Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011: A Year of Transformation

Happy New Year everyone! May your 2012 be memorable, healthy, happy and injury free!

This past week has been one of reflection and thanks for a most incredible year. There’s some irony there given that there was great tragedy and hardship in our nation and throughout the world. Our Reno community suffered through some difficult times with senseless shootings during Hot August Nights, the tragic crash and loss of life at the Reno Air Races and then the frightening fire in November where 30 homes were lost and hundreds were threatened.

Personally, I was affected by family tragedy with the horribly unnecessary death of my dad’s wife, Andrea. The bitter sweet is that my grief stricken father is reaching out to his family for support and love, a wonderful and comforting thing to be a part of.

Yet, despite all this, 2011 was one of the happiest for me in years; a transformation that began in July 2010 with the casual interest in a book a friend of mine was reading called “ChiRunning”.  Since that day in 2010, my life has not been the same. I went from painful knees when I ran more than 15 miles a week, to running 30 to 50 miles a week during 2011, racing for the first time in 15 years, and completing my first 50 mile race in October. My weight is close to what it was 15 years ago albeit my percent body fat is higher I’m sure, but my body does not feel like it’s been around for 50 plus years!  My spirit has soared and my love affair with running has resurfaced after being dormant for so many years.

So what are the stats? I raced in trail runs of a ½ marathon, 10 mile, and a 20 mile; I ran 21 miles as part of our “Stupid Fast” team during the Hood To Coast Relay; I paced 20 miles of the American River 50Mile and 30 miles of the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 mile with my training buddy, Ron; and I completed my first 50 mile race.  All with satisfactory times and performances, and most importantly injury free and happy.

My training log says I ran anywhere from 20 to 55 miles per week during the year.  My self proclaimed remarkable accomplishment for an injury prone runner and a "has been" triathlete.

And what did I learn? Reviewing my training log reveals so much! Food tolerances, or maybe that should be training food favs (very few intolerances) for pre-training, racing and post race (I will always love beer after a run!); shoe preferences – I now run 90% of my miles in a minimal shoe, the other 10 % is in my Saucony Kinvaras.  I learned that recovery and rest are more critical than miles, and that a training plan can be changed if my body says so.  To that end, less is more – I can run a 50 mile race on 50 mile weeks especially with the ChiRunning skills.  Most of all, I learned that the joy of running is found in sharing the experience with others and being part of their accomplishments.  From coaching to pacing and racing, the running experience offers so much.  I am grateful for so many people for the life I have. You know who you are!

And, at the end of this year, I am without injury, am healthy and I still love running more than ever! Staying healthy, fit and injury free were my goals for 2011 and they won’t change for 2012.  I’ll focus on nutrition and training recovery strategy to continue to optimize my training time and efficiency, and I’ll deepen the strengthening and maintenance of my core and upper body.

My race goals for 2011 are to:

  • Complete the Way Too Cool 50K on March 10 in less than 6 ½ hours;
  • Complete the Tahoe Rim Trail 50 mile on July 21 in less than 12 hours; and
  • Complete the Rock ‘N River 50 mile in October in less than 11 hours. 
Those are the biggies.  The other smaller races will be fun for training and repeats of last year – Escape from Prison Hill Half in April, Lone Pine Half or 50K in May, Ponderosa Ridge Run in June and Run on the Sly in August.  And then, will it be the Reno Odyssey Relay or Hood to Coast Relay? Oh and there’s a new 50K and Half Marathon trail race inaugural happening in Grey Eagle in September which looks gorgeous…

Lots to look forward to!  Happy New Year everyone!

Next post, I promise pictures!