Saturday, December 7, 2013


Recently, an ultra-running friend of mine was disappointed to notice a number of negative comments on her personal social media about her increased training output. It seems that a few "do-gooders" felt it was their right to imply she was being a less than stellar mother because her focus seemed to be on her training rather than her children.

I’ve had the same reaction by people in my life who feel that I’m somehow spending too much time focusing on my own “hobby”.  Apparently, I’m being selfish and neglectful. Most of the time, I simply nod my head and mentally unroll my middle finger to them.

Yes, it is true that preparing for a race, whether it is a 10k or a 100M, does take time. And let’s face it when you are preparing for an ultra, the majority of us are training to finish, not even thinking about placing.  The fact is though that we don’t sacrifice time away from our families but actually carve out time for ourselves when others are probably say, sleeping or watching T.V.  This particular friend of mine gets up long before the sun rises to get her training done. That way, she can get a full day of work in, be there for her girls after school, and be the best Mom she can be. I have other ultra-friends who will run two or three times per day (to work, at lunch, back home) to get their training in.

But here’s the shtick.  We tell our kids constantly that when you set a goal, you need to have a plan, and you need to work hard through your plan to get to your goal.  But how many of us excel at being role models for that philosophy?  I hear many parents say to their kids, “Sure sweetie, of course you can be the next Christine Sinclair! You’re just as talented!” But how many kids really understand the level of commitment needed to get to that goal?

One of the reasons I started running races, and setting ultra goals for myself, was to show my kids that when you have a dream/goal they don’t just happen because you want them to.  You have to work at it. You have to train. And I believe my kids are getting that message.  They have become very vocal when I start to make excuses about not training. They are the ones who remind me that I need to head to the gym on the days I’d rather be curled up knitting. They are the ones who get my butt out the door for a run when I’d rather be lazy and have another coffee.  They are my biggest cheerleaders and love being at my races. And in turn they have begun to pursue their own interests with a commitment that comes from within and with very little pressure from me.

I’ve come to the realization that people who criticize tend to be unhappy about some part of their own lives. Perhaps the negative feedback we get as runners is because those who criticize wish they could figure out a way to carve out the time for themselves. Perhaps they wish they had the support of their loved ones to pursue their own goals. The one truth I have learned is that our children respect us more for the people we are rather than as an ideal that society thinks we should be.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Year of DNS

I decided not to pursue Limberlost this year. I wanted to go and in retrospect I should have gone but I didn't. Perhaps it was some low self-esteem brought on by the hot weather and my inability to adapt to training in the humidity. Perhaps it was the thought of a race without much of my core group in attendance to rally me on. Most likely it was memories of last year's race that was the icing on the proverbial cake.

Limberlost will continue to be my "white whale" and next year, I will succeed at it. One way or another!

My ultimate goal this year was the 24 hour race at Dirty Girls. I love this race and I was mentally so pumped up for it. Everyone in the running community who I know and love will be there racing. I was going to bring my boys and they were already talking about watching me meet my ultimate goal.

However, like three of my planned races this year, Dirty Girls is not going to happen either. I found out about two weeks ago that my youngest son's baseball playoff weekend is the same as Dirty Girls. I have to admit, I actually thought for a split second of handing him to his father for the weekend and still doing the race. But as I said, it was a split second of a personal emotional response. Of course I'm not going to miss my son's play off weekend! He's worked so hard with the rest of his team since May and I want to see him succeed!

I've been lucky in the past few years because none of my kids' activities have overlapped one of my races. I knew eventually it would happen but I couldn't have imagined that it would happen over one of my "starred" races. Yes, it does sting a bit but I'm human. As I've told the kids countless times, "You're O.K. Just shake it off and move on".

