I had had a pretty decent half marathon with Steve in Charleston, South Carolina in January, 3 minutes off my PR at 1:46--Steve PR'd, and I was so happy for him. Considering the past year of injury and recovery, and it having been January, this is all great for a start to 2014.
The PR yesterday I attribute to a few things that I have changed and grown from over these last months. As all of us living in the midwest know, the winter of 2014 was brutal. It consisted of long, record-breaking cold, and tons of dark. It was depressing to be inside all day, running on a treadmill and then in an office. Fluorescent lights are soul-sucking!
However, it also probably helped keep me from injuring myself by running too much. Also, on treadmills I am able to push it, because I don't want to be bored (see earlier blog post "Treadmills and Triumph" from 2011).
More significant factors were, I think, running with my new friends on UNI FASTR (Faculty and Staff Team Running), having gone over a month without sugar, and adding more yoga to my training.
With FASTR, I've been running a better pace, more consistently--ie: 8:30 miles, which aren't that hard to sustain, rather than 9:45 miles, which is what I do alone, because I just do. :)
AND we have fun! This photo is at the new mayor's bridge in November, 2013:
With respect to cutting out excess sugar, my acupuncturist had suggested that some of my circulation problems and tightness were caused by stress and sugar. Of course, my quip was that the two go together as a vicious cycle! However, after a last cupcake and m&ms March 15, I stopped eating the cookies, cakes, cupcakes, candy that before I had always gone to as a reward for running, or because I was bored, or needed a break from my office at work. With one day of falling off the wagon because I was starving and brownies were present, all in all, I've felt a lot better. AND I really don't crave it anymore, either. It's true--the more sugar you eat, the more you want it. Of course, I still eat tons of carbs and sugar is in them--bread, raisins, etc., but I truly think that some excess, some thing that was holding me back, weighing me down, or keeping my muscles/circulation/VO2 from being efficient was too much junk. And I've always considered myself healthy! Vegetarian, tons of fruits and vegetables...Perhaps the next step will be veganism, a la Scott Jurek.
The added yoga--I'm trying to get in at least twice a week--has also helped keep me loose, relaxed, and stretched out. That, and a foam roller and The Stick!
Stay tuned for what I hope will be more insights from successful training. I've got the Twin Cities Marathon in October, and the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon in Boston coming up in early June!