Category Archives: Just for Fun

Year in Running 2012

Here it is, the ever popular “My Year in Running” post that’s been strewn about the blogging world these past few weeks. Yes, it’s just as cliché as resolutions and pictures of oatmeal, but I figured I’d partake.

I pieced together my “categories” for the year from a variety of sources, please feel free to use.

2012 was an interesting one.

Not perfect. Not awful. Not necessarily everything I wanted.

But in many ways, I feel like I hit both ends of the running spectrum this year. And by that, I mean I barrelled head-first into both the lowest of lows and highest of highs in my running—all within the course of a single year.

Fortunately, the highs have been happening more frequently, and it seems as if I was able to take a little more from the low points that simply a battered body and bruised ego.

Let’s have a looksie back in time though:

Best Race

Chicago Marathon.

Perhaps my favorite race tee yet.

I actually had a hard time answering this question, which makes me smile. The tail end of this year has been full of some good racing in terms of PRs and experiences. However, at the end of it all, I think Chicago takes the “best race” cake for the year. Among an assortment of reasons I loved this race (the crowds, the course, the atmosphere, etc.) I truly felt that it was the best executed race I’ve ever run, considering the circumstances. I went in without expectations and without a goal time, but merely to run well, finish well, and have fun. All those goals were met, along with a new marathon PR and a feeling that I am capable of going back into battle with the marathon beast.

And speaking of that beast…

 

Worst Race:

Tacoma City Marathon.

Lies. All lies.

Lies. All lies.

I mean, there isn’t much explanation needed. If for some reason you’ve been spared the details of this race, go ahead and click the link above. Just a lot of misery around this one, I have a hard time keeping this on my marathon list. I learned a lot of lessons here, which I suppose is a good thing, and another good thing is that I will (hopefully) never hit this low of a low again during a marathon.

PSA: Don’t go for a big reach goal on a hard course. And if you do, don’t be stupid like me and refuse to slow down/stop if your body’s given up.

I still have a bit of resentment about this race, but the best thing about bad experiences is that sometimes they teach us more than the good ones.

 

Race Tallies:

5ks: 3

10ks: 0, unless you count the 4th of July Mimosa 10k 🙂

half-marathons: 2 (soon to be 3!)

marathons: 2

 

Biggest PR:

Seattle Half-Marathon

image (3)

In a very unexpected move, I beat my previous half-marathon time by over 5 minutes—which was both very surprising and very encouraging. I still have a hard time believing that this race actually happened and how in the world I was able to hold that a sub 8 pace for longer than I ever have before.

Now, I’m on the cusp of one final half before the year is out, and I’m wondering if I should hang my hat on my 1:40 finish, or dig a little deeper.

We’ll see.

 

Best Run:

I love a lot of my runs, and I don’t have a very keen memory for the specifics, however there was one run that comes to mind that was somewhat exceptional.

And ironically, it was in Tacoma, training for the aforementioned dreadful TCM.

I went down to Tacoma for a 20 miler to get a feel for the hills that would come into play on race day. While the run itself may not have exactly prepped me for what was the come, it was a perfect day of running. Challening, scenic, encouraging, and done at the tail end of knee bursitis—with not a pain to be felt the whole time.

I love the big 20 milers in marathon training, and this one was especially encouraging.

 

Highest Weekly Mileage:

57 miles, Chicago training week #8

 

Lowest Weekly Mileage:

0! Injuries suck.

 

Here is where I resurrect my goal from way back when to run 2012 miles this year. Admittedly, I got lazy, stopped keeping track, and it became too hard to recount. Also, I got hurt a few times which derailed my progress. If I were to guesstimate, I think I will probably finish off the year within the 1800 range or so. Maybe next year…I have started being better about my training log!

LESSONS

I learned a lot this year. About running, about racing, about resting. I do think I’m finally coming to terms with the balancing act of pushing my limits and reeling in the reigns.

I used to think that you were either one or the other– a champion or a slug. But I’ve come to realize that my running and my competitive spirit don’t make me any better or worse than any “normal” person out there. And the days where I’d rather stay in pajamas and alternate between napping and watching tv don’t make me any less of an athlete. The two can coexist…and in fact, they need each other in order to stay live.

