Since it is the end of January, I thought I would look back at my resolutions to see how I am doing.
1. Yoga at least once a week. Check. I have been going to Bikram classes thanks to a Groupon. I really like Bikram, just not at full-price. I will need to go back to regular classes in March when my Groupon is up.
2. Weight training at least twice a week. Check. I am back into my Tuesday/Thursday morning routine and even throw in Saturday when I am in town.
3. Cook more often. Check. Seriously. Check. We have only been eating out once a week. And, now that I am cooking more often, it doesn’t stress me out as much. I found a lot of quick and easy recipes on Real Simple. Here are a few of my favorites so far.
4. Less TV and more reading. Half check. I am definitely watching less TV, but I am going to bed earlier without reading. I think I just need to find a good book to change that. Although, the extra sleep has been nice.
5. New job. Sort of. Maybe. This is in progress for now.
6. Saying No. Not yet, but I haven’t had any plans that I wanted to turn down.
So far, so good!
I have figured out my tentative race schedule for this year. I am not going to be as ambitious as last year. I am keeping it simple. 13 races in 2013. No more. No less. I plan on running one race per month and then double up in December to end the year with one of my favorite races. Unlike last year, I will not be traveling a lot; most of the races will be run in Baltimore. And, I will not be spending a butt load of money either!
My first race was this past Sunday. It was a nice, low-key race out along Loch Raven reservoir, the BRRC GPS 8 miler. This is the first of the GPS races held throughout the year that you can compete against other club members in your age group.
The weather was in the mid 40’s and sunny. It was pretty perfect, but I was overdressed. The course is pretty, yet challenging with a good amount of rolling hills. There is one hill after the turn-around that is pretty steep. I just shortened my stride and kept looking ahead. Here I am coming up said hill. That may be a fake half smile.
I am pretty pleased with this race. I started out at the back because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to race it. However, by mile 3 I was feeling really good and decided to push it, without killing myself, for the last 5 miles. Results were pretty similar to last year so I consider it a race well run!
Official Time: 1:01:59
Or resolutions if you will.
1. Practice yoga at least once a week. I would like to take it twice a week, but I am being realistic here. Hopefully, if I take it more often I will get better and then actually want to go. Right now I am just doing it because I feel like I should.
2. Weight training at least twice a week. I was so good at this a few years ago, but have fallen out of the habit. With my aging body and bones, I really need to refocus on this.
3. Cutting back on eating out. The money and calories that we waste on eating out is ridiculous. This is going to require cooking, which I hate, but maybe if I cook more often, I won’t hate it as much. Maybe.
4. Less TV. This actually shouldn’t be that hard since I have sworn off Bravo (except for Top Chef - ironic since I hate to cook, I know). I intend to pick up a book earlier in the evening and read more instead.
5. Find a new job. Really no choice here as I am about to get laid off.
6. Say no. If I do not want to do something, I will not accept the invitation. Seriously. You can’t make me.
2012 was the year of no more marathons, but I still managed to log many miles and run a bunch of races.
- Miles run: 1461.3
- Hours run: 207:25:25
- Average pace: 8:31
- Highest monthly mileage: December - 162
- Highest weekly mileage: September 24th - 43
- Longest running streak: 41 days for 217 miles
- I ran in 13 states and the District of Columbia: Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Ohio, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Florida
- I completed 23 races: twelve half marathons, two 15Ks, one 10 miler, one 8 miler, one 10K, one relay, one 5 miler, one 4 miler, and three 5Ks
- I ran with the Back on My Feet Baltimore team: 94 days for 594.5 miles
I do not have any specific running goals for 2013. I think I will keep it that way and just see what happens. I am sure the number of races will decrease significantly since last year was a bit much, but I hope to keep the mileage about the same.
Keep running, my friends!
After retiring from full marathons in 2011, I needed a goal for 2012 that would motivate me to keep running, but not so much that I got injured. I can’t really remember when the idea of 12 in 12 came to me, but I know that I had signed up for most them before the end of 2011 and I made it public so I would stick with it.
I am happy to report that I completed all 12 injury free. I raced some, ran some with friends, and barely got through some others, but I did it. In the end, the Madison Mini was my favorite course of the year and the Rehoboth Beach Half was my favorite event because I was there with so many friends.
January: Cloud Snapple Half Marathon, Carderock, MD
Highs: Nice weather. Easy trail along the Potomac. Ran with the bestie.
Lows: Course was short by about a mile.
Swag: Medal was cute with a running cloud. They ran out of t-shirts before we got there.
