Friday, December 30, 2011
I'm normally not one for year-end retrospectives. It may be the end of the calendar year, but life doesn't care about arbitrary, man-made delineations. But, it's been an eventful year, so I've given in to the temptation for a quick review.
2010 was the year when my first child was born and was also the year I ran my first half-marathon, so 2011 had quite the act to follow. I think it did more than an adequate job.
After running the Las Vegas RNR Half Marathon in December of 2010, I was ready to go back to running 3-6 miles in the gym and work on some speed and lots of strength training. Instead, I got the running bug and ended up running 5 races in 2011.
1) February 19 - Fat Boy 5k - A fun, local race. This was the last official 5k that I've run and I ran a nice PR just under 26 minutes. This PR only whet my appetite for more races.
2) March 12 - Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam Half & 5k - My wife runs her first 5k! My wife and her sister had been pushing each other at the gym as they both lost weight and got healthier until my wife got pregnant with our first child. Then her sister got the running bug, and my wife set this race as her post-pregnancy goal race. She did great and I made us all proud, especially with her sprint finish!
3) April 9 - Inaugural Summerlin Half Marathon - This race was the watershed moment of my recent running career.
When I ran the Las Vegas RNR half, I was excited to run so much better than I expected. I was still over 6 minutes from breaking 2 hours, but that was well better than my original 2:30 goal and my expected 2:15 from training. I was happy my time and achieving my goal of finishing my first half and had no desire to run another half, or even consider moving up to a full. I was the healthiest I'd been at years and at my goal weight. Instead, I was looking forward to getting back into the gym to do the strength training I had been putting off while training for the half and focus on strength and running faster 5k's.
So, with no plans to run any other half marathons and focus on 5 and 10k's, the Summerlin half popped up on my radar in late January and I decided, what the heck. Why not run it just for fun? I had barely just restart running 3 long weeks after my half and decided I should sign up solely for the purpose of giving me something to get me refocused running since having no race to push towards made me more likely to skip workouts while I never missed a workout while training for the Las Vegas RNR half. The course was a nasty 6.5 mile uphill for the entire second half, so I had no illusions of having a good time. The race was only a motivator for training and I didn't care how fast I finished.
So, when I finished the race almost exactly 1 minute behind my LV RNR time, I was ecstatic and disappointed all at the same time. I had run a tough course much stronger and faster than I had imagined and my inner competitor began to show itself. Now, I had to find more races to run.
4) June 25 - Running with the Devil 10k - I had run a few 5k's and now two half marathons, but I had never run a 10k. This was also an "experience" race since it was purposely run on one of the longest at hottest days of the year in one of the hottest locations in the desert. I still went in with hopes of running a fast time, but dead legs and the course plus the heat combined to slow me down. Still, I ran a decent pace and was able to try out my Camelbak for the first time. I was going to need it for my next race.
5) August 13 - ET Full Moon Midnight half marathon - This was definitely an "experience" race. Running near Area 51 at midnight in the middle of nowhere. Finding this race was the beginning of the other side of the watershed moment that was the Summerlin half marathon. I wanted to run my races, but I wasn't sure when, or where I wanted to do any more races... until I found this one. This was a HAVE TO race, if only for the experience. Even if I ran no more races, I HAD TO do this one.
I ended up with somewhat mixed feelings from this race. The experience was mostly good and I even ran a PR by two minutes. But, I had run faster in training and I had messed up with my pacing and my watch during the race which kept me from getting closer to breaking the 2 hour mark. My inner competitor was now freaking out while the rest of me tried to call myself and say that I was still doing this to continue to make myself healthier, not to race.
