Brooke's 2009 Running Review
So when I look at all I've done this year, I'm very happy with myself and my accomplishments. I think I've taken The Good well -- ha ha! -- accepted The Bad and The Ugly and adapted to what I can't change. So without further adieu, here it is...
I spent the year maintaing a daily and monthly training schedule with six days of running -- peaking at 80 plus miles a week -- and an off day of a one mile swim. I've started Vikram yoga (hot yoga) which I do twice a week. You've gotta love a 95 degree room with sweat dripping into your eyes and ears and saturating every piece of clothing... But seriously, what I'm really proud of this year, is that I have finally made progress in the mind/body connection (PMA -- positive mental attitude -- equals enhanced body connection and performance with meditation, relaxation and believing in and trusting in myself) and how these things can make you a better runner and really better overall. Sometimes you have to relax into something hard, not push and force, to make it happen... Until this past year, it was only my times, track or marathon, that qualified me, in my mind, as a good runner. If I didn't have a good time or didn't make my anticipated/projected time, I felt that I wasn't a good runner and sometimes -- albeit briefly -- wondered why the HE** I was subjecting myself to all of this if I wasn't any good anyway... I've blown through some fears that I've had for a long time, public speaking for one! And have learned -- still room for improvement on this -- self promotion. But, here are the running highlights:
- Master's Track Tournament (March) where I ran the 3000 (11:30) and the mile (5:58). I ran the mile with running-great Alisa Harvey. She was very nice and unassuming, just like every other person lining up. I felt proud to be only lapped by her once... and when she came by me, I felt the air as she pushed on past! Effortless. Effortless for her, not me :)
- Boston marathon (April) - 4 years in a row with Boston PR of 3:21...
- Started to blog (April)
- Created a website (April) with help from running friend Cheryl...
- Inception of RunningBrooke and the RunningBrooke Fund (May) which has now raised over $20,000 for Alexandria, VA charities...
- Easter Island, Chile marathon (June) - 1st female finisher on a must-see island. What an incredible feeling to break the tape (3:30).
- Philadelphia half-marathon (September) with a 1/2 marathon PR of 1:29 and a 10th place AG finish.
- Steamtown, PA marathon (October) with a marathon PR of 3:09 and a 1st place AG finish.
- JFK 50 miler (November) - My first ultra-marathon with a finish of 9:58 and a qualification for Western States, the Boston of ultras... Our female team came in 2nd!
- Memphis, TN marathon (December) - two weeks after the JFK but still finished with a 3:30 and placed 3rd in my AG.
- Slowing down -- significantly -- on the fast stuff and maybe, ok likely, on the marathon times too... I knew that this would happen when I began to run a marathon a month, but until it did happen, I didn't really think it would. I still have hope that my body will figure this all out and will relax into the monthly marathons and give me back some faster times... Only 43 states, 4 continents and 1 major to go!
- Exercise and stress induced asthma. Something that was once sporadic -- though I didn't recognize it for what it was -- and erratic -- sometimes at the track and sometimes at races -- became EVERY time I really pushed my body hard with speed or distance. It -- and I know my father still hates this word -- sucked, and it happened overnight. One day, not a problem, the next day, PROBLEM! I didn't understand what was happening to my body. And the more winded and stressed I got physically -- why is this so hard? -- the more stressed I got mentally. Old lurking negative thoughts of running self-worth crept back into the forefront. I must be a bad runner if I can't do workouts that I could do, even as recently as last month... Thanks to running friend Sharon D. -- after seeing me fight this for a couple of weeks -- pushed me to go see her asthma doctor, where I learned that I had a 20 percent oxygen deficit as compared to women my age... Five medications: two inhalers, a pill, and two nasal sprays later, I'm fine... Or at least I can breathe :) I've decided to accept asthma for what it is and not fight it, not run myself into the ground in attempt to make a certain time. Really, I used to do this... I used to not listen to the signals -- wheezing and muscle seizing -- and have a total body breakdown. I'd hobble, literally hobble, over the finish line. It was ugly. Some of you may be thinking 'well Brooke, maybe you were running beyond your fitness level,' and I admit, sometimes I was. But sometimes, it was just the pace and distance I'd done a week before... So now, I back off a little if I begin to get that wheezing feeling... It is what it is and I want to enjoy the ride...
So that about wraps up 2009. 2010 promises to be a great year with finishing my last marathon major (London), going to my forth continent (Australia) and running ten other marathons in ten different states. Cheers and it was a beautiful day for a run!
Upcoming post: 2010 Goals!
Goofy Challenge (January)
Sedona, AZ (February)
Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, NV (March)