Friday, December 30, 2011

11 Things I'll Remember About 2011

1. I fell in love and stayed in love with running.

When I started running seriously in January 2011, I hoped that I'd still be running regularly at the end of the year.  Part of me, however, doubted my ability to finish what I'd started and stick with it.  At that point, running was still something I had to make myself do.  Ticking off every training run gave me a huge sense of satisfaction, but I can't deny that it was difficult to drag myself out of bed on those cold winter mornings.  So I never would have guessed that by the end of this year, not only would I still be running, but I'd be the sort of person who HAD to run in order to feel good.  Running hooks you in like that.  Now, I don't see running as something that I hope I'll be doing a year from now, but something that I'm pretty sure I'll be doing for the rest of my life.

2. I discovered Prospect Park 

Living close to Prospect Park has literally changed my life.  It's beauty and energy never fail to inspire and invigorate me.  I've run in the park in pouring rain, snow, 90 degree heat,  fierce winds and sub zero temperatures.  

Taken during a run in the pouring rain - this
wasn't a pond it was a puddle!
I've run before dawn, and watched the sun rise over the frozen, snow covered lake. I've run after dusk while fireflies darted around my feet.  

Why wouldn't you want to run past scenery like this?
Running through the year and watching the park change through the seasons has been a privilege and a beautiful sight to behold. 

3. I ran my first road race

Registering for my first race was scary.  I went through all the usual 'I'll come last' fears and truly worried that I wouldn't finish.  But I did finish, and I didn't come last.  Signing up gave me a reason to keep training and strengthened my commitment to running.  And guess what? I found out that I love racing.  I'll never win a race (much to my kids' disappointment), but those of you who race already know that it's not about that.  For me racing gives me a goal to work towards and a huge sense of achievement.  Racing isn't about competing against anyone else other than yourself but that competition is the best kind of all.  Working hard in training to achieve a new distance or a a better time provides me with a physical and mental focus that I relish, and nothing beats the feeling of pushing yourself further than you thought you could go on race day.  

4. I ran my first (2) half-marathons

I signed up for my first half as a challenge to myself, and had absolutely no idea if I'd be able to make the distance.  I clearly remember the first time I ran a 5 mile distance early in my training.  It seemed like such a long way that I couldn't fathom running 13 miles.  But I got there.  Those training schedules are clever things - bit by bit you build your distance, until that 5 mile run seems like an easy day.  

Half marathons are tough, but so achievable to the novice runner.  I love the training as it provides me with a weekly mileage that keeps me fit and invigorated and long runs that build my endurance and belief in myself.  I'll be registering for a couple more this year, and can't wait to get down to training.

5. I got injured, did something about it and got better

Getting injured this year was a huge learning curve for me.  Not being able to run was incredibly frustrating and if it wasn't for the focus that my regular physiotherapy appointments gave me I think I'd have handled it a lot worse.  I really struggled with the loss of my running routine, the sanity and me time it afforded me and the loss of my fitness.  I was determined to get better and get back to running, not least as I still had 3 of my 9+1 races to complete before the end of the year.

According to my physiotherapist, 90% of physiotherapy is turning up.  If you turn up, do the work and stick to your exercises, you'll get better.  He's right.  Having physio 3 times a week while I couldn't run gave me a focus and a plan.  I turned up, I did the work, I felt like nothing was getting any better at all for AGES, and then suddenly, I turned a corner.  

Now I continue to do the exercises I was taught, although admittedly, not as often as I should, and I've learned to listen to what my body is telling me.  To rest when it tells me to, to strength train when it feels weak, to stretch and ice when it's tight or sore.  I still have some pain, but it's not stopping me from running, and I hope that with time, the pain will go for good. My fitness is not where it was prior to my injury, but I'm coming back, and hoping that I'll be ready to challenge that half-marathon PR next spring. 

6.  My kids ran their first races (and loved them)

They're already asking when they can run their next races - see if you can spot the future track stars....