6) October 21-22 - Ragnar Relay Las Vegas - If you're seeing a pattern forming, you're right. All my races were becoming "experience" races. Las Vegas RNR on The Strip, First Summerlin Half, Running with the Devil, ET Full Moon, etc, etc... Running a Ragnar Relay had been on my bucket list since the previous year when we were -thisclose- to running one, only to have the team fall apart. This time I simply posted that I was looking for a team and not long after I had a team come calling for me to join. After discussions with my wife, I joined and had a wonderful experience! I ran 3 legs that were between 5 and 6 miles a piece. I ended up as one of the stronger members of the team and far exceeded my own expectations while having a great time!
7) December 4 - Las Vegas RNR Half Marathon - It was my wife's turn to run this race, this year, and she was driven. She pushed herself and managed to work in the training in her busy schedule. In the end she far exceeded her own expectations and had an amazing race while her proud husband and daughter were overjoyed to be able to watch her finish. I probably enjoyed watching her finish more than I enjoyed any of the races that I ran this year.
Other 2011 Events
- Lowered my cholesterol from 200 to 170.
- Maintained my weight at or just below the 175lbs mark.
- Ran an unofficial self-timed 5k of 24:06.
- Back down to a size 32 waist.
- Wearing a size medium shirt for the first time that I can remember since before high school!
- Actually feel good wearing clothes that are somewhat tight.
- My daughter's first birthday!
- My grandfather passed away at the ripe old age of 93.
- My mother began and completed her treatments for colorectal cancer.
- Began rehab on my shoulder (note: kids are surprisingly heavy and dangerous)
- With all my exercising, my back and restless leg have felt better than they have in a long time. I can actually lie on my back without feeling the need to constantly move and stretch my leg before giving up and rolling over.
- Caffeine-free for the entire year. Technically, I've had caffeine on 3 different occasions, but since this was a bet and those 3 occasions were sanctioned by the person I was betting against (my wife), they don't count, so officially I have been caffeine-free for all of 2011. In reality, I haven't had a caffeinated beverage since June. That's still pretty darn good. It hasn't changed my health for the better in any measurable way - and I will have won the bet as of Jan 2, so I will not be continuing this for 2012. However, I will try to keep the soda to a minimum and not go back to my pre-2011 levels, so that's a positive.
Now some goals for 2012.
I've never been one to make New Years Resolutions. When I have something I want to do, I don't wait for New Year's to start it. My caffeine-free bet went from Jan to Jan only because of the circumstances from when the bet was made and was not a New Year's resolution. Regardless, here are some goals I have already made and events that I would like to make happen.
- Cut back on my soda intake. I've already cut way back on my soda intake from 2010 to 2011. I love the taste of Coke and Dr. Pepper, but since I've been caffeine-free I've switched to drinking water, Sprite, lemonade, or beer. Since I no longer automatically order a Coke, I've had to consider what I want to drink and I've been free to try new and different things. I hope to continue this in 2012 while still allowing myself the occasional Coke or coffee. I just won't be drinking as much of either, which is definitely a step in the right direction that I would like to continue. I've found a number of beers that I actually enjoy, and I definitely don't drink as much beer as I used to drink soda.
- Planned races:
March 17 - Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam Half Marathon - This year I will be running the half marathon - instead of the 5k - and I will be running it with my best friend from high school who was inspired by my running (and his inner competitor) to finish a half of his own.
April 21 & 22 - Labor of Love Half Marathons - Back-to-back half marathons. In 2011 I decided that I do want to run a full marathon, but I also don't feel like I can dedicate the time to the training, right now. Spending time with my wife and my daughter - especially when my daughter is still so young - is a higher priority for me. I would like to run a full sometime in the next year or two, but it will have to be planned in advance. Instead, in what may actually be a somewhat bigger challenging (depending on your point-of-view), I found the Labor of Love race that occurs over two days and runs each race on both days. So, I get to tire myself out by running a half marathon on Saturday, and then come back and try and do it again on Sunday. I can't wait to do this one. It's going to be tough, but I know I can do it. I know I should be able to run the whole distance on both days. I know I will at finish, but I hope to still surprise myself. Running this will also qualify me for a 4 moon Half Fanatic!
