|A previously unseen photo from the Scioto Miles 10 Miler! (I forgot it existed.)|
Introduction: 2013 vs. 2014This year was quite unlike my previous years of running. To summarize pre-2014 activity: I began running semi-regularly in 2012 with a friend, but never more than 2-3 miles at a time. In 2013 I stepped it up a teeny tiny bit after my September wedding and ran my first 4 and 5 mile races in November. After 5 miles I thought I might as well increase my distance. You know, I think the easiest way to demonstrate progress is using numbers. Let's compare and contrast 2013 and 2014, because I pretty much doubled my stats.
Total miles: 2013: 226 miles // 2014: 550 miles
Longest run: 2013: 5.12 miles // 2014: 13.2 miles
Races: 2013: 5 events, 3 distances // 2014: 13 events, 7 distances
So what changed?
First and foremost: I joined a training group. I felt a little weird about this at first. Almost ashamed. I didn't want friends to know I "needed help" to go farther. Twelve months later and who cares? It's such a great community with skill levels that span 7:30 to 13:00/mile (training pace) and includes runners and walkers. Each pace group has several coaches and every member is looking to complete half and full marathons. There are two "seasons" per year: Winter from January - May and Summer from June - October.
|Technically the 2015 kickoff and people are missing, but here's an idea of the group's size.|
Another great feature of the group: learning new things! I am almost afraid to admit this, but I had NO IDEA runners ate during runs. I found myself getting tired at the end of my 5 mile runs and thinking, "how do people keep going?" Turns out, on-the-run nutrition! I learned a lot about fueling including when to fuel, what to use, and finally, what worked for me.
|My pace group for 2014: the 11s posing in front of The Shoe. (I'm in the middle.)|
|My pace group for 2015: the 10:45s! (I'm the chick in fluorescent yellow.)|
By the way, the group I run with is called Marathoners in Training (MIT) and we run all over central Ohio.
|I took this photo on a run around Antrim Lake in August.|
Maybe the best indicator of my 2014 progress is speed. Between February and December, I chopped almost three minutes off my 5k time. I went from 28:09 (9:10/mile) to 26:31 (8:35/mile) on the same course. In half marathons I went from a 2:19 (10:40/mile) to a 2:09 (9:50/mile) in 5 months (and the latter course had hills). And finally, I ran a 10 miler in August at a 10:30 pace then a 15k in November at a 9:47 pace ... and I could have gone faster.
Odds and Ends
- I've seen some pretty vistas while running (above and below). Unfortunately, not as many as I would like. I'm so over my neighborhood and crappy nearby streets! I've also seen more dead animals in 2014 than ever before. I can't count the number dead birds and squirrels I've had to dodge.
- I ran in Hawaii in February during our honeymoon. One run was very hot and humid and the other was humid, foggy, and about 1000 ft higher than I'm used to, so I couldn't breath well. I found out Phillip Seymour Hoffman died while on one of these runs. Alex was with me and I felt really bad breaking the news.
- I never used treadmill until this year. I used one in Hawaii and a few on work trips to Dallas. The Hawaii one had a view of the ocean. The Dallas one is in a really hot "gym" and the TV doesn't always work. Treadmills kind of suck, but on cold, dark days I wish I had one.
- I still don't want to run a marathon. I didn't decide to run a half marathon until I knew I'd run multiple. I have to do something a few times before I can consider myself a do-er ("runner," "half marathoner," "marathoner"). I'm not a one-and-done for the bucket list kind of girl. Right now I can't imagine being on my feet for 4+ hours running around a boring city. For some reason a nature-based 50k seems so much more appealing. So until I can think about these things reasonably, a marathon is not for me.
- I now consider myself a "runner." At the beginning of the year I compared myself to (Facebook) friends who ran faster than I do (/did in some cases). I got over that by running 13 races and 550 miles. I know there are a lot of people out there who run faster and farther, but that doesn't make me less of a runner. Plus, now I have all the gear.
|Taken after the Summer Squatch Trail 10K at Alum Creek Lake|
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading. I'll leave you with the juiciest part: hopes and dreams for the future.
- Beat my current half marathon PR (2:08:52)
- Get a solid 10k PR (currently I've only run one 10k and it was on a trail, so that doesn't count!)
- Improve times on repeat courses.
- It would be super sweet to get down to 26:00 for a 5K....
- Oh, and I probably need to strength train. Ughhhh...