December Update -Health? Wealth? Wise?

Just a quick update today, as today is my last day off until Christmas.  So little time left before the big day, and so much to do.

I actually just wrapped the first gift, of the many I have in the pile to do today.  That alone is an accomplishment just days before Christmas.  I am no a big preparer for the holiday, and never have things like shopping and wrapping done early.  I always have good intentions, but it never happens.

December is a time to celebrate our blessings, but let me tell you, This December has also been filled with curses for me.  I started to get sick two weeks ago yesterday, and remain ill.  Finally getting better, but it has indeed been a huge struggle.  I thought I was on the mend about a week into my illness, but then it took a terrible turn for the worse which put me in Urgent Care this week.  I finally got a diagnosis of pneumonia, and sinus infection coupled with bronchitis.  Don’t you know I have felt great over the past two weeks?  Yep, not really.  It has been one of the worst sicknesses I have ever had, and during the month of December when work is at it’s peak in physical demands, it has been really hard.

Obviously it has impacted my December running goals, and have only been out on the pavement seven times.  Racking up about 30 miles doesn’t really cut it when it comes to trying to regain my fitness and move toward that first marathon on 2015 in Feveuary.  I remain confident though in my ability to bounce back, and definitely have experience on my side when it comes to training.

So, it has been a rough month health wise.  Wealthy and wise?  I am surely not wealthy, but have had the opportunity to fine tune some creative skills this past month.  No judgements here please, but I am going to share a few photos with you of some of my creations.  I work in an environment where a multitude of skills are required at times.  Being in management, if someone on my team is out of commission, I need to step up to the plate and get his or her job done.  Look at some of the things I had to create over the past few weeks.

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Floral arrangements are not my forte.  Again, these were created out of necessity for customer orders.  All of the work is my own, and it made me proud to have completely satisfied customers.  Being able to show a creative side at work has been a huge plus on the wealth side this month.  Not monetarily, but self satisfaction.

As far as being wise?  As we head into a new year, I can say that yes, I have grown.  I have become more wise at work, dealing with staff and customers.  I have become a better friend, manager, brother, father and son.  I am better at maintaining relationships, through all life lessons learned.  I reflect more, and give myself time to think before reacting.  A lot of this I have learned through running.  I have learned these lessons about running, and during my runs.  Running gives me a lot of time to reflect, to contemplate, to relax.  It is a soothing activity for my soul, and I believe that I am a better person all around because of it.  My passion for running has certainly had amazing positive impacts on my life that go way beyond the medal placed around my neck at the finish line.  For this I am forever grateful and wiser for.

My Runner’s Christmas List

Funny that I’ve heard the calliope music of ice cream trucks the last two days, because isn’t this the cold season?  Isn’t this the time to bundle up on the couch in a nice warm house, watching the snowfall outside?  Maybe your in a place on the map like me, where it doesn’t snow that often, or at all.  Maybe you can get outside all year, and run to your hearts content.  I know I do.

As the Chsitmas season comes on full force, I am forced to come up with a list, because after all, you-know-who will be checking that list, not once but twice.  Santa Claus!  What could a junkie runner want that’s worthy of jotting down on a wish list for Santa?  A few things come to mind…..

1.  Another new pair of running shoes.  Asics Cumulus size 9.5 please.

2.  I dreadfully need new running shorts, because all the vinegar in the world can’t take the stink out of the ones I currently own.  And not just one pair of 5-7 inch inseam running shorts, how about 5 or 6 pairs Santa?

3.  Entry fees into a Half dozen marathons for 2015.  A can name quite a few off hand, and if you need websites, Santa, just let me know.

4.  A check to cover my travel expenses to places like Colorado, Chicago, NYC, etc., for my mini racecations next year.

5.  A new Garmin…. One with all the bells and whistles…. One that will work consistently for more than a year, please.

And finally…. The big one Santa!  The one I really want more than any other gift this Christmas.  If you must forego on #’s 1-5 due to the expense, I understand, but if you do, you must bring me #6.

6.  Please, please, please……..

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Unhappy Thanksgiving?

It’s always tough for me to get in the spirit of the holiday season.  Thanksgiving Day is supposed to usher in a season of goodwill, celebrations and thankfulness.  I’m sorry to admit it, but I’m just not feeling it.

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Does it make me a bad person?  I’ve just been feeling a bit jilted lately.  Feeling sort of like this turkey looks.  The doldrums.  Maybe I have some sort of disorder.  Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Lack of sunshine, colder weather.  Shorter days.  I’m sorry, I just hate it.  I think I need to move to, and live on the Equator.

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Can I please just live here?  Yep, I’m feeling distant, disgusted and moody today.  I think walking across this bridge right now would help uplift my spirit.  I’m feeling a very ungrateful Thanksgiving in my future.

Unmotivated

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December does it to me every year.  I should remember this, so as each November comes to a close, I am ready.

