When I look back at 2014, I’m quite pleased with what the year has brought. I had no idea I’d run a full marathon, develop new running interests and tons of new running friends!
I kicked off the year with the Lost Dutchman 10k, then ran the Mermaid Half Marathon here in AZ and achieved a new PR – 1:50:06! I took home 3rd place in my age group for both races. Then I tried a race I hadn’t done before – the South Mountain Classic 20k. That was a tough course, but incredibly scenic. And somehow I managed to win my age group! This whole age group placing thing is very new to me, but I Iike it! Then, thanks to the influence of one of my new Twitter friends (more on that later), I finally took on the task of completing Marathon #10 – something that had been an unchecked item on my to-do list for the last 8 years! There were many other races this year, but running the Detroit Marathon was definitely a humbling experience!
Once I had accepted the challenge of running in the Detroit Marathon, it occurred to me that I would be doing the majority of my training in the worst of the AZ summers – July, August and September. UGH!!!! After slacking off for the first few weeks of my training program, I realized that I needed help and that came in the form of running groups. I joined a women’s running group that met at 5am Tues and Thurs. Even though their pace was slower than mine, I really needed the accountability of meeting them in the morning to get me out the door. Once I did a few miles with them, I was able to continue on and get the rest of my miles in. Thank goodness they were here when I needed them, and I’ll be back next summer for more!
I also started doing Sunday long runs with Cadence Running Company. It got me out on the canals bright and early (actually in the dark before sunrise). There weren’t many other crazy people training for races at that time, but it was enough to get me through it.
I was lucky enough to join an up and coming social running group called RunEatTweetAZ. I had been Twitter friends with the founder, and he recruited me to be a “Chief Running Officer” for the group. We’re a group of runners with a social media problem!
Throughout my marathon training I was running on canals or other paths with soft dirt as much as I could. Although I used to hate it and find it boring, I now appreciate the softer surface and wide open space. I seek it out as much as I can. I also got the opportunity to volunteer at the Javelina Jundred ultramarathon and holy moley it really made an impact on me. The setting in the McDowell Mountains on the Pemberton trail was so gorgeous. I definitely see some trail runs/races in my future!
What’s on deck for 2015?
- Hilton Head Half Marathon
- Leavenworth Oktoberfest Half Marathon
- Still scouting for another full marathon in 2015 - Tucson?
- Got bit by the ultra bug – thinking of doing a 50k!
Speaking of friends, I can’t say enough about all of the wonderfully encouraging people I have met through Twitter and these new running groups this year! They have exposed me to new things, new ideas, new adventures, and pushed me to new limits. You rock!
I recently was reflecting on my childhood and thinking about what sparked me to be such an active person. I am the youngest of 3 kids in my family. There is a decent age gap between me and my siblings, so by the time that I was 12, my brother and sister had moved away to college, etc. and I was virtually an only child.
My dad was always active – he liked to walk and play tennis. My mom, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. She was completely inactive, extremely overweight and had no interest in exercising. I saw what little energy she had and how winded she would get just walking around the room, and was determined not to follow in her footsteps.
Around the age of 12 or 13 I started doing aerobics at home in my family room. This was the 80’s, so my VHS was in full effect. (Think leotards and legwarmers) I also experimented a little with running, but didn’t enjoy it. I struggled to get my breathing right. I lived in Michigan, so I was forced to exercise indoors for a good portion of the year.
I had an extremely hearty appetite and was encouraged/required to clean my plate. So exercise was a must if I didn’t want to be 200 pounds in high school.
When I started running marathons at age 30, my parents were not all that supportive. They didn’t understand why I wanted to, thought it was a crazy idea, and that I was ruining my knees. I’m sure they were hoping that my first one would be my only one, but no – it was only the tip of the iceberg!
Both my parents passed away in their 70’s. I’m determined to stay active and healthy for as long as possible. I keep hoping that my high activity level will rub off on my son, but so far at 9 years old, he’s not all that interested and prefers to stay inside and watch TV and play computer games. Fortunately for him, he inherited his father’s extremely thin physique. I hope that one day something will click with him and he’ll be more interested in sports (and to run with me). I also hope that since he is so thin that he will discover weightlifting to make him strong.
All that being said, I know for sure that I am an inspiration to others who want to be active – whether it is walking, running or whatever!
What kind of role model are you?
Have you ever wanted to create your own custom food item? Or thought "if only they made it with ___ and ___ flavor, that would be awesome! " Well now you can! I was recently given the opportunity to try and review oatmeal from MyOatmeal.com, an amazing company that offers over 22 billion different combinations of oatmeal varieties! Any flavors you can dream of, you will find them there. They are all organic, don't use any chemicals, and only use natural ingredients.
I am not a fan of sweet oatmeal flavors. I like plain jane oatmeal. I often add my own peanut butter, banana and a little salt. So that’s what I decided to create. The choices are a bit overwhelming, but you really get to customize to your own taste. What could be better than that? You pick your type of oats, any special flavorings (from carrot cake to gingerbread an everything in between), any dried fruit, and any sweeteners you want. It can be as healthy or as sinful as you want!
I chose to add the following:
I tried my first bowl before a long run on the weekend. I wanted to get back on track after all the holiday eating. I ate it 45 minutes before running and felt great, it didn't weigh me down at all. I had great energy!
The customer service that MyOatmeal.com provides is fantastic. I was alerted throughout all stages of the process as to the status of my order - from order completion to packing and shipping.
I would highly recommend giving MyOatmeal.com a try and creating your own blend so that you are getting what you really want out of your oatmeal. And to help you do that, My Oatmeal.com is extending a special 15% discount when you use code RETAZ15!
But wait, there's more! You can enter to win your own 2lb. bag! Just head on over to Run Eat Tweet AZ's facebook page for details! But hurry, the deadline to enter is December 11! Good luck!
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!