I get more excited about birthdays than New Year's Eve. It marks a new starting line and I look forward to enjoying every step—well at least those steps I want to linger as I celebrate my 5th year of running.
It didn't take me long to come up with the title of this post. In the past year I "Rocked40" with many firsts of awesomeness, including these 8:
1) Cranked out my first sub-2-hour half where I thought I was going to burst and just kept on pushing
(I promised myself during that race that I wouldn't demand this sub-2-hour pace again this year.)
2) Set another PR for my full marathon, and finished with more in the tank while happily crossing the line with my best run buddy.
3) Pushed another PR in the half marathon. (I lied about that never again. You should know me better Jill.)
4) Joined my husband in his first race—a hot 15k.
5) Had an epic event of rocking my first 50 mile ultra and finished a few minutes from second in my age group. Loved every second of that journey and have no regrets for the photo stops—pure joy.
6) Ran RAGNAR D.C. on Team Sarah—BadAss Mother Runners. Met an amazing group of women that continue to inspire, encourage and support.
7) Had amazing and challenging core workouts and long training runs all summer with my best run buddy heading to our first big one—50 mile trail ultra.
8) Ran with my husband in his first half marathon.
There are two words that sum up last year, and I carried them as my mantra in training and spirit. They are Relentless Faith.
I am adding one word to that this year that came from another mother Ragnar runner when I was spinning around in my head with the Chronic, Exertional Compartment Syndrome verdict. She wrote: "You are going to get through this, because you have some fierce determination..."
I believe that sometimes we just need the slightest nudge from others to correct our flight. This is the mantra and fake tattoo to set the tone for this year's challenges. I have wings!…and wait until you see the one I made my run buddy for her 35th birthday.
Time to Fly
I am letting Rock40 be the kick-off of this decade where I prove to myself again and again just how high I can go. One time just isn't enough. Truth: I'm always going to want more. But let's keep it simple for this year's expectations:
1) Set 3 PRs—one for each event half, full and ultra
2) Run 2-3 ultras (50k, 50 mile and 100k)
3) Drop the hammer in one 5k since I have never raced one
Shaking it up and tuning it up
Hill repeats: 1x a week. Usually on Mondays, I run the repeats to keep them away from my long weekend runs. They are draining and did I mention I am over 40?! I have to watch ganging the intensity workouts too close together. They are still my "beat me down and make me strong" favorite and hardest training tool. I started this three months earlier this year. I am currently at 20. Because of the record snowfalls, the treadmill is where this amazing event takes place. Amazing, because I haven't crashed yet or called 911.
Incline the treadmill to 15% and run 0.10 at a level 4. Then decrease to 0% incline for 0.10 at the same pace and repeat. 5 repeats will take 15 minutes–1 hour for 20 with 4 miles covered. It is difficult and some times excruciating. Completely worth it to build power, cardio and a faster recovery. I am keeping a calendar and actually counting the miles this year. When all this snow melts I am looking forward to counting the accent outside–it's entertaining in a nerdy runner way!
155 Push-ups: 6x a week. This is all new this year! Why? The answer is core and upper body strength to power up hills.
T25 Beta: 2x a week. It isn't as time nor physically demanding as Insanity, but still pushes me in core, cardio and strength. It's enough challenge and variety to keep me interested and happy at the moment. I am very busy as a mother, wife and designer. Getting the time isn't easy, but just hit play. I had been doing this 3x a week, but 2 times is fitting in better. I may be switching back to Insanity come May.
Train Like a Mother Own It Plan: I have followed this before and it doesn't get old for me. I dig the different challenges day to day of interval, zones, negative splits, hilly vs easy runs, mileage, etc. Plus it will roll into the ultra training plan with ease come May. There are many days that I think, "How am I going to do this today?" But I do. It is also useful to have a run buddy on the same plan to discuss and keep it honest with. You can do this!
Diet: I don't talk about diet very much. But it has been a hot bottom for me. I would really like to drop 10lbs -15lbs and am focussing more on food being fuel and what is healthy to building muscle, hydrate and become usable energy. Not to say that I don't sample the yummy baked goods I make. But I am trying to have some extra control and not keep sampling. Also, skipping and cutting sugary snacks and replacing them with fruit, lots of salads and less dark meat. Here is a diet aid that helps at night...drink water or just go to bed.
With my first challenge to PR quickly approaching, it's time to focus and drive.