Happy New Year!
2013 was filled with many ups and downs, but it was ultimately a good year. I’m ashamed to admit that took writing this post to put into perspective how the good the year actually was. I’m extremely thankful for a year that was full of happiness and success.
I was fortunate enough to run and finish my third consecutive Boston Marathon. The weather was extremely cooperative this year and I ran a PR for that course. It was the first year that I understood how to pace myself there, which is a challenge in itself. Most importantly, I was not present when the tragic blasts occurred. My friends and family that came up to Boston to cheer me on were safe and sound. My husband, who typically watches me cross the finish line at the exact spot of the first explosion, was cheering for me on Beacon Street at mile 24. I am so thankful that he chose to stay in Brookline and wait for me at my aunt and uncle’s house.
Despite my injuries, I checked six new states off of my list in 2013: Vermont, New York, Washington, Alaska, West Virginia, and Alabama. Vermont was one of my slowest marathons since it was shortly after recovering from a femoral shaft stress fracture. My husband’s family has a lake house in the area, so we had the opportunity to spend a weekend at the lake in the spring – something we’ve never done. I ran the race with one of my original running friends, Mike. I hadn’t seen or run with him in several years and it was wonderful to catch up on the course.
I had the opportunity to run with Brooke as she finished her second marathon in Buffalo, New York. She was one of my former students and finished two marathons in her senior year of high school. I was fortunate enough to be present for both accomplishments, and Buffalo was an especially memorable experience. It was exactly a week after running the Shires of Vermont marathon. Given my prior injury, I was lucky to be able to run the race at all.
Before heading off to the west coast for the adventure of a lifetime, I won my first 5K. Well, first overall female. I’ve placed in my age group before, but never came in as the first female. It was a small event with a small field and I didn’t run a PR that day, but it was still a meaningful experience. The race was run to raise money for the victims at the Boston Marathon, which was personal to me and made winning the race even more special.
June brought the incredible opportunity to run two west coast marathons in Washington and Alaska. Washington ended up being a PR (at the time) and was a fast enough qualifying time to secure my entry into the 2014 Boston Marathon. Since the events that transpired last year, it was a tough field to get into for 2014 and many people were turned away. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to run the race again.
Running in Alaska was a blessing in itself, and it was one stop on the trip of a lifetime. While the setting was more than ideal and experiencing the last frontier was incredible, the real treat was my travel companions. I got to spend two weeks with my oldest friends, Jenny and Kate. We’ve know each other since grade school and though we don’t see each other often, we always stay in touch and make time for each other. We spent years growing up together and talking about what we planned to do “when we grow up”. Maybe we never dreamed of a two week trek in Alaska, but traveling together was always something we swore we would do…and we finally did it.
The summer brought many miles spent outdoors on foot and on my road bike – almost always with Emily. I never really enjoyed riding my bike and always preferred running, but Emily took me out on some great rides this summer that sparked my interest in cycling. Sometimes, we’d ride all the way out to Kutztown and back and even completed the Gap Gallop together at the end of the summer. Throughout the summer, we were both training for the Steelman Triathlon and other fall races. I hadn’t done a triathlon in several years and was excited to give it another try.
As the summer wore on, I didn’t spend too much time working on my swimming until we took our summer visit to Lake Babcock. I’d swim the length of the lake to practice open water swimming, and my husband would kayak along side of me in case I needed a break. When the Steelman Tri finally arrived, I finished second in my age group. All of my friends that participated that day also had successful finishes and enjoyed the race. I enjoyed the race so much that it inspired me to sign up for my first half-Ironman, which I’ll be doing in early June 2014.
Though the fall brought another injury, it also brought a lot of races and successes. The Runner’s World Festival was in October.I was fresh off of injury #2, but I still ran the “Hat Trick” – a 5K, 10K, and half-marathon in two days. It’s the second year the race has been running, and I’ve been lucky enough to complete the Hat Trick both times. My original goal for that race was to beat my overall time from last year, but I had to take it easy since it was only a week after I began running again from the tibial stress reaction. Though I didn’t meet the time goal I’d hoped for, I am thankful that I didn’t have to pass on the race altogether. I ran the 5k solo, but got to run the 10K with my friend, Mark. We pushed it harder than I anticipated on that leg of the race but it showed that I hadn’t lost as much endurance as I thought. For the half marathon, I ran it with Emily. Neither of us were racing it, and we just ran it as an easy run and had such a blast. I enjoy being outside and among the running community, and I spent the entire weekend doing just that. It was a pretty significant weekend for me because it determined whether or not I would run the rest of the fall races I’d planned prior to my injury.
November and December brought new states checked off of my list and new PRs in West Virginia and Alabama. I had the incredible opportunity to travel down to West Virginia and Alabama with several friends, including Bart Yasso. I finished the Marshall Marathon with a huge PR and first place in my age group. I thought I could never run a faster marathon, until Alabama happened just a few short weeks later and I set a new PR, 3:22:03. I still don’t know if I can run any faster, but it taught me that anything is possible.
Oh yeah, and the title of my post: I ran 1,983 miles in 2013. That’s 1,983 miles of health, happiness, and dedication. 1,983 miles spent strengthening friendships and bonding with new friends. 1,983 miles of traveling and seeing the world on foot, something I wish everyone could experience. 1,983 miles of feeling alive and strong. I walked around all throughout the fall saying how shitty 2013 was. When I put it into perspective, 2013 was actually a pretty freaking awesome year. Moving forward, it’s going to be a tough one to top.
There were other sources of happiness and success throughout the year other than in my running world, but that isn’t what this blog is all about. My injuries and setbacks throughout the year helped to shed light on areas that I’d like to improve on, and goals I’d like to achieve. Some centered around running and hitting my 50 state goal, and others in regards to life in general. So, some New Year’s resolutions are in order…but that’s a post for another day. Today, I’m thankful for all of the experiences 2013 brought and can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2014.