2011: Looking Back

“It’s been an awful year, but it’s been the best awful year of my life.” So says one of the characters on the tv show Brothers & Sisters. (Since SoapNet started airing two episodes a day, I’ve been watching it. I watch everything on that damn channel.) That pretty much sums up my year. I’ve said more goodbyes than hellos. I’ve spent 10 months apart from my husband. It’s been a hard year. But even so, I can’t deny that there have been many wonderful moments. My year in review:

January -

Stephen left for Basic Training not long after the first of the year. I felt immense pride watching him swear in, and utter suck-itude riding the DART train home alone. We barely spoke that month, (noobs aren’t given phone privileges) but we did write each other every day. I checked the mail religiously. Never has a letter elicited such joy as when I’d get one from him. Other highlights: We got our first snow of the year, I tried out a few crock pot recipes, I ran a 5k, and I went with my mom to watch her get her first tattoo!

February -

Flashing that bling (aka my new Army ID card)

AKA the month that punched me in the stomach. We had a week of snow days. Some people like snow days, me, not so much. It meant a week home alone. My apartment flooded, and I spent a week without internet or TV. It was a really lonely month. My brother-in-law almost had his lung transplant (the lungs were deemed no good at the last-minute). Other highlights: I ran a 5k and got my Army ID card.

March -

The socks that helped me PR.

Things started looking up. I ran yet another 5k and earned my current PR of 26 minutes flat. Stephen finished the first portion of BCT, and had a weekend off. I didn’t go see him, but we were able to talk on the phone all weekend. Other highlights: spring break. I didn’t do anything, but then again, I didn’t have to!

April -

I ran the Big D half marathon and earned my current half PR. I also got to watch Stephen graduate from Basic Training. I have never felt so much pride in another person as I did that day. It definitely stands as one of my top 10 favorite days of all time. Not to mention, I got to bring Stephen home. It was only for a short time, but we tried to make the best of it. Other highlights: I ran two 5ks that month, one before Stephen came home and one that we ran together afterwards.

May -

My brother-in-law

In May we learned that Stephen’s unit was preparing to deploy and that I’d visit him in Germany, but I wouldn’t move just yet. (Up until this point I had assumed I’d be quitting my job. Guess not!) I kept Stephen company while he got his tattoo, and we ate a ton of food. When time was up, we said another goodbye as he flew to Germany alone. Not long after he left, his brother got a double lung transplant, for real this time!

June -

Brandenburg Gate

School ended and I spent the month in Germany, a week of which was in Berlin. It was an incredible experience. Despite the cost, the time spent with my husband was priceless. Other highlights: I made the flight all on my lonesome and survived changing planes in Frankfurt.

July -

A Florida sunset from my vacation.

I flew home at the beginning of the month. It was the most painful goodbye I’ve ever said, knowing that my husband would be leaving for war and having no clue when I’d see him again. I started this blog to help us keep in touch and to fill my time. Other highlights: I spent ten days on vacation with my dad in Florida.

August -

Hottest Half finish line photo.

I ran the hellaciously hot Hottest Half. I definitely did not PR, but I did throw up. That’s pretty memorable in my book. The next day, it was back to work. I met my wonderful crop of new students and my student teacher. Other highlights: I sold my car, and Geronimo started running with me.

September - No races in September, just a lot of eating out, moping around, and worrying about my soldier. I trained for the Tyler Rose half marathon, but didn’t run it.

October -

Stephen came home for R&R. I took a lot of time off of work so that we could be together. We ate every delicious food known to man, visited his family and friends, and got in a lot of cuddling. After he went back to Afghanistan (boo) I threw myself into running. I ran a 5k and a 10k at the end of the month. Other highlights: We celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary and ten years of togetherness.

November -

Another month, another race. I ran my first 11k. I also DNS the Turkey Trot despite having a baller turkey costume made by my mom. Thanksgiving was a very difficult day for me. The deployment blues hit hard especially after Stephen relocated to a line company. Other highlights: I picked out all my spring races and got a tattoo.

December -

My student teacher finished up his time with me. I ran my 7th 5k of the year. I focused all my training efforts on The New Years Double. I ran with other people and I walked a very rainy half marathon. Hanukkah and Christmas were surprisingly enjoyable. I spent a lot of time with family and friends. Other highlights: We paid off our credit card debt, and I was featured in the sports section of the Dallas Morning News.

I’ve faced some very difficult challenges this year, but I feel like I’ve also proven myself. I have done things that I never would have done if I could have avoided them: Traveling alone, dealing with car rentals and hotel reservations,  racing my tooshy off, calling up my apartment complex and giving them a piece of my mind, saying goodbye to the man who I love again and again and again. All things that I thought I couldn’t handle, but I can.

I hope that I am able to channel this strength into 2012. There’s still a ways to go in this deployment and a lot of challenges to face in the new year. (Command sponsorship, hopefully a move to Germany, and many more races to name a few!) I hope 2011 treated you right. Here’s to a kick ass 2012!*

NYD: Race Goals

Day one of the New Year’s Double is tomorrow. (My gag reflex activated at that thought.) I have run plenty of races, but this will be the first time I have ever run back to back half marathons. I’m nervous!

I’ve had some goals floating around in my noggin’ for a while, but I like to wait until a race gets close before I make them official. (You never know how training will go, if injuries or illnesses will pop up. Those things effect my goal making!) Drumroll please, my NYD Race Goals:

1. PR on the first day. My current half marathon PR is 2:13:04. I’m aiming for a sub-2:10 finish. According to my calculations, I need an average pace of just under 10 minutes for each mile. I know I have that in me. It’s just a matter of execution.

2. Go full throttle on the second day. I don’t think a time goal is realistic for day two, but I don’t intend to take it easy. I want to see what my body can do. Barring injuries on day one, I plan to leave it all out there on the second day.

3. Run my race. I always make this a goal because it’s always hard. I need to ignore people going fast out of the gate. I need to restrain myself from passing people just because I can. I need to focus on my first two goals and run in a way that will help me achieve them regardless of what the other runners are doing.

4. Finish strong. This is another goal that I make for every race. No matter how bad I’m feeling, I like to run the last half mile full steam ahead.

I’ve been drinking gobs of water and taking it easy the last few days. I intend to do some stretching and carb load tonight. Doing my usual pre-race routine takes the edge off and helps get me in the right mindset for the big day. How do you mentally prepare for races? Do you have any goals that you regularly set for races?*