2016 Top Posts

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

As the year draws to a close, I thought I would go through my blog stats and find out what my most popular posts were this year.  And there were definitely some surprises.  Interestingly enough, these weren’t necessarily the posts that got the most traffic through the year – I’ve got some older posts that remain popular thanks to the Googles.  Maybe I do occasionally write some interesting stuff.

Race Report – 2016 IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta

This was my most popular post this year and it’s definitely no surprise.  I think I talked about the fact that I was racing a 70.3 to everyone who would listen.  If I put it out there in the world, it would happen, right?  Right.  (Well, and I had to do all that training.)  This was definitely my biggest personal accomplishment this year and something I will forever be proud of.

Drama at the Princess Expo

This was actually a pretty short post, but people love runDisney drama.  A better read along the same lines is Why I’m Not at Princess Half.  I will forever love runDisney races, and it was the Princess Half that got me into distance running in the first place, so this race will always have a special place in my heart.  That said, PEOPLE!  Get over yourselves.

A Review of the Swim Bike Fuel Nutrition Plan

(Okay, so I wrote this post last December, but it was late in the year, so I’m counting it.)  After years and years of trying to find a “diet” that worked for me, and years of watching my weight creep up, I tried the Swim Bike Fuel plan and finally, I found something that worked.  There’s no magic here.  In fact, I’m not sure that there was a ton of stuff in the plan that I didn’t already know.  It works because of how the plan is setup, the support you get from the other participants, and the knowledge that this isn’t a diet.  It’s a general way of looking at food and deciding what you should be using to fuel your body.

The Internet Bullies are at it Again

While I wasn’t the one getting bullied, there’s a real problem with internet bullying.  You would think that this is something that teenagers do to each other. And it is, but a lot of adults are no better.  I don’t understand the need to cut down a stranger.  You can think whatever you want about another person, but keep that opinion to yourself.  And if you spend your time putting someone else down in order to build yourself up, well, maybe you need to take a closer look at yourself.

Stolen Water at the London Marathon

This one was kind of a surprise.  But in many ways, it goes along with the internet bullying post.  People saw something happen, made assumptions, and decided to publicly shame without knowing the facts.  Interesting that this made the popular posts.  I guess we all love a bit of drama in our lives.


2016 Accomplishments

Image via lumpi / Pixabay

There has been a lot of talk about 2016 being an absolutely terrible year.  And to be honest, a lot of not so great things have happened.  And it never helps when the year is capped off by the deaths of beloved celebrities.  But there have also been many awesome things that happened this year.  So I thought I would go through my list of accomplishments.

I completed my second year on the Coeur Sports Ambassador Team and was welcomed back for a third year.  I absolutely love being on this team.  Obviously I love the products that Coeur makes (if I could live in the joggers, I probably would) and I would be racing in their gear regardless of my affiliation with the team, but I truly love the beliefs behind this company.  Their kits are made in the US.  They support athletes of all shapes and sizes and are working to increase their size range.  They aren’t just about the elite triathlete or the age grouper who ends up on the podium time and time again.  And the team is made up of incredible women.  At first, I was intimidated because I’m not a fast racer, but it quickly became clear that it didn’t matter.  It’s about what you bring to the team.  Sure, it’s great to see Coeur up on the podium, but it’s even better to see ladies in Coeur cheering each other on and being a positive force.  Being part of this team has made me a better athlete and a better person.

Race bib number 1810Of course, the big accomplishment of the year – Augusta 70.3!  I completed my first half ironman and it was everything that I had hoped and more.  I spent the summer training like it was my job (well, not really, since I had an actual job to do so I could pay for my racing habit) and the work paid off.  I beat every single one of my time goals, and know that in better conditions, I could race even faster.  It certainly wasn’t a perfect day but I have no regrets about how I raced and I’m proud of what I accomplished.  More importantly, I had family and friends come down to cheer me on, and that made those last miles even more incredible.

I also raced a few great half marathons and pushed through some less great triathlons.  Now that I think about it, my triathlons this year were all in not-so-great weather.  Let’s hope for a change in 2017.

My niece was born this year.  So really, that trumps everything.  And I got to spend a lot of quality time with my family.  I think I saw more of them this year than in many previous years, something rare since I moved 700 miles away.  Not sure if I can make that work again in 2017, but it’s always fun to try.


Wednesday Workout Recap

This poor cat is very cold.

Here it is!  My return to glory.

Except not quite.  Whoops?  There’s glory in the attempt, right?

Monday – Rest day.  I went to my choir holiday party, something I have managed to miss for the past 7 years.  It was fun, but part of me wonders if getting a bit more sleep would have also been fun.

