2013…A running year in review…

What what does a year of not “training” look like?

# of Runs 170
Distance 1,095.88 mi
Time 221:09:74 (h:m:s)
Elevation Gain 90,999 ft
Avg Speed 5.0 mph
Calories 148,037 C
Avg Time per Run 1:18:03 (h:m:s)
Max Distance 35.89 (El Sendero 60k)
Avg Distance 6.45 mi

Lone running along back country roads of Central Texas during wee hours of the morning or the occasional tromp along a 3mi loop at Dana Peak Park in Harker Heights (boy has that changed).  I only ran about 2-3x per week at the beginning of the year and occupied another two days with spin class.   I ran because I wanted to.  The only race that was really on my radar was the Austin Half Marathon and Army Marathon, neither of which I was really “training” for.    If an opportunity came to run.. I would run.  Nothing more…nothing less.  The one thing that was true is that I enjoyed running.

The month leading up to the Austin Half Marathon, which was on February 17, was far from what anyone would call preparing.   The 4 weeks leading up to the Austin Half consisted of 10 runs and an average of 5.79mi (10.73 being the longest run).   Definitely not how you prepare for a race, but I did what I always do… I showed up… ran as hard as I could…and finished.   The odd part was, I actually set a PR on the Half this year (by 8 min) and averaged a 9:19 pace.   Perhaps I should not train more often or better yet.. maybe I SHOULD actually train… nah… I just wanted to have fun! 😀

AustinHalf

My training, or lack there-of, didn’t get any better in the following months.   From February 17th until April 21st (The Army Marathon), I bounced back and forth between a annoying knee injury and a rut in consistency.    In the 2 months that followed the Austin Half Marathon, I had run a total of 14 times, the longest of which was 13.59mi  (This was my LONGEST run to date) and with all of this training I was going to toe the line to the Army Marathon which was going to be my first marathon and my furthest distance run…EVER!    This was actually one of my favorite races of the year because my son Anthony ran it with me (sort of).   The joys of being 18… he ran even less than I did up to the Marathon and still finished 20min before me.    I finished the Army Marathon at 4:58 (had a 5hr goal).   While he was faster, he also didn’t walk for 2 weeks following the Marathon!   I was back to my normal non-training fun regime 2 days later!    After Anthony left me on the course, I spent the rest of my time running with one of my running partners.   Knowing that I wasn’t prepared for this Marathon in the least, I decided (that morning), that I was going to use the Galloway Method (run 3 min, walk 1 min) to get me through the race.  I know you shouldn’t try something at a race that you didn’t train with, but my logic was simple… I didn’t train so I was free to do what I wanted! 😀   Surprisingly, I think it really helped me get through the Marathon.   Despite my lack of training, as I made the final turn towards the climb to the finish line, I knew that I had accomplished yet another of my milestones!  The best part of the race was crossing the finish line and seeing my wife there waiting for me and cheering me on!  She means the world to me and love that she is always there to show her support when she can!  🙂

My son and I at the end of the Army Marathon

My son and I at the end of the Army Marathon

It was shortly after the Army Marathon that I was introduced to a realization…. Team RWB was looking to establish a Fort Hood Chapter!!  I had read about Team RWB and saw them running at several big races.   The camaraderie that they have and the support for veterans was unlike anything that I had ever saw in other organizations.   When I heard there was a Chapter coming to Fort Hood…I WAS THRILLED!!   I mean who wouldn’t be… I know I loved seeing them running with their flags… Now I too could be one of those runners!  😀  I discovered and welcomed Team RWB into my life… nothing was going to be the same again…

Welcome to Team RWB!

Welcome to Team RWB!

I joined the Team RWB Facebook, “Joined the Team”, got my shirt.. I was ready to go!   Team RWB Fort Hood here I come… but there was nothing…No camaraderie, no running with flags, no group runs.   There were some members, but nothing really happening locally.  Everyone was piggy-backing off of events from other areas.   I am not sure what drove me to it or why I did it at the time, but I wanted that to change.  I wanted to be a part of Team RWB and I was determined to make that a reality and to grow the Fort Hood community into something people WANTED to be a part of.   I had already begun talking to Georgina and expressed to her my interest in this from day one.  She probably thought I was insane (which may not be far from the truth).   One day I joined RWB and the next day I wanted to know how to make Ft Hood BIGGER!

