The other day I stumbled upon this wonderful post. I fell in love with the idea and decided to do my own. So, I present to you:
2015 was my first full year of running, my first year of not hating running, and my first time really doing a race. I did three 5Ks, two 5-milers, a 15K, and three half-marathons.
Best Race Experience
It seems bizarre that it would be this race, because I injured my knee around mile 2 of 9.3 and had to limp most of the way to the finish, but the Gate River Run 15K was my favorite all year. 15K is a great distance – challenging, but not brutal – and this race is a beautiful route, has great crowd support, has a nice expo and good bling, and is just all-around a great race.
Gotta go with the Marine Corps Half-Marathon. In addition to being my half-marathon PR, I felt really strong for most of it and even had negative splits early on, including in the first mile or two, which included going up one of the bridges! My goal was sub-2:45, and when I crossed the finish line at 2:41:21, with my friend (in the GRR photo above) screaming at me in happiness for crushing my goal, I was just a little happy.
Best New Piece of Gear
Almost everything was a new piece of gear for me since I just started running. Ha! So I’ll choose a few.
First, I would have to say any GPS running watch. I have no natural sense of pace, so without one I go out too quickly, and when I’m tired I think I’m running reasonably fast but it turns out I’m not. I started with a Polar M400, which was great, but when my husband started running long too he needed a GPS watch, so I gave him that one since he already knew how to use it and got myself a Garmin Vivoactive. I have no complaints about either, but the Vivoactive definitely looks better than the M400 if you plan to wear it all the time!
I also noticed a big difference in long run pain and recovery once I switched from neutral shoes to stability shoes made for long hauls. My favorites are Asics GT-1000 3, which is bad because they’re discontinued and the GT-2000 series don’t work as well for me. I’ve also tried Adrenalines, Ravennas, and other stability shoes, but they hit my toes wrong even in a half and full size large, so I’m kind of tempted to buy all the GT-1000 3’s I can find.
Finally, I picked up one of these New Balance running belts at Ross for $5, and it’s the best one I’ve used. It expands to a surprising capacity, doesn’t bounce, and has flashing LED lights for visibility, which is awesome if you run at night. I bought another one on Amazon in case I lose mine or the battery dies.
Best Piece of Running Advice You Received
Every runner I’ve ever met thinks they’re slow. I do, too. But…
Most Inspirational Runner
Definitely my friend Rebecca. Honestly, if it weren’t for her, I don’t think I would’ve ever thought to try running again. I hated it – no, utterly despised it – for so long that it never would’ve occurred to me. (To be fair, this has also caused me to curse her – in jest – mostly – toward the end of long runs.) She loves running and she is truly the most encouraging runner friend ever. When you look at a lot of my race finish pictures, you see her, because she waits for me after she finishes and then, when I get close, she runs me in.
Also, she started out slow, like me, but through years of running, including several marathons and a 50K, she is now one of those awesome fast people! And you can’t even hate her for it one little bit because she worked for that for years. It didn’t come naturally or quickly. Her progress is so inspiring to me!
Favorite Picture From a Run or Race This Year
I don’t buy any race photos from our main race photographer here in town because their prices are ridiculous. Like, you can buy a photo download or two, or you can enter another good race for the same money. As such, I don’t have many good race photos to share here. So, let me use a finish picture with said inspirational friend Rebecca, as well as my friends Kelly and Esther. We four have been friends for almost a decade now, but they caught the running bug while I still hated it. Eventually they and Rebecca formed a sort of virtual running support group, and they let me in when I did my 180 on running. We challenge and encourage each other. Last May, Rebecca and I joined Kelly and Esther in eastern TN for a half-marathon (Esther’s and my first). It was a hard one due to rain and giant hills, which are especially challenging when you live in a very flat part of Florida! But we all finished, and had a great race weekend together.
Race Experience You Would Repeat in A Heartbeat
Disney’s Castaway Cay 5K… but that’s mostly because it means that I’d be at Castaway Cay, which means that I’d be on a Disney Cruise.
But really the only race I did in 2015 that I didn’t love was the Faxon Law Half-Marathon in Connecticut in October, which sprung a 3-hour time limit on us after registration. That was a big deal for my SIL who did that as her first half-marathon and is slower, like me. We may not have registered if we had known in advance that there was a relatively strict time limit. (Every other half I’ve done or seen has a 3 1/2 hour time limit.) My husband and I stayed with my SIL for the first half so we finished just over 3 hours, and not only was all the food and post-race stuff almost completely packed up by then, but there was no water left for finishing runners, meaning probably the ten or so people who most needed it did not receive water at the finish unless we had some in our cars. Also, they used volunteers rather than signs for course directions, and toward the end there were a lot of turns. When the volunteers left at the end of their three hour commitment, the back-of-the-packers had no idea how to get to the finish line and got lost, extending their already long run. (If they had not gotten lost, my SIL and her race-day friend would’ve likely finished in a normal half’s 3:30 time limit.) Also, they had no race photography. Even though I don’t buy the photos, I like to see them, and we had great costumes for this race because it was on Halloween!
If you could sum up your running year in one word, what would it be?
New. New to wanting to run, new to actually choosing to go out in the cold (and to run! What?!), new shoes, new shorts, new singlets, new distances, new to racing, new to racecations, new to figuring out how to pin bibs, new to wearing costumes while racing, and more! Basically everything was new.
Running Goals for 2016
Run a marathon! (Disney, this weekend!)Did it. Hated it. Never again.
- Run a sub-2:40 half
- Finish the Gate in under 2 hours – 3/12/16 NOOOO. It was hot and I was tired and I missed it by like five minutes.
Run a sub-33:00 5K– got 32:30 in training on 4/9/16. I need to sign up for a race to try to get it officially!
- Run a half-marathon (or longer) each month – 1/10 (marathon), 2/14 (Donna), 3/26 (Tomoka)