I HAVE MOVED

After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.

Harold

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What Is Happening In 2014

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 31, 2013


There is light after the storm

I am going to do things a bit different.

Well actually a LOT different in 2014, than I have in the past when it comes to my running.

Okay Harold, we have heard this crap before, you are going to change your running and that is so going to change the world!

In other words what in the hell do you want to try this time - Harold?
What I want to do

This article gives a pretty good overview of the direction I am sort of heading. In other words - no S.M.A.R.T. goals and focusing more on "just doing" or the process. This is a huge change for me and I know that many out there will disagree with my decision to do this, however, it is a change that I feel I have to make.

So I will:

  • Run,
  • Have fun,
  • Work hard,
  • Stay close enough to my training plans,
  • Do my best,
  • Don’t get injured,
  • Don’t die (Inside joke – yes I am a member of the Idiots Running Club),
  • Then repeat.

Yes, I have things that I want to do, but I do not feel that I need to say I am going to run a certain time for a particular distance or race. I have found that those kind of goals did not work for me in the past and that when I attempt to use S.M.A.R.T. goals for my running (yes, I know how to develop and use them - I was a Special Education teacher for 10 years and it was part of my job to develop S.M.A.R.T. goals for my caseload).

When using S.M.A.R.T. goals I tend to focus too much on the goals I have set, forget about enjoying the journey to get there and if I do not make the goal, blather on and on, about my failure(s).

Which is unfortunate, because often the journey to the goal is often more important than simply achieving a measurable goal.

What do I want to during 2014:
  • Avoid injuries
  • Use and comapre the McMillan and Hanson Half Marathon training plans to see which one works best for me
  • January – Run - Central Maine Striders January Thaw - Belgrade
  • February – Run - Joshua Chamberlain Half - Brewer
  • April – Race - Race the Runways Half Marathon – Brunswick
  • April – Race - Joseph’s 5K – Fairfield
  • May – Run - Sugarloaf 15 - Kingfield
  • June – Race - Rail Trail Half Marathon – Augusta
  • June to August – Volunteer at the Quarry Road Trail Race Series
  • July to September – Run the Bond Brook Trail Race Series
  • September – Race - Rise ‘N Shine 5K – Augusta
  • October – Race - Maine Half Marathon – Portland
  • October - Run - Treadfest - Augusta
  • November – Base Building
  • December – Base Building

There is a difference between racing and running in a race and I want to enjoy going to races more, than trying to race every one. Which means that I am not going to race as often, but I am going to run in a lot of races and go have fun at them. However, if I miss one of the above races, I am not going to get all upset by it.

I am sure that I will pick up a few other races over the course of the year, especially a few more trail races.

Other Changes

I am going to start using Strava as my primary online running log, instead of the Garmin site. I just like Strava's interface better, the only thing I don’t like is the constant in your face reminder to go pro, but unless I find a specific need, I will stay with the free site. I still plan to upload to the Garmin site once every couple of weeks, but just as a backup.

Strava Screen Shot

2014 RunLog Spreadsheet

2014 RunLog

There are some minor changes to formatting and I have added a column to score each run numerically to give me a little more information and show patterns. By having my spreadsheet I am able to have access and control my own data - just in case. I know that sounds old-fashioned, but you never know the changes that might happen to a website – any website, so I am more comfortable doing it this way.

I will keep blogging about my daily runs, but it might be a little more sporadic when it comes to routine runs that are on Strava and I share on Facebook or Twitter that way.
Focusing on What is Important

Sometimes we get so caught up in measuring what we are doing that we forget why we are doing it.

For me running is very simple – I do it because:
  • I can
  • I want to
  • It is something that I enjoy doing
  • It helps me stay at a decent weight
  • It is my social outlet

Running can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it. In 2014 one of the things that I do want to accomplish is make my running and things I do related to running more simple.
The reality is that

My running successes or failures are not major news wire stories or running mags top news and are not really all that important to anyone but me. I am not going to win any major or minor races, break world records and I am certainly not going to make my living as a professional runner.

