2016 Race Recap

When I first began my approach to 2016, I dubbed it the ‘year of the half marathon.’ I had registered for a half dozen at the start of the year, and had big plans of knocking a few challenges off my list. I already listed out which races I did, but in looking back at the medals that I gathered over the year, I realized that I definitely had my favorites, and some that I’ll cross off the ‘been there, done that’ list. Here are some of the highlights.

My biggest goal for 2016 was to get the Rock N Roll Marathon series Southern Charm medal. Last year, it was in the shape of a jar of moonshine and was so flippin’ cute. The rocking chair for this year was initially met with some disappointment on my part (I didn’t realize the shape would change every year), but now that I have that heavy, shiny, medal in my possession, I love it. Add to it that it also means I earned the Double and Triple Beat medals (still waiting for my Triple Beat in the mail so it’s not pictured), made it even more worth it, but to then top it off with Savannah, the third race I needed to complete to qualify for it also happened to be my first full marathon? Well, it’ll be hard to top this collection of medals going forward. But I will say that my next favorite is easily…

Destination Races Virginia Wine Country Half medal. It’s a wine coaster. How cool is that? It can even detach from the ribbon. I’m excited to run in the Destination Races series again this year in the Napa to Sonoma race, though I’m debating doing another one just because they’re so fun. If you want to run for wine, you can get $10 off your registration by using the code ‘DRAMBNEWTON’ on any destination half marathon except for Napa to Sonoma, which is sold out, or the 10k.

IMG_1432
Wine Coaster medal from DR Virginia Half Marathon

I also love our local Tir Na Nog 5 mile race series and how their medals this year linked together. If you completed both the St. Patrick’s Day run and the Oktoberfest run, the two pieces are magnets and connect in the center.

The race that never happened? Apparently there always has to be one. Last year it was the dreaded Color Run. #neveragain This year it was Esprit de She which was cancelled due to weather. Last year the race had similar issues and they ended up dropping the 10k option and just making it a 5k. This year, they told us at the start line that it wasn’t happening. Totally frustrating and it was absolute chaos leaving, but we were able to get our medals from the volunteers. My girlfriend and I promptly went straight to the Y and ran our 5k on the treadmills. We then passed our medals to each other and ran out to the car in the rain. Crisis averted, but sadly after having been burned by that series two times now, we won’t be registering for it again in 2017.

fitnewton-2016medals
My collection of medals from 2016

As you can see, there were so many other medals and other memorable experiences, as well as races that didn’t pass them out so they’re not pictured. But I’m looking forward to some new races next year. I’m doing some different distances and challenges including…

The Krispy Kreme 5 mile challenge. Run 2.5 miles, eat a dozen donuts, then run back. All in under an hour. Totally doable, right? Ok, I’m nervous about the donuts… and the vomit that so many people have told me about. Just look up and inhale with your mouth…

The Tar Heel 10 miler. This is another first for me but I’m excited by one of my favorite distances. Usually in a half, by the time I pass ten miles, I’m itching for the finish line. But 10 miles? I’m just getting warmed up. Ha! Well, we’ll see, but I’m also an ambassador for that series. Use ‘TH10CHRISTINE’ for $5 off the registration for either the 4 or 10 mile race.

And of course, let’s not forget that I’m about to do the Disney Goofy Challenge next weekend. This might be my craziest goal yet, but I’m excited to cross it off the bucket list… and then never do it again. 😉

Here’s an overview of my fastest race times in 2016:
5k: Gigi’s Cupcakes 27:16
Half Marathon: Bull City Race Fest 2:09:41
Full Marathon (ok, only): Rock N Roll Savannah 4:46:02

Now to work on my next PR times for 2017!

 

 

Advertisements

Focus for 2017

We’re just a couple of days away from Christmas and then the looming New Year. I’ve been thinking more and more about 2017. How can I go into it with a more positive outlook? 2016 had ups and downs, and I learnt a lot about myself and what I could handle. I know I need to reprioritize a few things and change some areas of concentration. I stretched myself thin this year and definitely started to feel the strain of it all in the last couple of months.

First things first: my family.

fitnewton_familydec2016

Training for so many races meant that I was away for large chunks of my Sunday mornings. Part of my plan to fix that is running less intense races. The half marathon has been looking really good since finishing up this second round of marathon training. I’m focusing on quality instead of quantity, so I’m limited the races I’m doing. So far I have planned:

Races:
Disney Goofy (Half and Full) Challenge (in just two weeks!!)
Krispy Kreme Challenge
Tar Heel 10 Miler
Run Like A Mother 5k
Destination Races Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon
Gigi’s Cupcake Run 5k
City of Oaks Full Marathon??

