Sunday, February 2, 2014

Finally Moving: 2014 And Beyond

Oh, Sometimes I Get A Good Feeling, Yeah
Get A Feeling That I Never, Never, Never 
Never Had Before. Oh No.
I Get A Good Feeling, Yeah.

2014 is here, baby. And I think I've never been quite so happy to have one year and one chapter close, and flow on into another. In many ways, it's started exactly the same as other years-getting back into my running brain, focusing on shaking the fat, and setting goals for the year. In other aspects, it's an unfamiliar, exciting, uncertain, and sometimes scary new chapter. It'll be whatever I make it. This is a thrill, and a challenge to me.

In other years, I've done a "year in review" of sorts. Hit the highlights, lowlights, and everything in between. 2013 certainly had a lot of wonderful moments for which I'm very thankful. As a whole, though, I would like to just leave it behind me, and not re-hash. My running is at the core of who I am and what moves, motivates and drives me. I felt very "stuck" for much of 2013-like I couldn't move the way I wanted to. The best races I strung together last year-last fall, to be exact-evolved in such a way and at such a time that I didn't enjoy them in the manner I should. Everyone hits those low points at some time, though-and it did seem to be not just me. The year was a bumpy one for others who are important to me as well. It wasn't fun to be there but I do feel like I am finally moving again, and able to run and move again as I never have before. I find myself not anxious and worried about my goals for the year. I find myself, dare I say, optimistic that I will create balance and see opportunities to reach my goals. Rather than focusing on the past, berating myself for shortcomings or wishing I could change them, I'm focusing on the steps in front of me.

This year has already featured some traditions that help to kick the year off right. I ran in the new year at midnight, January 1, 2014, a running group annual tradition. A few days later, I took my deferment from last year, and re-registered for the Leadville Trail 100. There aren't any guarantees that things will be any different than last year. I can say this,though-I'm already doing things differently. No dumbass 2x a week speed work, one day on a rubber-covered cement indoor track. Just getting out to run, with plans to gradually increase my mileage, and hit key races along the way to help me be successful at finishing in August. The first will be the early season Moab RedHot 55K. This is the event that's taught me that your mind can either make or break you, and that if you get in your mind that it's something you can get done, you'll make choices and take action that helps you get there. It'll be a slow slog for me, but I have no doubt I will make it through the 34 miles. And then it'll be a stepping stone to other things.

I'm planning to break from the same 'ol, same 'ol with some race choices. After years of running the Canyonlands Half Marathon, and always liking, but not really loving that race, I just downgraded to the 5-mile. I ran it once with Alexis, when she was about nine, running with her on her way to a 10-and-under girls podium finish (she's a dancer now and doesn't talk about her running much, but I'll do it...she's outstanding at everything she tries, and running was no different). I really love racing stuff in that 5 mile/10K distance range, but don't get to do it that often. I was feeling the pull this year, and so I emailed race director Ranna last week to officially make the change. When I'm as stoked as I am about that decision, and feel myself smiling to mention it, I know it's the right choice. I'm going to race for a women's masters win; don't know how things will shake out but I'm focusing on that goal, and work toward making it happen.

Other than Canyonlands, the focus for 2014 is going to be on going long. In another change, I'll be running my first road marathon since 2010 that is not Boston or Rim Rock. I'll be hitting the Colorado Marathon in Fort Collins this May, with a goal to run a BQ time. I was moved to do so after the events of last April. Whether I make it back to Boston in 2015 will be another matter. I just want to run that sub-3:45 again. Ideally, I want to shoot for another sub 3:30, which I've done only once. My 2013 Rim Rock Marathon best of terms, an undertrained effort done for fun. That said, I am not planning to disrespect the marathon like that again. I've gotten in more 20-mile road runs, and 3-4 hour trail runs, in my base building phase in the past month than I did in the last several months of 2013. And, they've felt great. Not great in the sense that they were easy-they mostly did not feel like that. It just felt oustanding to get out and move. To get it done.

And, back to Leadville...Leadville. After last year, I thought it just was not in the cards for me to think about it again. Then I thought about it some more. I had to be honest with myself and realize that it is absolutely do-able. It's all about choices, and making choices that reflect my goals. On "my" weeks, the choices will certainly be easier than they ever have been. I'll be able to run just about any time I'm not working. On weeks with my kids, the choices become more important. Timing will be everything. Meaning...early early. Late. Whenever I can squeeze it in. I'll be looking at supplemental training activities that I can do at home, with the kids, on those weeks, too. As I write this, I've just finished getting my road bike set up on a trainer so that if I've got 20 spare minutes, I can hop on that sucker for a workout. There's a treadmill out on the back patio, too. While not ideal, choosing those activities over nothing, or despairing that I'm not hitting the trails every single day for hours, will be important. And, perhaps, they'll help keep me stronger, and less prone to injury. For certain, they'll help me balance out everything on busy weeks. I'll hit races that I believe will help me along the way, namely the Leadville Trail Marathon and the Silver Rush 50 miler. And I'll get high as often as possible...the Grand Mesa, locally, or doing Mount Garfield repeats, or taking weekend trips up to Leadville when I have weekends to myself. Sleep in my spacious van. Enjoy moving, enjoy rest, enjoy quiet. But mostly, now that I'm finally moving again, I simply want to keep moving.