Well folks, that time has come once again… 2012 is almost over! I’m so over 2012 and ready to ring in the new year!
I’ve reflected on 2012 about a million times by now and I’m sure that you’re all annoyed with me, but one last time! 2012 was a huge growing year for me. Perhaps because I hit that magic number of 25 and suddenly realized that I’m in my mid-20s and a “real” adult. For a long time I was rather unsure of what path I wanted to take in life. Throughout my undergrad years I really thought that medical school and becoming a physician was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. However, the summer I was supposed to apply to med schools I panicked and realized that I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life. I decided I would take a year off from school and try to figure that out. I finished undergrad a semester early in December and during the beginning of one of the worst economic recessions in the more recent years. That coupled with the fact that my mother was just diagnosed with a very rare and terminal disease left me a bit unsure of my future. My mother passed in late March right around the time I got my first “big girl” job. I worked at the large biotech company for 9 months as a temp and finally landed my current full-time job at the small biotech company I work for and have been there for the past 3 years. During those 3 years I started my course work for my Master’s in Public Health with the idea that I would go on to Physician Assistant school to become a PA. Throughout my coursework I became more interested in the obesity crisis plus I started to get more involved with the sport of triathlon. I have some issues with the modern medical system in the United States. I won’t get into details about it because I could easily go on for days on the topic, but in a nutshell, I don’t like how the system treats the disease by handing out pills when we really should focus more of preventing the problem from the start. Enter… the public health field which is more focused on preventative care.
To be completely honest, I get slightly annoyed when people ask me what public health is. It is a very valid question though. The field of public health is extremely broad and really one could do so much with a degree in public health. My interests lie in physical activity, nutrition, and chronic disease prevention. I only came to this realization this past year. That’s the reason that I pursued my certification in personal training. Personal training allows me to help people reach their health goals through exercise and nutrition. I realized as a personal trainer that I can help someone with nutrition needs, but not to the full extend that I wish to do. So, that’s why I want to eventually pursue more education (okay, maybe I just really like school) to become a registered dietitian. 2012 has been a great year in figuring out where my future career path will go. Now, that I rambled on about some things let’s look at 2012 by the months!
January 1st began my first day of training with a coach and an individualized plan to help me meet my goals. Previously I had trained with a wonderful group of women (and if you live in the Southern Maine region I highly suggest you check them out!), but with my goal of my first Ironman in 2013 and my big dream of someday qualifying for Kona, then I knew that I needed to work with a coach to develop an individualized plan based on my strength and weakness, my busy life with work and school, and also my race schedule and goals in mind. It was one of the best decisions I made all year. Certainly, it wasn’t a cheap investment, but it was extremely worthwhile and I made huge improvements in my training and performances throughout the year. January was also the time that I started to get really interested in nutrition and finding the best diet for me. One of the highlights in January was my heart rate test on the bike. You can read about it here!
I began the month with a nasty cold, which completely and utterly affected my 10-miler race early in the month. I have this stupid tendency to race while sick so I ran the Mid-Winter Classic sick. The first 4-5 miles I felt pretty good and was on target to meet my goal. Then half-way through it just went downhill – and downhill fast! I came really close to DNFing the race. It was not a fun experience and it only got worst later in the day when my clutch in my car went and I had to put over $2000 into fixing my car! February was not really a great month to say the lest.
March was a very tough month for my personally. The end of the month marked the 3 year anniversary of my mother’s passing and it affected more than I thought. I was also having some personal problems with a close friend so March was a bit of a roller coaster ride for me. However, I did have a huge 5k PR in March! I also got Azul, my new triathlon bike! That was by far the best part of the month! Who doesn’t want a fancy new bicycle! Happy birthday to me! 🙂
April was a month of a lot of running breakthroughs for me. I’ve always hated running. I was always under the impression that I just wasn’t meant to be a runner. Either you are a runner or you’re not. However, with
some A LOT of encouragement from my coach I finally had that breakthrough run I needed. My inner running goddess broke through that barrier and my running potential was unleashed! Yay! I had a HUGE half-marathon PR, mostly because my first half-marathon I ran sick.
I finally got my powermeter for Azul in May! One of the best decisions I made all year. Of course, the first one I received from SRAM was dysfunctional, but because SRAM has one of the best customer service experiences ever, I got my new and functional powermeter within a few days! Later in the month I did my first tri of the season. It didn’t go as well as I hoped. I made a lot of stupid rookie mistakes that I later kicked myself in the butt for. Oh well, the race was really for shaking out the cobwebs for the big half-Ironman in NH a few short weeks later.
