On a Learning Curve

Life may not be easy, but it's always an adventure.


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My (running) year in review

I rarely make New Year’s resolutions; I think there are fewer chances for disappointment this way. This year I decided to make a resolution anyway. I wanted to run–and log–1000 miles. Here’s how I kept my resolution:

January: What better way to kick off my resolution than to come down with the flu! Of course, I didn’t admit it at the time. It was just a fever, complete exhaustion, and some body aches. Plus I’d had a flu shot. After a day of rest, I thought I was over a 24-hour bug. Nope, the fever came back, and I went back to bed for two more days. I only managed to run 55 miles in January. That left me 25 miles in the hole for the month.

I hit my target mileage in February and March–despite the 3 consecutive weekends that a stomach virus visited our household. I even managed a decent time in the Charlottesville 10 Miler on St. Patrick’s Day. 1:25:00 is decent for someone who slept 4 hours in 20-minute increments the night before (stomach virus #3 visited S). Did I mention that there are just a handful of stretches that do not ascend or descend any hills or that it rained for the first 4 miles?

2013 Charlottesville 10 Miler. This is probably around Mile 8.

2013 Charlottesville 10 Miler. This is probably around Mile 8.

April: I logged more than 100 miles this month as I trained for the Marine Corps Historic Half. In May I ran a respectable sub-2:00 half through my college town of Fredericksburg, but I definitely need to learn to navigate crowds and course turns. My GPS showed that I ran an additional 0.25 miles, and you aren’t allowed to deduct overage from your official time.

June: I won the running lottery from Another Mother Runner! I earned a spot alongside 11 other mother runners for Ragnar DC.

Team Dimity in our tutus at the start of our 200-mile adventure.

Team Dimity in our tutus at the start of our 200-mile adventure.

July, August, and September: While training for Ragnar DC, I averaged 115 miles each month. What is truly significant is that I kept running through the heat and humidity of the summer.

Ugly race face as I near the finish line to a 10k PR!

Ugly race face as I near the finish line to a 10k PR!

August: Pr’ed in the Chaptico Classic 10k. My dad and I ran together, and he helped me finish in 49:22.

Finished with my first Ragnar run, which included 2 miles straight up a mountain!

Finished with my first Ragnar run, which included 2 miles straight up a mountain!

October: Ran 15.1 miles out of approximately 200 miles from Cumberland to DC with 11 teammates for Ragnar DC. Least sleep I’ve gotten since the girls were born, but way more fun!

Even Smartwool socks can't wick away this much water!

Even Smartwool socks can’t wick away this much water!

The next weekend I ran the Lower Potomac River 10 Miler (with my dad, again). Rain, wind, and flooded roads helped me PR in 1:21:51. I also learned firsthand why one should obey the rule about resting the same number of days as the number of miles raced. Had I skipped the LPR 10, I wouldn’t have had to visit the orthopedist, take 10 days off, and baby my right knee for the next 8 weeks.

This is me sucking wind at a 7:43 pace.

This is me sucking wind at a 7:43 pace.

November: Finally broke 24 minutes in a 5k. I haven’t run this fast since high school cross country, and I squeaked out a 23:58 in a local Thanksgiving prediction run. (That means I ran naked, or without a watch.) Yes, I had the approval of my ortho to run, and I trained without doing any speedwork. See? I’m learning how to follow the rules…. I also crossed the 1000-mile threshold about 5 weeks ahead of schedule. H, my frequent companion, rode along with me and was quite disappointed to learn that she had not pedaled 1000 miles, too.

1000 miles done!

1000 miles done!

December: Logged my coldest run ever at 8° F. We were visiting Spokane for the week and apparently I didn’t read the thermometer correctly before I left on my run. My father-in-law explained the dangers of frostbite before I left, and I ducked inside a gas station at 1.5 miles to thaw my face. You know it’s cold outside when your teeth hurt.

As of today, my total mileage stands at 1,119. With just four more days left in 2013, I should finish somewhere between 1,130-1,140 miles. I haven’t made any resolutions for 2014 yet, and I probably won’t. Next year is a big birthday year for me though. I’m planning to celebrate my new age group with a new race. And I have exactly 4 months to find that race.

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Photo Finish

I have yet to master the art of taking a good action shot while running. Or should I say I can’t seem to focus on running and posing. Case in point: This is the photo finish of me (#67) seconds before I crossed the end of the Chaptico Classic 10k. My eyes are, as usual, closed, and the effort of catching a runner whom I trailed for 6.1 miles is all over my face. But I don’t care. I PR’ed last Saturday and ran my first race at 8:00 pace! That’s 49:22 for those of you trying to do the math in your head.

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From The Enterprise, September 4, 2013
Staff photo by TAMMY SHOWALTER

I would be remiss if I didn’t include my dad, too. We ran 6.1 together and kept a steady pace. Before we started, he asked me what my goal was. I wanted to break 50 minutes, but the heat and humidity of summer had significantly slowed my training pace. Mile after mile, I was surprised to see us running under 8:00. Once we conquered the hill in Mile 5, I knew he had helped me reach my goal. And while he didn’t sprint to the finish, I knew he wouldn’t mind if I did. So here he is, too–#12 in the yellow shirt. Thanks, Daddy!

Staff photo by TAMMY SHOWALTER

Staff photo by TAMMY SHOWALTER


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Weekend Wrap-Up

This past weekend was a welcome respite from the craziness of being a (temporarily) single mom. My parents came for a visit, my dad and I ran the Chaptico Classic 10k (and I PR’ed at 49:22!), my mom and I got the world’s fastest pedicures, we squeezed in two final swims before the neighborhood pool closed for the year, and I enjoyed adult conversation and company for 2 full days.

We woke up on Sunday to discover a visitor on the front porch: a gorgeous black swallowtail butterfly. As my parents were leaving to drive home, we welcomed a second swallowtail. I’d say that sacrificing $5 of parsley plants was well worth the results.

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A very hungry little caterpillar turned into a gorgeous butterfly yesterday.