This will be number four "Did Not Start" race for the year. Not quite how I was expecting my year to go. But that's o.k. I'm just going to shake it off and move on and continue to train. Constant forward motion.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

First Product Review! The Timex Marathon GPS Watch

After running for just over a year, I decided it would be nice to know exactly how far I ran when I left the house. I had a general loop that I measured out by using the odometer in the car but I wanted more.  I would strategically call “running friends” to run with.   A friend who had a GPS watch.  A friend who would run with me who had a GPS watch. Sure, it was a cheap way to get the distance calculated but I’d end up catching up on gossip and they’d get a good kick at watching me huff and puff up hills. A win-win for everyone. This method was great unless I couldn't find a friend.

Then I realized I could download an app on my smartphone that would allow me to use the GPS that already existed and calculate all the fun stuff like pace and actually provide a map of where I ran. But that turned into extra weight and having to dig it out from a waist pack to glance at meant stopping. And I hate to stop while I’m running except for things like cars and trucks and the odd skunk.

With that in mind, I finally went searching for a GPS watch. I thought that I would be embarking on a relatively simple exercise. How many GPS watches could there be out there? They all pretty much do the same kind of thing, right? Score one for the tech geeks and all the possible running technology one could fit in a watch.  So after spending three (yes, three) days reviewing all possible watches with gizmos, attachments, heart monitors (which for me is hilarious because my heart is either beating while I’m running or it isn’t and if it isn’t, a watch isn’t going to save me) and such, I narrowed my choice down but then I had to contend with price.

In the end, I decided that all I needed was a basic GPS watch that could give me a relatively accurate distance measurement, calculate my pace, my overall time, and even splits if I ever wanted to attempt them.  If I could find a watch that was under $130, then that was an added bonus.

At $99, The Timex Marathon GPS watch isn’t fancy but has all the features in a basic GPS watch. It doesn’t have seven different alarm settings or beeps at you when you’ve slowed off your pace.  It doesn’t have a massive screen so that your watch doesn’t just sit on your wrist but most of your forearm.  It IS a TIMEX, which to me has always been a trusted name in watches. 

The watch face itself is smaller than many of its main competitors and that works for someone like me who has child-sized wrists (the circumference of my wrist is 5 1/2"). The display on the watch is quite large (but not too large) so I don’t have bring the watch too close to my face and miss seeing the tree roots which seem to make sudden appearances on trails. There are only six buttons divided equally on the left and right side of the watch which is great for instant feedback.  The stop/pause button is great when you hit a red light or need to make an untimely pit stop.

The GPS itself does take a minute or two to receive a signal but that seems to be the norm for many GPS watches on the market. And apparently walking around in circles while holding your watch to the sky, does not in fact help.   Once the GPS link has been established, it only takes a one button push to instantly start the system and you’re off.  The one display will show your total time out, distance/pace, and total distance.  

The battery life of this watch is extremely dependable and when the GPS is being used, the unit will hold its charge for at least eight hours. When the watch is simply being used as a watch, it will hold the charge for months. Charging this phone with the included usb cable is easy and fast but a plug-in adapter is not included.

As with most Timex watches, the Marathon GPS also has the classic Indiglo backlight and is water resistance up to 30M. Not many GPS watches have the water resistance feature but after a long run there is nothing better than jumping into a pool or lake without worrying about taking off your watch.

Although this watch is marketed to the running community, it does have a bonus feature for cyclists and can measure km/h by a simple button push from minutes/km.  It is also possible to measure in miles for those south of the border or old-school marathoners. The watch can also be used for indoor training using the basic chrono mode.

One of the clear disadvantages to this watch is that in Canada it comes in two distinct colours: black and hot pink. I’m assuming the hot pink is for guys (chuckle, chuckle) but in fact I chose hot pink not only because I’m a girlie-girl but because I have two sons who find it necessary to use and then lose all my cool stuff and pink is one colour they will not touch.

Besides the colour factor, the Timex Marathon GPS watch is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a basic GPS watch with pace features, by a trusted name in watchmaking. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Amazing Race - Part II: Lessons Learned!

Now that the race has really sunk in and I've a lot of time to think about Sulphur Springs, there are a few things I definitely need to work on and items that I think worked in my favour.


