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Learning From My Mistakes: My 2013 Running Plans

Posted Jan 28 2013 8:59am

If 2012 was the year of “making all the mistakes,” then 2013 is the year in which I learn from all of them.

With almost 1/12th of the year in the bag, I’m feeling really good about 2013. I know I’ve said that before, and I know I’m putting way too much stake in the whole “365 days of importance” thing, but I feel very strongly that my overall state of mind and well-being is far more solid than it ever was in the previous year.

This was the sunrise last Friday. When are we all having a sunrise sleepover? I just feel like my camera sucks and you should see this happen in person. Brian is already prepping the pancake batter. Just let me know when you can make it.

So yes, I made some errors in judgment in 2012. No regrets, blah blah blah, but I can look back on some of the things I said and did and I can vastly improve upon them.

Starting with my running plans.

Or rather, my lack thereof.

Last year I tried to do it all when it came to running, PRing and, specifically, marathoning. I ditched all the shorter distances in favor of trying to PR a spring marathon. The Eugene Marathon, specifically.

And if you recall, I never made my way out to Hayward Field.

Before committing to that marathon, I knew I had a busy season ahead. I had weddings — including being a maid of honor for one of them — bachelorette parties, an apartment move, west coast business trips, a baby shower and an eventual debut of a niece or nephew (not sure if you know, but it turned out to be a nephew, his name is Tyler, and he is perfect).

Our Skype chats are a bit more complicated these days because Tyler doesn’t want to sit and stare anymore. He wants to type and break shit.

He crawls at about an 8:45 pace. I’m trying to get him to PR in “crawling from the tunnel to the laptop.” I predict a strong finish at the 2036 Olympics. By then he will have moved onto the high dive or, if Ryan gets his way, golf. But power crawling is where we will start.

The heavy schedule seemed daunting, sure, but I convinced myself I could train for a marathon on top of all that. I was energized, albeit overwhelmed.

That didn’t last long, though.

Eventually I got a stomach flu, followed immediately by an injury and then, upon recovery, a Crohn’s flare-up.

The Eugene Marathon and I never met in 2012 . And I blame myself.

I tried to do too much.

It’s great to be ambitious. It’s dangerous to be overly zealous. Detrimental, even. As I proved.

So this year, I’m playing it cool.

I will not be running a spring marathon. Or a spring half-marathon. Or probably even a spring 10K.

I toyed with the idea of a big spring race for a while. I thought about getting revenge, if you can call it that, out in Eugene. I spent hours poring over the course details for the Salt Lake City Marathon, the Poconos Marathon and the L.A. Marathon. They all seemed cool enough — each with its own set of drawbacks and flaws among the high points — but none of them got me feeling giddy the way I felt about Eugene last year.

For a while, throughout December and January, my plan was to just do whatever. Run when I felt like it, rest when I wanted, spin when I was into feeling dark and loud. And when I did run, it didn’t matter how far or fast I went. My “no plan” plan was going great. I took eight days off running at one point and never even missed it. My body felt healthy and my mind felt re-energized.

But once I started running again and I started to feel that tiny twinge of Race Registration Anticipation, it still wasn’t the same. It wasn’t the old “OMG I GET TO RUN TODAY!!!!” feeling I used to feel every morning.

Yesterday in Central Park. “I just felt like running…” And so I did. Slowly, and without enough hydration.

Maybe it’s the cold. Maybe it’s all those miles from the past two years catching up with me. Whatever the reason, I’ve been enjoying these past two months so much that I’m simply not ready for them to end. I’m not ready to run because I have to. I’m not ready to tackle mile repeats, hill repeats or kill-me-please tempo runs. The long runs I’m into, and I’ll do them if I feel like it on the weekends. Overall though, I’m not ready to get back on a training plan.

I have an “excitingly busy” spring coming up and I don’t want to do too much.

So I won’t.

But come fall?

I think by fall I’ll be super ready.

Like, Justin Timberlake ready .

I tried…Justin pulls it off slightly better I guess.

I already have my fall running plans more or less figured out. No logistics of course. I don’t have a training plan in mind and while I doubt I’ll want to do a full 16-week training plan, I do know I’ll want to enter my training cycle with some solid base miles logged.

This fall, I will be running two marathons.

The first marathon will be my goal marathon. So I guess that means I need to figure out a goal. I’m sure I’ll want to PR and best my 3:51:20 from the Manchester City Marathon , but I don’t know by how much. Sub-3:50? Sure. Maybe shoot for a 3:45? I don’t know. We’ll see how the year goes and how ambitious I’m feeling by the end of summer.

A marathon photo?! How did that get in there?!

I have two “A Goal” fall marathons in mind: The Wineglass Marathon and the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon . Both are in October, both appear to have beautiful courses and neither require a plane ride. I could pull either of them off on a relatively cheap budget, which is important right now. I like that they’re both smaller-scale marathons with some rolling hills (I prefer rollers to flat ground) and I just get good vibes from both of them.

I’ll probably make a decision between Wineglass and Mohawk Hudson sometime in the next month or so to guarantee my spot and get myself registered. And then make sure none of my friends plan to get married, showered, bacheloretted or babied that weekend.

The timing for those two races works out perfectly, because they both give me enough time to recover before…

The 2013 New York City Marathon.

Yeah yeah. I’ll be running it.

Not the most centered screen shot…please don’t steal my registration number. Or my identity. Actually, go ahead and take my identity. That means you also assume responsibility for any pending payments or bank overdraft fees, right? ENJOY BEING ALI FELLER!!!

When we got notice that we had all those choices about what to do after the 2012 race was canceled — get a refund, run the NYC Half Marathon in March or defer to 2013, 2014 or 2015 — I never spent more than a minute considering my options. As nice as the refund would be, and as much as it hurts my bank account to re-pay the entry fee, I will be running this race in 2013.

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN.

Finally.

My sad little NYCM magnet, hanging “proudly” on the refrigerator.

I spent so long doing the 9+1 program to get guaranteed entry to this race. I hated at least six of those races I “had” to run. Plus, I invested a lot of money in making this happen. I want to run my hometown marathon, and I’m going to do it this year. It won’t be a goal race. It will be a little parade through my city. Instead of being face-down-on-the-Garmin, I’ll be running eyes up, taking in the sights and spectators. I will cross a finish line that’s been three years in the making.

But until then, you can find me spinning, sleeping, scouring all my friends’ wedding registries or continuing to attempt that dang New York Times crossword puzzle.

And when the leaves start to change in the city, you bet I’ll be back out on the Reservoir, more than ready for those mile repeats.

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