After Party: Good soup and coffee. Real after party was a 20 minute drive to Bethesda so we skipped that.
February: Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Pete Half Marathon, St. Petersburg, FL
Highs: Super course along downtown and the water. Got to visit my family. Got to hang with a friend. Took the trip with my niece.
Lows: It was freezing at the start of the race. Mid 30’s in Florida!
Swag: Medal was huge. Great Brooks tech running shirt, but kind of a 1970’s look to it.
After Party: Celebrated with beers and music by Flo Rida. It was a fun atmosphere.
March: Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half Marathon, Washington, DC
Highs: Met up with the bestie and my niece again. Close proximity to Baltimore. St. Patrick’s Day!
Lows: Unexpected heat wave in March. Felt like ass after 6 miles.
Swag: Medal was huge again. Great Brooks tech running shirt, but the logo on the back was to the side instead of centered. Looks weird.
After Party: Celebrated with beers and music by some band I never heard of.
April: Athletica Iron Girl Columbia Half Marathon, Columbia, MD
Highs: Met Joan Benoit Samuelson. Challenging hilly course was pretty enjoyable. Close to home. Set a new PR!
Lows: Can’t think of one.
Swag: Girlie medal. Nice tech running shirt. Some bracelet that I threw away.
After Party: Lots of food after. There may have been a band, but I can’t remember because I didn’t stick around too long since I ran solo.
May: Long Branch Half Marathon, Long Branch, NJ
Highs: Ran the entire race with my niece. Great course through small beach towns of NJ. Signed up to run this in 2013 again.
Lows: Lots of traffic to get to the start. Sunday race day far from home.
Swag: Spinning medal. Brooks tech tee with the course of the race on it.
After Party: Didn’t stick around since I had to get on the road to head back to Baltimore.
June: Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon, Purcellville, VA
Highs: Amazing course. Ran the race with a bunch of good friends from Baltimore and the bestie.
Lows: This is the worst managed race I have ever run. I gave them a second chance this year, but never again.
Swag: Huge medal that is also a wine stopper. Tech running shirt, but it’s kind of ugly. Wine Glass.
After Party: Terrific wine tasting party afterwards, but not much food (except for sale of course) and no water after you leave the finish line area.
July: Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon, Chicago, IL
Highs: Ran the race with good friends from Baltimore. Pretty scenic course with lots to see. Wet sponges on the course.
Lows: Sweltering hot. Very flat - could have used a couple of hills. Sunday race when I had to travel home that day.
Swag: Huge medal as usual. I liked the design of this one. Another good Brooks tech running shirt.
After Party: Didn’t stick around too long since it was so hot and we needed real food!
August: Madison Mini, Madison, WI
Highs: Fabulous course through Madison. Perfect running temps. Lots of friendly people. Visited with one of my best friends.
Lows: I got nothing. I will run this race again.
Swag: Great medal in the shape of a beer mug. My new favorite running shirt. I think I have run most of the rest of my races of 2012 in this shirt. Fits perfectly.
After Party: Great music and beer on campus along the lake.
September: BRRC NCR Half Marathon, Sparks, MD
Highs: Running along familiar territory close to home. Small field with a lot of people I know from the Road Runners club. Cheap!
Lows: Very flat course.
Swag: None. It’s only a $2.00 race.
After Party: Bagels and coffee.
October: Staten Island Half Marathon, Staten Island, NY
Highs: Very well organized race by the NYRR. Easy and free to get to start from NYC. Good amount of hills.
Lows: Low crowd support. Ran along some industrial areas that were boring.
Swag: Medal. I don’t recall getting a shirt.
After Party: Lots of food and a band playing, but I didn’t stick around since I was there solo and it was getting chilly and rainy.
November: NCR Trail Half Marathon Relay, Sparks, MD
Highs: Got to be part of a relay with one of my favorite people to run with. Familiar trail, close to home.
Lows: Felt awful after 3 miles. Just had to gut it out on a day that wasn’t going my way. Windy at times.
Swag: Medal and a great hat that has the course on it. We also received a running vest, but I could fit someone else in it with me. Gave it away to a man.
After Party: Awesome soup and hot drinks available inside. Bonus on such a chilly day.
December: Rehoboth Beach Half Marathon, Rehoboth Beach, DE
Highs: Surrounded by so many Baltimore friends! And the bestie! Nice weather too.
Lows: Some parts of the course could be boring if you don’t know a lot of people running.
Swag: Cool medal. Awesome long sleeve tech running shirt in neon pink.
