Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012: A Year of Firsts

2012 was a really incredible year for me -- I didn't quite rise up to meet all the challenges I had set up for myself, but came close on all of them. Lots of product reviews, many new gear favorites. A return to racing, my first training plan (slightly more consistent training), and lots of fun new activities tried!

2012 Collage

One of the first new activities of the year was Snowboarding, in Breckenridge. Though I ended up enjoying myself immensely, it was also humbling, as it required fitness that I just didn't have. Some of the flow that is similar to surfing and skateboarding was definitely part of the experience, but so was an endless succession of faceplants into the snow.

Snowboarding at Breckenridge

Next up, canoeing! Not technically a new activity, but it had been years since I had paddled. It was a lot of fun fixing up an old canoe and then taking it over to the Dupage River to introduce the kids to the sport - they loved it.

Canoeing Dupage River

Laima and I finally took the plunge and signed up for a mud run, the Warrior Dash, in Channahon, IL.  We had a blast, it wasn't overly difficult, and I can't imagine a more pleasant introduction to this type of racing. Well, except for the taste (or lack of) of the Miller Lite we got after the race, just not good enough for that early in the morning.

Warrior Dash Illinois

During the summer, the whole family got to try Stand Up Paddleboarding, on the Galien River in Southwest Michigan. This is a sport I could get used to -- even if you paddle lazily, the upper body, abs, and core all get a workout, as does one's sense of balance.

Stand Up Paddleboarding Galien River

The big goal that I met was a completion of an ultra, The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K in Wisconsin. It wasn't my dream race in terms of studliness or feeling great, but I got to run with 2 new blogger friends and I finished, which was definitely up for grabs right up until I crossed under that finish arch.

The North Face Endurance Challenge Wisconsin 50K Finish
With Kim of Ilax Studio and Rachel of Running in Real Life

Along with the ultra, The North Face Endurance Challenge was also the first time we went RV Camping -- with a big family, this was a great way to introduce everyone to camping in a comfortable way. With two of us racing on consecutive days, it was also nice to have the fan going through the night, in order to drown out
campground noises and ensure a decent night's sleep. This is definitely something we'll be doing again!

A big part of my struggles at the ultra was my overall weakness -- while I was relatively fit from a running aspect, the effort really underscored just how weak I was in general. And thus began my new fixation, CrossFit. In December I finally overcame my fears and stepped into CrossFit Amplify, one of our local boxes.

CrossFit Amplify

At the beginning of 2012, I set as goals to both run and cycle 1,000 miles -- I fell short, but not by much. A late illness derailed my efforts, making it numerically impossible to reach (without possible injury). Totals for each goal:
  • Cycling: 895.50 miles
  • Running: 821.56 miles
2013 is a big year for me. In the fall, Laima and I will have been married for 15 years! Laima is also turning 40 (Cougar!..and Sexy Beast to boot). We'll be running the Chicago Marathon to celebrate both -- aren't we the romantics? :)

After years of paying lip service to nutrition, my main goal is to overhaul my eating, work a lot on portion control, and get my weight down where it no longer interferes with my efforts.

Equal parts brutal and outrageously fun, I sense that CrossFit is a path for me to become stronger overall, which will benefit me not only for basic fitness, but in all endurance efforts.

I'm really looking forward to 2013 -- a marathon, possibly more mud runs (the Color Run also looks like a blast!), maybe another ultra? Definitely more CrossFit -- my goal is not only to get stronger, but also to not embarrass myself at the beach. Yup, I'm as vain as the next. :)

How was your 2012? Plans for 2013?

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  1. What? You did not achieve your desired level of studliness?? Here's to an even better 2013!

  2. You did mix it up this past year, which makes for lots of fun. Excited about your marathon next fall--I think it's a GREAT way to celebrate a birthday and anniversary!

  3. 40... Cougar? In my book that's a young trophy wife... all relative I guess
    I am with you on the eating right. Less fat, cut sugar, 5 small meals a day and don't eat after 7pm.
    2013 goal? Keep on keeping on

  4. LOL! Love the paragraph about you and Laima's anni and running the marathon together this year :)

    I love that you tried so many things this year! I want my 2013 to be more like that! Although, we are going to Denver, and I will probably stick to the skiis. Hee hee hee. Steven wants to try snowboarding because he was so awful at skiing. From your description, maybe his snowboarding will be just as amusing to watch as his skiing was!

    So happy we got to run the ultra together!!!

  5. You you had an awesome year for sure! I look forward to following along again in 2013.

  6. LOL - beach vain-ness :) you guys sure went on a lot of family adventures this year! so close to the 1k's but better to be heading into 2013 with healthy legs and all. look forward to another year of awesome for you!


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