I've been adding more miles to my training and that seems to have brought on a constant state of hunger. O.K., it's not quite that bad but I'm hungry a lot. I can go from "gee, I'm a bit peckish" to "get out of my way I need to get the fridge" in about 60 seconds flat. This need for food was certainly evident on race day too. Jeff had made us oatmeal and I ate it in the car on the way to the race. I figured that would get me through my 25K and if I absolutely needed to, I'd stop at an aid station. I'm think I was at around the 15K mark when I was absolutely famished. All I had on me was a bag of  Stinger Chews and the hope of some good food at the aid station, which was not part of my overall race strategy.

So now that I'll be adding longer runs when I can, I'll have to start playing around with fuelling options too. I also have to get my stomach used to eating while I'm running or walking (O.K., hopefully running). Sugar seems to wreck havoc on my stomach so I'm going to have to do some research and see what works for others minus the Coke, cookies, candy, and gels. I'm also going to try consuming protein shakes during my runs (see below) so I'm getting what my body really needs and not what will satisfy it for 20 mins at a time.


Ah yes. The continuing story of a girl who can't seem to remember to drink during a race.  Honestly, I'm thinking of writing it down on my lower arm in permanent ink so I'll remember. I'm up for other suggestions though!


Generally, the great thing about going up a hill is that there is a down hill on the other side. I tried to make my downhills fun. I'm sure people thought I had lost it when I pretended I was an airplane whooshing down a hill but let's face it, some of those uphill climbs were nasty and enjoying the downhills helped to make it worthwhile!

That being said though I need hill training. Serious hill training. I know for ultra distances of 50K or more, it is suggested to runners that they walk the hills. But even walking some of those hills repeatedly needs some training. I'd like to get to a point where I can slowly jog up some larger hills at the beginning of races. Well, one can only dream anyway.

And now for what I believe worked.


Cath and I had done a training run at the course about three weeks previously and I really believe that had a lot to do with how well I ran. Even though I had run the same race last year, having the route feel familiar really helped me. I've stated before that I like running loops of a race course before an event and I am even more certain of the advantages now.  Maybe it's just because there's one less thing to think about or you know where the more difficult stages are and can mentally prepare but it works for me, that's for sure.

The night before the race, I could honestly visualize myself running the course and going from aid station to aid station. I hadn't taken the time to do that before and it just added some security to my mental state!


For all the notes I made above about not eating enough food, I have to admit that I consider myself a pretty good eater. Before this race, I hadn't had a beer or a glass of wine for about a month. Perhaps longer than that. I had barely consumed any sugar and ate a TON of fresh, raw veggies. I was actually averaging about 4 bunches of carrots a week, 2 bunches of celery, and 4 red peppers. As soon as I got those veggies home, they were washed and cut up and put in the fridge. Now on top of all this, I've been following Isagenix since September. Before the race, I had increased my consumption of protein shakes and was taking a daily cleanse solution at night before bed. The skeptics out there can "guffaw" all they want, but I shaved 31 mins off my time from last year and my two major changes for this race, from the year before, were the Isagenix usage and the reduction of sugar in my diet.

I'm really starting to understand the importance of nutrition now and quality nutrition for that matter. I'm becoming much more adept at reading labels and making choices about what is going into my body before a run and more importantly, after a run to aid recovery and healing. Nutritional training will be as important as physical training for my goals this year!

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Amazing Race!

I've spent the past 48 hours making mental notes about Sulphur Spring Trail Race. All the things I wanted to convey in this post about my run, the event, the records that were broken, the inspirational stories; ALL of it! Here's hoping I don't ramble on for too long and I remember everything!

My race rocked. No other words can describe it. It rocked. I'm not entirely sure what factors all came together to make the race so great for me but I have some ideas.

