Goals vs. Resolutions

I know it’s the time of year when everyone comes up with their list of New Year’s Resolutions, but I’m a little bah-humbug on the whole resolution thing.  Why do I have to wait until January 1st to commit to something?  The statistics are not great when it comes to successfully achieving your resolutions.  By June about half of resolutions have been kept and by December only ten percent of people have kept their New Year’s resolutions.  Not great odds if you ask me.  I prefer to set goals.  You could say that is the same thing as a resolution and maybe it is, but to me it just sounds more doable.  Resolutions sound like something meant to be broken, goals sound like something inspiring to work towards.  This, of course, is just my crazy opinion.  If you like making resolutions, go for it!

At the beginning of January 2012, I wrote down a few running specific goals for the year that I hoped to achieve.  While I didn’t reach all of them, I did have my best year of running, so I’m happy with that.  Here are my 2012 goals along with how I did:

  • Run a minimum of 4 times per week, working up to 5 times per weekPrior to this year I had never run more than 4 times a week (and most weeks were only 3 times).  My running history is filled with injury, so I got in the habit of only running every other day, never 2 days back to back.  This year I was able to cautiously and carefully start running multiple days in a row, and I am so thankful to be able to do that, it has both improved my running and my spirit!
  • Run a 3:40 marathon – I did not meet this goal, but came close with a 3:42 at the Foot Traffic Marathon in Portland.  This will remain a goal of mine for 2013.
  • Qualify for Boston – Boston has been a dream of mine for a years.  Unfortunately the years of off and on running due to injury always prevented me from really working toward this goal.  However, in 2012 my running slowly started coming together and after a string of missed marathons, I finally qualified for my dream race!

Exhausted and thrilled after qualifying for Boston

  • Run NYC Marathon – This was added to my Goal List after I ran a guaranteed half marathon time in December 2011, that I could use to register for the NYC marathon.  While the race was cancelled, I did get to run 26.2 miles around the amazing city of New York.  I still have hopes to run the official NYC Marathon some day, so this will stay on my list.

After running my unofficial NYC Marathon

  • Run smart, stay injury free – I have done a pretty good job of this, as I have thankfully had no major injuries this year.  I think a few things I have done that seem to help are that I don’t run hard workouts back to back, giving myself recovery time.  Also, I have worked on switching my running form from heel striking to a mid foot strike.  This will remain a life long goal for me.
  • Work towards 2012 miles total for the year, but don’t kill yourself with injury trying to get there! – I’m a bit of a numbers person, so I thought it would be cool to run 2,012 miles in 2012.  It averages out to about 39 miles a week, which I thought was doable, since when I’m in marathon training some of my weeks are around 50.  I ended up 170 miles short, mostly because I missed 3 weeks of running last February due to having pneumonia and then missed another week and a half while suffering from an intense spinal headache after having a lumbar puncture done during testing for my eventual MS diagnosis.  I am not at all disappointed with the 1,842 miles I did run.  I know how blessed and fortunate I am to be able to continue to run any amount of miles in light of the news I was given about my health this year.
  • Run a 5K 22.5 minutes (7m 15s pace) – I had hoped to run a 5k this year, but it never happened.  I honestly don’t even know the last time I ran a 5k.  Since falling in love with the marathon distance, I’ve ignored the shorter distance races, although I know they are good to do, so I’ll have to keep this one on my list for 2013.
  • Run a 10K, break 48 minutes (7m 43s pace) – See 5k note above.

All in all 2012 was a great year in running for me.  Here’s to hoping that 2013 will be even better.

Do you set New Year’s Resolutions?  What are some of your resolutions or goals for 2013?





A Cold Run

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.  I certainly enjoyed my time with family, relaxing, opening gifts, seeing my excited kids, playing games and of course, eating way too much bad food.  ‘Tis the season, right?

