Like a lot of people, each year, I set out some goals. Sometimes I achieve them — like last year, when my goal was to BQ — and sometimes I don’t. But writing them down is the first step. For reference, here are my goals from 2016 and from 2017.
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I want out of my running going forward, what I want out of my body, what I want out of my life. Should I try to beat my BQ time from Phoenix? Should I run an epic 50 miler, or even a 100 miler? Should I try to shed 20 lbs and see what my body can do when I’m more runner-size? Should I just give up and get pregnant and resign myself to a life where my body is no longer my own and I am no longer in control and I am no longer the most important person? With these questions in mind, I’ve mapped out my 2018 goals…
I know I have been delinquent in my posts but I’ve been, you know, trying to LIVE the life. I like to do an annual look back at the past year. Here are my posts from 2015 and 2016 if you want to go down memory lane.
Hi all! I know I’ve been out of it for the past several weeks on this blog, but I’ve been moving to Boulder, starting a new job, buying a house, doing all kinds of home improvement and decorating activities, etc. etc. I haven’t been running a ton, but I did do the classic Boulder Skyline Traverse a few weekends ago (mostly hiking, admittedly!), swept a portion of the Never Summer 100K, and have done some cool hiking in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Photos and other updates available on Instagram. Now that I’m fairly settled in Boulder, I’m finally getting focused back on races! MOST IMPORTANTLY…
I spent years working toward my goal of running a Boston qualifying marathon time. Recently, it all came together for me at my 21st marathon, the Phoenix Marathon, where I ran a 3:28:56, over six minutes faster than the BQ application cutoff for my age. This race was obviously a PR for me, but I was shocked with how much I was able to improve over my three most recent races culminating at Phoenix.
First, I PR’d at Chicago with a 3:42. I credited a fast course, good weather, improved training (mainly Orangetheory and running hills at altitude), and a stronger mental game. (My previous PR of 3:44:46 was achieved way back in 2012; for my thoughts on what went on in the five intervening years, check out my slowdown story and my thoughts about getting back on the BQ wagon.) Two months later, I PR’d again at Kiawah with a 3:37, an unexpected five-minute improvement. Again, I credited a fast course, good weather, new mental strategies, and my altitude training. But I also ran negative splits for the first time in a long time, and I felt like that made a huge difference compared to Chicago. Then less than three months after that, after training back at sea level, I PR’d and BQ’d at Phoenix with 3:28:56, a whopping eight minute improvement over Kiawah, and a 13 minute improvement over Chicago in less than five months.
As someone who thought that Chicago might be as good as it gets in terms of race conditions, that 13-minute improvement was unfathomable — especially without significant changes to my training. (During the buildup, I frequently Googled “What is a reasonable marathon time improvement?” and “How long does it take to BQ?” Here’s my answer!) So what made the difference?
The ultrarunning world has its own lingo, its own customs, its own podcasts, its own “major” races, its own stars, its own running clubs. It also has its own website: ultrasignup.com.
For the past few months, I’ve secretly held an account on Ultrasignup, lurking in the background without actually having run or signed up for an ultra race on the site. In other words, even though I’ve run a good bunch of trails, and even though I’ve fallen and gotten “best blood” on a run or two, and even though I took an official rite-of-passage full immersion dunk in the swimming hole with a crew of badass trail runners this past summer in Southwest Virginia, and even though I ran in Colorado in the dark and in the snow for the last few months of 2016, I am not an ultrarunner. I’m a wannabe, a noob, an interloper, a poser. But that’s going to change…
Location: Kiawah Island, South Carolina, about 40 minutes from the Charleston Airport, at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Size: About 1000 marathoners, plus about 2800 half marathoners
Time of Year and Weather: Saturday in early December. Race day was sunny, breezy at times, with temperatures in the 40s. Perfect running weather. This course has the potential to get windy, but I lucked out and it wasn’t bothersome.
I believe that “diet” is a bad word. I believe that there’s a lot of evil happening at the hands of the diet industry and their co-conspirators (looking at you, women’s mags). I believe that our society has done a shamefully good job of teaching girls and women that they should always be “trying to lose weight” and should never be happy with their bodies. I believe that men need to speak about women differently. I believe that women need to speak about themselves and each other differently. I believe that girls need to be raised differently — including but not limited to changes to shape of their toys and the appearance of their Disney characters. I hope my kids never go on diets, and I don’t plan to use that word in front of them.
I set this all up to say — I’m going on a diet. A real one. With rules. And Excel charts. It’s not touchy-feely. It’s not “eating by intuition.” It’s actually the opposite of how I’ve been peacefully but unsuccessfully “trying to lose weight” for the past several years. Which is exactly why I chose it.