarded his first race bling:

The president of the Shammies gave the Bairn his age group medal, just for being cute

After that race is when I finally got to run, and after 2 walk-run extravaganzas, I felt like I could at least finish the WFD6K. However, learning my lesson and lowering my expectations, I didn’t preregister. Even as race day crept ever closer and I wanted SO badly to sign up, I just had a feeling.

The WFD6K was last Sunday [edit: now two three Sundays ago; I’m lowering my blogging expectations too, you see], and I did not participate. The day ended up being a scorcher, in the 90s, and that race is midday and traditionally hot. My own lack of enthusiasm for hot races aside, I kept thinking of poor Drew having to keep the Bairn cool in his black stroller. Plus logistics about nursing, plus the fact that the Bairn was (is?) going through a phase of screaming bloody murder in the car, and I was relieved to not be running. I’m still bummed at missing out, but there’s always next year!

Last year, when the Bairn (who was about the size of a blueberry) was much easier to run with

So… where was I going with this post again? Oh right, lowering my expectations (as well as yours, for any sort of pithy posts). Back in January, I was determined to run the WFD6K. I knew I’d be disappointed in myself if I weren’t back to a running routine(ish) by that point.

Now that the race has come and gone? Meh. Sure, I’m a little bummed that I missed the race, but only a little bit. At this point, if I actually make it out the door for a 20-minute run around the neighborhood, I’m happy. Someday I’ll get my running groove back, but for now, not lowering my expectations will only lead to feeling bad about myself and ain’t no one got time for that.

Now if only I could get better at lowering my expectations for pace when I run… I know it’ll take a while to get back down to mid-9-minute miles again, and yet I’m disappointed in my 12-and-change pace these days. Unfortunately I think there’ll always be a part of my brain that thinks I’m FloJo.

Til next time!

2016 in Review

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year again (well, a few days late, but considering how neglectful of this blog I’ve been in the past few months, a few days is nothing!), when we all gaze back on our accomplishments and/or struggles of the previous year. 2016 was certainly an interesting one. Let’s get down to it, shall we?

2015 Goals Recap

A-ha! I had no specific goals for 2016, other than staying healthy and running to enjoy it. Health-wise, well… the start of the year saw me still recovering from a dodgy metatarsal and related bursitis, then I learned that I don’t breathe in the best way possible, which led to a reprise of dodgy ribs, and my knees bothered me off and on. And, while not an injury, I got pregnant a few months into the year and that made running a bit more interesting than usual. On the whole, I think I enjoyed running. For the most part.

In spite of my lack of goals this year, though it took an extra trip around the sun, I did meet 2 of my goals from 2014, namely beating my 5K and 10K PRs (huzzah!). More on that below. I also managed to add one new town to my race map, plus a new country, so that was pretty cool.

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Celebrating a new PR and starting off 2016 happily!

My 2016 in Numbers (Running)

Total miles: 106.84*
*Closest estimate I could get given that I lost my training log from the start of the year and Simon died on me without saving some data

Races completed: 8 (up from 7 in 2015; 3 5Ks, 1 6K, 3 10Ks, 1 half marathon)

States raced in: 3, none new (Massachusetts, Maine, and California; up from 2 in 2015)

MA towns raced in: 3, 1 new (Dedham (new), Lunenburg, and Worcester)

Countries raced in: 2, for the first time! (US and UK)

PRs beaten: 3! 5K, 6K, and 10K

DNSs: none! for the first time!

Firsts and Milestones (Running)

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I unofficially placed first in the Pregnant American division at the QEOP 10K

Firsts and Milestones (Personal)

  • Traveled to my first international conference and visited two new-to-me cities (Dundee and Glasgow)

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    Enjoying a cheeky Clarkies pie in Dundee

  • Sneaked in one last match at White Hart Lane before they started tearing the stadium down (our seats from that match are now a gaping hole in the ground)
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  • Had tea and Turkish Delight at C.S. Lewis’s house
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  • Found out I was going to have a baby… that was a pretty big moment*

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    Already a Spurs fan

  • Attended my second international conference and got to bask in the glory that is Wembley Stadium
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  • Had a mini-reunion with some of my study abroad friends in Colorado, visiting Denver and the new-to-me Fort Collins
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*The whole baby thing continues to be a pretty big moment! Sometimes it still feels completely unreal, despite the Alien situation that’s nearly always happening in my growing bump. And speaking of the growing bump…

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August 16

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August 29

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September 3, post-QEOP 10K, when I realized I had officially outgrown my clothes and had to make an emergency Primark run for a shirt that wouldn’t expose my belly

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October 3

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October 22, bump buddies!

