Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Thunderstruck in 2013!


Goodbye 2012—hello 2013! I’m very excited and eager to begin a new year! 2012 was an interesting year filled with the usual peaks and descents that we’ve all experienced. I had intuition going into 2012 that it was going to be a challenging year, but I had no idea that I would have had some of the challenges I was faced with. But, as always, I have learned from those challenges and they have helped shape the direction I would like to take my life in 2013!

I’ve learned that size matters. Okay, okay, "that's what she said." But, it really does! Upon the recommendation of the well-respected running sales guy at Fleet Feet, I went down a size in my running shoes. I should have been a bit more skeptical, but stuck the small size out.  Within a few months, I learned that if you are squeezing into shoes that are too small, you are bound to have ugly feet. Plus, you are bound to have ugly and uncomfortable running experiences. I went all of 2012 until September with shoes that were too small. This is not the mistake of the sales guy, but of me for foolishly wearing shoes that were too small! As soon as I made the switch, it was like I was a new runner. My entire body felt better and naturally I was running better. Pretty simple, eh? I’d say my small shoe experience was metaphoric of other life experiences I’ve had in the past year. Even if the shoe is pretty, you can’t squeeze it on and expect it to fit. Sometimes it’s as simple as just going out there and getting new shoes. It doesn’t have to be complicated! You can take recommendations from others, but ultimately you know what shoe fits you most comfortably. And, well, you are the one wearing the shoes for miles upon miles so you might as well get the shoe that YOU think fits you best! The best comes when you have finally have the right fitting shoe. You will soon forget about those old shoes (well, after your toe nails come back). Eventually your toe nails will come back, and those blisters on the bottom of your feet will heal. It might take some time, but have faith because your feet WILL rejuvenate! It’s that simple; make sure you wear the right shoe. It’s amazing how great you can run and what you can accomplish if you take the time to ensure that the shoe fits!

If you’ve followed my blog over the past year, you know I have had my fair share of health mysteries that have impaired my training and ability to successfully run this year. I’ve been scared to push it and have been taking a beta-blocker. There has been no explanation for what happened last spring or the year prior, but I was told to “try” the beta-blocker and see if it helps. I didn’t pass out again this year, but the beta-blocker has had some negative side-effects on my body and in my life.  My training over the summer was totally shot and therefore my racing this fall was far below my expectations. After my sub-par fall and terrible Columbus Marathon experience, I was bombarded with nightmares. Columbus left me feeling obsessively reflective of what happened to the highly-spirited, energetic runner I used to be. I analyzed everything, and identified one thing that had to be holding me back from being the runner and person I am—the beta blocker. After a pathetic experience at the Pig Skin 5k in late November and a great deal of research, I decided it was time to stop taking it. Although the race was on the day of the first snow fall of CLE, it was FREEZING cold and windy, I was sick, and my Garmin was busted, I had a terrible 5k experience that was unlike any other. All other factors aside, I truly feel that the beta-blocker has been the heavy weight holding me back since April. So, the next morning, I didn’t take it. Within the next few days, I overall just felt better. I had more energy, felt more alert, and immediately saw improvement in my running. By the following weekend, I ran the Reindeer Run 5k and felt thunderstuck! I felt as if I finally woke up after being asleep for eight months. I ran a 19:42, and felt like I could have pushed for a faster time but held back. I was nervous being beta-blocker-less, but I’m not entirely convinced that it’s really been helping me anyways. Since I’ve stopped taking it, I’ve felt awesome. I have so much energy and feel like myself! I have been flying through my runs (probably too fast for this being my off season, but I can’t hold back after the pathetic paces I was stuck running this fall) and I have never felt better. Plus, my lips are no longer purple, I’m not constantly freezing cold, and I’ve been digesting food better! I’m cautious of the symptoms that led to my black outs last spring, and will be careful with my training this spring. If I feel like I’m going to pass out, I will stop running (YES, I WILL!).

So, what is the plan for this spring? Personal Records. Yep, I’m ready to make something amazing happen this year. I have so much stored potential energy, and if I use it just right I am bound to P.R.! Although in most respects I am disappointed with my 2012 running experiences, I am grateful in others. The beta blocker forced me to take a step back in my running intensity, whether or not I liked it, and I haven’t felt more of a desire to put in the time and effort to successfully reach my goals as I do right now. Failure always frustrates me, but simultaneously invigorates me to make sure I get it right the next time (or eventually, for that matter!).

I was lucky enough to get into the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in D.C. in April with my sister! I am SO excited to take part in an amazing girl-power event, earning a Tiffany’s necklace as my finisher’s medal!  Following that, I plan to run the Cleveland Marathon in May. I also plan to run a few 5ks and 5 mile races in between. I have been following Hal Higdon’s Advanced-2 Marathon Training Program, and have had a great deal of success using it. However, at this point, this plan has become stale to me. I’m ready to step it up! From the recommendation of a very successful and kind local running buddy, I will be using a Greg McMillan 16-week training plan specialized just for me! I am excited to see what he comes up with for me. I’m ready to mix things up, work harder than ever before, and achieve running times I’m proud of!

I contemplated trying out Cross-Fit this winter. However, upon more research, it is not for me. Although I hope to get more fit and do more weight training (eventually), Cross-Fit is just too extreme for me. My true love is running. I love pushing myself to the maximum running on the roads, or on the track, or on the treadmill, or on huge hills, or wherever! I don’t get bored and I always finish thinking about my next run. Runner is who I am and what I love. I am not willing to substitute it for anything else unless I have to!

My intuition is telling me that 2013 is going to be an awesome year---if I choose to make it that way! I don’t expect 2013 to be a perfect year; that would be foolish. However, I do expect to accomplish great things for others and myself because I will do whatever it takes to do so. I feel thunderstruck and I can’t wait to get this year started—HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!

Oh, and feel free to follow me on Twitter throughout my running adventures @ RunLikeAGirl223 since I can never seem to keep my blog up-to-date!

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