Year in Review

So as 2021 will be closing out in just a few days and I will be on my way to retrieve mini from her holiday, today is my – surely anticipated – year in review!

In actively trying to remember how many races I’ve run, I returned to admiring my medal and race bib holder. There’s a lot of jingle on that wall! Pre-pandemic, I was accustomed to training for and scheduling at least 2-3 half marathons per year. Since then, I’ve been extremely lucky to complete one per year. 2021 was a wash/rinse/repeat of 2020, but I don’t let it get to me. Sure, I could blame the lack of events for my injury (which makes no sense and still doesn’t make me feel better); however, one is more than none! Knowing I run much better in the cold, a December race just works for me. I tried to establish a base through the summer, but between the heat and the dreadmill, it sucked. Not only did my base not get built, in retrospect, perhaps I should have used that time to ensure I wasn’t dealing with an injury before I started fall training. One day I’ll learn the lesson the first time!

10 – is how many half marathons I’ve run. Technically, I only completed 9. But I’m still proudly saying 10! Never did get around to counting the assorted 5k and 10k medals. Instead, I took a trip down memory lane. It was fabulous! I have made some amazing friends who also run. I’ve talked to people from different areas and connected with them solely online. I even get super excited when they complete a race because sharing in another’s accomplishment is such a rush of emotion! There are people whom I still refer to as my running buddy, my coach, my mentor – life brings with it different seasons but those people stay in my heart. I imagine for forever. Running just does something wonderful for me.

Ok, moving on…

I love when an app puts numbers together for me! Sometimes I don’t number well on my own. What can I say? – I’m a writer, I like words! Since I won’t be running much (any) anytime soon, I shall live vicariously through my previous endeavors and your stories! Give me all the stories! Disclaimer: for 2021, I only started using Strava in April so this doesn’t include any miles I ran January – March.

thank you, Strava

Being uncertain of which of the past years have been my favorite, I am extremely grateful I chose running! Or maybe it chose me. There’s joy in the adventure running brings to me. It is a huge sense of accomplishment when you complete a run, no matter how fast or slow it was. Running gives back tenfold what you put into it. I want other sports to BE that for me; alas, I don’t know if it’s in the cards for the dream to ever be a reality. Time will tell. Some days I’m rushing to know; others are a slow crawl. Guess it just depends on the mood of the day. I’m anxious to ditch the brace and lace up my trusty running shoes, but I know it can’t happen. Yet.

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I ask you –

Anybody else love looking at their year’s stats?

Are you following me on Strava? Share your ID so I can follow you!

Goal time! Tell me what you have planned for 2022!

Making Strides – Not the Literal Ones

The results are in! I won’t be running anywhere for…awhile. Trust me, I’m devastated. After further instructions to do nothing but rest for at least 4 more weeks followed by lengthy physical therapy, I have resigned myself to doing just that. Well, except for those few minutes I attempted to bargain some “active rest” by way of cycling, but was quickly reminded this type of rest is literal. No exceptions.

view from the ground

Good news: I can walk! Albeit a hobbling “walk”, but a walk nonetheless. Sans crutches. Sans a walker. haHA My medicine cabinet looks like that of a much older, more frail human being and I’m now the proud owner of various compression garments. I also own an assorted collection of massaging tools, as well as something called “Spray and Stretch” which turned out to be a very cold spray-on analgesic. Not convinced on this one yet.

sorry about the language, but it’s too good to not share

In contemplating the future of my running habits (perhaps I’m a little too dramatic), I believe it’s important to chart out the many possibilities.

  • I can’t run again
  • I can run but with some pain.
  • I choose to do something else.

As someone who enjoys goals and making plans – here we are. I do think I’d like to explore cycling more. Remember, that was originally going to be my cross training activity. Instead, I ran and ran and ran and never cross trained. Hmmmm maybe that’s the problem. I’m an ‘all or nothing’ kind of goal setter. To my own demise. Fortunately, I work with and know several cyclers so I will talk with them. Living in the founding city of the largest and oldest cycling event ever, it shouldn’t be too hard to get set up if that’s what I want to do.