The other most important thing I think I’ve learned, which is what I’ll be carrying big time into 2013, is that we are wholly and entirely in control of our capabilities. I used to think that there was a cap to success—a certain quota, if you will. Once that milestone or limitation was filled, that would be the end of it.

However, I’m realizing that there isn’t a finite number of success available. Just because those people have run BQs or have already mastered 50ks doesn’t mean that there’s any less potential available for anyone else who wants those things. An achievement isn’t any less significant or impressive if someone else has already completed it. Good for them, yea, but remember…good for YOU.

It’s all relative, and once we’re able to bat away comparison and take a look at our own playbook, we’ll realize that even the most wild of dreams can be ours.

And wild dreams I do have…starting with a very focused, disciplined BQ-or-Bust journey in the beginning of February.

Now it’s your turn! Best and Worst Races? Biggest PR? Proudest Accomplishment? How did your 2012 look?

My (Theoretical) Last Day on Earth

In case the Mayan prophets or mainstream media haven’t told you yet, the world is supposed to end today.

Actually, I’m not sure if the world was supposed to end last night at midnight, during the day today, or tonight at midnight…they weren’t super clear on the specifics. But, we’ve all been told for many a year that 12/21/12 would be the end all.

Now, I don’t believe in prophecies or apocalypses or anything of that sort (except perhaps of the zombie variety…that shit’s real). Even NASA said we’re in the clear. But, this whole theory has got me thinking about what I would be doing if it were my last day on Earth.

child-thinking

Naturally, all kinds of fantastical ideas came about. Some involved Disneyland, some involved flying to Prague, and some involved going back in time to summer and transporting to my family’s lake house. They were all quite end-of-the-world worthy.

They also involved excessive amounts of brie.

I intended, then, to write a post about what my more “realistic” last day on Earth would look like. I even started a fairly detailed timeline, with some flailing attempts at humor and everything.

But then, as my “day” started progressing and I tried to come up with all the elaborate things I would do with a final 24 hours (sky diving! hang gliding! robbery!) I realized there were really only three things I wanted to do:

1) Be with my family and friends

2) Run long

3) Eat yummy food

I tried so hard to come up with all the incredible opportunities available on the last day ever. It seemed like there would be so many important discussions to have, misdeeds to undo, and ambitions to take on. But really, when it came down to it, all I really wanted to do were the same things I want to do most every day.

Maybe that makes me wildly boring (probably the case), or maybe it means I lack preparedness whenever the end should come. But I prefer to think it means that I take a good deal of enjoyment out of the simple things in life.

There is nothing more appealing to me than an obscenely long run, followed by an obscenely delicious meal, followed by time spent with the people I love. Perhaps it’s why my weekend plans are always the same, or why I prefer staying in to going out 90% of the time.

And that really doesn’t change if the world is ending or not.

Sure, I do want to sky dive at some point. And duh, I want to go back to Prague and see the rest of the world at some point as well. There are many adventures high on my bucket list. But when it comes down to it, these aren’t the most important things. These aren’t the things that I would turn to if I knew that there would be no tomorrow.

I’d probably spend a good amount of time expressing gratitude for certain people and the impact that they’ve made (which is something, admittedly, I don’t ordinarily do enough), but other than a few circumstantial tweaks, the way I would live my last day on Earth isn’t too different from how I would live a good day, any day.

The fact that I immediately decided running would somehow need to be included in the day was both very not surprising  and somewhat comforting. The realization confirmed for me that running for me is about more than just races and being in shape; that it’s a part of me regardless of those extraneous factors, so much so that I don’t necessarily feel complete without it.

So call me lame, introverted, whatever. I, for one, love envisioning my final day on Earth as somewhat reminiscent of the best days I’ve already had.

And I suppose I’d probably wear a ball gown the whole day too, just for the occasion.

But what I really want to know is…

How would YOU spend your final day?

Holiday Randomness

Despite my lack of having anything very interesting, noteworthy, or glamorous to say—I feel compelled to blog today. Ready or not…randomness at it’s finest coming your way, holiday style!

…..

This is what 72 cookies looks like in their natural state.

This is what 72 cookies looks like in their natural state.

All I have been doing for the past week is eating cookies.

