I love new beginnings, Fresh starts. It's why I love New Years Eve, its the night every year that I spend mentally cataloging and closing out the ending year and preparing for a fresh new year. I used to love the innocent newness of a new school year.(Note: I DO NOT miss homework) Heck, I even get a bit jazzed when I wake up in the morning and realize that its a new opportunity.
Over the last few years, one of my favorite new beginnings has been the first day of a new running training cycle. Monday starts training for the Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon in November. Although I do need some 'just running' where I run the miles I want without a clear purposeful goal between training cycles, I'm always ready for the structure of a training plan. I haven't been on a structured plan since March. I spent June and July 'preparing to prepare'. I got a little more serious about Orange Theory and strength training, I got more focused on quality miles, and I cleaned up my diet. The diet cleanup has been a big focus over the last two weeks and I've realized I strayed further than I realized but it feels really good to be back to eating to fuel my goals.
Last year, I didn't run well at all at the Norfolk Harbor Half. Training started the week after we closed on our house and we were in the middle of painting the entire inside of the house ourselves and working with professionals to refinish the hardwood floors, paint kitchen cabinets, replace the kitchen counter, and more other improvements than I can even remember. In the middle of all of that, work was pretty crazy and suffice it to say that running took a backseat. The first week or two I held it together and got the miles in but as the miles increased by the week, I was getting spread too thin and running didn't always make the cut over an above keeping my run-streak alive. By the time we were moved and the 5 week overlap with two houses ended, it was tough to pull it together before the race.
I finished the half marathon but it wasn't very fun. I wasn't well enough prepared and it just felt so hard. I am so determined this year to have a different experience. I know Norfolk has the potential to be a highlight of the year and I'm looking forward to training really hard this year to make sure its the race I know I can run. So far this year, I've run a 5k PR and a marathon PR and I'm looking to add a half marathon PR to the list this fall.