June 23 - Running w/ the Devil half marathon - I'm not sure if I will be doing this one, but if I get the change, I would definitely like to do it. When (not 'if'!) I complete the Labor of Love back-to-back halves, I will have completed 3 half marathons through Calico Racing in the past 12 months (starting with the ET Full Moon half). If I complete the Running w/ the Devil half in June, I will have run 4 in under 12 months and complete a "Calico 1/2 Slam." Then I can get my name up in lights on the Calico website.
- Continue to maintain my weight.
- Add some *regular* strength training. I do it irregularly right now. I need to do it regularly.
- Continue to rehab my shoulder and hopefully finish rehabbing it.
- Continue to support my wife's exercise goals.
- Who knows what else will happen?
I have to goal of running a full marathon, at some point. Maybe this year I will finally nail down the date and event where I will do it? That will, of course, depend on what else happens this year. My wife and I would like to have second child, hopefully soon before we both get too much older. That will definitely factor into the equation.
I would also like to complete an Ironman before I get too much older. I've started looking at sprint triathlons, but that requires additional training and a bike. I'm wary of pushing these things off "until the time is right" since life never offers the perfect time to do anything. I trained for my first half beginning just a month after my daughter was born when I was exhausted and getting no sleep and could only run at 5 in the morning, so I know sometimes you just have to make things work. We will see how that goes.
So, that's it for this review. I'm looking forward to a long weekend complete with a nice 10.5 mile run (I still find it weird that I describe any run as "nice"), lots of football games, and some celebratory caffeine.
Have a safe, sane, and happy new year, everyone!
Thursday, December 29, 2011
With my keys now safely again in my possession, last night I decided to make up for yesterday by adding an extra mile to this morning's run to make it 6 miles instead of 5. Well, it didn't totally make up for yesterday. Yesterday, I missed out on 30 fitness minutes while extending my run by a mile only added an extra 10 minutes. But, that's still better than losing all 30! Of course, that also meant waking up 10 minutes earlier.
So, up I was a 4:35am (instead of 4:45). Thankfully, it was a little warmer (43) than it had been for my run on Tuesday (33) or yesterday (37). I was able to wear just my Under Armor running gloves instead of my heavier cold weather gloves (or both). I also wore a cotton long sleeve shirt as my outer layer instead of a running jacket. This meant my neck was exposed to the cold (my running jackets have a small collar that covers my neck when fully zipped). It felt weird at first since I haven't run without a running jacket in over a month, but was still a nice change. I like running in cooler weather, but only up to a point.
So, to cover the extra mile, I just ran an extra block further north than I usually do. The extra block is a half mile, so the extra out-and-back would add up to give me the extra mile. I've run this route before, but only on weekends during daylight hours, so I wasn't completely sure if there were streetlights on the whole route. Turns out there were streetlights, but 2 or 3 long stretches of them were out. I'm sure the city is putting off fixing them for a while to save some money...
Anyway, I ran a nice comfortable pace and had no problems on my run. Finished the 6 miles in 58:46, so just under a 10 min/mile pace. It went smoothly and I felt better than I have in a number of weeks. It feels like I am finally over my cold. The effects definitely lingered longer than I would have liked, so I am glad it's gone. Now, I can do some speed work and pick up the pace on my other runs to get myself back to where I was in October.
Next up is my 10 mile run on Saturday. Maybe I'll add an extra half a mile to get 5 more fitness minutes. And then maybe 5 extra minutes to my cool down walk. Yes, that's the ticket... I ran 9.6 miles last Saturday instead of my planned 9, so that gave me about 5 extra minutes as well. Regardless, I should hit my yearly fitness goal, either way. And then, next week, I will get started with my 4 workouts a week that should have started this week. Back on track!
I added a new countdown tracker to my profile. Instead of tracking my weight (which I am maintaining and wasn't updating, anyway), I now have a countdown to my back-to-back half marathons in April.