I’m not exaggerating—cookies at work, cookies at home, cookies in bed, you name it. They’re everywhere, and if you’ve known me for .4 seconds, you know that cookies and I have a very intimate relationship. It’s unconditional really—if they are in front of me, under all conditions, I will eat them.

Yes, I feel a bit like a slug when I pass out in a peanut butter/chocolate chip/butter/oatmeal/nutella coma every night…but frankly, I don’t really care. Every night, in my overly-sugared state, I swear I’ll hold off on the cookies the next day, and without fail, I do the same thing again the next day.

I am the living stereotype of holiday indulgence, and guess what…it’s the best. My version of “holiday eating survival” involves hoarding all the offices treats for myself. We’re nearing the end of the world people, don’t you know you need to overload on butter to ensure survival?!

Ok, I do leave some for others, but let’s just say if there were a “most valuable customer” award, it would definitely be mine. I think of it as doing a service to everyone who’s avoiding holiday treats. You’re welcome, America. But good luck when you’re SOL on Friday and I’m giddily licking the chocolate off my fingers.

Peppermint bark, also known as...me pretending to be fancy.

Peppermint bark, also known as…me pretending to be fancy.

……

image (1)

I’ve succeeded in watching my two favorite holiday movies: Home Alone 2 and Love Actually, therefore I can breathe easy.

Actually, Home Alone 1 and 2 tie for me…Home Alone 2 just happened to be the one I came across when viewing time ensued. It’s amazing just how many lines I can effortlessly remember from those gems of cinematic genius. Did it ever blow anyone else’s mind that Kevin was 9 YEARS OLD and pulled off all those traps and tricks? More importantly, he went grocery shopping??? I think I was still sleeping with stuffed animals when I was 9. Oh wait, I still do.

And as for Love Actually, just like every other female ages 18-45, I adore that movie. Especially, in no particular order: Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, the story of Colin Firth(Jamie) and Aurelia, Liam Neeson’s son, Olivia Olsen’s version of “All I Want For Christmas is You,” the fact that Billy Bob Thorton plays the U.S. president, and also the fact that Snape is in it.

Plus so much more. Happiness.

……

MV5BMTQ4NDI3NDg4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjY5OTI1OA@@._V1._SY317_

In case you haven’t heard, LES MISERABLES THE MOVIE is coming out on Christmas Day. Fun fact: I am obsessed with all things Les Mis. The book, the show, the music, all of it. If Victor Hugo were alive today, he’d have a restraining order against me.

Case in point: For my 15-mile long run last weekend, I listened to the ENTIRE show—start to finish. It was heaven. There is nothing quite like Javert’s suicide (the saddest moment in theatrical history, IMO) to get your legs a-moving—or something like that. It was magic you guys, magic.

I realize the movie might not live up to my wildly unrealistic expectations given my deification of the Les Mis genre, but that’s okay…I trust Hugh Jackman to pull off a beautiful “Bring Him Home.”

Sorry to everyone who doesn’t understand my references…like I said, obsessed.

……

I spy...Bernadette the elephant!

I spy…Bernadette the elephant!

By some miracle, our quaint, two-person tree has a lot of presents under it! Thanks, family! I also might have spoiled BF a little bit considering we’ll be without our families.

And since this is my first Christmas without my family/siblings, I’m filling that void with excessive spending on him. And cookies. You’re welcome, BF.

……

Running. Oh yea, that. I’m still running. When I feel like it, which somehow has been a lot considering the whole cold/dark/rain/misery state we in Washington currently face. As I’ve said before, I love me some winter running. I’m also participating in Nicole’s Runcember, so there’s a little accountability factored in as well 🙂

My last race of the year will take place on, literally, the last day of the year. I’m running the Yukon Do It half-marathon with a group of co-workers on New Year’s Eve, and it promises to be cold, flat, and fun. In a perfect world, I would tackle my sub 1:40 half goal…but we’ll see. Honestly, I’m still a little shocked at my Seattle half time, and the thought of running faster than 7:40 miles is a little horrifying at this point. But, who knows. It’s a much easier course than Seattle, and with any weather luck I suppose there’s a chance.

I guess what I’m saying is…I won’t be heartbroken if it doesn’t happen, but if there’s a chance, I’ll go for it.