I know that I am a middle of the pack runner and am just an old fart who has run for a long-time. As I keep getting older, I have begun to finally realize (reluctantly) that I need to re-focus my running, to make it so that 30 years from now I am still enjoying running.

That doesn't mean that I won't work hard, try to run fast (for me) or do dumb shit from time-to-time, but it does mean that some changes were necessary. I think that I have identified and started the process to make some of the changes that I need to do.

I am sure that I will find more things that I will change during 2014.

One thing that I have to remember and that I forgot or more likely ignored over the past couple of years is that:


For most of us, focusing on improving our training methods, possibly finding a coach, getting to a healthy racing weight, eating right for you and developing mental toughness will give you more bang for your buck and do more to lower times than the style of running shoes we wear or the gear that we use.

Sometimes we focus too much on the gadget/gear side of the running equation, when the answer is a lot more simple.
Just Run!

Having all those measurable goals and objectives was making running too much like work, which is the last frigging thing that I want my running to be about. Then when I couldn’t meet my S.M.A.R.T. goals for whatever reason, it stressed me out, because I was “supposed” to meet that goal. Yes, I am also a recovering Type “A” personality and still have issues with that old - if I say I am going to do it, by damn I will!

It will be interesting to see how this year goes without using the S.M.A.R.T. goal system that I have used so unsuccessfully for so many years. It is definitely a huge change for me, and it will be interesting how this former Special Education teacher will adjust to going without S.M.A.R.T. goals and if it makes a positive difference to my running in 2014.

That is the great thing about being a runner, we get to try all kinds of different things and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't, but it tends to work differently for each of us.

Here is to a GREAT year of running in 2014.

What do you want to change or accomplish in 2014?

2013 – Looking Back

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 31, 2013


What a year it was – I say that with a great deal of sarcasm, gritting teeth and even smiling. To me 2013 was a year of injury, contemplation, disappointment, frustration, introspection and change.
Take the bad with the good :-)

I could stop writing here and the above links or images would give a good over-view of what happened in 2013, when it comes to my running and social media.

Of course, I will not stop here; I want to add some details in.

Whine alert! I believe that I was on my way to a GREAT year running and in social media marketing, which by then had become inseparable. It was supposed to have culminated in successfully running the Marine Corps Marathon 30 years after I finished in 1983, as a “sponsored” runner.

That is until I screwed up in training (I did it - no one else), during the first part of May and then a few weeks later, raced too hard at the Miles for Mills 5K and partially tore my left Achilles tendon. That was when my house of cards came tumbling down around my ego.

You know that “Oh what could have been – the if only …” (fill in the blanks) kind of thinking and feelings. To be honest, being injured from May through November (that is how long I was rehabbing that damn thing) was frustrating and resulted in many unexpected changes to my running and life.

During the first half of the year my running and social media marketing work had become so intertwined, that I was having a difficult time separating where one stopped and the other started, which I know now was a huge problem. The injuries gave me a much needed timeout and reality check, that allowed me to look honestly look at what I was doing.

When I did that, I saw many things that I did not like about who and what I was becoming. I am going to leave it at that and simply move on with a smile on my face, with many lessons learned.

Running


2013 Summary

A quick look at my running stats since 2011 (after knee surgery):

                      2013          2012         2011
Total:             1,773.38    1,861.9     235.3
Total Runs        307            334           94
Weight              155            148         192
Average Run        5.80           5.52        2.5

Total miles - Walked 933.11

*These totals do not include 12/31/13, one day is not going to make a big difference in any of the totals.

One of the things that I am proud of is my walking totals. I had over 900 miles of walking this year and I count those miles as my cross-training. I am not keen on strength training/weights, swimming, bicycles or other cross training options. I just like to run and I know that is my weakness, but it is what I do.

Nope, I did not set a lot of PR’s, but I what I am most proud of is that showed a lot of resiliency and bounced back from injuries and the tough times that I met.

