2013 – Looking Back

What a year it was – I say that with a great deal of sarcasm, gritting teeth and even smiling. To me 2013 was a year of injury, contemplation, disappointment, frustration, introspection and change.

Take the bad with the good :-)
Take the bad with the good 🙂

I could stop writing here and the above links or images  would give a good over-view of what happened in 2013, when it comes to my running and social media.

Of course, I will not stop here; I want to add some details in.

Whine alert! I believe that I was on my way to a GREAT year running and in social media marketing, which by then had become inseparable. It was supposed to have culminated in successfully running the Marine Corps Marathon 30 years after I finished in 1983, as a “sponsored” runner.

That is until I screwed up in training (I did it – no one else), during the first part of May and then a few weeks later, raced too hard at the Miles for Mills 5K and partially tore my left Achilles tendon. That was when my house of cards came tumbling down around my ego.

You know that “Oh what could have been – the if only …” (fill in the blanks) kind of thinking and feelings. To be honest, being injured from May through November (that is how long I was rehabbing that damn thing) was frustrating and resulted in many unexpected changes to my running and life.

During the first half of the year my running and social media marketing work had become so intertwined, that I was having a difficult time separating where one stopped and the other started, which I know now was a huge problem. The injuries gave me a much needed timeout and reality check, that allowed me to look honestly look at what I was doing.

When I did that, I saw many things that I did not like about who and what I was becoming. I am going to leave it at that and simply move on with a smile on my face, with many lessons learned.


2013 Summary
2013 Summary

A quick look at my running stats since 2011 (after knee surgery):

2013                  2012                     2011

  • Total:                          1,773.38           1,861.9                   235.3
  • Total Runs                     307                   334                        94
  • Weight                           155                   148                      192
  • Average Run                     5.80                   5.52                     2.5

Total miles – Walked      933.11

*These totals do not include 12/31/13, one day is not going to make a big difference in any of the totals.

One of the things that I am proud of is my walking totals. I had over 900 miles of walking this year and I count those miles as my cross-training. I am not keen on strength training/weights, swimming, bicycles or other cross training options. I just like to run and I know that is my weakness, but it is what I do.

Nope, I did not set a lot of PR’s, but I what I am most proud of is that showed a lot of resiliency and bounced back from injuries and the tough times that I met.


The partial tear of my Achilles tendon and subsequent recovery dominated my summer, fall and winter running, changed a lot of what I did and I have written about it ad nauseum.

The injury
The injury – a cankle

I also found out that I have a Tailor’s Bunionette on my right foot, that is the reason for my pain or discomfort, on long runs, when I wear running shoe that are too narrow in the forefoot or has an overlay on top of the Bunionette. It felt good to find out that the issue with my right foot for all those years was not in my head, but had a reason, that I could do something about, with exercises and being more aware of what I wear for footwear.


I still cannot believe that I ran in over 20 different running shoes over the course of 2013, with varying degrees of success.

Running Shoes - For Better or For Worse

However, I did find a brand/style of running shoes that actually worked for me – Skechers GoRun Ride 2’s. I bought two pair of them and had zero problems running in them for any distance. Unfortunately, the update to the Ride 3, included a frigging overlay over my Tailor’s Bunionette and even though I liked everything else about the update, because of where the overlay was, I couldn’t run in them – which sucked. It means that I will have to squirrel away a couple of pair of the Ride2’s and keep looking for that shoe style that allows me to run long run without them bothering my right foot.

Due to the failure of the Ride 3 to work for me, I am now experimenting with the Pearl Izumi EM/N2 Roads. Although I only have around 30 miles on them, they have exceeded my expectations so far, especially at faster paces. Only time will tell if they will be as good as I hope they will be on longer runs outside (I just have to get some decent weather and the roads to be clear to find out).

TheWife bought me a Garmin FR10 last Christmas and I really, really like it.  This model does not have all the fancy bells and whistles of the higher priced models, so I use it more as a fancy running watch that gives me data that I can use after a run, rather than worrying about all the other data that a fancier one would give me, during a run (which knowing me would be a huge distraction, since I am a bit of a gadget freak).

The only thing that I really dislike about the FR10 is how long I have to wait sometimes for it to get a GPS signal. Which is frustrating as hell and makes my neighbors wonder even more about me – if they do not have enough to wonder about already. Especially, when I am standing at the end of my driveway dressed for a run doing nothing, but looking pissed at my wrist for 5-10 minutes and then start running. They must think it is a novel way to warm-up, when it is actually just GPS watch waiting.

Blogging/Social Media

The big thing I did was my decision to get out of social media marketing, close my other blog “A Veteran Runnah”, start “A Runnah’s Story” to get back to blogging for me, not some artificial online persona, who was starting to resemble me less and less.

Yes, my blog stats have gone to “hell in a hand basket”, I tend to take part sporadically (at best) on social media platforms that I used to frequent and you know something I am having a hell of a lot more fun running now than I did before I made that decision. My running is no longer my work, it has gone back to being something that I can simply enjoy. Being a crazy runnah.

