I’ve been wanting to do a post of the highlights of 2013, and after a week of balancing life with a bit of writing here and there, it’s finally here. Late as usual, but still here! Check out Rachel, Erin and Abby‘s more timely posts looking back at their 2013. Maybe a new year’s resolution should be to post sooner?
I came to the conclusion that my aches and pains in my right hip and right heel at the time were most likely due to stress elsewhere. I also described my goals for 2013: no pressure, just hope. Looking back, I’ve not stuck to any of those goals, although I did work toward them most of the year, apart from trying a triathlon. It seems my running would really take off in 2013, so the triathlon aspirations were just that: aspirations.
I wrote about how we went vegetarian for a while because our holiday eating consisted of a lot of meat. I also tried thinking like a yogi when I was running, (I really must do that more often. A bit difficult to do when you run with friends all the time), to help me enjoy the moment and take the negativity out of the run. Pat and I also went to Germany for a week to visit his sister, her husband and their four kids. Plenty of time for hugs, kisses, cuddles, stories, laughter and good, German food!
In true Danielle procrastination fashion, I wrote about losing my CrossFit virginity in February with Rachel. I so wish there was a CrossFit gym closer to my house than Aberdeen; with my Olympic lifting background and love for new challenges, I would be all over it. I also wrote a post celebrating my 33rd birthday (also in February) and the 33 things I’ve learned in life so far.
This month saw me run the first race of the year: the very difficult and extremely hilly Balmoral 10km. Amy, Wendy and Nanette from running group joined me, and we got some nice treats at the end. This sub-par finish, 1:01:xx, fueled my desire to continue to race and improve my times.
Pat and I went on a ski trip to the Italian Alps at Courmayeur. We loved every minute of it, and have vowed to go back and do it all over again. I also had an epiphany after a doctor’s appointment, where I found out that while my weight had remained the same throughout the year, I was a little discouraged about it with all the running I did. Then I changed the way I thought about my body, and wrote a post celebrating everything it has done so far. This was one of my most commented on posts to date, pretty proud of it.
This month started with race #2 of the year and a new 5km PR at the Dunecht Dash! Pat also joined.
May was also the month I started the Bum Belly Blast programme to increase my cardiovascular fitness and start the weekend long runs. I also came to some revelations about food, eating, running and making changes. It was time to stop eating whatever I wanted and thinking that running low distances was going to eventually help me be lean over time. I also included one of my favourite chicken recipes too.
This was a big month for me: I was studying for the Life in the UK test, as part of my permanent residency application, and bought a GPS Garmin! I got it just in time for the Montrose 10km, where I PR’d again, kind of. I passed my test with flying colours, and wrote about how my foot chip Garmin was unreliable, thus leading me to buy the GPS one. I learned some lessons from the Bum Belly Blast programme, like don’t take a cold bath, still wearing your tights, with your mobile phone in your back pocket. I ran my first virtual race (and my first 10 miles) with Rachel, and also the worst 10km ever by the beach in Aberdeen. Overall, a busy month with lots of racing and beautiful weather!
Pat and I went on a whistle-stop VW campervan tour of the Western Isles of Scotland (also known as the Outer Hebrides), where we hoped to enjoy the stunning scenery and surf at beautiful beaches. Instead, we spent most of it trying to avoid the gale force (would we go so far as to call it that?) winds, that felt like they were going to tip over the van at night.
The beautiful summer weather on the east coast continued, and after a massage appointment, where I met a first-time runner, I was inspired to write an advice post to new runners. I had the people at Supplement Centre write a guest post on the top 10 protein sources for runners, and as a result, made one hell of a delicious turkey burger. This burger ruled our summer. I also did a bit of Old School blogging, and started training for the Aviemore Half marathon, my first time doing 13.1.
The beautiful summer weather continued!!!!! So atypical for Scotland. August was also the start of my Half Mary Musings posts, also known as my half marathon reflection posts. During week 2 of training, Pat and I bought a Tiffany lamp and were asked to work at the open walled garden at Glenbervie Estate (where he works). This month, I also read the book French Children Don’t throw Food and made one incredibly easy and delicious cake .Week 3 of training saw the reappearance of chaffing and a day trip down to Edinburgh to Ikea, the zoo and our favourite Chinese restaurant, Chop Chop. I ran race #6 of the year, the Forfar 10km, and continued to make progress into week 4 of training. The month ended with a delicious meal out with my colleagues to Jamie’s Italian in Aberdeen, and week 5 of half marathon training, where I began to learn the value of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Half marathon training continued into week 6, where I bought a solution to the chaffing, did my first progression run (8 miles too!), and Pat completed his first triathlon. I wrote a non-training post this month too, in tribute to one of my favourite foods and ingredients to use in the kitchen: peanut butter! Week 7 of half marathon training was my first easy week, which was welcomed because I had started teaching a new subject (English), and needed time to plan and work. Week 8 concluded with me buying my first pair of compression tights and watching the thrilling conclusion to the 2013 Great North Run, where I became a Mo Farrah fan. Week 9 saw my longest run to date (11 miles), the progress continued and I made some delicious wild rice. I ran the Arbroath PTA 10km with the lone goal of negative splits and I achieved that goal! September concluded with week 10 of training, which was full of support from friends near and far, and when I finally learned to run smart!
Race month! But first, I had to complete week 11 and week 12 of training. The race itself was incredible! I ran strong and surprisingly fast, and finished faster than the 2:10:xx goal I had for myself (13 seconds faster to be precise). Pat ran it in 1:58:xx, and it was nice to join Rachel in a non-10km race for once. Although my knees were killing me during the majority of the 13.1 miles, I still loved the entire experience. I also had some final thoughts about the entire training process.
As a finishers gift to myself, I bought my first pair of 2XU compression tights!
After the glory that was Aviemore, I had developed a deep like for longer distances, so I ran the Dundee Road Runners Templeton 10 mile race with my friend Wendy; this was her first 10km+ race. It was a very hilly course, but we persevered and ran a good race. We also got a surprise race t-shirt at the end!
As if a 10 mile race wasn’t enough, I ran race #10 (and my final race of the year): the Lifeboats Reindeer Run 10km at Glamis Castle. I FINALLY got a 10km PR with this race, and ran the best race of my life so far. I also met Allison 🙂
November was also the month I made the big switch from Blogger to WordPress and haven’t looked back. Although my audience is once again smaller, it’s safe to say that the views on this URL are people genuinely wanting to read what I have written rather than looking for a porn website (or so the feeder URL’s would suggest). I also made my first roast beef dinner, and with the leftover meat, made some delicious and hearty beef and barley soup.
I started the #RWrunstreak and Travelettes Instagram holiday challenge to improve my social media presence, only to have to end the run streak due to too much pain and wanting to run strong in 2014. I had a horrible day at work, but figured out a way to get over it. And I shared my family’s recipe for stuffing, just in time for Christmas.
In non-blogging news, Pat and I went to Germany to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. We had a day out in Bremen, visiting the Bottcherstrasse and all its beautiful architecture.
After quality time with family over Christmas, we headed to Berlin to visit a friend my mine from University. We had the most incredible New Year’s Eve day, that finished with a hipster-themed party in West Berlin:
2013 was an epic year: created new limits for myself and did many things I never thought I’d be able to do. It’s incredible what happens when you take a risk and just go for it, and when you believe in yourself.
Next up: the best run I’ve ever had and our time in Germany