…….

That’s all for now folks. Basically, I’m relishing the cookie-and-winter running filled lifestyle right now. I’ve got approximately 1.5 months left until I hit goal-marathon training HARD, so until then it’s rest days and holiday cocktails galore. I suppose someday I’ll detail all my goal-marathon ambitions for you someday, but it’s been far too long since I’ve had a cookie, so I think it’s time to…as they say…”hit the sauce.”

DOUBLE RELEVANCY PHOTO. These are holiday cocktails ("candy canes") and this is literally "the sauce." I'm amazing sometimes.

DOUBLE RELEVANCY PHOTO. These are holiday cocktails (“candy canes”) and this is literally “the sauce.” I’m amazing sometimes.

Tell me things about you!!

What’s your favorite Christmas cookie?

anything with peanut butter, chocolate, or sprinkles.

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

Do you love or hate winter running?

Tangent Tuesday

Hello!

While this is a running blog, and the majority of what I blubber on about is primarily about running, there are other miscellaneous things in my life that I like to share. The problem is they never really fit in anywhere—which is why I’m bringing you Tanget Tuesday: A random collection of the tid-bits going on in my life.

We now have a pet.

Here’s lookin’ at you, fish.

Meet Gregory. Now, he may just look like an ordinary $3.00 beta, and in many ways he is—but the way BF and I act around this guy, you would think he was a million dollar fish who spoke and pooped out money.

We LOVE Gregory. Unfortunately we can’t get a dog or a cat right now, which is a big bummer because we’re both crazy animal people (see paragraph above). So, essentially we’re channelling all our pet-fawning energy onto Greg the fish.

 

I met a celebrity.

Some of you may not recognize this handsome man—but let me tell you, any 7th Heaven fan would dream of this situation. He’s George Stultz, and he played Kevin Kinkirk who was married to Lucy(Beverly Mitchell). He was at my mom’s Film Festival this past weekend, and I tried as hard as I could to act cool while still getting a picture with him. Spoiler alert for anyone who ever attempts this with famous people: it DOESN’T work. He saw right through it.

 

BF and I are going on a real vacation.

I am so stupid excited about this I can barely contain myself. When I hit “purchase” and our tickets were officially booked, I yelped a lot and immediately started Google imagining photos of Maui. The trip isn’t until March, but I love having something to look forward to. We’ve never gone on a vacation together just for the sake of going on a vacation, so this will be a treat. Now to get bikini that isn’t 5 years old. And abs.

PS: My flight was only $15 less than the flight I booked for Thanksgiving in California. Non-peak season rates FTW.

 

I ran this morning, and it sucked.

This photo is a LIE. I was not smiling at all this morning. And in fact, it’s legitimately a lie because this photo was from a different run. But it’s relevant because I am sweaty in it and I was sweaty this morning. Booyah.

Yes— this tangent is about running, but it’s a tangent that admits that not all running is a happy dance. I went out with the intention of running at least 5 miles with a sub-8:00 pace and to knock out some hills afterward.

In the end, I think I had maybe 3 sub-8:00 miles, and they felt like sub-7:00 miles. Oh, and they were mostly DOWNHILL. I only did one of the two massive hills I had planned on and called it a day a mile short of what I was aiming for.

Frankly, I felt like crap, and no matter how much I willed my legs to turn faster—they just didn’t want to. Which obviously is discouraging, because a 7:50ish pace has been getting easier and easier for me recently. But, the reality is—not every run is awesome, and in fact it’s the shitty ones that make the awesome ones even better. Djd I mention how pumped I am to continue these types of runs during the Robyn Gets Faster Fest of 2012? Bleh.

No pain no gain though…I’m realizing this whole “speed” thing is going to take some time.

That’s all for now! Perhaps I’ll pop in more often for tangent posts—personally I think they’re always sometimes  more fun to read than the picture-less humdrum I tend to post (ahem, yesterday’s post).

Happy Tuesday!

Now, tell me something random about you and YOUR life!

Running Quiz!

Holy Monday Batman, today kind of stinks. Cold, rain, tired, cranky, blech.

Not really fair to say before 10 am? I agree. But let’s just say that getting out of bed this morning was about as pleasant as watching The Ring by myself in the dark.