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November 19

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December 23

I look absolutely HUGE in that last picture… I don’t think the angle helps 😉

So, yeah. 2016 had a lot going on. And that’s not even taking into account the state of the world with Brexit, Syria, Standing Rock, the US election, and all the seemingly endless other things that gave this year a general feeling of despair. If I’m honest, I’m finding it hard to be hopeful about 2017 as a whole, and it’s all a bit overwhelming. So in light of that, here are my goals/things to focus on for the year:

  1. Get this baby out safely and make his little world as cozy, safe, and full of love as possible.
  2. As soon as I get the OK from my midwife, jump back on the running wagon. I’ve been missing running like crazy, and the new jogging stroller is all assembled and ready to go!
  3. Related to above, I’m hoping to be fit enough to run the Worcester Firefighters race in June. I’d like to keep that streak going!
  4. Read. Read for fun, read to learn, read fiction, read non-fiction, read newspapers. Try to balance staying informed with staying sane.
  5. Do good, no matter how small, whenever and wherever I can.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, hopeful 2017!

How was your 2016?

What was your favorite thing that happened last year, running-wise or not?

How I Fell Off the Running Wagon

Hello there! Apologies (yet again) for a lack of posts lately. Same excuses as last time… busy at work, busy with homework, battling ever-present exhaustion, and less mental capacity for the whole blogging thing… both writing and keeping up with reading the blogs I follow, as well as keeping up with social media. I admit that I am a deviant, and I’m sorry.

Now that that’s out of the way, the one blog post that’s been vaguely bouncing around in my brain for the last few months is about how being pregnant has affected my running. I’m going to attempt that post now… it might border on TMI, and will probably be rambly, so feel free to run away now if you’d just rather not!

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Happily(ish) embarking on some preggo running back in September

When I first found out I was pregnant (early June), I was determined to keep running. I had several races on the horizon that I was looking forward to, including a half marathon that I was feeling very unprepared for… as you may remember. I was doing so much better in 2016 in terms of *not* DNSing (2015 was my year of the DNS), and I wanted to keep up that trend, if possible.

I was lucky enough to have a doctor who was also a runner, who gave me lots of advice along with encouragement to keep it up. Since I had recently dove back into a training plan (sort of), she didn’t see a problem with my continuing to run regularly, so long as I stayed hydrated and took it easy. Her number 1 rule was “listen to your body!” and since I tended to err on the side of that anyway, I figured I was good to go.

 

Now, as I type this, I’m teetering on the edge of my third trimester (!!) and I haven’t run at all since the QEOP 10K at the beginning of September. Prior to that race, I hadn’t run once since Beach 2 Beacon, a full month earlier. What happened? How did I fall off my gung-ho running wagon?

For one, running while pregnant is hard, man. Heck, walking – or even putting on my socks, some days! – leaves me out of breath and with a pounding heart.

(Although, I do have to admit, finding out I was pregnant made me feel a lot better about the runs I did in May that felt so incredibly hard, yet were so incredibly slow. After PRing in both 5K and 10K races earlier in the year, I found these runs and my lack of fitness/speed to be particularly frustrating… just when it looked like I was improving, suddenly I was slowing down and tiring so easily and I couldn’t figure it out. Seeing the positive pregnancy test was an a-ha moment!)

At least in early June I had immediate goals to work toward – the Worcester Firefighters 6K and the Worcester Half Marathon. The half especially, and my lack of training leading up to it, kept me motivated to keep running in the early days. Somehow I managed to pull off a PR in the 6K, and, despite a hot day, lots of hills, and my purposely taking it easy during the half, I somehow came within a few minutes of my PR. You’d think those feats would have motivated me to keep going, right?