My holiday weekend also included some running, both inside and outside.  I had one of my coldest runs ever.  I went out for 10 miles and cut it short to 8 because it was just too cold.  My water bottle even froze!  It was 26 degrees when I got back to my car, which doesn’t sound that bad, I’ve certainly run in colder temperatures, but this was just a frigid morning.  Maybe I need to look into inventing a bottle heater for these freezing runs.

I’ll be going to Tucson for the New Year’s and looking forward to some non-freezing running!

What’s the coldest temperature you have run in?  What are your plans to celebrate the New Year?

What My Weekend Did Not Include

What my weekend did include: shopping, worshipping in my church’s newly constructed worship center, cheering on my son at a swim meet, getting the family Christmas cards ready to mail out, and a little bit of baking.  I usually bake a ton of cookies this time of year and am very behind, so hopefully this week will include a lot more cookie making.

Sagebrush Community Church
New Worship Center

My Christmas Card Helpers

What my weekend did not include: running, biking, sweating of any kind (unless you consider sitting in a hot natatorium and perspiring a form of sweating).

More about the no running or working out later.  For now I want to focus my attention and prayers on the community of Newtown, Connecticut.  This tragedy is so horrific and beyond anything I can comprehend.  I am heartbroken for the families, the town, and our country.  There are no words that can take away this pain.  For me, there is only the refuge and hope in my Savior.

A Year of Missed Marathons

This past Sunday I was supposed to run the Tucson Marathon, but as I wrote about here, I decided not to run.  Although I realize it was the right decision for my body, it was still upsetting waking up on Sunday and thinking that I would have been heading to the start of the race, feeling that nervous pre-race excitement, and then the thrill as everyone crosses the starting line and gets into their running groove.  Instead I went for a run with the hubs, our pup, and my friend Sherri.  It was good to be outside and running, just not the same as if I had been running the marathon.  Oh well, there will always be another marathon.

I have become experienced at missing marathons this year.  Including this Tucson Marathon, I missed 5 marathons that I had signed up and trained for, but for various reasons did not end up running.  The first was the IMS Arizona Marathon in February.  I ran the Phoenix Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in January and missed my Boston Qualifying time by 4 minutes.  I had a poor fueling plan in that marathon and hit the wall the last few miles.  I felt that if I could just figure out my fueling, I’d make my qualifying time.  So the IMS Marathon was put on the schedule.  My training was going great and I was ready for what I heard was a good fast course.  2 days before leaving for Arizona, I got very sick.  Not the kind of sick that I could run through (and trust me, I can run through a lot), but the kind of sick where I could barely get out of bed, and when I did, I passed out in the bathroom on 2 different occasions.  Turns out it was pneumonia…good thing I didn’t go run that race!

After 3 weeks off for recovering from the pneumonia, I started training again, slowly until my lungs caught back up with my legs.  My husband, and Sherri and her husband and I had registered earlier in the year to all run the Colorado Marathon together the first weekend in May.  It was on our 17th wedding anniversary and we thought running down the gorgeous river canyon would be a great way to celebrate.  Couples that run together stay together, right? 

A week before this marathon, the hubs was on a bike ride with his triathlon buddies and had a bad wreck.  He broke his collar bone which obviously cancelled him out of the race, but he was being a trooper and was going to go cheer on the 3 of us that were still going to run.  We drove up to Colorado on Friday for the Sunday race and about an hour away from Fort Collins I got a phone call from my sister, who was at home watching our kids for the weekend.  My 9 year old son had gone down on his bike and was lying in the street with his wrist bone bent the wrong way.  They were headed to the ER and there was a possibility that he might need surgery.  The thought of my little guy going into surgery without being there with him was too much, so we turned around and drove the 6 hours to get home.  We arrived back home around 11pm just as my sister and son were getting home from the ER.  Both of the bones in his wrist were broken, but fortunately he did not need surgery.  That was missed marathon #2 for the year.