So, since I’m sure I’m not the only person in need of something a little fun this morning, let’s do a little running quiz!

One of my absolute favorite runner bloggers Janae posted this quiz a few weeks ago, and I figured I’d partake. I’ll repost all the questions again at the end, and you should answer them too!

Here goes!

1. FUEL: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other?

Honey Stingers! Or, I suppose anything that sounds good in the moment. At Chicago, I had a few orange slices that were being handed out by kind spectators.

2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other?

Marathon, but recently I’m really digging shorter races.

3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants or Other?

Almost always shorts, sometimes capris.

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, you stick to water when you run or Other?

Almost always just water—or Nuun! Sometimes Gatorade at races.

5. Running Temperatures: HEAT or COLD?

COLD!!!!

6. Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brookes, Asics or Other?

Brooks baby.

7. Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other?

Banana and a handful of cereal.

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or Other?

1 per week.

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it?

Either. I used to be all music all the time, but recently it’s back and forth.

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or Other?

Hmm, narrowing it down to one reason…that’s tough. I would have to say my number one reason is because when I run, I feel the most like myself. When I run, I am genuinely and completely 100% me…and I don’t think there are many things in life that can bring out that kind of pure self-recognition.

*****

Now it’s your turn! Answer some or all of the questions in your own blog, or in the comments below!

1. FUEL: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other?

2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other?

3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants or Other?

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, you stick to water when you run or Other?

5. Running Temperatures: HEAT or COLD?

6. Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brookes, Asics or Other?

7. Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other?

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or Other?

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it?

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or Other?

Chicago, the rest of it.

It was a whirlwind trip to Chicago, and before we were even halfway through it—I told BF that I wished we had an extra day.

I don’t know if it’s that I didn’t know enough about Chicago, or I was simply distracted by the whole marathon thing, but I truly underestimated the magnitude of this city.

Hello Chicago!

It is HUGE. Next to New York, I don’t think I’ve ever been so amazed by the size of a city. The juxtaposition with the crystal blue Lake Michigan was such a sight to be seen as well, and I fell pretty hard for this city. (I know, I know…the city-by-the-water thing shouldn’t get me so giddy any more, but I still can’t get enough.)

unrelated Friday night airport bar photo..

We arrived LATE Friday night, and after a little sleeping in, a 2.5 mile treadmill run, and a trip to the complimentary breakfast, we were off on the Blue line of the “L” headed toward downtown.

Ever since I studied abroad in Europe, I have a very deep affection for efficient and accessible public transportation—and Chicago was definitely not lacking in this regard. It was so easy to navigate our way around, and I can imagine you wouldn’t even need a car if you lived in the city.

Once in the city, we dropped our bags off at a friend’s apartment, and we jetted to the expo. I’m not going to do this expo justice in words or photos, but just take my word for it when I say that it was enormous. They held it in the convention center, and they used up every last space available. Hundreds (yes, hundreds) of booths were set amongst the packet pick-up areas, and you definitely needed a map to quickly find anything.

Other than a few samples we grabbed along the way, there were only two booths I wanted to visit: Runner’s World and Girls on the Run. And look who I found at the RW booth…

Hal Higdon! This meant so very little to most people I tell, but most runners I know have at least heard this guy’s name. He was much friendlier than he appears in the photo as well.

They also had food everywhere, music, shoe testing, etc. It was a party. Although it would have been fun to hang out more, I wasn’t really in the business of staying on my feet for too long—plus we had more of Chicago to see!

With not a ton of time left between the expo and dinner, we decided to head up the Hancock Center. The building has 94 floors, and unlike the Sears tower—it’s free! The views at the top were unreal, and it helped us get a sense of just how huge Chicago really is.

View from floor 94.

Looking out at Lake Michigan.

As I said in the last post, BF made me dinner as opposed to going out. It was simpler, cheaper, and given the amount of carb-hungry runners flooding Chicago restaurants that night—I’m glad we avoided the crowds.

On Sunday, I decided to jog around the city to explore a bit. After 26.2 miles, I figured I ought to include BF in all my sight-seeing, and we went to the infamous Chicago Cloud Gate. I actually knew it was “the bean thing,” but I guess that’s not accurate.

