Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 11 things from 2011

1. First place age division in the following events: Buffalo Run Half Marathon (Catalina trails, 1/22/11); Bandit 30K Trail Run (Simi Valley, 2/20/11); LA Kings 5K (3/5/11); Catalina Marathon (3/12/11); Bishop High Sierra 20 Mile Trail Run (5/21/11); Malibu Canyon Dirt Dash 10K (9/24/11).

Bishop High Sierra, with Lisa

Bishop High Sierra 20 mile trail run

Catalina Marathon

Malibu Dirt Dash

Los Angeles Kings 5K
2. Second place age division in the following events: Malibu Dirt Dash Mud Run 5K (9/24/11); Gladiator Rock 'n Run 10K (10/1/11).

5K and 10K awards at Malibu Dirt Dash
Gladiator Rock 'n Run

3. Third place age division in the following events: Race on the Base 5K (2/26/11); Race on the Base 10K (2/26/11); Kona Marathon (6/26/11); California Wine Country Marathon (10/16/11).

Ready for the heat (and humidity) of battle in Kona!

There was no whining after we all received age division awards at Wine Country Marathon! Bottles of wine, of course!
4. Coach John Medina. Designing training plans, showing up at races, holding the stopwatch in all types of weather conditions during weekly track workouts, handing out cheerful high-fives, repeatedly correcting our running form, understanding when a runner simply isn't having a good day, gently reminding us of our often overlooked improvements, encouraging us to push it just a little faster, and his words of praise after a successful event.

An unexpected appearance by Coach John armed with a camera at the Malibu Dirt Dash!
Coach John and his "angels" in Kona, Hawaii
5. Goats. In October, I began my reign as Queen of the Santa Monica Mountain Goats. For about 30 years, this group has met at a different trail every Saturday morning. Unlike other running groups, this one is free, and there are no pace or distance requirements. Everyone starts together at any pace they want, then after 60 minutes, we all turn around. No one is too fast or too slow to be a part of the group, and everyone is welcome. Being asked to be the "shepherd" of this "herd" was quite an honor. I can't describe how happy it makes me to share the beauty of the trails with others, seeing the joy on someone's face after a successful trail run, and the sense of "family" I've experienced now thanks to being the "mother" of about 40 "kids!" Baaaah!

A little "tough love" for the herd!

6. Arkady (there are six letters in his name, that's why he's number 6, but he really belongs in the top 3 because most of my accomplishments would not have been possible without him.) Best training partner ever. There's a fine line that separates being too "talky" from so much silence that I might as well just run by myself, and he gets that. He doesn't smell, he doesn't ask dumb questions and he respects the "no discussions while running uphill" rule. These may seem like little things, but if you've ever trained with someone who didn't possess these qualifications, you'd realize they are indeed critical. He's much faster than me, but he also has the patience of molasses. Before we met, he transformed himself from having a body composed of 40% fat, to completing multiple marathons (in under 3 hours) and triathlons and Ironmans, so he's an inspiration. (Sorry ladies, he's taken!)

7. Lorenzo is the biggest part of the algorithm which composes my life (okay, my life is really struggling with basic arithmetic, but algorithm is a word better suited to describe him). He completed his first half marathon in June at Kona and his second half marathon in northern California a few months later in October. In every single race photo, he is smiling and/or dancing.

8. I joined Crossfit Hollywood. (Crossfit has 8 letters, that's why it's number 8 on this list). It's a gym with group workouts that are timed. Every day, the workout is different. Every day, the workout is very very challenging. Since joining, I have noticed that I've not only become physically stronger, but mentally tougher.

9. The Paleo Diet - but I don't like to think of it as a "diet" because I'm not trying to lose weight. It's a way of eating (no grains, no dairy - just meat and fruit and vegetables). I was introduced to it in April during a "30 Days in the Cave Challenge" at Crossfit Hollywood. Since I embraced it, my energy level has not only gone up, but more importantly, it has remained at a nice even constant level throughout the day. No lethargy after meals, no sugar spike hyperactivity.
10. An entire year of no alcohol (almost). One of my resolutions was to avoid drinking alcohol for the year. This wasn't brought on due to concerns about my level of drinking, because I'm really not a drinker. Rather, I realized that as I grow older, the need to preserve the few remaining brain cells that weren't obliterated during my "terrible twenties" became more of a necessity. Knowing that this was the year that included a significant milestone birthday right in July, I stated this "No Alcohol" rule with a very clear and unambiguous disclaimer: "EXCEPT DURING MY BIRTHDAY." Keep in mind that the birthday location would also be my first trip to Hawaii, and a trip to Hawaii isn't officially a trip to Hawaii without at least one Mai Tai on the beach. So other than three days of what could best be described as "pressing the boundaries of what is normally considered socially acceptable levels of alcohol consumption," I did remain alcohol free for 362 days of 2011.

11. Everything. All of the above. A year of placing either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in my age group in EVERY event in which I participated is a pretty nice way to soften the blow of turning 40. More importantly, having a new sense of energy based upon my food choices allowed me to train, sleep, and live more efficiently. And more than that, creating physical strength I didn't think I would ever have boosted my confidence. And even beyond that, avoiding alcohol will now allow me to fully cherish each of the many magnificent memories that were created this year...   
I can't wait to see what 2012 will bring.