Another problem? This summer was hot. Like, in-the-top-10-hottest-on record-in-Boston hot. I don’t do well running in the heat when I’m 100%, let alone when I’m building another human, so I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to pound the baking asphalt. I went to a few speed workouts with the Shammies, but those didn’t go so well; I either ran like crap and got frustrated, or I had to put the brakes on when my body started protesting, either from the heat or from fun things like round ligament pain.

Speaking of pain, there’s reason #3 I fell off the running wagon. My fellow-runner doctor urged me to stop anytime I felt any kind of pain, which I was experiencing with more frequency as the weeks ticked by. Partly due to the aforementioned round ligament pain, partly due to some cysty business, it would hit me more often than I would have liked while running, causing me to stop a lot. I’d be sitting in the grass, watching the Shammies run sprints and do other things I wanted to do, and it just got frustrating. Sometimes I’d go to workouts and walk, but it was hard not running when I really wanted to. So I just sort of stopped going.

Related to pain, reason #4 is general discomfort. I look back at my Worcester races in June and sigh wistfully about how good I had it back then. Sure, I tired more easily, but that was pretty much it. By the time Beach 2 Beacon rolled around, I had gained 10 pounds and certain parts of my anatomy were more, um, jiggly than they had been before (see below). Plus, there was the whole bladder situation that wasted about 10 minutes of my race and made the whole thing pretty uncomfortable.

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Left: June 19; Right: August 6. Same singlet, a bit more stretched out on the right. (Please ignore the bird I’m flipping on the right… it was accidental!)

By the time I was running the QEOP 10K in London a month later, I had graduated to my singlet that’s two sizes larger than the one pictured above, and cursing myself for not having bought a new sports bra that a) fit better, and b) supported things better. By that race, not only was I still dealing with round ligament pain and an almost constant urge to duck into a portaloo, but I was also dealing with bits that had gotten even more jiggly to the point of being painful. If I hadn’t been holding my phone and a bag of gummy fuel, I probably would have been holding myself as I went.

Right, so, where does that bring us on the list of my excuses for why I’m not so much running anymore?

  1. I tire more easily/get out of breath quicker
  2. It was too hot (hot damn!)
  3. It hurt
  4. It was uncomfortable

Number 5 is a combination of lack of time and general exhaustion. I know I mentioned tiredness in my first excuse, but that was more of a getting-tired-more-quickly-while-running situation. This is just straight-up tired. All. The. Time. During my first trimester, I felt levels of tiredness that I didn’t even know a human could experience (and I haven’t even reached the sleep-deprived newborn stage yet!). I’d be so tired, I’d literally crawl under my desk at work and curl up on the thinly carpeted cement floor and fall asleep.

By the time I’d get home from work, it was all I could do to put dinner in my face before dozing on the couch before then slinking off to bed at 8pm. The thought of running (or blogging!) after work went right out the door, as did thoughts of getting up early to beat the heat on the weekends. I really wanted to try a prenatal yoga class, but the most convenient one to me was at 9am on Saturdays and even that was too early.

Although I got slightly less tired during my second trimester (allegedly the “honeymoon stage” of pregnancy when you’re supposed to have all kinds of energy – ha!), I was still exhausted all the time, and somehow my life got super busy. Drew and I were either traveling every weekend or running around like mad to do errands, visit family, and do other things we couldn’t do while traveling. Then I had the brilliant idea to sign up for a graduate-level history class, which has eaten up most of my free time since early September, and which goes until right before Christmas. I should be doing homework now, actually, but alas.

So there we have it. Those five things have conspired to derail my running-through-pregnancy plans. Could I have beaten them all with an ironclad will? Sure. But anyone who’s read this blog knows that’s not really my style. I know women who have run through their entire pregnancies, and I think that’s awesome. Part of me wishes I had muddled through and done the same. The other part of me lays on the couch with a cup of tea and my feet up thinking “I’m listening to my body!” The more things change, the more they stay the same 🙂

In the meantime, I’ve taken advantage of Old Navy and Primark clearance sales and bought myself some maternity-size workout clothes, and I still have good intentions. I try to go for a walk every day at work during my lunch break, and one of these days I’ll join Drew at the gym instead of doing homework. I signed up for a prenatal yoga class that happens in the evening. I’ve researched and registered for a jogging stroller. I’ll climb back on that running wagon… someday.

