The highlight of my year was without a doubt the Mountain Masochist 50 Miler... it was the pinnacle of my training, the culmination of a year's worth of training and building, one of those "pinch me because I can't believe it happened" type moments. Finishing with my husband by my side = PERFECT. I also had so many wonderful stepping stones along the way: I set new PR's in the mile, 5k, and 1/2 marathon. I survived three back-to-back 50k's without injury or burnout. I fell in love with trail running and enjoyed sharing mile after mile with my dear hubby. And somewhere in there too, I rediscovered the joy that is triathlon!
There were tough times too. Like that time I got majorly lost on that Promise Land training run, or overcame major GI issues to finish the Promise Land 50k (gosh that course must hate me or something). Let's not forget willing my way through the Iron Mountain 30 Miler when my body just wasn't cooperating. This year I overcame a year long nagging hip injury, overcame my fear of running in the dark and embraced rejection when I just barely missed out on running the Boston Marathon (ugggh, 6 seconds!).
Good and bad days alike, I still love all aspects of training and racing!
Numbers are cool, but when I think about success, I don't really count the miles I've run, times I've achieved, etc, etc. It's been a year of growing and stretching, both physically, mentally and spiritually...that to me marks success. As I ran this morning, I reflected on just how beautifully messy my life can be, yet I've learned to embrace the struggles, laugh at my silly mistakes and generally not sweat the small stuff. I'm more optimistic, more patient, and more balanced than I was in the start of 2013. I've learned to be less independent and accept support for others, to let go of control and just let life be... I'm hoping that will all work to my advantage as I look to tackle some new goals for 2014!
Preview of 2014
I'm certain that 2014 will be another fun year of training and racing! I've got some pretty fun goals ahead of me, some of which scare me to pieces... but that's okay! While my husband is making another round of the ultra-marathon series, I'll be setting aside ultras for a while and going a bit of a different direction. My general goal for 2014 is to race less, train more and build strength and endurance. I'll be kicking off my racing season with the Blacksburg Classic 10 miler in February and the Shamrock Marathon in March. Yup, I'm finally running another road marathon in March and I'm pretty pumped!!! I feel like so much has changed since my last road marathon and I'm interested to see how it plays out. There are other goals for later in the year... but we'll get to that later :)
Tomorrow begins 10 days "off" ... not exactly the most traditional training regime :) Really, we're heading to Haiti for our medical missions trip and we're both pretty excited to put our knowledge and energy towards serving others and to see how God uses us down there. Wish us luck!
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and endurance athlete residing in southwest Virginia alongside her husband and dog. Through this blog she aims to share favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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