Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year in Review: 2014 Goals

2013 has been a fantastic year! There's been up and downs, big accomplishments, set backs and triumphs in my professional, personal, and fit life.  I look back on the year as whole and think of some really proud moments. I can think of some not so proud moments, happy moments, and sad moments. There's been change and adjustment in all aspects of my life. I'm always excited to ring in the new year: new year, new hope, new chance to get it all right!

Here's a look at some of my favorite moments from 2013:

Training for and running my first half marathon will always be an experience I look back on fondly. This is where it all started for me. This was such a big accomplishment, and I was so very proud of this run. My first half marathon training was so unique and special and I'll remember it always!

Rock N Roll Finish line February 2013

Feeling confident enough to write the Operation Red Bikini post and post this picture.

I don't care how much weight you lose, or how low your body fat gets, there's always that place in your brain that says Do I look good enough to wear this?! THIS?! Real talk. Insecurity is the greatest confidence killer, it felt so good to take down that barrier.

Our 2013 beach vacation felt almost like being in college again. Except for the part where we went to bed at 10:00pm and woke up at 7am. I loved every second of this vacation: kicking it off in NOLA with Susannah and Madeline, running with Kat, cutting up with the crew on the beach, Mr.Noel's shameless friend making and dancing at Joe's Crab Shack, we can't take him anywhere, laying in a king size bed on a rainy day with Susannah, drinking champagne while we watched the Duchess of Cambridge step out of the Lindo Wing with the Prince our daughter's will think is oh so hunky, (hello run on sentence- thank goodness you don't read here for my grammar) to hunting down a Dairy Queen on the drive home after I proclaimed the gain train must come to a halt. Great times with great friends, and I can't wait till our next get away!

October came and I ran my second half marathon with big PR dreams that were not meant to be. Oddly enough, I was more proud of this half than my first. Everything did not go my way that day, and I still love to run. I've learned more about myself in the moments I wanted to give up than I ever have in moments of success. 

November was another winner with our group mastering the art of keeping secrets and surprising Susannah with a Birthday party! 

Madeline and Pitbull got engaged, I hear wedding bells coming in 2014!

November also saw Kate and I in Chicago curing some wanderlust. We packed as much adventure as humanly possible into those four days. I learned a lot about myself during this trip, and even challenged my debilitating fear of heights...twice.

During 2013, I've grown closer to this group of women than I could have ever imagined possible when I signed up for a little 10k training in 2012. The Sole Sistas started out sharing one common goal, and discovered so very much more along the way. I look forward to coffee and jokes post long run, our obnoxious Christmas get together, and cheering the loudest for each other as we cross each new finish line. I know 2014 will be a great year!

2014 Goals:

Run the Marathon
Laugh More
Blog Consistently
Take More Pictures
Be Happy
Don't sweat the small stuff
Don't pet the sweaty stuff
Drink more Champagne
Travel Somewhere I've Never Been Before
Get Crafty
Run 14 Races
Worry Less
Be More Considerate of Others
Think of Myself Less
Get Stronger in Each Day in Every Way
All Around be the Very BEST Version of Me

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Monday, December 30, 2013

You've got to know when to hold 'em

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run

I planned my entire weekend around my last mammoth marathon training run. The big 20 mile run. In recent weeks, I've struggled majorly with an injured left leg. I say leg, because I can't even pin point where the actual problem lies. I'd say it began in my foot, spread to my heal, then took over my knee and hip. Sometimes just moving from sitting to standing to hurts. Pitty party table for one! 

My last significant distance was the half marathon December 7th.. My injury kept me from running my 19 miler, I only made it to 9. It's very hard for me to accept defeat. To call time on a run, and listen to my body when it's screaming for me to stop. Marathon training has been very difficult for me. I didn't anticipate just how significant the difference in training for the half vs the whole shebang would be, and the marathon is playing in a league all by itself.

I originally planned to run my 20 miler Saturday morning. I woke up to rain and more rain, which means sidelining the run until Sunday. Saturday, instead of the run, I headed to the gym for cross training and strength. I took the rest of the day easy on Saturday. Sunday, I had 20 miles to run.