After Party: Tons of food. All you can drink micro-brews. And a band playing. One of the better parties of the year. Great note to end on. I just signed up for 2013.
Finally, my last half marathon of 2012 is complete!
I drove to Rehoboth Beach last Friday afternoon to meet the bestie. This was my final half marathon of the year, so of course she would be there. This was actually the 4th half that she was going to join me for during my year-long challenge. What a pal!
Of course we had to have a few beverages and catch up. We went to The Summer House and enjoyed great happy hour prices on wine and appetizers. The “let’s not drink wine” agreement went right out on window as soon as we sat down. No big deal. Neither of us were going to win the race. The goal became, “let’s not drink too much wine” instead.
After happy hour, we went to packet pickup where we ran into Sadie and Abbie, two teammates from Christopher’s Place (Team CP). Earlier in the year, a bunch of the CP gang decided to join me in Rehoboth for the half. I made them a training plan and 14 of them set their sights on this December race. We also had an old teammate fly in from Alabama and my friend Cakes joined too. Add in friends and family that came along to cheer and we had a great showing!
After a lovely dinner and a final night cap, we headed back to the hotel and called it a night. And, it wasn’t too long before it was time to get up for the race. We lucked out with the temperature that morning. It was in the low 50’s and overcast. It was on the humid side, but for a December race, I will take it. We all gathered on the boardwalk before the race. Diane had made everyone a pin to wear that had my coach picture on it. Pretty funny! We wished each other luck and headed to the start.
This race was great. I had no expectations except to finish my 12th half marathon of the year and have some fun doing it. And I did. The course is two out-and-backs. You run from downtown Rehoboth to Henlopen and back and then out and back on a trail. Knowing so many people running the race made the experience a good one. I think I may have been a little bored if I wasn’t looking for my friends as we passed each other and if I didn’t have Abbie by my side the entire race. Giving shout outs to friends and having someone to chat with and help keep me on a pretty even pace made for a really enjoyable time.
After Abbie and I finished we cheered the rest of the gang in. Well, except for Caroline since she finished 3rd female overall and Claire because she is stinking fast too. It was great to watch everyone come in and knowing that many of them were beating their goal times. We had a total count of 8 PRs that day. Not too shabby, ladies!
This race throws a great after party. Free beer and food and a live band. A few of us stuck around for a while and watched the awards since we knew Caroline was going to be called. Abbie ended up 3rd in her age group too. The rest of the day was spent in pubs and shopping and then back to pubs. I am looking forward to next year!
Female: 40 / 536
NEXT UP: Recap of my 2012 Half Marathon Challenge
My first experience working with the homeless population came in the late 80’s in Philadelphia. I volunteered through the Campus Ministry to hit the streets on Sunday nights to hand out food and shelter information. It was a little scary on the dark streets in center city, but we worked in teams and the grateful men and women I served week after week made it well worth it.
One important lesson that we were taught during orientation was to never give money to these men and women. We were there to give them food and information regarding where to go to get more help and shelter. Some thought the money would be spent on alcohol and drugs. Others thought that our money wasn’t going to help, real assistance was needed. Whatever the reason, the message was clear. And, it is one that I still abide by. Give your time, not your money.
After college I continued to volunteer when I moved to DC. I would sort donations and serve meals at shelters. I wasn’t out on the street, but I was still giving my time to those who sought it. When I moved to Baltimore, I was saddened by how many homeless I encountered on a daily basis. It is a huge crisis in the city that I now call home.
I was lucky to find Back on My Feet (BoMF) where I could serve the homeless community in a capacity which I love, through running. This has been the most satisfying of my volunteering experiences. I get to see the same people, develop relationships with them and watch them grow and achieve success. One thing that BoMF emphasizes is that through running we are all the same. That you cannot tell who is a volunteer and who is homeless.
Through running with BoMF stereotypes have been torn down and my eyes have been opened to who the homeless population really is. Or so I thought.
I am asked for money multiple times on my walk to work every day. I say no most of the time, as I was taught back in Philadelphia. Sometimes, I cave, but I usually just keep walking. Today, someone said, “Excuse me, miss.” I turned to see someone who I assumed was homeless and was about to ask me for money. I barely broke stride and was about to say “no” before hearing his request. Then he asked, “Where is the 400 block of East Pratt?” He wanted directions. That was all. I am so glad that the word “no” didn’t impatiently come out of my mouth. I gave him directions and he told me to “have a blessed day.”
I felt like crap as I continued on to work. I realized that I am still quick to judge based on environment and appearances even after all of these years. And I am ashamed of that. It’s something for me to continue to work on.