Over the next few weeks I simply posted all of my weekly runs on their Facebook page trying to drum up support.  To this day, it was Team RWB that jump started my running and made me accountable again.  If I said I was going to run… I was going to run!    At this point, there were 3 of us ACTIVELY running.   Stef, Alex, Tammy, and I.   Stef and I would run regularly on the roads and Alex, Tammy and I would run on the trails (or at least I would try to run on the trails).   As I look back on it, I still to this day don’t know what jump started the Fort Hood community, but it has been gaining momentum ever since.   Our group runs, which at one time had 2 people, have no grown to 20+ people at times.   From not even having a foundation to grow on, there is now a leadership team, monthly socials, and almost 400 members.   I couldn’t be more proud and excited to be a part of this organization.   The rest of my adventures throughout the year are a result of that single day when I joined Team RWB.    I never expected to be involved with Team RWB to the extent that I am.  In fact, I don’t think I was ever “asked” to be an integral part of Team RWB.  I just pushed things along with the help of others and did what I always do… run.  The next thing I know, I was told I was the Chapter Captain.  I was honored and scared to death.  When in the world was I going to have the time for this too!  Somehow or another it all fell into place and I’ve loved the journey since!

1st Team RWB Ft Hood Social

1st Team RWB Ft Hood Social

Team RWB Ft Hood Softball Team

Team RWB Ft Hood Softball Team

Team RWB Ft Hood at Army 10miler Shadow Run

Team RWB Ft Hood at Army 10miler Shadow Run

Team RWB Ft Hood Monthly Social

Team RWB Ft Hood Monthly Social

Team RWB Ft Hood Holiday Fun Run with a unit on Fort Hood

Team RWB Ft Hood Holiday Fun Run with a unit on Fort Hood

Team RWB Ft Hood Christmas Run!

Team RWB Ft Hood Christmas Run!

What can I say… Team RWB Fort Hood has come a LONG way since May.  I can only imagine the things we will do and the places we will go in 2014!

From that first run with Team RWB until the end of the year, I accumulated 90% of my running and accomplishments.  While my year started off slow, the remainder of the year was made up by 151 runs (almost all of them with Team RWB).  I raced in 5ks, 10ks, my first 30k trail race, and eventually my first Ultra Marathon (60k).

It wasn’t simply RWB that gave me a push.   Once this all started, I read my first book on “Ultra running”.  It was the book “Got to Live” by Jay Danek.  This book was remarkable and so many of the stories and emotions that Jay wrote about in his book I could relate too.   The strangest thing happened while reading the book.  Jay described the pain and misery that he felt during some of his 100mi races and at that moment…I too wanted to experience that.  I wanted to feel the ups and downs of an ultra marathon and the accomplishment that follows upon completing it.  (What in the world was I getting myself into!)

Many people may look at Team RWB and think that it isn’t for them.  In face, when I joined, I joined simply to support veterans (and carry the flag on a run).   Never would I have imagined how Team RWB changed me as a person.  I feel closer to my wife, my family, and feel happier.   That is something that you cannot get anywhere else.  For that, I owe Team RWB a tremendous amount!

While I have grown personally this past year, I have also grown a significant amount physically.  I went from the feeling of death when running 5mi on the trail to completing an Ultra Marathon!  All in the 6 months that Team RWB Ft Hood has been “established”.   While I would love to say it was my training and dedication…it is far from that.   My training is where it is today because of Team RWB and more specifically Stef and Alex holding me accountable for my running and Alex pushing me on the trails!

The other REMARKABLE opportunity that took place this year, that cannot go by without mentioning, is the Team RWB Trail Running Camp.  This was 4 days of training and mentorship by some amazing professional athletes!  Not only that, but I finally had the opportunity to meet Jay Danek.  I learned a lot over those 4 days about myself, Team RWB, and trail running.    Just looking back at the professional athletes that I had the honor to run along side-of for 4 days was something that I will always remember.   These 4 days are also the only times in my life that I “could” run along side of them.  Any other time they would be nowhere near me while running!  In fact, one of the mentors at the camp ALSO did the El Sendero 60k.  We almost finished a loop at the same time!!   He was finishing his 3d loop as I was coming in from my 2d loop.   In the time that it took me to run 40k, he had run 60k.   For a moment during that loop…we ran together… Mind you… it was only a moment…a very very brief moment.

Team RWB Trail Running Camp

Team RWB Trail Running Camp

"Hoodlums" at the Team RWB Trail Running Camp

“Hoodlums” at the Team RWB Trail Running Camp

 

As the year comes to an end, one thing is certain… I am here today and going into my next year knowing that I have the most amazing woman by my side.   She has been through so much with me and I love her dearly… Not only is she my wife, but she is my best friend.

My wife and I...Love you Elizabeth!

My wife and I…Love you Elizabeth!

Watch out this next year!  I am coming in hard and strong… following a training plan… and I am going to take my running to the next level!

So what is next?   While I don’t have any “resolutions” for 2014… I do have some goals:

  • Run 2014 miles
  • Hells Hills 50mi
  • Cap’t Karl 60k Trail Series
  • Shave 1 1/2 hr off of my 60k time
  • Be a better me..

See you on the trails!

On top of the Appalachian Mountains in PA

On top of the Appalachian Mountains in PA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on December 31, 2013, in Trail Banter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Oh gawsh, means we better start running faster on the trails.

  2. Now that’s quite the year of “not training!” Congrats on a job well done!

  1. Pingback: Reflection | KandJColorado

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