My 2 boys with their broken bones

I don’t know if any of you have ever missed a race within days of when you were supposed to run the race, but for me it leaves this pent up anxiety and energy that I have stored up from training and taper, and when there is no outlet for that, it’s tough to just keep it built up inside.  So what did I do?  I scoured marathonguide.com and found another race to enter.  The race was the Ojai to Ocean Marathon the beginning of June.  Cool weather, nice course, and ending at one of my favorite places (the beach) = sign me up!  I jumped back into training and made my plans to head to California to finally race and hopefully get that Boston qualifying time. 

12 hours before I was to get on a plane to head to California, I found myself in the ER with my son finding out he had appendicitis and had to get his appendix out.  Once again, I couldn’t imagine not being there for him, so marathon #3 was scratched.

After getting his appendix out, still with his cast on

This is about the point where friends were telling me to hang up my running shoes (or at least hang up the idea of running marathons), and certainly it felt like that was the message I was getting.  But I still had the love of the marathon and didn’t want to give up on my goal of running Boston someday.  With support and encouragement from my husband (he so great for putting up with all my crazy race desires), I signed up for another marathon a month later.  The Foot Traffic Portland marathon took place on July 4th, and miraculously I actually made it to the starting line.  And even more miraculously, I qualified for Boston.  You can read about how that race went here.

So happy to finally run AND qualify!

Next up was the New York City marathon.  I’ve talked about how this was a dream marathon for me to get into, and shortly after the July 4th marathon I began training for NY.  Well, you all know how that story ended with Hurricane Sandy blowing through and cancelling the race.  Missed marathon #4.

And this past weekend’s missed Tucson Marathon would make it 5 for the year.

I really hadn’t tallied up all the marathons that I had missed this year until writing this post.  Seems a little crazy to me looking back on the year.  Here’s to hoping that 2013 brings ZERO missed marathons!

Make me feel better – tell me if you have ever missed a race or an important event in your life? 

Difficult Decision

Thank you to everyone who weighed in on my decision; you have given me some great advice to think on.  I was leaning toward running the Tucson marathon and some of your comments supported that with good reason.  However, I have decided not to run this coming weekend.  It came down to a few things, but in the end, I went for what was going to be a 10 mile run on Saturday to see how I was feeling to make the final decision of whether to run the marathon or not and by mile 2 I was struggling more than I should have been and I made the decision right then to not run the marathon this weekend.  I went on to run almost 12 miles on Saturday because I was running with friends and we ended up doing a glorious trail run all through the foothills of the Sandia mountains.  It was a tough and hilly run, but so worth it.  It felt good to let go of the thoughts of running a marathon in 7 days and just run for the joy of running.

As I sit here typing this post, I still have the feeling that I want to run the marathon this weekend (I have such fond memories of the half marathon from the past 2 years), but I am choosing to believe that I am making the wiser decision.

It’s hard to say if the fatigue I have been feeling and slightly elevated heart rate while running is due to my MS or a side effect of the MS medication that I am on.  I am participating in a clinical trial for a new MS drug that is getting tested against an existing popular MS medication. It is a blind study so I do not know which medication I am on, but both can potentially cause fatigue.

Not a lot is known about precisely how the many MS disease modifying drugs work, but they do affect the immune system which could be what causes the severe fatigue and other symptoms.  I am not a huge medicine taker (I don’t even like to take something for a headache), so it was with a heavy heart when I elected to start on MS medication this past summer. Part of my decision was based on studies that have shown people who are on MS disease modifying drugs (and there are a number of different meds out there) show a slower progression of the disease.  I made the decision that I will do whatever I can to slow this disease and its effects on my body.  However, I do think that my greatest “medication” is staying as healthy as possible through nutrition, physical activity and emotional well being.
I was given this disease for some unknown reason, but God has also given me the desire to run and be active.  So I will do that to the best of my ability given my circumstances and hopefully bring Him glory in doing so.  I am fully aware that some day I may not be able to run, and I hope and pray to handle that with grace and will then use other ways to keep moving my body by walking, biking, swimming.