Cold mornings, and evenings that turn dark so early are my worst enemies.  I always have good intentions, but find myself taking way too much time off during December.  Why is it so hard at this time of year to lace up my shoes and get out the door?  I guess it’s because I hate running when it’s 30 degrees outside.  I guess it’s because I hate having to run home from work, have no time to relax, and try to get out the door for a run before the temperatures plummet as the sun sets and gets dark.  It’s just easier to say, I’ll run tomorrow, or I’ll just add some extra miles on the weekend.  I say to myself, “I’m not lazy, I run marathons”.  The cold months do not help my training plan at all.

Isn’t it just easier to stay inside where its warm?  Write about running, instead of actually doing it?  Historically, December has been a rough month for me.  Extra tough work, more physical work during the holiday season.  Trying to focus, and do extra things during the holiday season.  Christmas tree, shopping for presents, cooking, get togethers.  All things that take up extra time during the month.  What I really need is to run more, but I find it nearly impossible to make myself do it.  Last year I took a few weeks off in December to rest, and only logged 13 miles for the entire month.  I think this year so far I’ve run less than 40.  That’s an improvement, but not by much.

What do you do to stay motivated to run, or get your exercise during December?  Do you find it tougher to train in the Winter, like I do?  I would love to hear any tips you might have for finding that training focus during the cold, dark months.  Please share.

Christmas Quiz

Image Time for a quiz….. A holiday Christmas poll. As I get ready to put up my artificial flocked Christmas Tree, I figured I would post about the decorating details of this holiday.  I am going greener and minimalist this year.  I purchased, to the tune of $70-$100 per year, a freshly cut Christmas Tree for years, but over the past five years, have gone with artificial.  I had a white tree for three years, and then bought a flocked tree last year.  I use ornaments from years of collecting, sort of a tradition my mother started when we were growing up.  I buy five ornaments every year to add into the mix, so my tree has a different look every year.  Sometimes just blue lights, other years white lights.  I haven’t used multi-colored lights in a long time. So, here goes….. 1.  The tree.  Fresh or artificial?  Green or white? ImageImageImage 2.  How about ornaments?  Do you go with a theme, or use a mix of eclectic baubles? Image 3.  How about the presents.  Do you go maximum pageantry or go minimal?  Ribbons, bows?

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4.  How about indoor decorating?  Is every room decorated to the hilt?  Is it tacky and overdone, or smart chic.

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  And finally….. 5.  How about the outdoors?  I am not decorating outside at all.  Do you go simple or go all Clark Griswold?

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13 in 2013 complete!

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Way back at the beginning of the year, I wasn’t sure I would be able to put together a racing season like I just completed.  I was coming off a few injuries, including a broken foot from a car accident back in March of 2012, and pretty severe PF.  Last year at this time I took a full month off from running after the Skinny Turkey Half Marathon last Thanksgiving Day.  I was tired, broken down, and desperately wanted to heal, and feel good again.  This was the best thing I could have done for myself.  After I began to slowly train again after Christmas, I felt renewed.  I wasn’t sure what the new year would bring, but I was cautiously optimistic.

Last January, after completing many successful short runs, I decided it was time to set some goals.  My body was starting to respond well to training, so I thought, what the hell, lets’s set some lofty goals.  What came to mind was this.  My favorite number is 13.  I was born on the 13th, and so was one of my sons.  It just turned 2013.  Why not try to complete 13 Half and Full Marathons combined throughout the course of 2013?  I felt good about this goal, I felt it was doable, lofty, yet not over the top.  So there it all began, and my planning was about to begin.

My goal would kick off with the Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate, a race I had signed up for back in the Fall of 2012.  I also had an entry for the Blue Ridge Marathon already booked at that time, so I just needed to fill in the blanks to get me to the magical number thirteen.

Planning for race seasons is so much fun.  I wanted to try some new races this year, but also run some tried and true races from previous years to see if I could better my times.  The following list is my races that got me to my goal this year, and even beyond!

March 3- Asheville Marathon 4:08:47

March 17- Tobacco Road Half Marathon 1:41:10

April 14- RunRaleigh Half Marathon 1:40:21

April 20- Blue Ridge Marathon 4:04:59

May 19- NCRC Invitational Half Marathon 1:45:50

June 1- Lookout Capital Half Marathon 1:46:22

August 8- The 35th Tromptown Run Half Marathon 1:44:43

September 21- Johnson Lexus Half Marathon 1:43:43

September 27- Asheville Citizen Times City Marathon 3:45:12

October 6- RunRaleigh Fall Half Marathon 1:42:09

October 20- Bull City Race Fest Half 1:44:05

October 27- Hallowed Half Marathon 1:39:00

November 3- Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon 3:32:24

My goal was completed here at my hometown marathon!  13 in 2013!  And a new marathon PR to cap it off.  I did it!  But just for good measure, I decided to add another race to the mix, in case.  So, 14 days later, I completed another marathon, and joining an exclusive club along the way.

November 17- Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon 3:41:41

Just an amazing year.  I completed 9 Halves, and 5 Full marathons on my way to smashing my 2013 goal.  All I can say, is how in the world can I top that in 2014?  Time will tell.  Back to the drawing board, the planning stages.  Here’s hoping that 2014 will be injury free and fun as hell.

What are you planning for your 2014 running calendar?