I didn't feel like I had trained enough going into this race and I had mentally come to terms with that. However I was incredibly nervous. I don't remember being so nervous about a race actually. I had run the same race a year earlier with a time of 3:38 and I figured anything faster than that was great. But needless to say, in the back of my mind, I thought 3:10 might be doable. I have no idea why but 3:10 stuck in my head.

Saturday morning was simply a runner's dream. Well, this runner's dream anyway. Some people felt it was too cool but honestly, considering how the previous weekend had been (hot and humid), I was happy with a bit of chill in the air and sunshine. The conditions were perfect. A few muddy sections but nothing crazy and the trails weren't too soft or too hard. This baby bear felt it was just right! I really enjoy the course at Sulphur Springs. It probably has one of the nicest and most balanced mixes of flat and hilly trails of all the races I've run. And it's so pretty!

Jeff and I stayed in Waterloo the night before the race so we'd only have an hour to drive the next morning. Like usual, I barely slept. Someday I will figure out a way to get a good night's sleep the night before a race. Although I read a great runner's blog last week that said it was better to focus on the week before the race and getting solid sleep then and not focus so much on the sleep the night before a race; add that little tidbit to the arsenal!

Jeff was great, as usual, and got up before me to make coffee and oatmeal. He was going to run training loops during the day and then pace Bill Lovett during his 100-miler in the evening. He just seemed to sense my nervousness and got me ready to go. We drove down to Sulphur Springs in plenty of time and I got my bib and swag and said hello to a few people. I was still debating what to wear under my hydration pack with about 5 minutes to go before race time but I opted for just a t-shirt and I'm glad I did. I didn't overheat at all which for me is a minor miracle. I also used my hydration pack for this race which I'm never leaving behind again. I'm happy to say I'm hooked on hydration packs and won't do a run longer than a 10k without one EVER again.

The 50K and 25K runners all started together at 7:30 a.m. and I was at the back of the pack on purpose. The crowd of runners was large and because of that, those of us at the back really didn't get into a "run" until we were down the "hill of hell" and into a small meadow. This allowed my legs to get warmed up and I really needed that!

Once I got into a pace that I was comfortable at, I seemed to just chug along. I normally start out too fast but I was conscious not to do that. And I was passing people. Which also doesn't happen all that often. And holy cow, was I in a zone. A good running friend, Robin, apparently tried to get my attention and say hi as I passed her but I have no recollection of that at all! Interestingly, another thing I've stopped doing of late is running with music. I like it when I'm on the treadmill but I'm not using it when I'm running longer distances outside. I seem to be focusing better without it!

I ran the 5K spur in 33 minutes which was slower than I wanted but I have to keep reminding myself that running 5K on trail is different that road or the treadmill. Having my watch with me was great and it was useful to just keep an eye on the time. I trudged up that "hill of hell" at a pretty quick pace, blew by the aid station, and let gravity and my legs draw me down that hill again. I was feeling great going into my full 20K loop.

I got into a great pace and just kept on motoring towards Aid Station #2. I ran by that Aid Station too as part of my plan was not to stop unless absolutely necessary. It seemed like a good idea in theory. I love the Main Loop of the trail. Between the ravine, the orchard, and the river, I'd be happy just to run around there all day. Not far from coming back around to Aid Station #2 again and heading back though, my energy went from zippity-doo to zapped. That was something I hadn't planned on. I had some Stinger chews with me (my absolute fave) and literally devoured those in a matter of seconds and that helped until I got to the aid station.  However nothing at the table at the aid station really appealed to me. Knowing I needed energy pronto I did grab some oranges, a cookie, and a cup of Coke. It did help and I was able to get back to a comfortable pace; a very comfortable pace in fact. I kept looking at my watch and taking double-takes!