7. I lost weight and kept it off without dieting

Life is too damn short to deny yourself the things you like to eat and drink.  I will never be able to live a life where I have to say no to food for fear of putting on weight. 2011 was the year I discovered that I don't have to.  That I can maintain a healthy weight without dieting or obsessing.  That all I have to do is eat sensibly, have a treat when I want it, and cut back the next day if I go overboard.  Adding running to this mix gave me a stronger and healthier body than I've ever had in my adult life and actually put me in a mind frame where I prefer to eat healthily (who knew?!).  So as I sit here with a Christmas induced expansion of my waistline, I couldn't care less.  Because once my training gets back into full swing in the new year, my body will get back into the shape I want to be in.

8.  I started a blog

...and struggled to find the time to write it!  In the early days of My Mum Runs, I put a huge amount of effort into getting posts online as frequently and regularly as possible.  But it's hard work and I put too much pressure on myself.    I have to say that I wrestled with my insecurities and I often wondered who on earth really wanted to know what I thought or had to say.  It doesn't help when there are so many great blogs out there.  But hey, this blog is a document of my life, as well as a potential resource for others like me, so I'll keep writing, I just can' t promise how prolific I'll be.  For those who have followed and commented - thank you so much.  I've loved hearing your feedback and your own stories and I really appreciate your support.

9 I embraced social media

A couple of years ago, I couldn't have given a hoot about facebook or  twitter.  It wasn't until I moved abroad that they became lifelines to my friends and family back home.  What I didn't anticipate, was how much twitter, in particular, and other sites like Daily Mile would help me to discover a new running community and feel part of a runner's support network.  Through social media I've found real people to run with and a real sense of belonging, both to a like-minded group of runners and to my greater community of NYC.  My virtual world has expanded my real life and I'm so grateful for that.

10. I got my first road bike.  

The birthday fairy was VERY kind to me this year and I'm already using my (scarily fast) bike to cross train and speed around the Prospect Park loop.  I'm planning on competing in my first triathlon this year so am reading as much as I can and looking for the right training plan.  I'm so excited to see how triathlon training will change my body and my fitness and most of all I'm excited to improve my swimming and finally get over my fear of swimming in open water. 

11. I qualified for the NYC 2012 marathon!

Thought you might have been wondering.  Well I did it! 

Race Name, Date




per Mile
Overall Place/
Gender Place/
Age Place/
in Age Grp.


Volunteer Credit
December 31, 2011



Jingle Bell Jog
December 10, 2011
2823 / 5775 
1309 / 3481 
158 / 469 

Join The Voices! 5M
December 4, 2011
3984 / 5005 
1829 / 2568 
299 / 441 
Race to Deliver
November 20, 2011
3334 / 4500 
1574 / 2390 
261 / 381 
Run For Central Park 4m
July 16, 2011
3333 / 5236 
1194 / 2565 
484 / 1013 
NYRR New York Mini 10K
June 11, 2011
2095 / 4767 
2095 / 4767 
342 / 796 
Brooklyn Half Marathon
May 21, 2011
4143 / 5921 
1720 / 3036 
240 / 487 
NYRR 4-Mile
April 23, 2011
2968 / 5161 
945 / 2371 
128 / 342 
More/Fitness Half-Marathon
April 3, 2011
3552 / 7508 
3552 / 7508 
533 / 1082 
NYRR Al Gordon Classic (4M)
February 26, 2011
3002 / 3994 
1182 / 1840 
187 / 295 

I ran my 9 NYRR races culminating in the festive Jingle Bell Jog - here's me seconds from the finish, running my fastest pace since my injury:

Those 9 races plus my volunteer credit have guaranteed my place in next year's NYC marathon.  I cannot wait.

Watching this year's marathon filled me with so much emotion and excitement, if I make it through the training I'm sure to be a wreck on the day!  But I did it.  I got my qualification,  finished what I started and I did what I set out to do.

This time next year, I could be a marathoner.  

How about that?

Happy new year and here's to a 2012 that lives up to all your hopes and dreams.


Lindsay x