My 10 most viewed blog posts since I established “A Runnah’s Story” back in August:

  1. It’s Gotta Be True – It’s On The Internet
  2. Using You Only Faster for My Spring Marathon Training Plan
  3. Starting Over – A Runnah’s Story
  4. Skechers GoRun Ride2 OG – 200 Mile Review
  5. Should’a, Could’a, Would’a
  6. First Snow of the Year and 10 Miles Done – RunLog 11-26-13
  7. First Look and Run in Skechers GoRun Ride 3s
  8. Skechers GoRun Ride2 – Made it Past 200 Miles
  9. 20 Pair of Running Shoes in 2013 – Oh My
  10. Racing, Running and Walking Are Different

Those may have been my most viewed posts, but they were not my favorite one. My favorite post did not get that many page views or comments – it was too personal and too long.

However, that is not why I shared my choices on here – I wrote it more for me to look back and remember the reasons I made the decisions that I made last summer.

Becoming a Barbarian Again

What were my goals for 2013 and how did I do?

1. Keep running fun – It is not a job.

Not too good during the first part of the year, I let my focus on preparing for the Marine Corps Marathon and getting so wrapped up in becoming a great social media marketer, that I let them consume my love for running. It got to the point where I felt I “had” to do this, I “had” to do that to prepare for MCM or how I wrote and blogged. After the injury, when I decided to not run MCM and discontinue A Veteran Runnah, it was done with pretty much a sense of relief. I know that since September that I have enjoyed my running more than I ever have.

2. Listen to the words of advice in my old tagline.

Be positive, be strong and keep smiling = great things can happen :-).

I did pretty well on this one, especially the second part of the year.

3. Be Me.

I think that when I created this goal that I unconsciously “knew” that I was going in a direction that I was unhappy with, but that I was too far into what I was doing, to easily slow or turn things around without upsetting the apple cart I had loaded up. After I finally figured out that I could not physically run the Marine Corps Marathon and was not renewed on my weekly blogging gig with Anthem, things became easier for me to change.

I did and I am much happier with the direction I am now going.

4. I will not sweat the small stuff

I am doing a better job than I ever have.

5. I will control my social media presence

Since September this has not been an issue, I take part when I want to and do not feel pressured to do so, if I am not on Twitter, Facebook, Google + or any of the multitude of other social networking sites or miss a chat, I don’t worry about it.

6. Improve my running form

I am not too concerned about my running form – whatever I am doing now seems to be working well for me. I don’t really care whether I heel strike or land wherever on my foot, instead, I have worked more on running efficiently, with my feet landing more under my bent knee and running tall. If I do those things, I think that my form will take care of itself.

7. Continue to participate in the social aspects of running

I still “talk” with other runners online, and take part in the chats that I want to participate in. I stopped racing for the year after the Rise ‘N Shine 5K in September. However, I have been active with the Central Maine Striders, doing weekly group runs and am getting to know more people in the local area than I have in the last 10 years.

My measurable 2013 Goals

  • Run at least 2,013 miles in 2013.
    Nope – didn’t make it, I “only” managed just over 1,700.
  • Run at least 300 days in 2013.
    Nope – I ran over 300 times, but did not run 300 days.
  • Run a sub 20:00 5K at the Joseph’s 5K in Fairfield in April
    Nope – I ran a 21:24 — missed the goal by 1:24.
  • Run a 10K sub 45:00.
    Nope – I have not run a 10K yet this year.
  • Run a sub 1:35:00 at the Rail Trail Half Marathon in Augusta in June
    Nope – Deferred the race registration due to injury in 2013 and have registered for the 2014 race
  • Run a sub 3:30:00 at the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. in October.
    Nope – I decided to withdraw and will not be running a marathon in 2014.
  • Run at least 13 races in 2013.
    Nope – Only 9 races
  • Stay under 150 pounds all year.
    Nope – I did not do it.

Even though I did not meet even one of my measurable goals, which in the eyes of many would mean that I did not have a very good year.

That assumption could not be further from the truth.

The reality is that

To me, 2013 was a very successful year, just not in the way that I envisioned, when it started.

I had highs, lows, disappointments, injuries and other setbacks this year, but through it all I have not stopped wanting to run and been resilient, mmmm more likely too damn stubborn about wanting to back to it.

Many of the choices that I made in 2013 were not easy, but I do believe they were the right ones for me.

I know that I am looking forward to the start of 2014 and finally putting 2013 in the rear view mirror.

2 thoughts on “2013 – Looking Back

  1. Catching up after being mostly offline since Christmas Eve. 🙂

    I agree – sometimes what looks like failure on paper is really important for other reasons. I think there was much that you did do to focus on ‘being you’. And ultimately that is what matters most.

    Personally I have enjoyed the blog and your perspective and just reading your stories throughout the year. Happy new year!

    1. Mike taking that break from Social Media and the online world is important. Thank you for the huge compliment and that is what i like about your blog too, the stories. They are a glimpse into the life of someone else and how they approach or do something differently (or the same) as I do. 🙂

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