Here we are, January 2, 2014.
In many ways the past year slipped by quickly, and now I’m overdue for my obligatory review of the past year and goals for the new.
As I’ve done since I started blogging, I like to recap the year of running and racing. Of course I like to remember the achievements, but mostly it helps me to set fresh goals for the upcoming season.
But before I talk about me, I have to mention two words. Boston Marathon.
Even though I wasn’t there, I don’t think any running recap of 2013 can be written without voicing sorrow and sympathy for the tragedy in Boston this April. For those who died in the bombing, I continue to pray for their families and friends. For those who were injured, physically and emotionally, I continue to pray for their healing.
The runners, fans, and volunteers for the marathon, as well as the residents of Boston, have already shown that they will come back stronger and more courageous than ever in 2014. I always eagerly follow the coverage of Boston each year, but this April I think the whole world will be watching along too. We all know a celebration of goals, hard work, and the human spirit will unfold brighter than ever.
I’m still too slow to go to Boston myself, but that can’t stop me from having my own goals for the spring.
Spring always seems to be my best racing time, and it makes sense because farm work is more manageable over the winter and early spring. Even if the days are cold and daylight is limited, I can usually fit in more consistent training.
This year proved no different, and my two big races happened in April and early June. Early in 2013 I began preparing for my 4th Earth Day Run. I was really pleased with how training fell into place, and on a cold April day I ran a PR of 1:50 on a course slightly shortened due to snow. 12.95 miles instead of 13.1. I didn’t run another true half marathon to legitimize my effort, so I really hope this spring I can run the normal course and squeeze under 1:50.
It will be my 5th year in a row at this race, and I’ve run it in everything from shorts and a tank to full-on winter gear. April is unpredictable here, but I’m just crossing my fingers for a dry, mild day at about 50 degrees. That would be my ideal.
I had a lackluster performance at a fun, local 5K in April as well, and then I turned my eye toward the marathon. I’d been itching to do another, but kept feeling intimidated by the time commitment and long runs. Realizing I had a strong base from half marathon training, I put in a few big weeks and then signed up for the Minneapolis Marathon on June 2nd.
It was perfect weather for running on race morning, and I was thrilled to improve my marathon time by almost 25 minutes with a 4:05 and have a truly enjoyable run. Over two years after my first, I had finally conquered my second marathon.
It was a hot, humid, almost tropical August day, and my time was far short of even my slowest goal. It was still a fun morning with family and JR watching, and I knew other 5Ks would come along with cooler weather and redemption.
And they still will. Sometime.
This fall was long and drawn out with rain in between field work, and every race I thought about just didn’t work out.
I hated to end my 2013 running year on a bad note, but as the August race got further away I quit thinking about its shortfall. I started realizing how far I’d come this year, and I let myself take a few weeks off from running to catch up on other parts of life. Like cleaning and sleep. Now my house is a disaster area again after Christmas…
I geared up in December instead of the usual lull, and I hit my goal of running 28 times between Thanksgiving and New Year — completing run 28 last night on my treadmill while the mercury was -18 outside. I covered over 80 miles during these runs and now have a nice base to start getting into true long runs again.
In 2014 I plan to run my 5th Earth Day and 3rd marathon if I can stay in one piece. I’ll take a PR in any distance I can manage, and I’d like to ride my bike more with JR (Yes, those new bikes we got this summer).
While this post makes me sound like a crazy runner, the majority of my days are really taken up with farm work, household stuff, dogs, ducks, and family. I hope we can make some more progress on our house, yard, and garden this year and continue to see family and friends as often as possible.
I continue to have that illusive word “balance” as a goal, as I want to do well as a farmer, wife, sister, friend, cook, housekeeper, runner, and etc…
I know it’s not really possible to “have it all,” so I just hope I can give things my best effort and then not stress or worry about the perceived shortfall. We are not perfect, but with God’s help we can still do good things.
May you have a great start to 2014. I wish you success in your endeavors and happiness in the new year!