Credit: jmstormquotes via Instagram

Problem solved and there wasn’t even a problem!

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I ask you –

Beyond strength training and swimming, what other “sports” could I substitute for running?

What was your last injury?

Tell me your goals for 2022! Walk without pain.

Race Weekend is Upon Us! + Track Me!

You can track me using this link (find my name – Kelly Atwell): https://rtrt.me/ulink/RRSA/RRS-DALLAS-2021/tracker/RBRE5GLH/focus

I love races with real time tracking! There’s many cool things about tracking race participants, notably finding out if they finished, but also being able to receive real time stats (that’s my favorite!). And who doesn’t love a good stalker app. It’s literally permission to stalk someone. So weird.

So I don’t have a “real” post for today – this might be the only time I’ve ever said that. I’m really excited to race and then take an extended, forced break. More on that later. On Sunday afternoon’s drive home, I’ll re-cap the race, load photos, and give you all the ins/outs of racing the BMW Dallas Half Marathon for Monday’s post. I’ve tried to take it easy this week – doubling down on low stress, stretching religiously, eating well, and sleeping more to ensure I can meet my goal.

It may not be much to anyone else, but to me this goal is doable and a long time coming. I’ve really put my body to the test during this cycle – never before have I been so cognizant of tempo runs, cadence workouts, strides, and progression runs. Some of those have become dirty words in my vocabulary!

Wish me luck!

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I ask you –

What are you currently training for?

How often do you use tempo and progression runs in your training?

Give me some words to use when it gets hard!

Wk 14, HM Training

Officially on the next-to-last week! My goals are to survive two full days of training mid-week, begin a successful taper, and end the week with a long conference.

Garmin says Monday’s 4 miles is just maintaining, so whatever. I think it was a solid effort!

Since the two days of training got cancelled, I went back outside for a tempo run on Tuesday. At first, I was disappointed because I only ran 2 miles, but then I realized it wasn’t so much about the miles…it was about the pace (avg 9:15-9:35). Duh, tempo run.

And THIS! 48 VO2 max!!

Did some cadence work on Thursday, then my final long run Friday! I had to shorten it by 30 mins due to lunch time constraints vs after work when I usually complete my long run. 5.84 miles with some tempo training toward the end. It was incredibly hot out.

“Chaos Coordinator”

Still stalking next weekend’s forecast. Hoping for mid-30s on the overnight! Trust me, I’ve never said that before.

Race Ideas

Brainstorming future race ideas led me to this one: the inaugural Rock n Roll Atlantic City event!

I’ve only ever seen New Jersey as I raced through it on the way to Connecticut, though I do vaguely remember vast toll areas. Perhaps that was a different state, like Oklahoma. Nonetheless, I’d like to enjoy a proper visit and run a little race!

Credit: #myfavoriterun via Instagram

I’m also very interested in the Blue Bell runs in Brenham, TX. Held annually in April, the finish line party includes Blue Bell ice cream, which is my most favorite ice cream of all time. Pecan Pralines ‘n Cream anyone? I want to explore more 10k distances so why not start there?!

Credit: #bluebellfunrun via Instagram

I’m about over this training plan stuff. 15-16 week plans are just too long for me. Week 8 is about my cutoff. Maybe 10 if I’m feeling generous. Never before have I ever given a moment’s thought to running a virtual half marathon just so I can say I did the run and be done with it. A few weeks back – I hit that point. And I know that particular week was kind of a struggle, but I don’t feel like my fitness has increased much since. If I didn’t know that Morgan from Oregon was traversing the plains to attend, I probably would have called it quits awhile back. Alas, she has been training so I’m self-motivating to make it to the start line. My Garmin goal meter says it’s very confident I will reach it. My internal doubter has serious reservations. All I can do is run the race laid out before me knowing I’ve put in work to the best of my abilities.

break in an emergency

Now, with all that said, I just want it to be over. Thankfully start line emotions are a very real phenomenon and 10 mins after I’m done I’ll be kissing strangers and hugging babies. Jokes, lots of jokes. To keep myself on track I’ve been brainstorming things I want to do post-race. For example…