This was the only tourist attraction I actually knew about before coming to Chicago, and I have to say it was pretty dang cool. I was also riding a marathon high and chowing on donut holes, so that helped with the “omg so impressive!” factor.

Where’s Waldo (RB/BF)?

Reflection photo! I told BF he wore the least obvious marathon spectating outfit in the word. He agreed. He also didn’t take up my offer of an enormous pink shirt. Rude.

BF told me I smelled, so I decided to shower before we ventured out to see more things. We had a bit of a time crunch before we had to get back on the train to head to the airport, so we narrowed our exploration down to two things: the Navy Pier and pizza. I really wanted to go on the architectural boat tour, but there wasn’t time—and admittedly I cared more about cheese and crust than pretty buildings.

The Navy Pier was definitely cool, and I loved being close to the lake and seeing all the different boats. Because the pier juts out so far into the lake, we were able to see a lot of the skyline.

Stop your showing off Chicago, you’re making everywhere else look bad.

 

Now comes to only disappointment from the trip…

So, we had just enough time to get to our chosen deep dish joint, eat, go back and get our things, and head to the airport. As we sat down at the restaurant (Ginos East of Chicago), and we ordered our delicious deep dish selection…our waitress informed us that the deep dish took SEVENTY-FIVE minutes to make, so we might want an appetizer. We didn’t have 75 minutes, and so we mournfully opted for the regular thin crust instead.

boring

I realize to a normal human this is a very first world problem…but for two people who were intent on Chicago pizza (one of whom just ran a marathon), this was equivalent to a small pet dying. Sure, thin crust was fine…but this was definitely a disappointment. Don’t worry, I still ate more than half.

Delicious 312 beer helped *a little*.

However, the good thing about missing things while visiting a popular destination is that it gives you a reason to go back. Chicago is definitely a city I’d love to see more of, and I’m very keen on visiting again.

By the time we got to the airport and were waiting for our flight…I was beyond spent. Two nights of little sleep in a row, plus a marathon, plus lots of travelling= a very, very sleepy bird. I can’t sleep on planes too well either, so needless to say after a FOUR hour plane flight home, I was ready for some horizontal time.

Note to self: when travelling for a marathon, don’t be a hero and take the next day off work.

The travel exhaustion, however, was insignificant compared to how great the rest of the trip was.

You put on a good show Windy City, thanks for being awesome.

In a non-related but kind-of-related sidenote, I am almost  pain and soreness free today from the race on Sunday. It’s kind of a miracle, and I credit it to all the walking necessary afterward. That—and all the rest I allowed/am allowing myself before and after the marathon. I also have zero blisters, very little chafing, and all my toenails in tact. Little victories…I accept them all.

However, the combination of little sleep and the marathon has resulted in a fairly heavy cold I’m currently sporting. But, I’ll take a sore throat and headache  if it means I get a race like Sunday’s any day. Does that make sense? I’m sick, don’t judge.

I might try running today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week…who knows. Right now, I’m soaking in some bonafied laziness right now. On Monday, instead of a “shake out swim” or “shake out walk” I decided a “shake out grilled cheese and chocolate” was a much better idea. That theme continues through today…and I could care less.

Have you been to Chicago? What did you love most about it? Would you have been as sad about the pizza as we were? Do you think I overreacted? Mom, you don’t get to answer the last question…

100 Posts

Hello!

Thanks to my good friends at WordPress and their stellar programming math skillz, it has come to my attention that I have reached 100 blog posts.

Woo! Big numbers!

I realize in the blog and internet scheme of things, 100 is minuscule. However, it’s all relative…and for someone like me who really just figured out how Twitter and Facebook work,  100 is big.

In honor of 100 posts, I’ve decided to talk a bit about the things I’ve learned through being a part of this cyber blogging and running world. Some good, some bad, some ugly (see: missing toenails), but overall…I’ve gained a whole lot more than I ever thought possible from being a part of you people, and I’m happy for it.

Let’s hope to it then.

I’ve learned that I’m really not that crazy.

Well, okay, yes I’m that crazy.

However, for a while I thought I was alone. I thought that preferring to run many miles on a Saturday morning over a Friday late night bar crawl made me somewhat of a freak. And sure, maybe it does. But there are other freaks out there! Hooray for unity over hydrating and carbo-loading!

