I can say without any hesitation that 2013 has been my best year ever.
My daughter turned one in March and watching her grow and learn new things every day has been my greatest joy in life. I never thought my heart would be capable of holding that much love for someone. I have a great job that allows me to be creative every day. I’ve reconnected with old friends and had some wonderful times with family. My yoga practice, which has been such a big part of my life for the past 6 years, has blossomed into something that I am even more proud of than I ever was before.
This has also been the year that I found myself in running. In one of my healthy living groups online everyone was always talking about it and I was always very adamant about how I was not and would never be a runner. I was never athletic growing up. I never played a sport after 6th grade and the only reason I did it back then is because my class was so small that we all had to be on the team. My mid-30’s seemed like kind of a ridiculous starting point. If someone had told me in January that I would have run in 2 half marathons by the end of the year and would be looking forward to a full marathon in the spring I never would have believed it. It’s funny how life works sometimes.
So anyway, with 2014 looming, I wanted to share my running journey for this year. It starts in April. Gosh I’m still such a newb.
I wish I knew the exact date that I got on that treadmill for my first run so that I could celebrate the anniversary of that moment a few months from now, but it seemed so insignificant at the time. I was bored of the elliptical and just wanted to see how fast I could do a mile. It took me somewhere around 10 minutes and I was exhausted when I was done, but I felt GOOD. I started to hop on the treadmill for a mile almost every time I went to the gym. One day I decided to do a mile and a half. And then two miles. I still did not consider myself a runner, but I had definitely been bitten by the bug.
Pretty soon I was running three miles at a time on the treadmill without stopping which was something I hadn’t done since 2007! I realized that I was losing weight, which was an unplanned, but very pleasant side effect. I decided I wanted to sign myself up for a race and to challenge myself I chose a 10K. It was a small event downtown called the Run in the Sun which would be held in late July and I was such a ball of nerves over it! 6.2 miles seemed so huge and scary.
After weeks of hemming and hawing, I purchased a Garmin Forerunner 10 and it quickly became one of my most prized possessions. I started tracking my mileage on June 15 when I took it out for a maiden voyage: 4.3 miles in 43:44 or a 10:10 pace. Two weeks later I ran my first practice 10K and finished at 1:00:34. I still had the nerves, but I was sure I could do this. Even if I needed to walk I would finish.
At some point in July before I even got to the date of my 10K, I lost my mind and decided to run in the Baltimore half marathon on October 12. My longest run by that point was 7 miles, but I had come such a long way in such a short time and was feeling more and more confident in myself every day.
I knocked out my first 10K with a time of 54:05, well below my personal goal which was just to come in under an hour. It was amazing. I was officially hooked on racing.
After my 10K success, I decided to sign up for another one that would be held on September 1 in the same spot, figuring it would be fun to go back and see if I could best my time. I also signed myself up for the Ravens Back to Football 5K on September 4. This was the month that it really started to hit me that I had become the runner I never thought I would be. Signing up for that half had been a huge ah-ha moment, but mostly it was the realization that I was sporting a wicked farmer’s tan in the shape of my racer back and shorts.
My main goal for August was working on building up my mileage in preparation for my October race and by the end I had run my first 10 miler and finished the month with more than 100 miles for the first time. After a trip to my favorite local running store, I purchased what I consider to be my first “legit” pair of shoes. I’m pretty certain I’ll be a Brooks runner for life.
September rocked because I STARTED THIS BLOG. I had become pretty running-obsessed and needed an outlet before I drove my poor husband insane. Then September rocked for other reasons too. Like I brought home my first hardware!
Second place overall woman in my 10K with a time of 48:03. I had shaved 6 minutes off my previous time on the same course ! A couple days later at the NFL race I would blow my previous 5K PR out of the water and finish in 22:45. My little cutie would run in her first event there too, the Kids Play 60 Fun Run!
Later in the month I tackled 13.1 miles for the first time and busted myself up in the process, but I was ready for October!