Injuries

The partial tear of my Achilles tendon and subsequent recovery dominated my summer, fall and winter running, changed a lot of what I did and I have written about it ad nauseum.


The injury - a cankle

I also found out that I have a Tailor’s Bunionette on my right foot, that is the reason for my pain or discomfort, on long runs, when I wear running shoe that are too narrow in the forefoot or has an overlay on top of the Bunionette. It felt good to find out that the issue with my right foot for all those years was not in my head, but had a reason, that I could do something about, with exercises and being more aware of what I wear for footwear.

Gear

I still cannot believe that I ran in over 20 different running shoes over the course of 2013, with varying degrees of success.



However, I did find a brand/style of running shoes that actually worked for me – Skechers GoRun Ride 2’s. I bought two pair of them and had zero problems running in them for any distance. 

Unfortunately, the update to the Ride 3, included a frigging overlay over my Tailor’s Bunionette and even though I liked everything else about the update, because of where the overlay was, I couldn't run in them – which sucked. It means that I will have to squirrel away a couple of pair of the Ride2’s and keep looking for that shoe style that allows me to run long run without them bothering my right foot.

Due to the failure of the Ride 3 to work for me, I am now experimenting with the Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Roads. Although I only have around 30 miles on them, they have exceeded my expectations so far, especially at faster paces. Only time will tell if they will be as good as I hope they will be on longer runs outside (I just have to get some decent weather and the roads to be clear to find out).

TheWife bought me a Garmin FR10 last Christmas and I really, really like it. This model does not have all the fancy bells and whistles of the higher priced models, so I use it more as a fancy running watch that gives me data that I can use after a run, rather than worrying about all the other data that a fancier one would give me, during a run (which knowing me would be a huge distraction, since I am a bit of a gadget freak).

The only thing that I really dislike about the FR10 is how long I have to wait sometimes for it to get a GPS signal. Which is frustrating as hell and makes my neighbors wonder even more about me – if they do not have enough to wonder about already. Especially, when I am standing at the end of my driveway dressed for a run doing nothing, but looking pissed at my wrist for 5-10 minutes and then start running. They must think it is a novel way to warm-up, when it is actually just GPS watch waiting.

Blogging/Social Media

The big thing I did was my decision to get out of social media marketing, close my other blog “A Veteran Runnah”, start “A Runnah’s Story" to get back to blogging for me, not some artificial online persona, who was starting to resemble me less and less.

Yes, my blog stats have gone to “hell in a hand basket”, I tend to take part sporadically (at best) on social media platforms that I used to frequent and you know something I am having a hell of a lot more fun running now than I did before I made that decision. My running is no longer my work, it has gone back to being something that I can simply enjoy. Being a crazy runnah.

My 10 most viewed blog posts since I established “A Runnah’s Story” back in August:
  • It’s Gotta Be True – It’s On The Internet
  • Using You Only Faster for My Spring Marathon Training Plan
  • Starting Over – A Runnah’s Story
  • Skechers GoRun Ride2 OG – 200 Mile Review
  • Should’a, Could’a, Would’a
  • First Snow of the Year and 10 Miles Done – RunLog 11-26-13
  • First Look and Run in Skechers GoRun Ride 3s
  • Skechers GoRun Ride2 – Made it Past 200 Miles
  • 20 Pair of Running Shoes in 2013 – Oh My
  • Racing, Running and Walking Are Different

Those may have been my most viewed posts, but they were not my favorite one. My favorite post did not get that many page views or comments – it was too personal and too long.

However, that is not why I shared my choices on here – I wrote it more for me to look back and remember the reasons I made the decisions that I made last summer.

Becoming a Barbarian Again
What were my goals for 2013 and how did I do?

1. Keep running fun – It is not a job.

Not too good during the first part of the year, I let my focus on preparing for the Marine Corps Marathon and getting so wrapped up in becoming a great social media marketer, that I let them consume my love for running. It got to the point where I felt I “had” to do this, I “had” to do that to prepare for MCM or how I wrote and blogged. After the injury, when I decided to not run MCM and discontinue A Veteran Runnah, it was done with pretty much a sense of relief. I know that since September that I have enjoyed my running more than I ever have.

