Truly Starting Over

Flashback to: December 2007:  “I want to do a triathlon”

My first triathlon was set for August of 2008.  I honestly believed that I had plenty of time to train when I picked that race.  I honestly thought it would be easy.  It was not easy. Before I started training, I had not run more than a mile in years. I hadn’t been on a bike since middle school. I hadn’t swam seriously since getting my lifeguard certifications ten years prior.  Even though I had been an active member of the gym for 10+ years and was a pro at walking on the treadmill, riding the stationary bike and lifting, I had little to no base when I began the road to my first tri.

Flashback to August 2008: I finished my first tri.

In the time since, I have completed nine 5k’s, four 8k’s, one 7-miler, one 10-miler, six half-marathons, two duathlons, six triathlons and been the swimmer for three relay triathlons.  Additionally, I am a finisher of the Air Force Mud Run and Warrior Dash.

I have conquered knee issues, shin splits and most notably a torn hip flexor.  I have been down.  But I have never been out.  I was told this year I probably wouldn’t race until late summer and half-marathons were probably out of the questions.  I was racing in May and in November I PR’d at the Philly Half-Marathon.

However, I have done very little since the Philly Half by way of working out.  A few pilates classes, a couple two mile runs and a little biking here and there.  It was a much needed break physically, and more importantly mentally.  I was so drained coming off this season I wasn’t even sure I wanted to race in 2011.  But some time off and a fresh perspective has all those thoughts in the past.  And I am ready to get it going for 2011.

So, this week, I started over again.  Of course this time, I have a much better base and I know my capabilities.  I know I am capable of running 13+ miles, riding a bike and swimming for a mile or more at a time.  The differences between 2008 and 2011 are immense.  But one thing is the same: starting new is never easy.  It will be a slow couple of weeks.  You may have noticed my first race, an 8k, isn’t even until March.  My first half is in May.  I am going to start off walking and work my way up, following the 10% rule like it is my job!  The idea for 2011 is slow & steady, have fun, stay healthy & uninjured and kick ass. 🙂

Yesterday was the first day of my 2011 training season.  I went for a walk with my roommates dog and we had a blast.  We were out for about n hour; not sure how far we actually walked and not sure I care.  I worked up a great sweat and had a fun time in the snow.

2011 Race Schedule

Just because I have decided to take the pressure off when it comes to training and keep my goals more personal, doesn’t mean I don’t have a race schedule planned.  And here it is!

Shamrock 8K; Virginia Beach, VA- My first race of 2011.  My friend Nicole and I planned to do the half-marathon but did not sign up in time unfortunately.  Since we had already found a placed to stay, taken the time off work and planned the trip we decided to at least do the 8k and then just spectate the half and full.  I really wanted to run this race since I had to bag it last year after my injury, but I guess it is just not meant to be for me.  At the very least, I will enjoy 4 days in VA Beach 🙂 

B.A.A Boston 5k; Boston, MA- This is obviously assuming I get in on the day registration opens.  I know it is going to be a crapshoot since 27402378 are trying to sign up but hopefully I will get in.  Either way, I will still be in Boston for the marathon and I am way ridiculously beyond excited to reconnect with and meet new bloggers 🙂  It is going to be a super fabulous weekend.

Frederick 1/2 Marathon; Frederick, MD- I actually just decided on this the last week.  I wanted a May 1/2 marathon and this one fits best into my schedule.  Plus, since I deferred Baltimore to this year, I will get the Double Medal 🙂

Black Bear Olympic Relay; Poconos, PA- Despite the freezing cold, rain and getting sick in the water, I loved this race.  I was the swimmer last year with my friends Kurt and Brian and I am the swimmer this year with my friends Shauna and Lisa.  Hopefully we get better weather and I can get some revenge on that swim course!

Boilermaker 15K; Utica, NY- This race takes place the day after my 30th birthday so a few of my friends and I are heading up to race and party it up!  We are spending the weekend, including my actual birthday there and then running is specially made shirts!  Other than Boston, I am most excited for this race.

NJ State Sprint; Mercer, NJ- This is my “A” race for 2011…this is my favorite course by far and as anyone who reads my blog knows, run by my favorite RD’s, CGI.  I am not even kidding…this race is great!  Even in 100 degree weather last year it was enjoyable.  If you are looking for a mid-July tri, I cannot recommend anything more than this race!

Belmar Sprint; Belmar, NJ- This race is pretty simple but still one of my favorites.  I love the ocean swim, the simplicity of the looped bike course and the run along the beach.  This will be my third consecutive year racing this course and I look forward to getting even better this year than last year.

Timberman Sprint; Lake Winnipesaukee, NH- This is the only race on this schedule that I am still back and forth on; the entry fee is ridiculous and hard to justify but a lot of my teammates will be there and it will make for a fun weekend.  Plus…Chrissie Wellington.  Yeah, her.

Wildwood 1/2 Marathon- Wildwood, NJ- This is the newest 1/2 marathon in the CGI half-marathon series and I am very excited about this race.  Not only does it take place the same time I am on vacation in Wildwood, but so many of my teammates are racing this and with the entry fee you get a ticket into Morey’s Pier and water park.  So after the race we will be hanging out on the boardwalk and beach AND then back at my place to hang out.  It will be a most excellent way to end summer!

