2015 was a rough year for me, running and life-wise. It was hard to hit my running goals with all the negative things that were happening to me… I found that as the year went on, I was having more and more difficultly getting motivated…even getting out of bed in the mornings to get out for group runs. I signed up for maybe a little over a dozen races…and then didn’t show up for a few of them. A couple were pretty legit. One 5k was the Saturday after my Mom died…I just … didn’t feel like going out for the race that weekend. Another was a half marathon that I struggled to get a last-minute entry into, and then ended up working until 3AM and, despite waking up for it, took too long getting out of the home and all the roads were shut down, preventing me from getting to the start.
Despite the personal failures and the motivation black hole I was in, I did have some amazing things go on in 2015. Here is a short recap of the highlights of my running:
Running my first 50k ever, and shocking the hell outta myself by landing a podium finish as 3rd place woman overall. Everything going into the race was as perfect as could be, and I had a blast just being out there and experiencing this race. I shocked myself with this result, and felt unstoppable. Even an hour later as I sat waiting for my post-race burger and feeling suddenly like I was hit by a semi, I was still in runner heaven. Ah, the first time at this distance pains. 🙂 I took this result and all this as a sign of good luck for the coming year and all my race goals. I was looking forward to random races with my running group, placing in my favorite 5ks, and hopefully gaining a Boston Qualifying time in my goal race of the year: The Marine Corps Marathon.
Running group training runs on the treadmills at a gym. The weather was ridiculously bad, and one of the group started having asthma issues with the cold air…but he had to knock out seriously long runs in order to train for the Keys 100 mile race in the spring. So the running group joined him on the hamster wheels for hours of good fun. We fully own up to our “crazy runner” status. It was tough, doing hours of running on the treadmills, but it was that much more fun with this group.
That solo run when I blasted 5 miles in 36:38 – the fastest I’ve ever done that distance in my life! Later in the year I would do this distance in a race, getting it in 37:30, for an official PR in the distance.
I had a beautiful long run while training for the Flying Pig with a running group friend that I didn’t know that well before seeing his request for a running buddy. We explored the city and did the hill climbs of the Pig for 20 miles and got to be better friends over that time and distance.
The Keys 100. I went down to crew the race for a friend doing his first 100. We had two other runners, one also doing her first 100, and two other people crewing them. My husband and I stuck it through 24 hours to help my friend get his goal of completing the challenge. At mile 50-ish, there was a 7-mile bridge where the runners had to go without crew or assistance until the other end because there was no where for crews to pull off. My friend, a very inspiring runner, was a little concerned about the time without crew so I said I would pace with him along that part of the run. We chatted and I got to learn his story about weight loss and becoming the phenomenal runner that he is. As we crossed this bridge, the ocean all around us, the sun was setting in the west… it was a beautiful and amazing moment, and we were both very, very moved by it. I am so honored that I got to share that moment with him. Later, I got to help one of the other friends cross the finish line as he fought a run gone bad to get his goal.
The solo training run along the country roads near me where I discovered that I really, really like to run hills. I remember loving them when I first started running… and then just being mildly annoyed about running them… Somewhere along the years of training, I started loving the hills again.
That small run where my friend Superman and I roamed the city during the All American Game set up and accidentally ran on the red carpet, got yelled at a bunch by people who didn’t want us putting foot prints on the carpet, and then got our picture taken by some tourist, who asked us how long we had been together, and we responded with, “I don’t know her”- Superman, and me saying, “We just met down by the river.” That guy was so confused.
My running group girl friends threw me a bachelorette running party. We did a fun run through Cincinnati and along the river, where half a dozen weddings were going on, and then met up at a restaurant / bar at the Levee for the rest of the party. It was so wonderful!
Also, the morning run I took, hours before my wedding. Most of the run I did on my own, with a final mile with my husband, then fiance. It was our last run as an unwed couple. I posted a post-run photo to facebook that morning with the caption, “My last run as a single woman. K ran this morning too…. but I caught him.” Ha!
We went to St Augustine for the honeymoon. It was a rough trip – I wanted desperately to have fun and bum around, but I was a bottomless pit of sadness… my Mom died two weeks after our wedding, and two weeks before this trip. I was still a mess of grief and I did not enjoy the humidity and heat there. Oh, and our B&B was awful. I couldn’t stand them. But there were a lot of wonderful moments on the trip, and my husband was great and understanding. (We’re going to mulligan our honeymoon, don’t worry). One afternoon/evening, it rained so badly and so hard that the area flooded. We nearly got electrocuted on the beach and then almost died in the flood as we tried to figure out how to drive our little car back to the B&B… at one point we had to drive in reverse as a wave was coming at us along the main drag- the wave was so high it was over the hood of the car. It was terrifying…and super cool. The next morning was probably the most beautiful I have seen. I ran a humid and sweaty 6 miles, watching the beauty of the bay, bridges, and hanging moss.
I was honored to be on a relay team for the Bourbon Chase Trail… with a group of friends. It was a great experience and I laughed non stop the whole time. It was the most stress-free and continuously happy I had been during that time. My running was superb as well, as I kicked out sub-8minute miles on some difficult and hilly terrain. It was beautiful. My friends were great. And I had some wonderful experiences out there.
My running group does a lot of great runs. There’s a ton of training runs and long runs and trail runs… and then there are the fun runs. Friday mornings, my best buddy comes up with some sight-seeing type of run, where we get to explore the beauty that is our area. He’s the mastermind behind such runs as the “lego tour”, the “mustache run”, the “subway tour”, and the “traditional OTR tour”. He came up with the idea to tour all the firehouses in the area…well, as many as we could get to in our time frame of running that morning. The plan was to hit the Cincinnati houses, but we got side tracked, going up to see the “oldest fire house” in Northern Kentucky, which was also just a couple streets from where I grew up (and on a hill). During this run, which was the “welcome back to running” run for the Mayor of running, who was out most of this year on a significant injury. The Mayor had a running joke (hahaha) about posting photos of roadkill he saw on his runs and ruminating that he felt the same. During his running hiatus, many of us in the group posted roadkill photos back dedicated to him. This run encompassed so much of what our running group was this year: beautiful sights, history, hills and challenging runs, friendship, and a ton of inside jokes:
I had a solo run of 24 miles, where I got to explore the country roads around my house. As I completed the distance…a little over 24, I felt good. I felt strong. I was tired, but happy. I contemplated going the next 2 miles it would take to hit the marathon distance. It was a good feeling, thinking I could run forever. I took this as a really good sign for my goal of running a marathon a month for the next year.
I was plagued with injuries during this month. Things broke down in my training and I spent a lot of my training time rehabbing injuries and riding my bike on the trainer. When I started to get over the injuries, my husband said he wanted to train again and run another marathon. He went out with me on the short and easy runs I was doing to “test” my recovery. I loved our time together on the roads.
Here’s hoping, once I get these remaining injury issues cleared up, that 2016 will be a great running year, with many more beautiful experiences – running solo, with my group, or with my husband!