Only having about half a dozen races, two of which are just 5ks, should really cut back on long trainings. I also want to ease back on my kids activities. At one point, Big Fig was doing gymnastics, swimming, AND soccer, all within a 3 hour period on Saturday mornings. While I love that he has the chance to try so many things, I don’t want him to burn out too. Not doing so much also gives us more time as a family and with our friends.

fitnewton_trains
Love moments like these!

 

I also want to really focus on my career. I want to continue to build my knowledge of my day to day role, as I’m in a field that’s constantly changing and evolving with technology. But I’d also like to get in some additional trainings and certifications that will help me to be a better category manager and have a better understanding of the field that I’ve been in for over a decade now. I don’t think I fully realized the value of certifications until I saw my husband get his project management certification, and then I went through my own fitness professional certifications. The latter really increased my confidence, as well as provided opportunities to be more efficient in my teaching. To be able to translate that into my day to day career sounds pretty exciting.

For fitness teaching, I plan to continue doing Piyo and water aerobics. They’ve worked really well with my current schedule and I like that both give me a good workout when I’d regularly be working out anyways. I also want to look into Barre Above, which I had tried at DCAC this past August and loved. All of those things are also excellent cross training with my runs, and have really helped me with my injury prevention.

My own fitness plan? I’m just going to keep up my runs, take some PiYo/barre, and then squeeze in something additional when I can, hopefully once a week… ideally some strength training or other cardio like cycle or Zumba.

From a nutrition perspective, I’m not changing much. Continuing to focus on eating out less (we currently only do it about 1-2x a week if you count lunch), for both healthy choice options and to cut back on costs. I currently stockpile foods like I’m preparing for an apocalypse, but I’ve been working hard to constantly cycle through what we already have in the pantry or freezer, combined with fresh produce. It helps me stay on top of my meal planning, watch our overall household costs, and just be more efficient with our time. The main thing I need to do is get back to less sweets and to my controlled portions of said goodies. Preparation and planning has been the biggest winning strategy to this healthy lifestyle, so I need to keep it up and keep focused in the New Year.

fitnewton_nola

Last, and certainly not least, I want to continue to focus on my friendships that have meant so much to our family this past year. Unfortunately, through all of this, I found there were friends who weren’t there, or who just kept taking and then manipulated situations behind my back. But, I also had friends that were there through thick and thin. They made the time to hang out, or understood when life was just crazy for all of us, but that we would all find the time when we could. It was an emotional year and while I blog about certain aspects of my life, or spend time on Facebook or Instagram sharing happy moments, I also try to keep the harder times closer to the vest or only share with those who are actually ‘there’ for me. Just because I don’t post those things online doesn’t mean I’m not dealing with them or coping in my own way. It really did help me to put some of those relationships into perspective, and I’m so thankful for my husband for also being there as my rock through it all.

fitnewton_runningladies

I’m excited for 2017. I hope that our nation can get it together, but I’m trying to have a positive outlook on the future. Here’s to family, friends, and a joyous new year!

Reflecting on 2016

2016 was a pretty crazy year. It had its share of ups and downs. Huge accomplishments, some disappointments (don’t get me started about November), and a whole lot of reflection and learning lessons. Long runs give you a lot of time on the reflection front.

I have run over 1000 miles (and counting as I train for my first race of 2017, the Disney Goofy challenge the second weekend of January), and approximately 13 races. At least, I have medals for 13, but I’m pretty sure there were one or two that didn’t give out medals that I can’t remember off the top of my head. Of the races that I could remember, they stacked out to equal:

5 – 5ks
2 – 5 mile races
5 – half marathons
1 – full marathon

Charleston Half Marathon
Rock N Roll New Orleans Half Marathon
Tir Na Nog St. Patrick’s Day 5 mile race
Rock N Roll Raleigh Half Marathon
Run Like A Mother 5k
Ramblin Rose Sprint Triathlon
Destination Races Wine Country Half Marathon in Virginia
Esprit de She 5k (race was cancelled due to weather while we waited at the starting line but still ran the 5k on the treadmill while it stormed outside)
Gigi’s Cupcake Run 5k
Oktoberfest 5 mile race
Bull City Race Fest Half Marathon
Rock N Roll Savannah Full Marathon
Rock N Roll Savannah 5k
Girls on the Run Reindeer Romp 5k

fitnewton_marathon

When I started the year, I never anticipated that I would even consider running a full marathon. By around June, my running buddy, Rachel, was campaigning hard to convince me that I was capable of it. I wasn’t entirely certain, but I knew that at some point I would be tempted by the Disney races. Ultimately, I decided that not only would I run Savannah as a full (as long as she promised to run it with me… I was convinced that there was no way I could do 26.2 on my own!), but that I would go ahead and sign up for the DisneyWorld Goofy challenge, too.