Once I got to Aid Station #3, I grabbed more oranges and coke. I knew I had the "Three Sisters" to contend with shortly and I wanted energy for that. Interestingly, about five minutes later, my stomach started to roll a bit which has never happened before during a race. I don't know if it was my body starting to react to the pace or the fact that I had been eating so well up to race day and my stomach was reacting to the high-sugar content of the Coke. Regardless, I just kept going. Now the "Three Sisters" has a more suitable name but as I hope my kids will read this blog someday, I'll keep it light. It's an exhausting climb but to be honest I believe the "hill of hell" at the beginning and end of the race is far more tiring. When I did make it to the top of the ravine though it was like a switch went off because I knew that I was on the far end of the loop with less than 5K to the finish line. And I ran; hard.

I passed Cath on my way back and it was great to see her smiling face. She was on her second loop of her 100-miler and she always looks so relaxed and genuinely happy to just be running. It was a good shot of motivation. My legs were starting to feel tired, my stomach was still rolling around a bit, and even my arms were getting sore. I grabbed Heed on my way by Aid Station #3 and just focused on the fact I was about 1K away from the finish line and just had to make it up the "hill of hell".

I did two things wrong at this point. First, I slowed down and started to walk because I figured I could conserve energy for the hill climb. Second, I should have grabbed one more orange because my energy level dipped again. It was hard for me to get back into even a slow jog. I was tired out. However, a quiet voice said to me, "you can make it under 3:10 if you push it to the finish". I looked at my watch. It was possible. So I picked up the pace again as best I could. I was passing people on the hill on my way up and all of a sudden that goal of UNDER 3:10 lit a fire under me. I got to the top, saw those orange pylons and just ran.

I finished with a time of 3:07. I shave a full 31 minutes off my time from last year and ran my fastest race ever. It rocked. I love Sulphur Springs!

I learned a lot from this race which I think I'll write about in another post. Suffice it to say, all races should have some key learnings but this one had some really good ones for me.

The other races were quite incredible to both witness and be part of as well. After my own race was done, I showered, rested for a bit and then got into crewing mode for two of my good friends who were both attempting the 100M race. I have to admit that I secretly love crewing. You get to be part of something incredibly special without actually running! ;) You are also obligated to stay for the entire race which means you can watch some pretty monumental things. I watched many people complete their first 50M and 100M run, which is always so inspirational to me. I also watched the 100M male and female records smashed AGAIN this year and if you are looking to find some incredible mentors that define hard work and determination, I have some names for you!

As always, the Sulphur Springs Trail Race did not disappoint. I love this race and I can't wait to be there next year!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pre-Race Ramble

For those who don't know, Sulphur Springs Trail Run will always have my heart. Sure, there are other events that I do enjoy being at more; mostly because they are smaller events. But Sulphur was my very first running race and trail race - 10km that I will never forget and I never even got a finisher's medal! This Saturday will be my third race at Sulphur Springs and I can't wait to get there!!

This year of racing hasn't been the kind I wanted so far. I wasn't trained for the ICY-8 in February and didn't go. Then about three days before what would have been my first 24-hour race last month, I ended up with a stomach bug that wiped me out and I couldn't recover in time. Sulphur Springs was supposed to be my first crack at the 50M barrier and I've downgraded to 25KM. Part of the reason is because I still don't feel like I've trained enough for 50M. The other part of the reason is that I feel as though I'm pushing myself too fast to get through these "mileage" zones. I would have downgraded to the 50K but they were already sold out.

In many respects the old adage that you need to crawl before you can walk really applies here. I still need to lay down a strong foundation of training and figure out what really does work for me and what doesn't. My IT band has been niggling at me for the past few weeks and I know it's because I haven't been working on my glutes and core training. I need to learn to train properly and I don't mean just packing on total miles during the week. The more I read about and listen to my running "mentors", the more I realize that yes, they have lots of good advice about mileage training plans but they also cross-train. Even if it's mountain biking, yoga, quasi-crossfit, swimming, or hiking, they do cross-train and they all seem to agree that it helps.

