Thursday, January 3, 2013

Running Year in Review 2012

Overall, 2012 has been a good year for exercise, despite the fact that I only accomplished 1 of the 2 goals I set out for myself for the year. But I have the best excuse one could ask for (i.e. babybison), so I really don't consider this a fail at all! I accomplished my goal of completing my first triathlon- in fact, I completed two! I did not complete my goal of running a sub-4:00 hour marathon. But read on and I think you'll agree that it was best to delay that goal to 2013.....

Coyote and me!
The first half of the year was so-so from an exercise perspective. I was still a first year fellow so working really rough hours and having to carry my pager with me to the gym, to the pool, on my runs. Ugh. It was the pits. But I kept up a fair amount of mileage, averaging 76 miles monthly. I kept up with at least medium long runs outside (~10 miles) all year round, and logged some great speed workouts on the 'mill. One of the highlights of early 2012 was the "destination daily miles". Running in Yellowstone in the winter was absolutely incredible! Sometimes, we were the first humans out for the morning as evidenced by these tracks. Other times, Old Faithful would erupt right as we ran by, an added bonus to an already awesome experience. While I only ran 1 mile a day while there (don't worry, I skied more miles!!), those were some of the more memorable miles of my running life.

Near Old Faithful

Old Faithful is actually erupting in the background left

The first big running event of the year was the Med City Marathon over Memorial Day weekend. I was well trained for this race. I absolutely had a sub-4:00 in me. Training had been going well. But when the predicted temperatures creeped up to the 80s with humidity in the 90% range, I knew I had to ditch all plans for a PR let alone a sub-4. Nothing like going to the start line of a race knowing it's going to be a slogfest*. I felt hot and nauseated by mile 0.5. Zero point five!! That was one painful 4.5 hours. I made it through, and knocked Minnesota off my 50 in 50 list, but that's the only good thing I have to say about that experience!

The memory of Med City was so brutal that when it came time to run the Ann Arbor Marathon less than a month later, I just couldn't do it. It was hot and I was mentally and physically exhausted. Instead Adam and I had a leisurely breakfast at Zingerman's Deli and drove back home.

The rest of the spring and early summer were dedicated to triathlon training. I convinced my dear friend and training-partner-from-afar, Sara, to do the Chicago Triathlon (sprint edition) with me for our first ever triathlon! Note that neither of us really knew how to swim when we embarked on this training. But we dutifully got coaches, did some open water swimming, rented the wetsuits, and let's face it, even looked like we knew what we were doing! Sara did indeed know what she was doing and kicked some serious butt in all three events. I sadly, lagged a bit behind, but the experience resulted in what I think is the funniest blog post I've ever written. If you missed it the first time, or want another laugh, check it out here.

First time triathletes!

While I was still proud of myself for completing my first tri even if it was more of a 'try' than a 'succeed' I needed to redeem myself by properly swimming a race. So I signed up for the Lake Geneva Triathlon just days after my Chicago Triathlon debacle. Right around this time, is when I found out I was pregnant!

Even though my first tri didn't go as well as I was hoping, I enjoyed many parts of the experience and admittedly felt a little hard-core that I had done it so I had big plans for my triathlon future. I was planning to head up to Madison to watch Ironman Wisconsin, then spend the night to sign up in person for Ironman Wisconsin 2013. Exactly one week and a day before I would execute this plan I found out I was pregnant! Thank goodness we found out when we did rather than after I paid out the $600+ dollars for registration!!

Before Lake Geneva swim. So nervous!
And just like that my race agenda for the next year needed some serious revision! Turns out I was pregnant (just) when I completed the Chicago Triathlon. I felt fine during and after the race and saw no reason to skip the Lake Geneva Sprint tri. And while I was so, so, so nervous before the swim (I'm not sure I've ever been that nervous in my life!), I totally redeemed myself at that race and was so happy I did it. So happy. I would have been so down on myself if I ended my first triathlon season not even swimming the swim! I took it a little easy on the bike and run, not pushing myself as hard as I could, but that's the only modification I made based on being preggars. And I hydrated well. So well that I had to pee during a 5K, which was lame (normally, I'd just hold it for 30 minutes, but I was trying to be a safe pregnant athlete), but better to be safe than sorry!

Happy marathoner- 11 weeks pregnant!
Next up was the Des Moines Marathon in October. I was soo looking forward to this race! I was itching for a redemption marathon in good weather after Med City and was excited about running part of the race with Sara. And I had zero pressure on myself in terms of performance because I needed to follow the whole "keep your pace conversational" that is advised for fit pregnant women. (A longer post on endurance exercise during pregnancy to follow.) I had such an enjoyable race! One of the most enjoyable experiences of my 13 marathons. I was a little bummed that I couldn't push it a bit because I really felt capable of a sub-4. All my recent long runs indicated I was ready. But, even I have priorities more important than running!

My fans, runner husband, and 14 week old fetus;)
In November, I had another fun race planned- the Outer Banks Marathon in North Carolina. Adam and I convinced my family to join us in a beach house for the weekend. Unfortunately I got a nasty, exhausting cold and was really just in survival mode for most of the trip, including the marathon. But I hung in there and got it done, in large part because of the help and support of my cheerleading crew! I was able to appreciate the perfect running weather and the beautiful views, but didn't really love the running. The pregnancy was a total non-issue, I just kept the pace conversational- in fact, had conversations with my dad who biked along with me for a few miles!

December has been a slow running month for a variety of reasons- recouping from that cold, recouping from some not-running-related stresses and pregnancy related uncertainties (now resolved, thank goodness), and being on service again (meaning rough hours) plus my pretty strictly enforced 8 pm bedtime and sleeping in whenever possible -- let's just say the next few months will be a build-up phase again. But as of December 29th both Adam and I have run at least a mile a day for 2 years! While this is less a "goal" than just a way of life at this point, I'll still take a second to be proud of our consistency. And I want to throw out a congratulations to Sara, who just completed 1 year of running at least 1 mile a day! Love it!

As for me, I'll keep on working out as much as I can until I get so big that all I can do is maintain...probably around April I imagine I'll be down to 3 work-outs a week...and by May I won't be surprised if I'm down just to my requisite mile a day. But until then......I'll work to implement my 2013 goals (post to follow!!)

(*definition of slugfest according to Wiktionary: An activity or event characterized by a long duration and an exhausting, wearisome perception by its participants")

Sub 4 hour marathon in 2012. Complete my first triathlon in 2012 (done August 26, 2012!). Qualify for Boston in 

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