I started off at 7am, and I didn't' get very far.  My ideal pace for the marathon is in between 10:10-10:20 per mile. That's been the goal in which I have trained, and on all of my mega long runs, I've been very close to the pace goal. I had struggled with the weekly runs, as my body was taking time to recover from these long runs, but recently my pace had significantly improved there as well. True confessions: I've been taking a large amount of anti-inflammatory medication to make it through all these miles. As much as I love running, my body does not, and it never really has. I talked about aches pains and half recovery last year post my first half marathon, and I haven't really discussed it too much since.Personally, the amount of achievement and satisfaction that comes from the finish line accomplishment is worth a few hard weeks and some tough runs. It's been a large amount of tough runs and hard weeks. I've recently graduated from over the counter to prescription strength meds to make it through training. Running these long distances is very hard on the body.

This is how the run went Sunday morning-

Mile One: 10:20
Stop twice to stretch
Mile Two: 10:43
Stop twice to stretch
Mile Three: 11:02
Drag my dead leg

I knew I wasn't making it to 20 miles. I knew trying would be miserable and stupid on my part. I kept thinking back to a conversation I had with Kara over at PG Sister's when someone said to her Do you want to run this one race, or do you want to be able to run? 

I want to be able to run.

To say I'm frustrated is an understatement. I've worked so hard to get to this place, three weeks out from my first marathon. I've missed other races. I've pushed my body to place where I have been unable to improve in other areas. I've catered the way I eat to improve my running. I've missed countless social occasions so that I could get in these runs. I've woken up more times than I care to count during the 4 o'clock AM hour to run. I've skipped wine nights with girlfriends. I've gone to bed at 8pm on Friday AND Saturday nights. I've spent a lot of cheddar on this running outside thing. There's been a lot of sacrifice. Sacrifice I've been happy to make because I can see the reward. I close my eyes and see the finish line. I imagine what the accomplishment will feel like to run a marathon, and the anticipation of that runner's high is enough propels me forward.

I did not come this far, to quit now. I have to do this. I'm making an appointment with a sports therapist. I'm going to listen to my body and reevaluate my training plan going forward. I'm going to try the 20 mile run again, then continue with the taper training weeks. 

I've debated postponing my marathon to the Rock N Roll two weeks after the Louisiana. I've debated running the double loop at the Zydeco. All to give me more time to train. However, I have committed to the Louisiana. I've paid. I know I physically can do this. I CAN run 26.2.  I have concerns pushing off the race to train more will bring me back to this injured place, and make postponing pointless.
I don't know if I'll want to train for another marathon. I won't say never again, but I will say it has to be now. I have it in my head I'm running 26 miles in my 26th year of life. I've worked so hard. I can't quit now. I will not quit. I'm running the marathon January 19th. 

You've got to know when to hold 'em
And know when to run

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Caution: Change Ahead

I'm really flunking at this whole blogging thang huh?! One of my 2014 resolutions is to blog more consistently and to take more pictures. More on that in another post.

Christmas was relaxed and low key for my family this year. I enjoyed too much food and certainly way too many sweets. I skipped my run Christmas Day in favor of red wine and couch time, and I don't regret a single second of it. Generally, over the last few weeks my diet has been less than stellar and I've been drinking more than my allotted once per week post long run Saturday. Oddly enough, I've manged to wiggle out of a few more pounds, thanks to all that running and I'm back at a near all time low, or at least I was on Christmas Eve morning. I'll weigh in again next Friday and resume the routine. My skinny jeans feel tight tight today.

The Christmas gift I was most surprised and excited to receive was gift from my mister! Over the last few months specifically, we'd been frequently talking about joining a gym together. Since 2009, I have been a member of a small women's gym, and that gym really came to feel like family, especially over the more recent years when I became heavily involved daily with fitness. Exercise became social time, which made working out so much more fun! As much as I love the girls at the gym, I had been hoping my passion for fitness would become an activity my husband and I could share.