Tuesday – Got my annual skin check at the dermatologist.  She said my skin was boring.  This is a good thing coming from your dermatologist.  But given the pale pale color of my skin and the number of hours I spend outside, it’s worth going to make sure nothing weird is happening.  That evening, I went back to Team Fight swim.  It was rough.  I’ve still got a lingering cough from my cold (as do many) and it’s clear my lung function was down.  I was just tired.  (Note: this could have also been from singing 3 Christmas concerts over the weekend.)

Wednesday – Trainer ride plus some weights.  I haven’t been great about the strength work, so it’s good to be getting back to it.

Thursday – Strength and ab work.

Friday – Shannon and I went to see Into the Woods.  I still don’t love the second act in its entirety, but this production was awesome.  Very minimalist, small cast doubling parts, cast doubling as orchestra.  Definitely impressive.

Saturday – I was supposed to join the local Coeur girls for a workout and brunch, but the roads were icy and my road wasn’t salted by the time I needed to leave, so I missed the workout, but showed up for brunch.  Because clearly I’m not going to miss out on friends, fun, and food.  Got in a 2 hour trainer ride later that day.

Sunday – Scheduled 8 mile run, got in about 3 and my body was just done.  Zero energy.  Not going to worry about it.  It was a busy week.


Everyone Needs a Break, Right?

brenkee / Pixabay

I feel like December has been a total wash in terms of fitness. I ran a half marathon in late November, then went on vacation. Came back and went straight into rehearsals for our holiday concerts. All totally worth it, but I was starting to feel like a slug. (The gross congestion that has lingered all month thanks to the dry air isn’t helping the slug feeling either.)

So this past week, I wanted to get back on track. Turns out that jumping right back in after a few weeks off and still dealing with a lingering cough doesn’t work out so well. And then comes Christmas vacation, where I will get in some workouts but inevitably miss some as well. However, after Christmas, it’s on. Not after New Years. I’m not waiting that long. I need to get back to it. Race season is coming soon and I always feel better while training. Also, I have put on a few pounds since my half IM and I would like those to go away again, please and thank you.

Mostly, I’m just feeling the need to get back into a routine of working out, eating well, and tying to get enough sleep. I’m never perfect, but I feel so much better when I try.

Calling out Cheaters

tswedensky / Pixabay

In the running community, there’s a pretty popular blog that calls out marathon cheaters.  The guy who runs it does an impressive job of reviewing race results and calling out course cutters and people who have someone else run with their bib so they can get a Boston Marathon qualifying time.

But sometimes I think that maybe the site goes too far.  Recently, he called out a bunch of people at the Honolulu marathon.  He pulled up race times and looked at people with Boston Qualifying times (not people who registered for Boston, just people who ran a BQ) and then reviewed whether timing mats had been missed.  Apparently, the course was pretty easy to cut, so a number of people just skipped chunks of the course.

Now, in general, we don’t know why someone course cuts.  Maybe they are under trained or injured and just need to stop running.  I’ve seen races where there is a sign during the marathon that says something along the lines of “If you can’t continue, turn here for a quick route to the finish.”  It prevents the race from having to pick up too many stragglers in a vehicle.  Plenty of people show up to marathon start lines unprepared and are unable to finish.  It’s not a great situation, but it happens.  People underestimate what it truly takes to run 26.2 miles.

The people who were called out on this post did one other thing – they posed for “finisher’s” pictures with their medals, taken by the official race photographers.  I’ve talked before about how I feel about wearing a finisher’s medal if you don’t finish a race.  I don’t love it, but a number of races give them out to people who are swept, and I’ve just decided that I can’t let someone else’s actions affect me.

So yes, what these people did wasn’t awesome, but is it really something we need to get worked up about?

Of course, if these people then used those ridiculously fast marathon times to register for Boston, that’s an issue.  They’re taking a spot away from someone who actually did qualify and deserves to be there.  (Note – I think that there are some checks done, so someone who misses all the timing mats on the second half of the course probably won’t actually get into Boston.)

I just don’t know how I feel about publicly calling out these people.  What’s the point?  We don’t love what they’ve done, but is public humiliation really the best answer?  They lied about finishing a race, but in the whole scheme of things, is that something we want to focus our energy on?

A few years back, I got called out in a public forum for possibly having someone run under my bib at Space Coast.  The first year I ran the race, I had a terrible race.  I woke up with a killer headache, but walked the race anyway because it was the first year of a five year series.  The next year, I had an awesome race.  Still slower than my PR, but a good race. I cut over 30 minutes off my time from the previous year.  So obviously I had cheated.  Except that if anyone looked into my race times (I do have an Athlinks account), they would see that the slow race was the outlier, not the fast one.  I pointed this all out and the guy shut up pretty quickly and then deleted the information upon my request.

Now, I’m not saying that’s what happened in the Honolulu marathon.  There were enough missed timing mats that it’s clear people cut the course.  But I just think that maybe we spend too much time worrying about what other people do when the net effect it has on us is really minimal, if at all.