Occasionally, I do love a night out, a day off, and generally just being lazy. But, for the most part, I consider my love of consistently being active and ready to run very unusual, and before having a blog…I barely talked about it with my friends and people I knew. I wasn’t embarrassed, necessarily, but I didn’t want to feel like I was “showing off” or trying to get attention. Because that’s never been what my running’s about. Honestly, I would actually downplay my answers when people asked me how many miles I ran every week or how often I worked out, because I didn’t really feel like explaining myself away to people who just weren’t going to get it.

Not that there’s anything wrong with not getting it. But I was happy letting other people do their thing, while I did mine.

I was kind of a secret runner, I suppose you could say, and with this came a tendency to think of myself as a bit of an outsider.

Joining a community of running addicts like myself has really helped me to realize that I’m not all that strange at all, and in fact—marathon training and hard workouts can be something to be proud of. Sure, I do tend to feel gloaty sometimes and I still tend to shy away from discussing my training with other people…but reading about the running other women my age are doing really makes me feel like I’m part of something other than just my own seclusive habits.

I’ve learned that I really, really love to write.

In reference to the above “lesson” I’ve learned, you might be wondering…if I shy away from talking about training, why would I have a blog where all I talk about is miles and cookies and sweating?

Good question.

I actually started my blog primarily because I love to write. My love of writing has existed for much longer than my love of running, and it’s actually the catalyst for why I started my blog.

I began reading lots of books and articles all about running. I didn’t really realize that this literature on running was out there, and all at once it seemed it was all coming at me like wild fire. I loved it, I couldn’t get enough of it, and it made me want to run and train even more.

It was actually a book about running that really jolted me to run my first marathon. Not to sound like every other American recreational runner-turned-marathoner, but it was Dean Karnazes’ book “Ultramarathon Man” that made me think, “Wait a minute, I can do that!”

Not long after I did my first marathon, I somehow stumbled upon some running blogs. In all honesty, I never used to read blogs, and I kind of thought they were a place where people were more honest about their lives than they were in the real world or on Facebook…which, unfortunately, some people think of as “the real world.”

In a nutshell, I thought blogs were for internet shut-ins who would rather spend time in the virtual world than with their friends or family.

I was wrong.

I started finding blogs of girls who were runners, and they were exactly like me. I felt like I was reading my own writing with some of these blogs, and I found myself coming back to them every day. The more I read…the more I admitted the truth to myself: I wanted to start my own. Because if there’s one thing I love more than writing and running, it’s writing about running.

As you can probably tell at this point, I can get a little metaphysical and deep when it comes to talking about running, I will totally own it.

But it’s who I am…and it’s been through writing that I’ve realized that running is so much more important to me than just calorie burning and leg toning. In fact, when it comes down to it, those things are in last place on the list of reasons why I love running. Having a blog has helped me realize that…and it’s through all the writing and reflections that I’ve done about this sport that I’ve really broken down the true essence of why I love to run.

Additionally, I am convinced that having this blog has helped my professional writing as well. For those of you who don’t already know, I’m a magazine editor by day, meaning a lot of my job requires writing in all different shapes and forms. Articles, reviews, interviews, press releases, newsletters…you name it, I’ve written it. And I’m finding that the writing is coming easier to me than it used to, and I think that has a lot to do with the more fun, quirky ranting I do here.

Practice makes perfect no matter what it is you’re practicing, and writing definitely qualifies in that regard.

I’ve learned that it’s important to step away from our computers.

It’s not that I didn’t really know this before, but I’ve realized recently that while it’s fun and exciting to check in on our blogging friends via Twitter, new posts, Facebook, etc. whenever they have something new to share…it’s also really important to get away from it all as well.

It’s really easy to get super caught up in the on-goings of the virtual world. And why not? We start to feel like we know the people that we follow, and that follow us, so it’s easy to spend our time procrastinating looking for what everyone is up to. This is all fine and well, however I know I can warp myself into a little black hole sometimes by spending too much time staring at my screen’s reality as opposed to living in my own.

