As usual I am a little bit late to the party. But I have seen several of these Year of Running posts floating around and they have encouraged me to take the time to reflect on my running experiences over the past 12 months as well.
- Best race experience? Probably the Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon back in April. It was my first big race in quite a while because I had stepped back from running when I was doing a certificate program while still working full time. I trained with a 1:45 PR time in my sights, and I came in 15 seconds ahead of my goal. My pacing was more consistent than I think it has ever been in my life. I gave the race everything I had and couldn’t have finished any faster, but somehow when I finished still felt like I could run miles and miles longer. That instilled a certain amount of confidence that I could train to really race a full marathon in the fall.
- Best run? In September I did an 18 mile training run while preparing for Richmond that left me nothing short of giggly with happiness. I had already set the hopeful goal of running a Boston qualifying time but didn’t know for certain if that was something I was truly capable of. It was a huge reach for me. With months still left to go in training, I ran over 18 miles by myself at about an 8:40 pace. I remember showing Jeremy the stats on my watch when I was done and saying, “I can do this.”
- Best new piece of gear? I received my Garmin Foreunner 10 for Christmas last year and this year marked my first time using any sort of watch when I run. I am trying to be cautious not to become too dependent on this magical little device but it has definitely changed the way that I train, my ability to track my progress, and it has taught me to pace myself more strategically.
- Best piece of running advice you received? I have heard from numerous people how important it is for runners not to compare themselves to other runners. Since this year has been more focused on time goals and I have had more interaction with other runners through blogging and social media, this has been so important for me to focus on. The pace, distance, number of races, or number of days a week I run should be dependent on me and only me, not on what anybody else is doing.
- Most inspirational runner? Like I mentioned already, I have interacted with substantially more people through this blog this year. And while the issue of comparison exists, having these interactions has undoubtedly been more of a positive motivator than a negative one. The runners I read about and speak to daily have been a great source of inspiration to me this year in so many ways. Hayley has inspired me to see running as a lifelong passion to enjoy on days when I am taking it far too seriously. Cori has been able to motivate me to workout on days when I really didn’t think I wanted to and has proved to me that missing a race (or two) because of an injury is only the end of the world if you let it be. Sarah is living proof that when life pulls you away from running, if you are willing to put in the work you can come back faster. I could list more, but that would require a much longer post.
- If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? This year has been about learning what I am capable of as a runner.
Answer any of the questions in the comments! I would love to hear about your year in running!