Reviewing my past year of running will be easier and more fun this year than in any previous year. When the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2013, it was like a switch was flipped, and running suddenly worked better for me than ever before. The year certainly had its ups and downs, but it was definitely my best year of running to date. Even writing that sentence seems like an understatement….
In February, I spontaneously ran the ten miler at the Febapple Frozen Fifty and learned about the existence of a whole new sector of the running world that is trail running and ultramarathoning. I had the most fun I’ve ever had in a race, and realized maybe racing would be more fun if I didn’t go into races nervous and overprepared.
In March, I raced my first half marathon in Delaware, and ran a race I was sufficiently satisfied with for the first time in nearly six years. I toyed with the idea of continuing into training for my first marathon and went for it. The last day of the month, I registered for the New Jersey Marathon on May 5th.
In April, I worked at the Boston Marathon expo and then watched the race from the sidelines, cowbelling and cheering near Heartbreak Hill and Boston College. I channeled in the energy to remember for my own marathon a few weeks later, confident that if things went right, I would be among the runners in Boston next year. A walk and a T ride later, as I was walking to meet up with my aunt after she finished, everything changed. I was less than two blocks away when I heard the awful sounds of the bombs echoing off the buildings. The next hours of running, confusion, and fearing for my life were unlike any hours I had ever endured before. The weeks between Boston and my own marathon were full of questioning humanity, safety, and the fragility of life in general. The bright, optimistic glow of the springtime felt a little dimmer than it had before.
On the flip side, my video application for Hood to Coast with Nuun that I had so much fun creating in late March and early April, got me selected to join the Nuun team in August! I couldn’t believe the opportunity that awaited me; I had never been chosen for something like this before.
On May 5th, I ran the New Jersey Marathon. It went better than I had ever expected, and was more of a 26.2-mile celebration of finally having years of perseverance pay off than it was a physical race. I negative-splitted and knew that the marathon was a distance I would certainly want to experience again and again.
About a week and a half after the marathon, I hurt my IT band pretty badly. The next day my car got totaled. Of course, all of these bad things had to be evened out with something good, because that’s fortunately how my life usually works. In hindsight, I think the forced break from running following the marathon was a great thing for the second half of the year.
In the summer, I learned to row, and I learned that life, and relationships with others, are even more complicated than I thought. Among other things. I somehow made it through the NJ State Triathlon after only having returned to running for three weeks, teamed up with friends to run the River to Sea Relay for the third year, and jumped in a spontaneous 5k. I started attending intervals workouts regularly again and began to see results more quickly than in years past.
In late August, I traveled to Seattle to meet some awesome ladies I had only “met” before via their running blogs. It was an experience like no other as we trekked over the city, hung out at Nuun HQ, and ran all across Oregon at Hood to Coast.
I reserved the month of September for training only (that is, no racing), and train I did. I had some of the best long runs and workouts of my life, with some great company. In October I ran the much-anticipated Perfect 10 Miler (and successfully finished before Ironman). I decided I wasn’t quite done yet and drove out to Bethlehem to PR in the Runner’s World 10k the next weekend. I continued training through my Halloween adventures and the NYC Marathon expo.
In November I started to lose a little mental steam, but held on to get a big PR at the Philadelphia Half Marathon. While I didn’t get my big, big goal of sub-90, I ran 1:30:18, and considering I never thought to make sub-90 my goal for this year prior to October, I was pretty pleased. A sort of had trouble resting after that and decided to go snag a road 5k PR on Thanksgiving too.
I finished up the year with a pretty chill approach to training, trying to gain back the mental fire I had in the early fall again for the start of Boston training. Really, I just like the phrase “Boston training.” You have no idea how much I wanted to be able to say that this time last year, about this year. Success.
On a personal level, 2013 was much like this:
But, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’m so grateful to have the majority of the year be full of healthy running and the emotional clarity that brings. Even in the middle of the year when running wasn’t happening, I was blessed to have other events in my life from which I learned so much. 13 is my favorite number (my birthday…), and all in all, 2013 was a lucky year. Focusing on running, I never would have dreamed I would have as much success as I did this year; I had been waiting for so long. There are so many other little things that made this year great that I didn’t mention for the sake of conciseness. There were many ways I could have organized this post, but I chose the way that comes most natural to me: a chronological story!
Next up: what’s in store for 2014!