Have you ever fallen off the running wagon for any reason? How did you climb back on?

Any running moms out there – did you run through pregnancy? How did it go?

2015 in Review

Happy last day of 2015! Or, if you’re reading this after today… happy new year! 😀

Tired but victorious after salvaging one last race in 2015

Tired but victorious after salvaging one last race in 2015

2015 certainly didn’t go as well as hoped. If you read any of my posts this year, you had about a 97% chance of reading my whinging about injuries… freak rib injuries, runner’s knee, stressed out metatarsals… yeah, it wasn’t a pretty year.

But I did learn some important lessons (the hard way), such as:

  • stretching is not only your friend, but it’s also very important for avoiding injury
  • if you get exercises to do for physical therapy, you should, you know, actually do them
  • cough carefully, lest you throw your rib cartilage all out of whack (I coughed my way to costochondritis back in March and my ribs still feel funny)

Learn from my mistakes, readers, and may your 2016 be injury-free and fabulous!

My 2015 in Numbers: (spoiler alert: it wasn’t stellar)

Races completed: 7 (5 actual, 2 virtual; down from 19 in 2014)

States raced in: 2, none new (Massachusetts and California; down from 6 in 2014)

MA towns raced in: 4, with 1 being a town I hadn’t raced in before (Cambridge, Woburn, Watertown, Worcester; down from 11 in 2014)

5K PR: 33:10 (still not as fast as my all-time PR of 30:49)

10K PR: n/a

Half marathon PR: n/a

Races missed: 9 (the Worcester Running Festival race was canceled, and then I DNSd a bunch; up from 3 in 2014)

My Goals for 2015:

I set the following goals in my 2014 in Review post last December. Surprisingly, I actually met one of the goals despite my crap year – huzzah!

1. Get my 5K PR under 30 minutes: Nope. My Moby Dick of 30:49 lives to haunt me another year.

2. Get my 10K PR under 01:10:00: Nope. I ran no 10Ks in 2015.

3. Beat my fastest Garmin mile (currently 9:25.5): Wait, what?! I actually beat this goal!!

Boo yeah

Boo yeah!

4. Add 3 more towns and 1 more state to my map: Nope. I did add one town (Watertown), and was on par to pass the 3-town mark, but had to DNS all the other races in new towns. No new states added, either.

Looking Ahead to 2016

I’m taking a page from the books of Fallon and Rae this year and not setting any formal goals. Goals are great, but… if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know how badly I struggle with motivation and how that makes me fall short of so many goals. It gets discouraging, and, maybe even worse, it makes me just stop caring about the goals in an effort to not feel discouraged. Basically, setting goals hasn’t been helping my motivation problem, so I need to figure out something else.

I still hope to beat my PRs and add towns and states to my race maps, but mostly I just want to be healthy in 2016. I want to be able to run to enjoy it, without getting injured every time I start loving running again after having been injured and discouraged. I want to run regularly with the Shammies, and I want to get back to track workouts. I want to have fun with my running, and be able to enjoy how awesome I feel after going for a run.

Having fun whilst running... it's a lovely feeling!

Having fun whilst running… it’s a lovely feeling!

I am registered for a half marathon in 2016 – the Worcester Running Festival Half – and I’d love to be able to train properly and go into it prepared and uninjured. We all know how well my training went for my first half marathon, but this time I want to actually try. We shall see.

Until then, Happy New Year!!

How was your 2015? If you set goals, how did you do?

Are you setting goals for 2016, or taking the year as it comes?

Any fun plans for New Year’s Eve?
Drew and I are planning on watching some movies while eating Chinese food. The excitement never stops around here! 😉

Monday Rambles: IT Bands and Race Worries

Last night I had grand designs of getting up early this morning, getting to work early, and hitting the treadmill before my shift started. My workout clothes were all packed, my alarm was set, and Drew, ever awesome and supportive, was prepared to get me to the bus stop early enough to make all this happen. I was pumped. I had downloaded a new app on my phone that provides virtual tours while you run/bike/etc. so you can pretend you’re running through picturesque countryside instead of running in place in a stuffy gym, and I was nerdily excited to try it out.

