Before my children were born, I ran mostly for the social aspect of it. I never did speedwork, I never did long runs without other people, and they were pretty much run-walk gossip sessions with my girlfriends. In 2010 I did get into triathlon (by default, after breaking my foot), and I enjoyed them, but my goal was always just "to finish."
Following Jack's birth, I was 40 pounds overweight and running slowly wasn't getting me anywhere in that department. I even trained for a sprint triathlon, which I completed when he was ten weeks old, but I hadn't lost a single pound since leaving the hospital. I started monitoring my diet and doing intervals, which I read were great for weight loss.
Apparently they were also good for improving my speed. A month later I went out for an easy 5 miler and was amazed to see that I, a former 10 minute miler, did it in 45 minutes. I started training for a half marathon with the goal of breaking 2 hours. I'd never really had any running time goals before, partly because I was afraid I wouldn't meet them. That Thanksgiving I raced a 5 miler in 40 minutes -- an 8 minute mile!?!? - and just before 2012 I met my time goal and broke the 2 hour barrier - by 9 minutes!
2012 was e a year of goal-setting, goals I set throughout the year.
Goal #1: Break 4 hours in the marathon.
Goal #2: Break 6 hours in a Half Ironman
Goal #3: Do an Ironman. No time goal. Just do it.
Goal #4: Win your age group in something.
Goal #5: Qualify for the Boston Marathon
Goal #6: Do an trail ultramarathon. No time goal. Just do it.
So... a lot of miles, a lot of early mornings, and a lot of hard work went into the past 365 days. In March I did a marathon in 3:54. In July I finished a Half Ironman in 5:34. In August I did an Ironman. In November I won my age group in a 5K and came in 2nd overall. In December I qualified for Boston with over 3 minutes to spare and two weeks later I ran my first trail ultra.
I ran 2039 miles.
I cycled 2069 miles.
I swam 101 miles.
Of all my goals, I am proudest of #5. You'd think it would be the Ironman, but it isn't. Why? Because I always knew I could do an Ironman if I put in the time to train. But I never, ever in my wildest dreams thought I could qualify for Boston. When they changed the qualifying standards from 3:40 to 3:35 around the time Jack was born, I just rolled my eyes and figured, hey, what's another 5 minutes when your best time is 48 minutes slower than a BQ -- why not make it 53? Even when I lined up at the start for the race, I didn't really think I could do it.
This year has changed me in so many good ways. Some might call it narcissistic, all the training I put in. However, I believe it makes me a better person all around. Conquering these goals has given me confidence I never knew I had. I have found my runner's high, and that makes me happier, and a much better parent/ wife/ teacher/ etc.
Goals for 2013? Let's see:
#1. Do a much better job of cleaning the house.
#2. Sleep more than 6 hours max per night.
#3. Cook healthier food and stop eating Clif Bars for breakfast.
#4. Limit Facebook to 4 times a day and stop leaving it on when cleaning the kitchen after dinner because then the kitchen never really gets clean.
#5. Clean out the closets.
Oh wait, fitness goals? I have some... not sure what they all are yet. I'l save them for another post. Til then...
Happy New Year -- May 2013 bring your good running, good times, good laughs and good company.