June started out with a bang! I had my first Half-Ironman of the year – Ironman 70.3 Mooseman in New Hampshire. I wasn’t going to do this race originally, but the other Half I was going to do sold-out before I could register. I got sent into a panic over it and my coach suggested Mooseman. I was extremely nervous about the race because it’s one of the toughest courses in North America. The weather was sucky and that’s a understandment! Luckily it didn’t rain on race day! I had a decent race. I finished mid-pack in my very competitive age group (several of the podium finishers in my AG finished in the top 10 overall females for the day!) and I was pretty pleased with that result. I finished within a minute of my previous Half time from a MUCH easier course so even though I didn’t officially PR, I felt like it was a PR. At the end of the month I headed out to Ironman Lake Placid training camp with my fellow TriMoxie teammates and also athletes from Personal Best Multisport Coaching. It was one of my favorite experiences of the year. Not only did I get to meet some amazing people/athletes, but also got to interact with some great coaches and really decided if Lake Placid was going to happen or not in 2013. Camp was fun and a great learning experience. I learned some important lessons about Ironman training!
I started July off with a lovely summer cold, aka snotfest! However, I recovered and was able to race a local sprint tri in Norway. I ended up winning my AG and coming in 12th OA female for the day, even with a horrible run! I also rode the REV3 Half bike course for the first time as a recovery ride. However, I guess a 65-mile bike ride even at a slow aerobic pace is not considered a recovery ride. Sorry Mary! 🙂 The best part of July was volunteering at IMLP and cheering on all my friends and other local Maine/NH/MA athletes as they competed at IMLP and then signing up myself for the 2013 IMLP the next day! Although, I didn’t quite enjoy paying the almost $700 race fee!
August was a great race month for me. I ran my first 10k and first Beach to Beacon race. The race was executed exactly how my coach planned (which I totally didn’t believe her when she first gave me my pace goals) and I felt great overall despite the hot and humid weather conditions that left a lot of fellow runners on the sideline with heat exhaustion. At the end of the month, I raced my “A” race of the season – the REV3 Maine Half. I had a good race and finished 8th in my age group and finished top third-ish overall females. I’m slowly climbing myself towards the top of my age group, but I know that I have A LOT of work and improvements that I need to make over the years if I ever want to have a go at Kona and/or Vegas in the future. REV3 was my first real race – meaning that the goal of this race was to race for time and place and not just to finish. I think I did a pretty good job of that at this race; however, the race did show me where my weaknesses are in racing that I will focus on improving in 2013.
I entered the off-season in September. My plantar fasciitis and right hip problems came back after REV3. Honestly, I knew it was starting to come back before the race, but I continued to truck on my training and hoping that my body could hold out long enough to have a strong race. My original plan for September and the Fall months was to focus on running. Obviously, that didn’t happen with rehabbing my injuries. I spent a great deal of time focusing on strength training and yoga. September was a bit of a weird month for me. If you have been reading my blog for a while and/or know me in real life then you know that Bike Shop Boy was a big part of my life. However, somethings happened between us and we have gone our separate ways. I was really upset at the beginning because he was really a huge support system for me in my training and life; however, in retrospect, our parting was really a blessing in disguise. Of course, I truly wish him the very best in life.
Most of October was spent focusing on school finishing up my last class for my MPH and also writing my thesis paper. My advisor at school had warned me that working a full-time job and a part-time job and then taking 9 credits would probably be a bad idea. Of course, I have this little tendency to try to do everything at once and also do it well so I went about doing all 3 things. In the end, she was totally right that it was extremely tough, but I got an A in my last class and also on my thesis! Training wise I was still focusing on strength and yoga. I did get out for a couple of short bike rides and oh yeah, the Dempsey Challenge. That was a rather wet and cold 50-mile ride. I was suppose to ride the 100-miler, but due to the fact that my feet were completely frozen (despite the fact that I had worn heavy socks, plastic bags, and a set of toe covers and full booties!) my feet still got wet and cold. I also got a tattoo! 🙂
I began my new job as a personal trainer (and my third job!) on the 1st. I quickly worked up to having 7 clients at a time. When I began I wasn’t certified; however, I had been studying all year knowing that I did want to pursue becoming a personal trainer. When a trainer position opened at my gym I jumped on it and was quickly hired. I signed up to take my test and passed on the first time (which is rare for most people)! I also was focusing on finishing my thesis paper and working on my epidemiology project for my internship. November was a very busy and stressful month and unfortunately I know my own training suffered some.
Biggest accomplishment – I finished grad school summa cum laude and now have a MPH! One of the highlights of December was meeting Craig Alexander, aka “Crowie,” in Boston at his book signing. I’ve also been gearing up for some major changes in the new year, which you’ll all hear about in a couple of weeks!
So, that’s enough for today. Part Two will come tomorrow with some of the biggest highlights of my race season and also some of the biggest life lessons I learned throughout the year.