Sunday, January 19, 2014

Meanwhile, In 2014

Jan 13-19
80 miles
14-mile long run
9-mile hilly uptempo at 6:28 pace
3 runs in Pittsburgh
1 treadmill run

Jan 6-12
65 miles
15-mile long run with the BAA
6 treadmill runs
3 canceled flights

Dec 29-Jan5
70 miles
13-mile long run with Hilary
4-mile race in 23:18
3xmile, 2x800 cutdown at Harvard indoor with Melissa and Sarah B
4 treadmill runs

So, you may have noticed I did not pen an effusive "2013 Year in Review." Or, maybe you didn't. Either way, I haven't written one, largely because there's not much to review in terms of running accomplishments. Honestly, in thinking back to my mindset a year ago, I may have been a bit...overzealous with my aspirations. After all, I was coming off a year of PR's in every distance from 10 miles up to the marathon, and I naively assumed that this trajectory of success would continue to skyrocket on a perfectly linear path right on through the next 12 months.

But, to sum up 2013 in a nutshell: it didn't happen. And that's okay.

Looking ahead, I'm no less motivated or determined to improve than I was last January, but this time around my optimism is also tinged with a healthy dose of reality. In running as in eating airport sushi, there are no guarantees, and I know I need to appreciate exactly where I'm at right now while at the same time striving to get back to--and eventually surpass--where I've been. I can only take it one week at a time.

Despite that heartwarming sentiment, it would be disingenuous of me to claim that the first 19 days of this new year have been all midgets and peanut butter. (Although there was a midget working the water stop at my New Year's Day race. But I digress.) It started out on a promising note, with the aforementioned four-miler on January 1st that took place on our familiar training roads here in Salem. Despite frigid, windy weather (first time I've ever raced in thermal tights, and I was never in any danger of overheating) I managed a halfway respectable 5:50 pace. So you're saying there's a chance! But the first snowstorm of the year roared in less than 24 hours later, ushering in the now-legendary polar vortex, which meant I spent much of the following week trying to convince myself that five and five on the YMCA treadmill was a perfectly acceptable double. Suffice it to say my momentum came to a sputtering halt.

But this week has been better. The air is thawed, the snow banks melted, the black ice practically a distant memory. I got in a few solid runs on a business trip to Pittsburgh, including a 12x1 minute workout that I was way more proud of than could ever possibly be warranted. (One of the ancillary benefits of easing into training again: excessive boosts of pride and self-esteem instantly gained by clearing the lowest of hurdles. Courageously soldiered on for six entire treadmill miles instead of stopping at a lowly five? Brilliant! Only hit the snooze button once this morning? YOU ARE AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE.) On Saturday I took to one of my favorite training grounds (the Marblehead Neck) in some of my least favorite conditions (36 degrees, windy, raining), and surprised myself with a very comfortable uptempo effort on the unrelenting hilly terrain. In another exciting development, I was greeted upon returning from my trip this week by a care package from Nuun, welcoming me as an official member of their 2014 racing team. Rarely is a Nuun bottle far from my grasp whether I'm running, working, traveling or just lounging around pantsless drinking wine and updating my blog (gotta stay hydrated!), so needless to say I'm thrilled to make our relationship official.

Just a small sampling of my goodies from @nuunhydration

Will this trend of positivity continue? All signs point to yes...but, realistically, not next week. I'll be spending Monday night through Sunday in Salt Lake City at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, our biggest trade show of the entire year, and it's a doozy. The week entails a punishing schedule that includes four long days on the expo floor (not including an additional day of setup and a half day of breakdown) consisting of one presentation after another after another. I'll be eating like crap, drinking too much, sleeping too little and thoroughly exhausting myself by having to be unfailingly nice to people the whole damn time. I will also, ineluctably, end up with a cold. This will be my third year in attendance and the first time I'm aspiring to maintain some semblance of training throughout the whole endeavor. (Two years ago it was the week after the Trials, and last year I was darn proud of myself for getting up every morning to slog through six miles on the hotel treadmill.) Best case scenario, I'll get in a few miles of altitude training and not return home sick or morbidly obese. Stay tuned!