This morning arrived, my alarm went off, and I was overwhelmed by two sensations: intense tiredness and a shooting pain in my IT band. The tiredness was probably due to lingering NyQuil fog (I’ve been battling a cold/sinus issues for a while now), and the IT band situation is a problem that just sprung up over the weekend. The last thing I wanted to do was get up, commute to work, and hit the treadmill.

So I turned off my alarm and turned over for an extra hour of glorious sleep. So it goes. In the immortal words of Robert Burns (translated out of Scottish brogue), “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry, and leave us nought but grief and [IT band] pain…”

Instead of fitting in a run on the treadmill this morning, I spent my commute googling IT band stretches and treatments on my phone. I have no idea where this pain came from… it appeared out of nowhere on Saturday and spent the day coming and going. I went for a short, easy run with Colin yesterday morning and my leg felt fine while I was running, but as soon as I stopped the pain came back. I tried to stretch it and took The Stick to it, and the pain faded for a while. Drew and Colin had a soccer double-header in the evening, and the pain returned while I was lending moral support from the sideline. Hmph.

My first real race of the year is coming up this Sunday, and I was already feeling unprepared and a little nervous for it without this IT band nagging me. Maybe this is my punishment for having such an unpredictable training regimen? I honestly can’t remember doing anything Friday or Saturday to provoke my leg into pain, so either I managed to injure myself in my sleep or my very intermittent running schedule is proving to be a resounding failure.

Unless the pain increases, I still plan to run the Guinness 5K on Sunday. I’m hoping the parade-goers lining the race route and the general sense of revelry will provide me with the adrenaline necessary to overcome my woeful lack of training (I barely made 2 miles yesterday going at a slower-than-usual pace), and I need to keep reminding myself that I don’t need to PR this race… it’s just for fun, the start of a new year of road races, and if my time isn’t great then it’s just something to build from. And hopefully my IT band starts behaving itself in the meantime.

Do you have any tricks for keeping IT band pain at bay? What’s worrying you at the moment?

Finally Excited About Running Again? Maybe? Kinda?

About a month ago I wrote about how blah I’ve been feeling about running lately. Whether from overdoing it with lots of races in November and December, or struggling with finding a good place to run thanks to all the snow we’ve been getting, or just general post-holidays laziness, I just haven’t been feeling excited about running.

In that same post I wrote about things I was doing to try to perk myself up – joining a running club, signing up for a race, getting involved in my work’s fitness challenge, and considering buying a running-themed sample box. Well, I went to run club twice and haven’t been back in two weeks because I’ve been sick, so that’s not helping too much at the moment. Most of the minutes I’ve been clocking for GetFit have been earned shoveling, which leaves me too tired and sore to even think about running. I haven’t been able to justify spending $20 for a sample of a sample box subscription to see if I’d like it, so “free” gear in the mail hasn’t been motivating me either.

So what has gotten me perked up just a tiny bit in the last few days? Upcoming races. I’ve gotten the bug again and have been signing up for ALL the races, and some of them are making me feel pretty pumped again. Let’s take a look at what’s on the docket:

1) Guinness Celtic 5K, which is the first race I “grudgingly” signed up for back in January. Why I’m excited:

  • It’s in my hometown, which is always fun to visit (and especially to run around in)
  • Related, I’ll probably/hopefully get to see some family while I’m in town
  • It’s on the St. Paddy’s parade route, one hour before the parade starts. There should be a decent crowd of (hopefully!) supportive and/or drunk onlookers
  • Themed races usually encourage dressing silly, and I enjoy dressing silly for running

2) B.A.A. 5K

  • My first ever B.A.A. event, and I’m pumped. This reason is enough to stand on its own

3) Spring Classic 5K

  • I ran the winter version of this race in December, and it will be fun to run it in (hopefully!!) warmer weather
  • It’ll be my second time running with Shauna’s Team NeverWin, and some friends I haven’t seen in a while will be on the team this time around. Yay camaraderie!
  • *I was going to say that seeing if I could run this route faster than I did in December was another motivating factor, but… (see race 3a)

