living in the now

Still rambling about running. Sometimes other things.

Filtering by Tag: hills

A new focus for Blue Ridge

Back in November when I was pacing my sister to her first sub 2-hour marathon, I realized how much focus I had lost with my own running. While doing things like the Disney Marathon and randomly changing races during the Runner's World festival weekend were fun, I hadn't set a hardcore goal for myself in more than a year. That was when I decided to set a goal for Shamrock after being mostly goal-less at year's race. It's also given me renewed focus on goals in general -- things like setting a goal of 1,000 miles for 2014 are enjoyable once again.

I don't know if I'll have the chance to PR at a half again this year, or what other PRs I'll go for, but it's so nice to be back in a state of mind in which future races have more meaning that just to run them.

The new Blue Ridge Half course, complete with a second major climb in the final few miles.

In a month, I'll be tackling another half marathon -- the Blue Ridge Half Marathon in Roanoke, Va. As similar to the past few years, I was actually signed up for the full, but lack of training for it, tired legs after Shamrock and taking most of last week off led me to what I think is a wise decision to do the half.

This will be my fourth time doing this half; in my previous three races I've come away feeling tremendously satisfied, but also disappointed. I've generally approached this race with no goal in mind ... just finish it ... have fun with it.

While having fun and completing this beast of a course have been nice, I'm ready to set a goal -- 1:50.

That almost seems crazy considering last year was just a little more than 2 hours, and the previous two were at 1:57 and 1:59. This year's race also incorporates the Peakwood neighborhood, so there's even more elevation change. I feel like with some focus over the next few weeks, though, that going for 1:50 is realistic.

I don't know how much I'll write about my goals and training -- life is quite busy with two kids -- but I'm putting it out there and ready to keep things rolling in 2014.

Now I'm off to find some hills to get ready ...

My not-so-secret love affair

Over on the #RunChat blog Scott and I have a "Things you love about running" blogging challenge going on with some great giveaways. It was one of my favorite contests last year that pretty much resulted after we both had a lull going on. It's one of those things every runner should do every once in a while — make a list of what you love about running. Valentine's week is the perfect time to do it.

Since I'm in somewhat of a blogging lull, I thought I'd come up with a (short) list too.

Disney Marathon start

1. The community Someone made a comment to me on Twitter the other day about "real runners" and that you're not a "real runner" if you listen to music. I call that out because I'm here to tell you those most runners do not have that attitude. The running community — both virtual and at races — is a strong one. The positivity that I see through the lens of #RunChat is amazing and grows stronger every day.

2. Snow I love a peaceful run the day after a snowfall.

3. Me time As great as the community is, I also enjoy how running can be such a solo act. If asked on an interview if I work better as a team or as an individual, I would draw the comparison to running.

Sometimes running with others makes me stronger and will lead me to produce a better result than I expected; the work I do solo, though, is what gives me the confidence to run in a group of like-minded people. That makes sense, right?

Also, just being out there without worrying about anything else in life is pretty nice.

4. Hills Yeah, I said that.

5. The new shoe smell It's kind of like that smell of a new car. It's one of those things you really don't encounter that much in life, so smelling shoes that haven't touched my feet yet is one of the great joys of running.

What's on your list? Head over to the #RunChat blog entry to find out how you can share yours and win great prizes.