Speaking of which, I need to sign up for them before the price goes up on Jan 1. I better go do that, now, before I forget! You know, with my tunnel vision and all...
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Oh, thank God! I am so relieved!
My wife just called me to tell me that when she went outside to pick up a package that was delivered, she found that our postman had placed our mail on our front porch as well.
I had taped a note to our mailbox asking that if anyone found my key, to either put it in my mail slot or call me. My wife was calling to tell me that it was sad that apparently, since I put that note on our mailbox, that the postman was being really nice and going out of her way to hand-deliver our mail to our house since she probably thought we no longer had any mail keys (even tho the post office originally gave us 3, so we have a couple spares).
Well, as she was talking to me on the phone and unwrapping the mail, she found that the postman had also put my keys inside the mail! They have been found and returned! Complete with my house key intact! And also returned the note that I had placed on our mailbox.
So, apparently, either someone found my key and stuck it in the "outgoing mail" box (which is locked and can only be opened by the mailman), or they had returned them to our mailbox where my postman found them.
Either way, I am breathing a huge sigh of relief. Was not looking forward to knocking on doors around the neighborhood, or calling the post office to see if it my keys were turned in, or changing my locks, or having the post office change our mailbox lock.
Oh, happy day! Thank you, Lord!
p.s. I am now going to change the way I check the mail so that this doesn't happen a third time.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
...That's what my wife described me as, this morning. I prefer to refer to myself as having "tunnel vision." Regardless, it caused a setback, this morning, in my quest to meet my yearly fitness goal.
Last night, I stopped to pick up the mail on my way home. We have those large community mail boxes. This morning, I couldn't find my mailbox key. I've done this once before where I left the key hanging in the mailbox after picking up the mail, and fortunately, it was still hanging in the mailbox the next morning. However, that was not the case, this morning. My key was no where to be found. And on the same key ring is my house key. Yikes!!
So, i frantically scoured the mailbox, the rocks, my truck, the house, my pants... everywhere. I couldn't find them.
Morning wasted. Missed my 2 mile run because I spent the morning looking for my keys.
Now I'm irritated with myself and freaked out because someone probably has my house and mail keys. I'm hoping the lady that I saw taking her daughter for a walk around the neighborhood decided to take my keys for safe-keeping. I just need to go knock on her door after work and see if she saw them. Have my fingers crossed!
As long as I can still get in my runs tomorrow and Saturday, tho, I should still make my goal. This was supposed to be my first week of running four days a week. It shouldn't be a huge setback, but it's still frustrating for multiple reasons. *sigh* Yesterday was a bad day. I pray the rest of the week goes better.
On the positive side, tho, I did find $2 and my lost sunglasses bag in my truck while looking for my keys...
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
This year I've racked up 11,868 fitness minutes. That means I have 132 minutes to go to reach my 12,000 minute goal and 3 workouts left to do it. Will I make it?
Today I ran 5 miles in 49:19 with a 10 minute cool down walk, but that's already included in the 11,868 minutes.
This week is my first week back on 4 days of runner per week, but it shouldn't make any difference.
Saturday I have 10 mile run planned. Maybe I'll up it to 10.5. But, regardless, as long as I complete my 10 miles in the expected 10 minutes/mile pace, I should rack up 100 fitness minutes + 15 cool down minutes to add on 115 minutes.
That would leave me 17 minutes short of my goal.
However, I have 2 miles planned for Wednesday and 5 miles planned for Thursday.
That should give me approximately 70 minutes plus two 10 minute cool down runs (20 minutes total) to add on another 90 fitness minutes.
Looks like I should exceed my goal by a good 70 minutes or so (give or take 10-20 minutes depending on my pacing). But, I won't actually reach the goal until I finish my run on Saturday. That's something else to work forward to this weekend other than a 3-day weekend and 3 full days of football on tv!
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