Considering my running goals for this year are shelved anyway, I figure that I'll use this summer and the races I have left as a "training" year. I'm going to work hard and pay attention to my body and to my abilities. I want to figure out what mileage increases are good for me and will produce results. I want to work on endurance and speed (although endurance is more important to me right now). I know I need to work on hill-training and I'm absolutely aware I need to work on my mental focus and try to wipe out the negative thoughts that currently plague me during a race.

My goals have definitely changed this year but the more I really think about it, I believe I'm doing the right thing for me. Those mileage barriers aren't going to change but my performance can. So instead of focusing on just getting past those mileage markers, I'm going to focus on becoming a better runner. Now that seems like a reasonable goal!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Strength of the Human "Race"

As a runner, you believe that your sport is inherently safe. Certainly, even when you are road running and considering whether that car making a left turn is going to see you at the last possible moment or trail running  and dodging tree roots and slippery rocks on a single trail at the top of ravine where there is nowhere to go but down.  Those are the known risks you take when you decide to put on your sneakers and leave the safety of your home. Those are variables we respect and measure against our desire to run.

What no one expects is the unexpected.

I was sickened, shocked, and actually speechless for some time yesterday after hearing and then watching the events at the Boston Marathon. Those most directly affected by the bombings were not the runners themselves but family, friends, and fans of the sport. They were lined up cheering on the runners towards the end of the marathon.  I don’t believe the runners were the targets. I believe the crowds were. This wasn’t the Boston Marathon under attack. It simply served as a target event where people freely mill about and no one has to go through gates or security protocols.

As I continued to watch footage of the immediate aftermath of the bombings I did remark about two things. First, it was perhaps divine intervention that medical personnel were so close to the victims. At no other point in the marathon would there be so many emergency medical staff in one area at one time. I’m quite sure that had an immediate effect on the possible death toll.

Second, the ratio of people who darted from the area to those who ran to victims was nearly even. Along with emergency services, I watched race volunteers, who were merely out to support runners for a road race, race themselves toward the injured.  This action alone refueled my faith in humanity.  While social media spewed hatred, contempt, and unintelligent drivel, people were providing aid and care. It is most likely that there were more people helping than those who perpetuated the crime. In essence, the good truly outweighed the bad.

Running is still about freedom; putting on shoes and heading out to wherever a road or trail can take you. That has not changed. I still believe that my chances of being hurt or worse at a marathon, by an act of violence, are as slim as getting on a plane. The difference of course, is that I take that risk into consideration whenever I board a plane.  The potential of a bomb or worse at a marathon is simply another risk factor to take into consideration now. Is it right? No. But we still get on planes, take subways, rebuild high rise buildings, shop at malls, and essentially get on with our lives.

The human “race” has been and always will be one of good versus evil and I still believe in the innate good of mankind.  Hatred is taught and learned by those who know no better. It infiltrates the weak and is acquired by the cowardly. By focusing on the good, we, as human beings, will continue to move forward in a positive way. This is one race we are destined to win.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring! Where? You just missed it....

Normally as the weather improves and I spend more time outside running, the updates on my running blog become more frequent. The fact that it is April and I haven't blogged since January should tell you something.

Of course, I know I'm preaching to the choir about the weather but I can't keep going to the gym to work out on a treadmill. Right now, the only appeal it has is that I can catch up on my soaps. If I'm there for two hours, I can take in General Hospital and Y&R.  But I'm dying for the trails. I need to be surrounded by trees (whether there are leaves or not), feel the ground under my feet (or mud as the case may be), and cringe about an upcoming hill (son-of-a-beep hill is steeper than I remember!).

The fact is that I'm rather unmotivated right now; which is strange for me this time of year.  I know the weather is part of the reason but it's also the silly little things that add up to a lot. And of course the worse part is that I've got my first twenty-four hour race in two weeks and I'm not even close to where I want to be, with training, for it! One of those vicious circles of I-need-to-train-for-the-event- but-I-won't-be-where-I-want-to-be-for-it-so-why-bother. 

