Hello 2014!

I am glad to see 2013 end. It was not my best year. Even so, I’m happy for a fresh start in 2014. Maybe 2014 will be a great year. So, this is the time of year where it’s expected to set new goals and resolutions for the next year. So here goes …

I started 2013 on a roll with a weight loss/calorie counting effort and eventually got down to a goal weight of 155 pounds. But, shortly afterwards I fell off the wagon and lost my focus and by the end of the year I had regained much of the weight. Geez. How hopeless.

My domestic life has taken a tailspin that I’m not sure how to come out of. Not that the details are necessary but I can say that I need to redefine my vision and expectation of marriage (again). This item has been the hardest to deal with and I deal with it by drinking too much beer! Maybe I’ll blog more about it later.

I lost about two months of running time in July and August because I was having chest pains and couldn’t breathe. After several trips to the hospital and doctor offices and several thousands of dollars later … they don’t know what happened to me.

The Positive Highlights of 2013 are :

  • I finished a half marathon. It wasn’t a great finish at 2:40 but at least I limped along and finished!
  • My son graduated from college.
  • My daughter graduated from high school.

So, what’s in store for 2014?

Of course, I want to lose weight. I always want to lose weight and control my eating. I know I can do it as I’ve proven it many times in the past. This time, I want to CHANGE what happens after I achieve a goal weight and maintain the weight loss instead of regaining it again.

I plan on running and racing more … or at least showing up for a “race” and participating. I’m not a bona fide contender. I’m a mid-to-back runner. I just enjoy being involved although I’m always run solo as I don’t have any family or friends who enjoy running as I do. Running is my one true athletic passion.

I plan on being more creative (again). If there is any highlight of 2013 is that I finally broke out of this artist funk that’s held me captive for years. I decided to stop listening to the voices in my head that said I couldn’t draw or paint good enough to be worth the effort to draw or paint. So, I said “screw you” (forgive my language) to those voices and bought paint and canvas and painted my first abstract drip painting. I’ve finished about a dozen paintings in 2013 and I plan to continue in 2014. In addition, I would like to develop my skill at short story writing. Believe it or not, way back in high school (late 70’s) I wanted to be a novelist. I would like to rediscover that passion.

So, here are my goals in 2014 …

  • lose weight keep it off so that on December 31, 2014 I weigh in at 155.
  • continue to run and exercise … run at least 4-6 times a week and race at least once a month. At least two mini Marathons in 2014.
  • continue to be creative … with my abstract drip paintings but also write at least one short story.

There are other things that I would like to do in 2014 related to my three resolutions. For example, I’m trying to plan a trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park to climb Long’s Peak. To do that adventure, I really need to lose some weight and get into better shape. And, if I can pull off that adventure, it will be my first time to climb a Colorado 14er. I would like to run across the Golden Gate Bridge too.

I also would like to develop my “professional” skill set and learn the jQuery and JavaScript languages. Believe it or not, maintaining a skill set in front-end and back-end web development is hard work. I’m a 50-year-old developer and there are thousands of young graduates that would love to over take me. So, I need to work hard to stay ahead or stay with the curve. Otherwise, I’ll be left in their dust on the side of the road.

So, that’s it for me and my review of 2013 and outlook for 2014. I hope that everyone has a great end to 2013 and a fresh start to 2014. God Bless and stay running.

Answers : How Was My 2013 Running Year?

Running coach and author Miss Zippy has encouraged all runners to evaluate their 2013 Running Year. You can read her blog post here. So … here’s my evaluation of my 2013 running year.

Best Race : Planet Adventure’s Winter Trail Marathon. This race came in January and even though I raced in other events, this one is my best race for 2013.  I only ran in the Quarter marathon but it was a fantastic time. The race was staged at night and it was my first trail running experience. To add more excitement, it snowed the day before so there was about 3 inches of slippery snow and ice on the trail. There were about 400 runners with head lamps and reflective gear running in the dark over snow-covered trails. What a sight … so very cool!

Best Run : The Windmill Run. I ran 5 miles on country roads through a windmill farm in north central Indiana. It was a breath-taking experience to run underneath these huge windmills.