Short Term –

  • Take a long nap
  • Eat copious amounts of Mexican food, specifically tortilla chips
  • Lay on the ground contemplating my life choices
  • Call everyone I know with the great news I have a shiny new PR

Long Term –

  • January run streak?
  • Train for a March/April half marathon
  • Train for a March/April 10k unrelated to the above half marathon
  • Resume keto
  • Survive the winter months
  • Fantasize about vacation

Surely I’m missing many additions to my listing endeavors. I’ll keep thinking and update you all soon.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving – filled with turkey and ham and as many rolls as you can stuff in your mouth at one time. And pie!!!

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I ask you –

Anyone have an upcoming race or race potential near northern Texas?

How often do you make lists?

Please share some thing(s) on your short/long term list!

Random Thoughts

-My calves are sore. -I would like to do at least 15 min of foam rolling everyday. Wasn’t I supposed to do yoga 3-5 times a week? -LOL @ me in avitar form -Well damn, I guess someone told Airbnb that Turin, Italy will be the host city for Eurovision 2022. Left: prices the week […]

Random Thoughts Thursday

Borrowing the above from my good friend (he’s my friend even if he doesn’t know it) Run There, Drink That .

I now have a reminder in my phone to “Write Something” every single day this month. So far, it’s working well. There’s this neat gadget that schedules events in your calendar based on preferences and how often you tell it to shut up because you’re too busy. Unfortunately, no extra points for completing it early. Thanks, Google.

I’m doing all the right things:

  • Carbs
  • Hydration
  • Rest
  • Vegetables

So why won’t my legs turn over? Could it be the quality of workouts, i.e. I don’t respond well to speed and progression runs, etc? The only reason I mention this possibility is because I designed my own race plans the past 3 years and met (exceeded) my goals. Am I just not meant to run fast? Was the 2:18 the best I’ll ever run? I refuse to concede! I’m going to get this figured out.

frustration at its finest

Never fails – on the weekends I wake up early (hello, internal alarm clock), excited to have a few uninterrupted hours to work on the blog, but I’m thwarted by the update screen. It’s my own fault. I don’t think about this requirement until Friday night; by then, I’m tired and just go to bed, always telling myself ‘don’t worry, Kel, it won’t take long tomorrow’. Then here I am. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. You really need to learn.

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I ask you –

Are you following Run There, Drink That? You should be, he’s hilarious!

Do you have a “Remind Me Because I’m Forgetful” feature on your phone? Bonus points if you use it daily!

Tell me about your regular sleep patterns!

Wk 8, HM Training

It started off rough and that’s putting it mildly. From getting out of bed approximately 5 mins before my butt should be at work (like, in seat at work)….I’m just reminding myself my standards and work ethic are much more strenuous than anyone else’s expectations of me.

forced smile pre-run

So of course I still had that frantic mindset when it was time for Monday’s run. Nonetheless, I managed to keep it within the guidelines. It just wasn’t pretty and I wasn’t feeling it.

Then Tuesday came around and kicked me some more. Once again, my watch died in the night, but at least I awoke earlier than the day before. (Garmin was really failing me at this time.) In my positive, uplifting way, I never thought it would do it again so of course I didn’t set a secondary alarm. Anyway, after a chat with Garmin, some sort of sync issue was identified as the culprit. Fast forward to mid-day and a prescribed 63 min workout of speed intervals. I thought I did really well. Garmin said otherwise. As if it had some room to tell me I was being unproductive when it hadn’t done its job two nights in a row.

To throw water on a proverbial inferno, Strava happily informed me I ran over 6.5 miles during the workout with an avg pace of 5something. Right. Like that’s ever happened. Upon calibration, it was more like maybe 4 miles at a not-too-shabby 8-or so pace. Unproductive, my foot.

Just pretend there’s a photo here because, by this time, I was livid.

Thursday rolled around, but at least my watch was working properly at this point. I thought I was doing well with fueling, but I missed the mark that day. I ate breakfast, then got busy during the time I would normally eat pre-run. Note to self: 4 hours between food and running is way too long. I slugged along, my legs hurt, and I couldn’t find a decent rhythm. Couple it with PMS = recipe for disaster.