Baltimore 1/2 Marathon- Baltimore, MD- I deferred this race last year to this year and as much as I loved this race in 2009, Baltimore does not make it easy to stay overnight there.  The hotels in the area do not accommodate even though they are “race supporting” hotels.  I found it all to be very frustrating and if I run into issues again this year, I probably won’t bother with the race anymore.  Which would be a shame since I really do like it and they give out the coolest medals!

Philadelphia Marathon- Philadelphia, NJ- Yup. Giving it another go. I am unsure if I will ever attempt a second, so the first has to be Philly.  The half distance has my little racing heart and I cannot think of any other full that I would want to be my first.

I put a lot less on my plate this year than last but as you can see, I am also going to give the marathon another try.  My first attempt was a bust but I feel like this year could be my year.  Especially because I have full intentions of going into every race the way I did the Philly half this year.  And of course, at the end of the day, all I want to do is finish.

I am sure there will be some 5k’s and 10k’s dispersed in there but for the most part, I want to keep it more simple for 2011.  I am still toying with Steelman again if I can get a relay together but I don’t think I’ll be adding in any more big races.  I am excited for all the traveling I get to do with my racing this year and picked my races bases in large part based on that.  I figure, I got nothing holding me back right now…midas well get all the traveling I can get it while I can.

Will I be seeing any of you at any of the above races???

First 2011 Post…Where I Have Been & Goals

I have been struggling to come up with the right way to express how I have been feeling lately and when it came time to put my goals list together I struggled even more.  It took me almost the whole month of December to figure out why.

And here it is…

I was keeping charts and graphs and tracking everything I did.  I was driving myself crazy writing schedules, setting alarms and calculating my pace/distance for every swim/bike/run.  I was completely overwhelmed by all the facebook updates and blog posts in my google reader that were all about running, working out and etc.  I was putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself and feeling negative about myself.  All because I felt like I had to fit into some standard.  (I feel like a five year old even admitting all this.)  At times lately, it has all felt very competitive; I notice gatherings with my teammates where the only conversations we have are about working out and who is doing what and how much of it they are doing.  Honestly, it makes my head spin. And instead of being motivated to change, I shut down and allowed it all to push me into a hole that kept me from having a desire to do anything at all.

Running is not my life.  Neither is swimming.  And well, I think we all know biking isn’t either.  There are so many more aspects to my life than working out and keeping track of my miles.  But I was pressuring myself to “keep up with the Jones’s” for a while and was concentrating to the point of exhaustion on things that honestly don’t matter to me.  But I wanted them to matter to me so I kept doing them.  I wanted them to matter because I thought it put me in the same ranks as everyone else.  A “real” athlete.  If I woke up and didn’t want to work out, I felt like something was wrong with me.  And the truth is, more days than not I woke up not wanting to work out.  The more days in a row this happened, the less I felt about who I was as an athlete.  And not only was I frustrated but I was confused as to why I even felt that way.

But I know why- I felt that way because I thought I was letting myself and others down if I wasn’t “taking it serious enough” and that if I didn’t take it serious, people wouldn’t take me as a person seriously.  Got all that?  Anyway, the good news is, I snapped myself out of it, got real with myself and decided that I don’t have to be so serious.  And people who like and respect me will like and respect me even if I am not caculating my miles vs. distance every step of the way.  They will like me even if I don’t care that I missed a workout.  But most importantly, I will like myself again.  Because I will be having fun again.  And for me, fun is what it is all about.  And for the record, I am totally most definitely without a doubt an athlete!

At the end of it all I was able to come up with some goals.

Goals for 2011:

  1. Run for time, not distance; stop focusing so much on mileage.  It’ll be easier now with a Garmin to keep track of my miles without having to map out runs and etc, but some days I just want to run.  Run without caring about the exact distance.  At the end of the day, the miles I run in a week, month, year…that is not who I am.  I am not the miles I run, I am a runner simply because I run.
  2. There will be no more week in reviews.  No more formula posts to keep up with or anything else that cause me to self-pressure over miles/hours/etc.
  3. No more “100 push-ups a week” challenges for me.  Or anything of that nature.
  4. I will only host a give-a-way when I truly believe in the product.  I will not make the give-a-way rules harder than and IQ tests and there will always be less steps than when you call your credit card company!
  5. I will eliminate all unrealistic goals.  And I will push hard to achieve the realistic ones.
  6. Give myself a break.  Or two. Or ten.
  7. Realize I don’t need to blog every day.  Go back to quality over quantity.  My faithful readers will be here whether I blog once a day or once a week.
  8. Keep my goals more private.  Again, limiting the self-pressure.
  9. Continue to be an honest blogger.  Remember that at its most basic foundation this blog was my journey.  It is not always pretty, but it is always real!
  10. I will make it fun again. I want to channel the way I felt when I started this whole journey to my first tri…I felt fresh and new and it was fun.  I want to go back to how good it felt to just want to go to the gym…get out and run or hop in the pool.  I want to get back to a place where I knew what I was doing was making me a better person, not driving me insane.  I want to get back to me.

I just thought I should start the year posting how I really felt.  Being me.  Honest little me.