Christmas morning I was shocked and surprised to open my "big gift" and find inside all the important information for our new gym membership at the club I had been longing to join, plus matching shirts *disclaimer- we won't go all Sadie Hawkins dance to the gym, at least not on purpose

Calling the new "gym" a "gym" feels like a big understatement. It's more like a city within a city. You name it, they got it at this place. For many, I'm sure a gym membership just feels like a gym membership.  The gym has become such an integrated part of my daily life, switching gym homes is a big, mega, huge, colossal, monumental decision for me. My biggest concern in leaving my all women's gym family, was leaving behind many of the key people who have helped me get where I am now. I have felt at home in my gym for many years. I have friends there, my run routes are planned around the gym, I'm familiar with the facility and feel comfortable there. 

I have a few concerns about our new gym home. Mainly, I'm concerned that no one will ever know my name. No one would notice if I have been missing for a week and it will be hard  to make friends in this big new place. Thursday afternoon, I headed to my gym home for what will be the first of many work outs, to log my five mile run and a work out. 

Right when I walked in, a saw a familiar face and we got to talking. Another new member, whom I've known for a long time was getting the tour, and the tour guide introduced herself to me as well. I already felt at ease. Not so strange after all! I headed to the outdoor track to log my five mile run. Running the outdoor track was a nice change of pace. As often as I have been running outside in the dark, my long Saturday run is usually my only run in the daylight, I have never quite feel at ease on the streets at night or in the early morning. I've been running alone frequently and at longer distances.Sometimes that shiz is scary! Just last week, someone's dog tried to heard me. Literally. One minute your jamming to Britney, the next your kibbles n bits. Running problems

Roughly 24 laps equaled 5 miles. The track felt phenomenal on my legs and injuries as well. Obviously, I won't be able to stick to training on the track singularly, but it's such a nice option to have! Just as I was hitting the three mile run in circles boredom wall, Mr. Noel met me after work, and we finished the run together. I can't begin to say how excited and happy it makes me be able to share this with him. We also have quite a few friends who are members here, so neither of us will have to be work out buddy-less. I really feel a work out buddy is essential to success. An accountability partner goes a long way in daily motivation. Especially on those days when you just aren't feeling like getting to the gym. 

On our way out, we were discussing our individual goals and what a weekly work out plan will look like for us as a couple and individually, the girl I met when first walking in smiled and waved, "Bye Leigh Ann!!". I already feel at home.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Injury Update: Internal Monologue

It's Christmas Eve, and I am not prepared. I still have lots to do, including shopping, and I have to work a half day. I'm sure worse things have happened to people so I'll halt the complain train there. Womp Womp or Woop Woop? I'm undecided (WOOP WOOP!)

Day two into a crazy Holiday week and I've already made an adjustment to my work out schedule. Monday I subbed out the 5k run for my regular RIPPED class. I felt like I really needed the strength and HIIT training when it appears I'll be mostly pounding the pavement this week left leg permitting. Injuries are incredibly frustrating buggers. My head says I'm a hoss! I can do anything! ANYTHING! Marathon? Pfff I got that

You laughed, don't lie!

My leg says, Slow ya roll sista. Let's go home and snuggle on the couch. Wouldn't you rather be reading a book and drinking red wine? Come on cher let's go home. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) I never listen to what my leg says. I'm hard headed to a fault. It's probably my best and my worst quality rolled into one. Maybe if I had rested more when the injury originally set in I wouldn't be in this predicament now, but alas, shoulda woulda coulda, I will never know.

Today will be my first weekday run back at full training mileage, true confessions, I'm nervous gervous. Taking the mileage down was absolutely unavoidable. When I can not run, I will substitute with time comparable cross training and I always push myself there. I really think I've been "training" for a race for entirely too long at this point, and it eventually caught up with me. I began training for my October half marathon the week after the fourth of July which means I've been solidly training for a race for 25 weeks. I keep reminding myself there's only four weeks to race day and I can do anything for four weeks. I can do this. I will do this.

There's some big changes coming in the next few weeks which I'm excited to tell ya'll about. Change is sometimes scary but always a good thing right?! Nothing monumental, don't want to get the rumor mill a turning, but it feels monumental to me. Anywho, I'll wrap this up here. This whole post has basically felt like a crazy conversation with myself, and let's be real, that's always fun. What's up holla! 

Wishing each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas!

Just in case you forgot what I look like ;)
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