Through all of this, I spent the first half of the year working towards reaching my ultimate weight loss goal which was 110lbs down. I didn’t know if I wanted to stay at that weight, but as I got closer to my goal and knew that I could reach it, I figured I would let my body help guide me in what worked for it. I was able to reach my goal weight by around April and have since worked on keeping a form of maintenance. The pounds fluctuate, but I don’t feel limited in what I eat, though I always need to make sure I balance the good with the bad. It can be easy to fall into old habits, but my enjoyment of exercise definitely helps so that I don’t feel too guilty when I do over-indulge.

BeforeAfter100lbs

Around the same time, I realized that I really did like this exercise thing. And hey, maybe I’d want to teach it, too! So I started studying for my AFAA certification and as extra incentive to give me a target date, I signed up for PiYo Live and Schwinn Cycle certifications to supplement. The catch was that in order to have them count towards my AFAA credits, I had to take them after I passed the test. I haven’t taken a proctored exam since college so to say I was stressed was an understatement. But I studied, even while on a race road trip with friends, to get that passing grade.

A little over a month later, with lots of practice and friends that were willing to be guinea pigs, I was hired by my local Y to teach PiYo, water aerobics, and cycle. This involved completely stepping outside of my comfort zone – public speaking terrifies me! But I have gotten so much more comfortable in front of these groups and my classes and have gained so much confidence from the experience. Some classes still make me nervous (cycle) but it’s mainly because I don’t have the chance to practice teaching them as much to get familiar with it.

On top of all of this, I was balancing my family and work life! Two little toddlers running around and growing up so fast! My husband has been so incredibly supportive through it all. He has also been working hard to lose weight and exercise and has found a love for a local cycle studio that opened up by us. They know him by name and are so excited when he’s in class.

fitnewton_family

And as I mentioned there were a lot of learning lessons. Training for a marathon is hard. Not just the toll on your body, but it takes up SO much time. Long runs can be hours away from family and my energy isn’t always at the highest level afterwards. I’ve definitely come to learn that less is more – I’m becoming a big fan of the half marathon but with that, I know I don’t need to sign up for every race under the sun. Race days can also eat up a lot of time and I hate to make my family wait around for me at a busy finish line where parking and downtown traffic navigation can be rough thanks to closed streets. So I’m becoming a lot pickier about which races I do want to take part in and how long those distances should be. The chances that I’ll run another marathon after Disney are high, but it won’t be for a while.

I was also a coach for a local Girls on the Run team. It is such an incredible organization and experience that I couldn’t pass it up, and my company encourages volunteerism. I wish I had a program like GotR when I was in elementary and middle school. It was incredible watching the girls learn how to deal with so many situations that I still encounter as an adult. It’s a powerful tool to have those lessons and the awareness of those situations in your arsenal. I’m going to miss them in the Spring semester, but as part of my learning lessons, I know when I need to pull back and right now I know I want to focus on my family and my career as I kickstart 2017.

FitNewton-FathersDay

So with that, we are quickly approaching the holidays. Work has been so busy as our company gets ready to shut down for the last week of the year, and on top of that, our weekends are packed with activities with friends and family. I’m getting in some of my last training runs for Disney, but then I’m looking forward to a little time off from long runs. Not too much, of course, but runs that constantly reach the double digits will be on the back burner for a while. I’ve been thinking about my 2017 goals – because I always like to have targets to reach in my mind – but I’m also taking the time to slow down a little bit and enjoy the last of the year.

rnrsavpre

I am thankful for so many wonderful things in my life and in the life of my friends and family. I am blessed to have met so many wonderful ladies to call  “my crew” though this fitness and motherhood journey. Ladies I can laugh and cry with. Ladies who help push me at 6am when I don’t want to get out of bed, ladies who can help me see perspective in things that are getting me down – you really get to know people when you have long runs with them weekend after weekend. I am thankful for my handsome boys and husband. I don’t want to jinx anything or tempt fate, but I’m happier than I’ve been in a long while and I hope that I can channel this positive and healthy lifecycle to inspire others to find their balance and achieve their goals. Thank you for reading, I look forward to sharing more with you in 2017!