As 2012 comes to a close, it’s time to look back and reflect on all that’s happened this year, the lessons learned, and to set new goals for 2013. I’ve been very blessed this year in so many ways, but I’ve also learned a lot along the way – lessons that will hopefully help me achieve my goals for the New Year.
This year was pivotal for me because I began to take my training seriously and became more competitive than I ever have in the past (mostly with myself, mind you). It started in February when I won my very first Age Group award. I won 3rd in my AG for a 10K and realized that maybe I’m better (i.e. faster) than I ever gave myself credit for. If I could achieve that without “serious” training, what would I be able to achieve if I started to incorporate targeted workouts and real speed work into my routine? A fluke, maybe, but then in April I was the 3rd woman finisher and 2nd in my AG for a 5K, which further motivated me to push my training harder. In the end, 2012 would yield me a new PR in every distance I ran: 5K, 10K, 15K, Half Marathon, and Marathon.
2012 will also be remembered as the year I became a part of the Oiselle Team. As an ambassador for the most amazing women’s running apparel company out there, I not only get to spread the love for the products and get great discounts, but more importantly, I have been connected to the most amazing network of women runners. Some are amazingly fast and winning races all over the country, but most are average runners like me who simply love the sport and want to spread the love of running to others. Though I have only met a few of them in person, I feel like I know them all through Twitter and blogs. They are the most supportive, loving, and friendly group of women and I am so honored that I was chosen to be a part of it. Oiselle has done an amazing job growing their Team and it is very representative of them as a brand and a company. I know I talk a lot about Oiselle, but it’s because they have become my “running family” – and they really do make amazing products!
Things I Learned Along the Way
As the years tick by and I slowly get older, I am learning the importance of treating your body with the utmost respect. I only had one minor injury in 2012, which sidelined me for a few weeks, but was ultimately able to keep running. And the reason I was able to remain healthy and injury free was because I started incorporating some very important preventative and maintenance practices into my routine:
• I turned up the volume on the core and strength work. This not only helped with injury prevention, but made me a much stronger runner in 2012, too.
• Cross-training. I try to swim at least once a week and do hot yoga once a week, which I believe also saved me from injury.
• Regular fascial stretch therapy sessions. I always feel so good after these sessions! My stretch therapist has become really good at working my trouble spots and getting the kinks out, helping me stay loose and recover faster.
• Regular massages. A few months ago I decided that regular massage sessions were a good investment in injury prevention and would be cheaper in the long-run than if I were to get injured and pay for treatment. So I became a Massage Envy member and have been fortunate to find a few really great therapists. I try to go every 3-4 weeks, or more often if I’m training really hard or feeling sore.
I also learned that when you do get injured, it is important to have a doctor, or team of doctors, who you can rely on to get you healed fast. I was fortunate enough to find a great doctor who works with a lot of elite athletes and knows that it’s not always practical to tell a runner to just stop running. When I injured my hip, he was able to treat me through ART and some other methods while I maintained a very low running base. He never told me to stop running altogether, which made me really appreciate him. Sure, it would heal faster if I did, but us runners can be stubborn folk! So if you can, find a doctor who works with a lot of runners and who you can trust at the first sign of injury. And don’t wait to see him or her until you are hurting to the point of not being able to run. Go during the first stages of pain.
The last major thing I learned in 2012 was the importance of having a great coach. I had never had a coach before, but after my disastrous performance at the Tucson Marathon in 2011, I decided that if I was ever going to qualify for Boston, I needed help. So I found a coach based out of Los Angeles and worked with him through June when I ran the San Diego Rock N’ Roll Marathon. He was a good enough coach, and helped me achieve a new PR in a few distances, but I don’t know that he was the perfect fit for me. Once again, the Oiselle Team proved invaluable when I was introduced to Derek and Allison Delancey. Allison is on the Oiselle Team and her and her husband, Derek, are amazingly fast runners. I decided to hire them as my coaches back in October to help me work up to a BQ marathon in March. So far I have loved every second of this relationship and think that they are great coaches for me. They see the potential that I have and push me towards that – something that I have a hard time doing when I coach myself. I feel like they believe in me and my goal of a 3:40 marathon in March and that makes me believe in myself. I’ve already seen big improvements since I’ve started working with them, and am finally getting the confidence I need to tackle my big BQ goal.
Goals for 2013
By far, my biggest goal for 2013 is to qualify for Boston. I’ve attempted this feat twice before, both with less than stellar results. But as I just mentioned, I’m finally – for the first time in my running career –becoming confident in myself and my ability to make it happen. I feel stronger and faster than I ever have before, and barring any injuries or sidelines in the next 2 months, I actually believe that I could make it happen.
I would also love to continue the PR trend and run a sub-1:40 half marathon, plus set new PRs in the 5K and 10K.
On a personal level, I am excited to continue to get to know and connect with all of the other Oiselle Team members. I am running the Ragnar Relay in WA with 11 other Oiselle teammates in July and I am beyond excited to meet them in person and continue to grow my running family.