I catch myself when I’m out away from my computer and I find myself thinking about something or someone that I only know of because of my internet relationship. This, I am sure, is normal in this day and age, but frankly I don’t like that it takes me away from whatsoever I’m doing, you know, in my real life. I love my internet peeps, don’t get me wrong…but there’s something to be said for getting away from our alternate reality and just being.

It’s the same reason, on a lesser scale, that I like to run without music. Or, how BF and I don’t check our phones when we’re on dates.

Thanks to technology ruling both our working and social lives in the modern world, it is inevitable that we will spend countless hours engrossed in the happenings on a small screen.

This is not how we, as social beings, were meant to live, though.

So be proactive and take some time outs. Everything will be there when you get back, and I promise your Twitter feed is highly more enjoyable when you check it after a weekend as opposed to a couple of minutes.

I have learned that we’re really not alone.

When something good or bad happens, it’s easy to feel we are in a category all our own.

We run our first half marathon faster than we expected? Huzzah! We must be Superwoman.

We get hurt and can’t run for a few weeks? The universe obviously hates us and we were never supposed to be a runner in the first place.

(WTF tense was that? I don’t know. Leaving it. Lazy.)

Here’s the fact of the matter:

If you run your first half, full, or whatever distance faster than you thought…that really is super awesome, and you should consider yourself a Super(wo)man.

If you are hurt and can’t run, that really does suck, and I’m sorry.

But, reality check…there have been and will be many, many, many more people in the same scenario as you. It doesn’t make your accomplishments any less great, or your hardships any less easy, but the fact of the matter is you are far from the first to experience (fill in the blank____), and that’s okay.

Take some comfort in the fact that others can relate to you.

Injured and not sure what to do? The wonderful thing about the internet (and the blogging world) is that there are positively more injured people out there that would love to commiserate with you. They may even be able to help or offer some advice.*

*Take all injury research and advice via the internet with a grain of salt, as you may wind up self-diagnosing leg cancer when you actually have shin splints.

The same idea goes for accomplishments. We should  absolutely feel proud of the things we do that we worked hard for and ultimately achieved. Celebrate. Tell everyone. Go nuts.

But, don’t be disappointed when you read ten other stories just like yours. They don’t take anything away from you, and they don’t make what you did any less spectacular…they are simply a reflection that other people want to do cool things too. Instead, you should celebrate with those people. A party is much more fun when there’s lots of folks involved, so just as other people root for you and encourage you in your training endeavors…pay it forward, and join in on the virtual cheer-leading brigade.

On that same note. Let other people inspire you! I know that while I might be envious of girls my age who have already run Boston-qualifying times or competed in Ironman races, I can turn my jealousy into fuel. These stories inspire me to reach further, dig deeper, and I love getting new ideas for races or training plans from the bloggers I admire and who inspire me.

I’ve learned that following the training and racing of other people can be just as fun as doing it yourself.

I never, ever, thought I would be someone who regularly followed blogs or commented on the ramblings of other people. The extent of my internet exploration ended with Facebook and Gmail, and everything else was for people who were much more tech-savvy and social media smart.

Now, I’m still not tech savvy, nor too skilled at hash-tagging or making YouTube videos, however…I know that something I look forward to each day is reading up on the trials, tribulations, and sweat of the lady runners I follow. (Really wanted that list to be alliterative, dang.) I think it’s really exciting to watch someone’s progression from a 5k runner to a marathoner, or a marathoner to an ultra-marathoner.

No matter the level, I love to read about people who run. Running is the underlying thread that unites us all, and despite the different locations, interests, and ages, I love that the running blogging community is held together through the pure love of putting one foot in front of the other.

My favorite thing about running is the simplicity of it. It’s primal, it’s natural, and it’s the way we were meant to get around. People who write about running get this, and I love connecting, if even just through a comment box, with others who understand the need to run.

So there you have it. Some things I’ve learned through writing about running and a bit of my blogging story thrown in there as well.

After 100 posts, countless miles, injuries, races, comments, tweets, meet-ups, emails, etc. I want to say THANK YOU to every single one of my readers. Your words and feedback make this space so enjoyable and fun for me, and I appreciate all the advice, laughs, and random tidbits you share with me. I’m looking forward to much more writing, running, and reading with you—all with a heaping spoonful of cookie dough and a Nuun-filled water bottle on the side.

Happy Monday!!