2. Listen to the words of advice in my old tagline.

Be positive, be strong and keep smiling = great things can happen :-).

I did pretty well on this one, especially the second part of the year.

3. Be Me.

I think that when I created this goal that I unconsciously “knew” that I was going in a direction that I was unhappy with, but that I was too far into what I was doing, to easily slow or turn things around without upsetting the apple cart I had loaded up. After I finally figured out that I could not physically run the Marine Corps Marathon and was not renewed on my weekly blogging gig with Anthem, things became easier for me to change.

I did and I am much happier with the direction I am now going.

4. I will not sweat the small stuff

I am doing a better job than I ever have.

5. I will control my social media presence

Since September this has not been an issue, I take part when I want to and do not feel pressured to do so, if I am not on Twitter, Facebook, Google + or any of the multitude of other social networking sites or miss a chat, I don’t worry about it.

6. Improve my running form

I am not too concerned about my running form – whatever I am doing now seems to be working well for me. I don’t really care whether I heel strike or land wherever on my foot, instead, I have worked more on running efficiently, with my feet landing more under my bent knee and running tall. If I do those things, I think that my form will take care of itself.

7. Continue to participate in the social aspects of running

I still “talk” with other runners online, and take part in the chats that I want to participate in. I stopped racing for the year after the Rise ‘N Shine 5K in September. However, I have been active with the Central Maine Striders, doing weekly group runs and am getting to know more people in the local area than I have in the last 10 years.

My measurable 2013 Goals:

  • Run at least 2,013 miles in 2013.
    • Nope – didn’t make it, I “only” managed just over 1,700.
  • Run at least 300 days in 2013.
    • Nope – I ran over 300 times, but did not run 300 days.
  • Run a sub 20:00 5K at the Joseph’s 5K in Fairfield in April
    • Nope - I ran a 21:24 -- missed the goal by 1:24.
  • Run a 10K sub 45:00.
    • Nope - I have not run a 10K yet this year.
  • Run a sub 1:35:00 at the Rail Trail Half Marathon in Augusta in June
    • Nope - Deferred the race registration due to injury in 2013 and have registered for the 2014 race
  • Run a sub 3:30:00 at the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. in October.
    • Nope - I decided to withdraw and will not be running a marathon in 2014.
  • Run at least 13 races in 2013.
    • Nope – Only 9 races
  • Stay under 150 pounds all year.
    • Nope – I did not do it.

Even though I did not meet even one of my measurable goals, which in the eyes of many would mean that I did not have a very good year.

That assumption could not be further from the truth.
The reality is that

To me, 2013 was a very successful year, just not in the way that I envisioned, when it started.

I had highs, lows, disappointments, injuries and other setbacks this year, but through it all I have not stopped wanting to run and been resilient, mmmm more likely too damn stubborn about wanting to back to it.

Many of the choices that I made in 2013 were not easy, but I do believe they were the right ones for me.

I know that I am looking forward to the start of 2014 and finally putting 2013 in the rear view mirror.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nike Free 4.0 v3 – 50 Mile Review

A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 19, 2013



Nike Free 4.0 v3

Well actually it is more like 75 mile review, but oh well, I wanted to do a few more miles in them before I wrote about the Nike Free 4.0v3 to be sure of how I was feeling about them.

Why, Harold you have run in the Free series before (3 times), so you knew pretty much what to expect when running in them - right?

Yeah, but…

The more I run in them, the more ambivalent I am about them. I like many things about them and then again, I am starting to “remember” why I did not keep running in the Nike Free’s.
Let’s back up for a minute.

I got the Nike Free 4.0 v3 more because I needed wanted a pair running shoe’s now and they had worked for me in the past. Not because I was all hot and bothered to go out and get another pair of Nike Free’s.