So what is a girl to do? I've decided that I need to schedule running into my day. I've never needed to do that before. Generally, I'd find a block of time, during the day or at night, that worked and just get my gear on and go. For some reason that isn't working right now so I need to set time aside. I never wanted training to feel like training. I'd just go for a run. I'm never worried about placing in a race so I haven't bothered attempting tempo running or fartleks, I just run. I'm concerned though that once training becomes "work" or something I have to do, I'll be even less motivated.

I love running. I love the freedom it gives me. I love the strength I feel. I love knowing I'm setting my spirit free. I need to find that feeling again. I need the weather to clear up, the sun to shine bright, and the air to feel just a bit warmer. And I need a trail.

And if that doesn't work, perhaps someone could run in front of me with a wireless computer so I catch up on my soaps!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 - Many races...maybe too many?

I have to admit that I've been having a TON of fun planning on my races for 2013. Perhaps a bit too much fun at the wrong time of the year! I'm going to make a mental note NOT to plan on the following year's races until the present year is done. What difference does it make? I'm glad you asked!

My last race of 2012 was in late September and I didn't have any other races planned for the year. I joined a gym and started working on strength training with a personal trainer twice per week. I was on top of my nutrition with Isagenix and feeling amazing! But I had the inevitable itch to race with a bunch of running buddies. So, I began looking at potential races for 2013. I spoke with others about their experiences at races I was interested in. I did research on courses and distances. I scoured my calendar for acceptable weekends to participate. And then, I started registering for races. One in January, one in February in Virginia, my first 24 hour in late April, my first 50 miler in May and so on. I was SO excited!

And then, before I knew it, December hit with a bang. Ah, December. Full of good tidings, good friends, family, gatherings with yummy, er I mean evil bad foods and wine, family birthdays with cake...and the gym? Who the heck had the time or energy for the gym or even running when there was shopping to do, gifts to wrap, gatherings to attend, food to eat, and wine to drink!

Of course, the inevitable happened as well. I got a rotten cold a few days before Christmas. I thought I had kicked it by New Year's. I was tired a lot, had a tickle in my throat, and a dry cough but not a "regular" cold.

My first race of the season was on January 5th at RUN4RKIDS. An indoor 6-hour track race. I hadn't trained much and relied mostly on my base from 2012 to carry me through. The good news is I beat my distance from last year but didn't quite make my goal. I had my own personal crew member which really, really helped! (Thanks Jeff!) The bad news is that I got sick again or my cold was hibernating and decided to come out during the warm January snap just after the race! Whatever energy I had was almost completely wiped out.

Before I knew it, I was on antibiotics for both a sinus and ear infection and told to rest as much as possible. (I love doctors who say to mothers to rest, as much as possible, with a completely straight face). I haven't run since the RUN4RKIDS race and I haven't been in the gym since mid-December.

Which leads me to race number two in February. I made the decision today to defer my race fee to another race offered later in the year. This was definitely NOT in my 2013 plan back in October/November. I had to pause and be honest with myself though. I'm not even close to being ready for an 8-hour trail race in Virginia; I got through the 6-hour race mostly because it was indoors and flat. Driving 11 hours to Virginia, poorly running a race that I'd only chastise myself for later, and then driving 11 hours home did not seem like a good plan or enjoyable.

So not exactly the way I had planned the beginning of 2013! I'm disappointed in myself for not getting to the gym and training. However, I think I'm being smart about my races. Finally. I'm OK with saying I'm not ready. I have a lot of goals set for myself in 2013 and the fact is I need to concentrate on those specific goals. This February race would have been fun but it isn't going to help me get to where I want to be. Especially if it takes a toll on my self-confidence!

Again, reminder to self - no planning for races until the beginning of a NEW YEAR. January 2nd at the earliest!!

My focus now is on the O24 Trail Race in late April. My first 24 hour race. Held in Ohio, it's a 1-mile crushed-stone trail loop with a few rolling hills. My aim is 100 km. Ultimately, my aim is to finish with a smile on my face and no regrets!