Best New Gear : The Go Pro Hero 3. I love the extreme wide-angle of this camera and the fact that it’s small enough to attach to a head strap and record the sights and sounds of a run. I posted my first 90 second running video here.

Best Piece of  Running Advice You Received : “Just Finish”. I know this is simple and we hear it all the time … but sometimes my ego gets too big to hear it. Too often I’m more concerned with how I measure up that I forget that finishing is most important. When I ran in the Muncie Mini Marathon (October ’13) I had not trained enough and I knew my finish time would be about 3 hours, which really depressed me (my half marathon average is 2:10). I thought about not showing up for the race but someone told me to show up and just finish the race regardless of the time. It was my absolute worst half marathon performance at 2:41 but it was a great run and great event. So very happy that I took the advice and showed up and finished.

Most Inspirational Runner : The Thin Lady Inside. She’s running, shares her struggles and stays the course. Ever since I came across her blog I’ve been inspired.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? Mixed. I wish 2013 was a better year for me. I had that heart issue in July and August and couldn’t run and lost two months of running. My domestic life is in a tail spin so I was too depressed to even get out of bed at times. The really only success I have during the year was I lost weight and reached my goal weight. But, I quickly lost focus and regained much of that weight back. It was a mixed year and I’m looking forward to 2014.

Onward … !

Tecumseh Trail Marathon

tecumseh-250About this time of the year (early December) I lament that I am not trained up, prepared for and ready to run in the Tecumseh Trail Marathon.

And this year is no exception.

Earlier this year, in January 2013, I ran a Quarter Trail Marathon. Although this race was only 6.55 miles, it gave me a great introduction to trail running. Trail running is similar to road running in some regards. But, it is really a different beast. Running on a trail you have to jump and hop over tree roots, rocks and fallen trees and whatever else there is on the trail. You need to skip across creeks and most likely your shoes and your clothes will be soaked. Depending on the weather, you can get muddy, wet or sun burned. And the hills can be short and steep and long and steep.

After running the Quarter Marathon, I thought that I could train for the Tecumseh Marathon. I intended to spend the next few months running on trails to build endurance and stamina. I thought that this year, 2013 will be my year for the Tecumseh.

Other than the Quarter Marathon, I only ran on a trail system one other time during the year. On that occasion, I planed a 6 mile route. But I bailed out after a few miles when I crossed a road and then walked and ran on the road back to the car. Those few miles on the trail was enough for me on that day.

Although there are many trail marathons to choose from, the Tecumseh Trail Marathon holds my affection. I’ve never entered the marathon but I have hiked several sections of the trail. The northern terminus of trail is in Morgan Monroe State Forest. In my younger days, I’ve backpacked through the forest. The trail winds through Yellowwood State Forest and ends near Morgan Monroe Reservoir. The Trail is over 40 miles in length but the Marathon only uses 26.2 miles of it.

A section of the Trail that runs through Yellowwood is close by some property my family owns. I’ve hiked from the property through Yellowwood to the Tecumseh bridge many times. And every time I’ve done that hike I’ve always thought how cool it would be to run the marathon on the trail. I say to myself that “this year is the year I run the Tecumseh”

However, even if I had trained for the marathon, winter storm Cleon had different intentions. This year the winter storm dumped over 10 inches of snow and ice in Morgan, Brown and Monroe counties the day before forcing the promoters to cancel the event.

On Saturday, December 7, on the same day that the marathon was scheduled to stage, I drove my little 2000 Honda Civic through Brown County to check on the camper we park at Cordry Lake. The 10″ of heavy wet snow collapsed one side of the camper and the little Honda “almost” got stuck in a snow drift. Thankfully I was able to coax the car out of the drift and up the snow and ice-covered dirt road. I’ve been stuck at the lake several times in the snow and it’s not much fun to dig yourself out. I was lucky this time. Occasionally Morgan, Monroe and Brown Counties get a blanket a snow like what Cleon left. But, this on is a significant event and I understand why the promoters canceled the Marathon.

Still, it’s a bummer.

According to the web site the event may be staged at a later date. I didn’t register for this year’s marathon so I can’t participate even if the event is rescheduled. But, as I say every year, “There is always next year!” to run the Tecumseh.