In an effort to right the whole week’s wrongs and turn everything for good, I meticulously planned to complete my long run Friday night! Yes. Night run!

A little over 3 miles for my “long run”. It was a progression run, and although I feel like I did a great job, I don’t think it was exactly what the plan intended. Coupled with the fact my watch kind of gave up on me and wouldn’t register anything lower than a 10:34 pace, I’m just happy it’s done.

And I finally got a ‘you’re being productive’ message. Today I slept in and drank copious amounts of coffee. More than halfway through the training cycle now. Week 9 will be here soon!

Wk 7, HM Training

Fall is finally here! I’ve only been complaining about the heat for maybe 7 months. Holiday run with two bike riders. One of them crashed. You decide which.

Post-run smoothie happened again. Mini and I added half of a banana, a whole peach, vanilla yogurt, and some leftover iced chai tea latte. I thought it was good; she disagreed.

When in Rome, you know the rest. I have tons of hot/cold options at home, so I was forced to improvise when I decided to do what I kind of knew needed to be done…at work. Soda cans happen to be the perfect size and shape for “icing” my hamstrings/ACL/MCL in the office. Then I resurrected my lonely heating pad when I got home. Yeah, I know; I’ll make a doctor’s appointment soon.

9.80 miles in 1:45:00 for my long run which puts me right on track to hit my half marathon goal. The cold temperature was my absolute best friend! Surprisingly, I kept my jacket on the entire time…really I’d expected to warm up faster and toss it. Legs were a little numb at first, but it felt good on that hamstring issue I’m having.

Update: I did make a doctor’s appointment.

Next week is another week for good things!

Observations

I get a small, evil thrill out of watching drivers run a red light or pass me then catching them at the next light or stop sign. You dumdum.

my nice face

Radio story: a man was reported missing 12 hours after he was last seen getting drunk in a bar and walking into the woods. Several hours into a search party looking for him, he notices people walking around the woods and decides to help search. He doesn’t realize they’re looking for him until they began to call his name. Then he says “It’s me!” More time passes before someone in the search party can accurately identify him.

Moral of the story: if something terrible happens to me, please include several people in each search party who can identify me before I’ve spent hours searching for myself! P.S. this happened in Sweden or Denmark or somewhere nowhere near me.

Texas is still very confused about its climate. Typical. We went from solid upper 80 daytime temps to low 50 nighttime temps. Beautiful! AND THEN… someone opened up the sun to full blast again and we nearly had a new record 100° day. At the time of this writing, I don’t know if we broke a record or not. Nonetheless, it was so hot and miserable and I was dreaming of cooler days.

Impatiently waiting. Still.

_______________________

I ask you –

What’s your evil thrill point?

Have you ever been missing?

Humor me: tell me the average daytime highs where you are right now!

Wk 5, HM Training

Remember that summer I ate a sandwich every day for months? Welcome to Fall 2021.

Think I’m figuring out the proper fueling techniques. I haven’t been taking anything mid-run (of course the longest until this week was only 70 mins). Afternoon pre-run, I do well with a banana and peanut butter. AM pre-run, I’ve been on an overnight oats kick…mixed with a little homemade peach jam… delicious!!

Not sure why Garmin just now has me doing strides, but I guess wk 5 is as good as any. Ideal cadence was 150-200 spm. Seeing as how I don’t typically train this way, I think I did well! (This was also day 3 of consecutive runs due to scheduling conflicts.)

Long run of the week (Friday): a little over 8 miles felt great! Post-run smoothie made an appearance again. This time I used strawberry yogurt, a whole peach, ice, and orange juice as the liquid base. HOLY CRAP! It was delicious!

Usually long runs are on a weekend due to time constraints, but because of my own time constraints, I ran on Friday instead…which meant I ran, I showered, I fueled, I stretched, and then ran (not literally) to have lunch with my mini.

Of course she requested McDonalds for lunch. Not ideal fueling, but we – my legs and I – survived. The new week will be here soon!