As 2015 rapidly approaches and 2014 comes to a conclusion, it’s time to reflect on my year of running. This year was filled with big changes in my life and in many ways my running reflected those changes. January, 2014 was my 4th year running in the Disney World Marathon Weekend (my 3rd year running the full marathon that weekend). It was also my first experience with group running. I ran the marathon with a group of 11 incredible people, most of whom I didn’t know before the race. As I look back I’m still not sure how I was invited to run with this amazing group of runners but I am certainly grateful for the invitation. I truly believe that this race will always remain a pivotal experience in my life – both running and otherwise. Life-long friendships were forged and strengthened that day.
From there I went on to run my 4th More Magazine Women’s Half Marathon in April. I have PR’ed this race 3 of the 4 years that I’ve run it. Although my target was sub-2:20, I was pleased with my new PR of 2:24:41. I love the vibe of this women’s-only race and saw several friends at the event. It will always be one of my favorite non-Disney races. I also PR’ed the women’s-only Mini 10K in June. I didn’t do well with the heat and humidity and was disappointed in my finish time. I will continue to work towards a sub-1 hour 10k.
The summer brought travel – to Madison, WI for my brother’s wedding and then France to visit my other brother. Travel is disruptive to my training, especially since I took 3 children by myself to Madison. I did have the opportunity to run the streets of Paris at dawn and then to run with my brother in the French countryside. Both were memorable experiences.
I ran a fun but very hot 20k in New Haven on Labor Day. Not a fast race but certainly a fun one. That led into my intense training for the Hartford Marathon. I had originally signed up for this race following the excitement of the Disney Marathon in January. Many of my co-conspirators from that race had promised to run Hartford in October. Unfortunately life has a funny way of happening and only 2 of us ended up running the full marathon (and a few more doing the half marathon). Despite difficult weather conditions – cold and raining – I managed an almost 25 minute PR. My time of 5:07:31 was not the sub-5 hour that I had dreamed of achieving (I knew going into the race that I didn’t have a sub-5 hour in me – yet!) but was very satisfying. I was blessed with supportive “race chasers” to cheer me on at various points during the race and several other running friends sending text messages of support. The post-race festivities were very enjoyable with a fun group to celebrate with food and drinks.
After Hartford my training has truly fallen off. As I transition through so many changes in my personal life, it is hard to prioritize running right now. And honestly I miss it. I ran the Miami Beach Halloween Half while in Miami for a work conference. A running highlight was finishing Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k with all three of my children holding my hands. And the I swam through the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. This was truly disappointing to me as I had looked forward to this event for so long. I hope to be able to run again when it isn’t pouring rain!
Luckily the weather for the inaugural JG13.1 in Atlanta, GA was ideal. What an amazing weekend of friendships – both new and old! The whole weekend was a celebration of running and of Jeff Galloway’s amazing contributions to running. Through my friendship with the Extra Mile Podcast, I was invited to a private meet with Jeff. While it is always a thrill and inspiration to talk to Jeff, the real benefit of the meet was getting to spend time with all of the Extra Milers who I knew only through the podcast and social media. I am also lucky enough to have local running friends who gave whirlwind tour of Atlanta. The race itself was quite hilly but lovely. We weren’t running for a PR but still managed to finish in 2:25 – just 19 seconds off of my PR. I’m not sure I’ll be able to journey to Atlanta next year right before Christmas but I can honestly say this is a great race.
Now I’m finishing up my training for my first (and likely only) Dopey Challenge in January. As I look over my training for the past 3 months I see that I have missed many mid-week runs. My long runs have been cut short. The mojo just hasn’t been there. I’ve been physically and mentally exhausted recently and I need to find my inner strength again. I’m hoping that 2015 brings back my love for training. I’m still hoping to achieve my sub-2 hour half, not likely in 2015 but I think I could do sub-2 hours, and eventually a sub-5 hour full (again, not in 2015 but some day). I had hoped for 1000 miles this year and will fall quite short of that goal. Maybe next year I can achieve that. After Dopey I have no races on my schedule. I need to really think about what I want to run next year and plan the schedule. I’m looking forward to new beginnings and new experiences.