When I bought the Free's I was frustrated (let’s be honest – I was pissed and disappointed) about the update to my favorite running shoes not working for me and when I went out to get another pair of my old shoes, the last pair in the area had a defect that made it so I would not buy them.

The Nike Free 4.0 v3’s were the only running shoes that fit me well enough to buy immediately, that was in the local area. I didn’t want to drive down to Brunswick, Freeport or Portland to find a pair of new running shoes (looking back with that 20/20 hindsight – I should have).

This was not a rousing way to start your relationship with a pair of running shoes, getting them because they are the last shoe’s standing, instead of “I want that running shoe”. It usually means that I end up with a pair of shoes that see a lot more closet or locker time, than time on my feet.
So how have they worked out for me?

In a word

Meh

They are running shoes that I can run in, but not the shoes that I want to grab and go run in for most of my runs.

What in the hell are you talking about Harold?

The Good
  • The Nike Free 4.0 v3 is a fast feeling running shoe for me and I want to run faster than my training plan has me running for now. Which is a good thing.
  • They are comfortable (for the most part) and are a great looking running shoe – at least in my opinion.
  • I really like the uppers on the Free’s 4.0 and it works well in the winter to keep my feet warmer (probably too warm in the warmer weather though).
  • When I run on the treadmill, I like them a lot and they are very comfortable for running up to 7-8 miles.
  • They were in that $80-100 price point that I don't like to go above.

The Bad

It is definitely a rock collector; they live-up to the Nike Free (series) reputation for gaining weight during a run and having to empty the sole unit out after each run. This is more of an inconvenience than anything else.

Harold stop it – be honest. The way that the Nike Free sole units are designed the shoes collect small rocks and pebbles, which often ends up being a pain in the ass during a run. Especially when you have to stop and clear out a rock that is poking through to your foot or clicking on the tar with every step, then after the run having to clean out the sole unit of all the crap in there.

The Nike Free 4.0 is not quite wide enough in the toe box for me to run long distances comfortably in them.. After 7 or 8 miles, my right foot begins to get uncomfortable, the discomfort has not quite gotten to the level of pain, but at the same time, it diverts my attention from just running, to thinking about when is my foot going to start hurting. In other words, I am thinking more about how my foot is feeling or how I “know” it will feel if I keep going, instead of focusing on just running. I am not a good enough runner to do too many things at once and the level of distraction that I have after a while in these shoes, gets to be too much.

During our recent Deep Freeze on a 11+ mile run (yes my right foot bothered me the last few miles), the temps with a wind chill were below zero and by the time I got to the 6 mile point, the rest of the run felt like I was running on boards, not a fairly cushioned running shoe. However, I did learn (the hard way) that I still do heel strike more than I want to admit, because my heels hurt for 2 days after the run. Which is a good thing to know and will help me think about what shoes I will get in the future. 

Nike Free 4.0 v3 Sole View

The tread doesn’t work worth shit in the crappy outside winter weather running (which is the way it is until after sometime in April). If I run outside in snow/sleet/ice or slush in these shoes without something like YakTrax over them, I am going to be on my ass quickly. They are definitely more of an indoor or 3 season shoe for me.

Unfortunately, when I run longer distances in the Free’s, I do notice that my hips bother me a lot more than, when I run in my other shoes, even though the other shoes have over 400 miles on them. Historically, this has been an issue I have had with the Nike Free (series).

The reality is that
The Nike Free 4.0v3, is a good shoe, that works for a lot of runners and deserves more respect than I am giving it.

Nike Free 4.0 v3

However, while they sort of work for me and do okay up to around the 10K mark, they do not do what I really want from them, which is to be my primary running and training shoe.

I expect a lot from my primary running shoe: run my long runs, be able to handle tempo paces, recovery runs and even some easier trail/dirt road running. I know the prevailing theory is that you have a multiple running shoe rotation to change the muscle usage, but I still prefer to have a primary running shoe that I do 80-90% of my running in and then niche shoes for racing, trails or track workouts.

Unfortunately, when you buy a pair of running shoes more because you are frustrated and they are not really what you wanted or need for the conditions you will be running, it is hard to get all excited about running in those shoes.


