In the year 2013 I ran approximately 815 miles.  Give or take a few.  At an average pace of 12:45 min/mile.  The previous year, 2012, I ran approximately 650 miles at an average pace of 13:21 min/mile.  Now 165 miles over the course of 12 months isn’t anything crazy but I do think the increase in pace per mile is fairly significant.

I started the year off with the Goofy Challenge – a half marathon on Saturday morning followed by a full marathon on Sunday morning.  Despite some late injuries I was able to finish both “in the upright position with a smile on my face.”  My full marathon time at Disney was a few minute PR over the previous year’s disaster marathon while the half marathon was, intentionally, my slowest half marathon to date. I followed that up with a decent performance at the Princess Half Marathon in February.  Despite the heat and humidity, I was only a few minutes short of a PR.  Even more impressively, I spent the entire day touring the parks at Disney World with 3 children in tow and didn’t return to the hotel room to rest until well after dinner.  My FitBit told me I walked/ran the equivalent of a full marathon that day! In April I ran another strong MORE Magazine Women’s Half in NYC with a new PR of 2:25:41.  This isn’t an easy race because it requires tackling the Harlem Hills twice but it’s a race that I continue to love running. 

In June I ran the Mini 10k also in NYC.  The 6.2 miles were only a small part of my total mileage for the day but I still had an official PR at the race.  This is another special women’s race and one that I plan to run again in the future.  For someone who works in a male-dominated field and always felt comfortable participating in traditionally male activities, I really do enjoy the women’s races.  Although Marathon Weekend at Disney World is a particular favorite of mine, there is something special about seeing women of all shapes, sizes, and abilities test themselves on a race course! I had the pleasure of running the Diva Half Marathon with a new running friend.  This was another race run at training pace instead of race pace.  Although the course wasn’t super interesting, it was still an enjoyable day.

The highlight of my running year was certainly the NYC Marathon.  This was definitely a bucket-list race for me and I’m so pleased that I was able to run it this year.  I raised close to $3000 for charity and loved running through the streets of NYC.  My finish time was almost 1 min/mile faster than my previous marathon PR and yet I was somewhat disappointed in my performance.  I think the logistics of the race were difficult – especially for those of us in the back of pack – and I also learned – yet again! – that 26.2 miles can never be taken lightly. While I love the half marathon distance, there is something uniquely challenging about a full marathon.  The distance can never be taken for granted.  Overall I’m proud of my NYC Marathon race.  It is yet another reminder of how much we learn about ourselves when we are truly tested to our limits.

To summarize 2013 is to say that I improved my speed and endurance.  I ran several enjoyable and challenging races.  I made new running friends and strengthened my friendship with other running friends.  I was reminded of the special bond that forms between runners.  Some of my favorite people in the world are runners I’ve never met in person or runners I’ve only met a few times in person.  These include some of the most generous donors to my charity campaign, people I’ve met through runDisney, and people I’ve met through the Extra Mile Podcast.  I am grateful to you all! I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the love and support of my family.  I certainly believe that I set a great example for my children when they see me running.  But I also appreciate that my running takes its toll on my supportive husband and children.  I am so lucky to have a family that is proud of Runner Amanda in the same way that they are proud of my other accomplishments.

What’s ahead in 2014?

I’m starting the year with my 4th consecutive Disney World Marathon Weekend.  This is such a special weekend.  We live in a country that is plagued by an obesity epidemic.  It is so refreshing to spend time at Disney World surrounded by people who care about endurance running.  We aren’t all built like elite athletes but we are all working towards fitness goals and that sets us apart.  I can’t wait to see friends old and new! And I’ll confess that I can’t wait to show off my brand new Mickey Medal after I finish marathon #4.  I love seeing the new race bling around the parks!!! I’m also looking forward to running with my husband for the first time as we run the 10k.  Good times!!!

My focus in the beginning of the year will be a time improvement goal for the April 13th MORE Magazine Women’s Half Marathon.  I’ve PR’ed this year 2 out of 3 years and I think with my current training plan, I should be able to finish strong.  I will likely run the Mini 10k in June again.  I’m hoping to return to the Westchester Running Festival this fall after taking the year off (it’s a half marathon in October).  I will either run the Tower of Terror 10 miler or the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in the fall.  I will let my husband pick which one he thinks I should do.

My big debate will be To Goofy or Not To Goofy in January, 2015.  It will be the 15th Anniversary of the race which means Special Anniversary Bling.  Although the Goofy was challenging, it was certainly do-able.  I’m suspecting I’ll be Goofy again in 2015 but I’m not going to decide until I finish my marathon in January.

My family has decided to join a new gym which will open in February.  Although much of this deserves its own post, I will be undergoing metabolic testing (the kind where you wear a mask and run on the treadmill) and spend some time working with a nutritionist.  I need to lower my body fat % and increase lean muscle mass.  I hope to add more cross-training.  Additionally I will continue tae kwon do either once or twice a week.  I should be testing for my yellow belt at the end of January.

My goals for 2014 are:

Faster Half Marathon (no definite number…yet)

Better overall fitness (cross-training, including tae kwon do)

Better nutrition with better body composition (this will almost definitely include weight loss but that’s not the primary motivation)

I won’t hang on a specific number but I will try for 1,000 miles in 2014.  That’s an increase of 185 miles over this year.  From 2012 to 2013 I increased 165 miles so this may be do-able (especially if I go for Goofy!).

Mostly I want to run a lot of happy and healthy miles!