3a) Jay Lyons Road Race

  • Why is this considered 3a? Not-so-short story: My dad told me last year about a series of races that make up the “Tour de Worcester.” I found out about it too late, and was only able to run one of the races. Determined to complete the Tour this year, I investigated race dates a few days ago and discovered that the first race, the Jay Lyons Road Race, would be falling on the same day as the Spring Classic. Before I could be plunged into anguish about whether to ditch Shauna or give up my dreams of Tour completion once again, I noticed that the Lyons race starts at 2pm, whereas the Spring Classic starts at 9.30am. So I’m going to be completely mental and run BOTH in the same day. (But because I’m not completely mental, I plan to take it easy in both races and just enjoy them, rather than trying to PR in them both or something else that might make me faint.)

4) Worcester Firefighters Memorial 6K

  • This is the second race in the Tour de Worcester, and also the one I’m most excited about. The Cold Storage fire was a terrible event in my home city that has stayed with me, and taking part in a race to remember the firefighters lost that night is something that just feels right
  • Unless I randomly sign up for a 10K before June, this will be the first race longer than 5K that I’ve ever ran. Not a huge difference in distance, obviously, but it’s a step in a good direction

5) Shipyard Old Port 5K

  • I ran this race last year and really enjoyed making a weekend out of it and being a nerdy running tourist. I’m looking forward to spending the weekend in Portland again!
  • I’m also very excited that the race organizers changed the course from last year’s, which included a massive bottleneck at the bottom of a staircase in the woods. No stairs this time! Huzzah!

6) Canal Diggers 5K

  • The third and final race in the Tour de Worcester. I ran this last year, and am excited to see if I can improve my time this year

That’s it so far (!). Colin and I have discussed doing a 5-miler to see how we do with the extra distance, and we’ve also talked about wanting to do a 10K this year, so more races might be added to this list as the year goes on. I’m excited that I’m excited about running again… now I just have to get off my lazy bum and get moving so I won’t have to drag myself across the Celtic 5K finish line with my lips!

2013 in Review: Becoming a Runner

2013 was a big year for me in terms of running. Before my 5K for Beginners class in January, my long-distance running attempts had been limited to one or two half-assed attempts at Couch to 5K; the rest of my life was spent balking at the idea of running more than 100 meters and jogging instead of all-out sprinting. This year certainly changed things.

In 2013 I learned proper running form in my aforementioned 5K class during MIT’s GetFit program and, possibly more importantly, I learned how to pace myself while running. (More than once I giddily sprinted past all my classmates, only to run out of gas shortly thereafter and have them all pass me. So disheartening.) I also learned that getting better at running requires cross-training and core-strengthening, not just running at the same pace a lot. (Have I actually done any of this cross-training and core-strengthening? Um… can I plead the 5th?)

In 2013 I ran my first race, the Ras na hEireann USA in Davis Square in March. It happened before I was mentally ready to run a race (I was planning to run my first in April), but Colin and Gina inspired and motivated me, and showed me that I could actually run more than 1 mile in one go. I experienced my first runner’s high after that race, and was pretty solidly bitten by the racing bug. I spend too much of my skiving time now looking up new races to sign up for.

In 2013 I did my first “tourist run,” the Old Port 5K in Portland, Maine. Though I had run out-of-state before then (in Exeter, New Hampshire), the Old Port felt much more touristy in that we turned it into a weekend event – exploring the city, trying out new restaurants, etc. instead of just driving across the border, running, and coming home. I loved the experience, and look forward to more tourist runs in the future!

Now for my year in numbers:

Races completed: 15

States raced in: 4 (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and California)

5K PR: 30:49 (At America’s Hometown Thanksgiving 5K)

-Races missed: 3 (the Poppy Run in London was canceled, the Jingle Bell Run in Davis Square was rescheduled to a day I couldn’t make, and I bailed on the Reggae Ramble in Cambridge due to my back/neck injury)

And goals for next year:

-Get my 5K PR under 30 minutes

-Complete a 10K

-Run in a BAA event, hopefully the 5K

Here’s to 2014, hopefully another fun year full of running and new experiences!