They will become my gym/treadmill running shoes and when the weather warms up next spring, I will use them for faster paced workouts outside on the track and tempo road runs up to 6 miles or so, which is more what they are designed for and where they seem to start bothering my right foot too much.

Conclusion


Do I like the Nike Free 4.0v3 – yes, but no I do not love them. They are a running shoe that I will use as a niche shoe in my running shoe collection, but they are not the primary running shoe I want to run in for most of my runs.
Nike Free 4.0 v3

I guess the comment that says it best – I do not feel as though I want to run in them, but that I can run in them and there is a huge difference between the two for me.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How was My Year of Running - 2013

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 12, 2013



Running at the 2013 Joseph's 5K - photo by Sue Morris

Each year Amanda over at Miss Zippy blog, puts together a series of questions to get us thinking about how our year has been.

What was your:
  • Best race experience?
  • Best run?
  • Best new piece of gear? 
  • Best piece of running advice you received?
  • Most inspirational runner? 
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Here are my answers to her questions:

Best race experience?

The 25th Annual Joseph's 5K in Fairfield, back in April, I ran a post-55 PR and finished 4th overall. 

However, it really wasn't about how I did that made this race the best race experience, the best part of the race was seeing people who I hadn't seen for a while and the whoopie pies I got for winning my age group. Julie you did a GREAT job as race director for this race and everyone who volunteered to help out was awesome!

Quarry Road Trail Race Series.
Even though I didn't run in a single race, it was definitely the best race experience that I had this year. It was a weekly trail race series that I volunteered to help with at Quarry Road from June to August, while I was injured.

I got to meet so many great people during the series, many of which I still see, friended on Facebook and some I run with now. I got to see running from a different side and give back to the sport that I love, which is something that I believe we all need to do.

Racing to me is doing your best during a race, then interacting and enjoying the company of those who are at the race either as runners, spectators or volunteers. Racing to me is becoming more about the people we meet there and how we treat one another that makes the race experience great or not, not time you run or where you place.

Best run?

Although it ended in a partial tear of my Achilles tendon, without a doubt it was the The Miles for Mills 5K Race on May 27th. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do. I think that that post says it all and yes I would do it again, even knowing what the result would be.

Best new piece of gear? 
 
Timex Ironman Watch. I know going old school and back to a simpler time. I got this as a present and found it invaluable when I was coming back from my injuries. It allowed me to just focus on running, instead of worrying about my pace, splits and all that other stuff that we worry about during a run, when we wear a GPS watch. I still use it on my recovery run days or runs that I really just want to relax and not worry about anything but the run during the run and still have the time to put in my running log.

Skechers GoRun Ride 2 running shoes, they did everything I wanted from a pair of running shoes. I just thought that shoes are a different group and deserve their own mention.

Best piece of running advice you received? 

Be who you are now, not someone else or who you used to be. Comparing what you do as a runner at 56 to what you did at 26 makes no sense and is not productive to being the runner you can be now.

Most inspirational runner?

Travis Mills - a disabled veteran that I met on May 27th at the Miles for Mills 5K in April.

Travis Mills in the Miles for Mills 5K

The picture says it all. Any words I try to use would only diminish what he is doing.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be


Patience - to know that having an injury is not the end of the world. That even though it doesn't seem possible you can and will return from it, sooner if you have the correct mindset/attitude and be willing to follow the PT's recommendation (well for the most part).

Maturity - Learning to grudgingly accept that as you get older, you have to change expectations and especially training methods to keep improving or even keep running. It sucks, but it is the way things work whether you like it or not.

Actually, it has been a pretty amazing year, that has had highs and lows, problems and injuries to overcome, along with time to just enjoy life. There have been a lot of changes this year and as the year comes to an end, I am very happy with the direction that those changes are taking me.

I have a feeling that 2014 is going to be an amazing year and that the things I learned and the strength gained (both mentally and physically) will help me become a better runner and person in 2014 and beyond.