Anyway, October 12 ended up being one of my favorite days ever. My nervousness was right up there with the time I went into labor. When I first started training, my goal was just to finish without dying, but as race day drew near and my running improved I made it my semi-secret goal to finish in under 2 hours.
And I did it. The back of that pretty medal is engraved with a 1:49:03. No matter how many medals I receive in my life, I think this one will always be one of the most special to me. I worked SO HARD for this.
With the half behind me you’d think I would slow down a little bit, but I was having way too much fun. I lined up some races for November and kept on trucking!
As I said, I was having so much fun that this month ended up being pretty race heavy for me. I had heard so much about fall running and was excited for the pleasant, cooler temps on my race days, but we basically skipped right over fall around here and went straight to winter.That part wasn’t so fun. I kind of hate the cold.
I ran my first virtual on November 2, a half marathon called Fitsy Bitsy Spider. Then a 5K called Restoration Run on the 10th where I scored myself a new PR by just a couple seconds and won my age group and a cool rock.
I “earned my spots” at the MISERABLY FREEZING COLD Zoo Zoom 8K on November 24 and then almost broke my ankles running on the cobblestone streets of downtown Baltimore at the Gobble Cobble Turkey Trot 7K on Thanksgiving, but both races were so much fun! I also decided that I was going to participate in the Runner’s World Holiday Run Streak and Zoo Zoom was my Day 1. In the beginning, I didn’t really see myself making it all the way through. Today is Day 37 of my streak and I’m still going strong!
Which brings us to this month. I participated in one 5K, my final race of 2013 called Charlie’s Run where I PRed one more time and had another age group win.
Other than that, I’ve just been running. Every single day. Some days I have been forced inside by bad weather and other days I’m inside because I’m a big wuss and the cold gets to me, but either way I’m still getting it done. Christmas brought me some run new running goodies…new shoes (Brooks of course), new Yurbuds, and an awesome medal hanger that I can’t wait to fill up.
You know how many medals I have been given before this year? None. Not even one in my life. And now at 35 years old I suddenly have enough medals to warrant having something to hang them on.
I ran my last long run of 2013 on Saturday, a 9 miler that I had to squeeze in as quickly as I could because I overslept. I finished it in 1:09:06 or a 7:42 average pace. I had never run that distance with every single mile under 8 minutes. I still remember my excitement at finishing a 5 mile run in 50 minutes…obviously because that was only 6 months ago. I just can’t believe how far I’ve come since then.
Which brings me to… ::drumroll::
Salt’s 2014 Running Goals!!
- I’m doing 14 in 2014 with our wonderful host Jill over at Fitness, Health, and Happiness! That would be 14 races over the next 12 months and I have them pretty much lined up already starting with a 5K on Wednesday because what better way to kick off the New Year than with a Resolution Run? Even better, the race is at 2pm so I have a little bit of time to recover from the night before. Not that we have any wild plans or anything. (We couldn’t get a sitter.)
- I’m shooting for 1,500 miles in 2014 and with two marathons on the menu, I think that goal is very attainable. I started tracking my mileage exactly halfway through 2013 and will finish out the year with 750 MILES if I count in my yet-to-be-run mileage from today and tomorrow. If I had started running and tracking in January, I very well could have hit that goal this year!
- A sub-4 hour marathon. Well really, I just want to finish in one piece, but finishing in under 4 hours would rock.
- A 21-minute 5K race PR. I have run a 21-minute 5K once in training so I know I can do it. I just want to do it when it really counts!
I’m sure as time goes on, I will edit and add more things I want to accomplish, but these are my big goals for now. I’m a little sad to say goodbye to 2013. I have learned so much about myself this year and I am capable of things I never thought possible. I am stronger, more confident, and the very best me that I have ever been. I’m my daughter’s first role model and I’m so ready to set that positive example for her.
I am very much looking forward to whatever 2014 has in store and I hope that this New Year is full of love, happiness, health, and prosperity for all of you as well.
Do you have any running/fitness goals for the New Year? Share them!