My friend Anne recently wrote her year in review and it inspired me to take a moment to reflect on my year. I had a good time thinking about my 2019 fitness and the rest of the year as well!
2018 ended with real challenges and 2019 was a rough start. My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer after a fairly long stay in the hospital. Both of my sisters came to help and we spent much of early January thinking my mom wasn’t going to make it more than a month or two. I found that most of my runs started with sobbing and I slowly settled out and was able to run and breathe. Amidst the stress, I enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with my sisters through walks and runs. Fitness definitely took a back seat to life. My rabbit died in early January as well. I haven’t lost a pet since my childhood cat died when I was 22. At that point in my life I was in grad school in a teaching internship. I remember managing to pull myself together to teach a class and then go cry in the bathroom for passing time and go back to teaching. This was much different. I was incredibly sad, but my coping skills were stronger.
The year in pictures
I picked a bunch of my favorite pictures for this – they include both athletic photos and just pictures from life in general.
I LOVE Strava because I can go back and get a clear view of January 2019. I spent 43 hours working out that month, with 114 miles of running.
Coming back from injury
I’ve been injured before and I remember how challenging it is, but when I broke my third metatarsal in my right foot, it was my first injury in a long while. I had forgotten how hard it is to watch other people continue their normal routines while you are sidelined. I found late 2018 to be really hard and I hadn’t fully recovered come 2019. While I was back to running, it wasn’t with the same joy and carefree nature that I’d enjoyed pre-injury. Every step I took I worried that I’d re-break the bone or break a different one. It made even thinking about racing stressful.
I increased running gradually into March but I went into the Skunk very untrained. I was still trying to find people to run it “just for fun” with me a couple of weeks before the race. When I found no one, I decided I might as well run as quickly as I could for the training I had. It isn’t much fun to jog a race at a comfortable pace alone. I ended up really enjoying the Skunk Cabbage Half like I always do, and left feeling energized for spring running.
I continued to run frequently in late spring, enjoying my afternoon runs in April and May. My mom was doing well with treatment and it felt like a pretty calm time in life. Emoticakes was in its busy season, and school was always busy, but I felt pretty calm. I was looking forward to the upcoming Gorges Half marathon, and I ran the May Day 5&5 with my colleague, my daughter and some of my 7th grade students. The injury was fading from my mind and I started to run with a fuller heart. I had my first really great run on May 5th. It was a 10 mile trail run in the rain. I liked it so much I took a picture at the end. I went to hot yoga right after and remember thinking that I really still love to run. The Gorges Half was fun and I enjoyed the finish line party, but I was disappointed with myself for not training with focus. I ran, but I didn’t train properly and I felt afraid when the race started. It was a nice reminder to respect the distance – 13.1 miles may only be half of a marathon, but it still deserves respect and training time.
Finally the hours increase
As June and July hit I was able to get more fitness hours in each month. June was 51 hours, 222 miles with 54 activities. July brought 70 hours, 408 miles and 68 activities. Not surprisingly I was happiest in July. I really love the variety of activity that summer brings. My days were filled with a mix of cycling, running, yoga, hiking, swimming and of course Body Pump. July made me remember how fit I was a few years ago before I went back to working full time. Sometimes I miss the luxury of being able to focus on myself while still having great creative energy for Emoticakes. In July when the days are long and the time is plentiful I feel grateful to be able to move my body. I remember when I got injured that my first thought was, “at least summer is ending.”
Late summer travel and a fall half marathon
We enjoyed our first family trip to Europe in the summer and we fit a fair amount of running and hiking into the trip (though to be perfectly honest the balance of activity to hanging out was off for me – I have learned that compromise is very necessary to have a fun vacation for all four of us). After the Cayuga Lake triathlon we headed on our two week trip to Switzerland and Italy where the kids made us promise not to hike too much! I ran in Zurich and Venice and hiked in Zermatt. One fun thing was that Xander wanted to stay in shape for cross country pre-season so he drove the running train. We made sure we fit running in for the little lad!
Once we got home Scott and I picked up our training for the Syracuse Half marathon. I had signed up for it last year and had to defer because of my broken foot. It was supposed to be a romantic weekend for Scott and me. But, this fall Elizabeth had started college so Xander decided he’d join us. After all, he’d be well trained from cross country season. At the very last minute Elizabeth said she wanted to join us too. “How far have you run recently?” I asked. “About 5 miles.” That’s not gonna be fun I thought! She got a couple more runs in and said she was going to do it untrained. She wanted to be with us.
We had a blissfully wonderful Syracuse Half weekend and it was a fantastic way to cap off the year of running. I was grateful for every step and I just had fun on this day! I think what was most meaningful for me was that all 4 of were doing an activity together but we were all running our own race. We enjoyed time together the night before, in the morning before the race and in the post race celebration but our races were our own. It was a joyful experience on a beautiful November day.
The final race of 2019
Xander started working at Finger Lakes Running Company at the end of the summer. He quickly threw himself into learning about shoes and how to fit people for shoes. He adores his job. This has created a new fire in him to race more. He wanted to do the “A wonderful run” in Seneca falls. Scott had a concert scheduled for his chorus and Elizabeth was finishing up her first semester of college, so it would a mother-son outing! We were so excited about our adventure together. We had grand plans to buy fun outfits for the season, but we never did. It turned out to be a really really rainy day! It was so rainy and cold that I had the audacity to suggest we go home and skip the run after we got our shirts and bibs. Xander looked me squarely in the eye and said, “Mom I work in a running store. I am not going to just pick up my bib and shirt. You can wait in the car if you want.” Fair enough. Yes I would run. After standing in the pouring rain in a bathroom line for 20 minutes it started to turn to snow just as the race started. It felt magical on the streets even if I was sopping wet and freezing. We even made it home just in time to shower and go to Scott’s concert!