1. Best race experience in 2013: I would have to say the Space Coast Half Marathon. I loved everything about it, even with the cramping. I loved the course, the spectators, the vibe and, of course, the medal. I especially loved having Mr PugRunner, little man and a few friends waiting for me at the finish line. I think that’s when I really, really fell in love with running.
2. Best run of 2013: This is kind of hard to answer, as I can’t single out one single training run, but I know that I felt awesome after I finished the St. Augustine 10K. Stars aligned, everything went exactly right and when I crossed that finish line, I was floating on cloud nine. They’re not all going to be this good, but I’m glad I got to experience this feeling, especially leading up to a major race.
3. Best new piece of gear: I got a lot of the basic gear early on, so I would have to say my new HipSister. Perfect place to store my phone and fuel without being bulky or sitting at my waist. Love it.
4. Best piece of running advice received: Interestingly enough, I got this advice from a volunteer and former runner at the Jacksonville Bank Marathon, while I was working at the finish line. I was talking about how much I hate 5Ks, because those first three miles were always so hard, and she told me to get to my 5Ks extra early and run the course before the actual start. That way, I’m familiar with where I’m going and I start out on Mile 4 (which is generally a great mile for me). I haven’t had a chance to implement this yet, but theoretically, it’s genius.
5. Total number of miles in 2013: 587.86. I didn’t have a specific goal in mind so this kind of blew me away. I don’t know if I should bother setting a goal for 2014, or just see where my training takes me. I have enough races on the calendar to ensure that I will be putting in serious miles. I’m kind of looking forward to seeing what a full 12 months without time off for surgical recovery can bring.
6. Total number of races: Eight. (One half marathon, one ten miler, one 10K, two 5Ks, two virtual and one untimed fun run).
7. Total number of shoes: Three. One pair of generic Nike running shoes from when I first started C25K and then two pairs of Mizuno Wave Inspire 9s. I am in the market for a new pair in the next few weeks.
8. Worst running experience: This is a tie between when I started hyperventilating during my first 5K and threw up under the photographer’s ladder after the finish line and when I hit a wall during a long training run and plopped my butt down on the curb and cried. Thankfully, I haven’t repeated either performance.
9. Race I probably wouldn’t run again: Sadly, this is probably the runDisney Tower of Terror 10 Miler. I did LIKE the race, but for the cost of registration, I think I’ll try adding other Disney races to my rotation rather than repeating this one. I did appreciate the course support and the theming, but I’d like to mix it up in the future.
10. Race that surprised me: The Color Me Rad 5k. I really expected to dislike this untimed run. Turns out, it was a huge blast and I hope I can squeeze it in every year.
11. Run experience you to which you are most looking forward in the New Year: ZOOMA Florida and the GATE River Run. ZOOMA means a girls’ running weekend at the Ritz in Amelia Island, and I’m excited to see how I do now that I have my first half under my belt. The Gate is pretty much the quintessential local race and I am absolutely stoked to be running this with (or near) Mr PugRunner and some other friends.
12. The most important thing I took away from running this year: That no matter how hard it is, I can achieve the goals I set for myself. That I have good days and bad days, but at the end of every day I am a runner and I don’t think that’s going to change for a long, long time.
13. Most inspirational runner: Mr Pug Runner. I am absolutely blown away by how far he has come and how much he keeps pushing. He even told me that he is ready to start training for a half marathon, after almost a year of insisting that he would never do more than a 5K. I also have to say that I was inspired by the sight impaired runner at Space Coast this year. She completed the half marathon with her friend and her service dog and I was absolutely moved by that. There’s room for everyone in the running world, and that athlete was a living testament to that.
So there it is. It’s been one heck of a year, from a running standpoint. I’m really excited to see what I can do in 2014!
And just because we’re playing with numbers, here are 14 goals I have for 2014:
- Average one race per month for a total of 12.
- Finish one race with Mr PugRunner. We have different speeds and styles, but I think it would be fun.
- Spend some time dedicated to improving my 5K speed. This has been my weakness, and now that I know I can go the distance, it’s time to look at working on the basics.
- Schedule some regular cross-training. I absolutely need to make this a priority.
- Plan an out-of-town race cation with friends and with Mr PugRunner. It’s pretty awesome having this hobby together and I think it’s good for our relationship.
- Convince my mother to do an untimed fun run with me.
- Host a virtual run for a charity I support.
- Register for races even if they don’t come with bling. I admit that I am a medal junkie and unless the cause is great, I tend to shy away from races that don’t come with a little something-something at the end.
- Finish the medal hangers I planned to make for the family.
- Blog more consistently about my training. Sometimes I feel like it gets a little dull, so I slack off, but it’s part of the accountability so I’ll improve on that.
- Do some more thinking about a marathon. I *think* it’s something I might want to achieve before I turn 40, so I still have a few years to consider it. But, it’s kind of on my mind, so I’m not ruling it out.
- Get over my anxiety and get my butt into one of the local group runs. I have plenty of excuses but not one of them is valid, so I need to do it.
- Remember the importance of giving back and volunteer to help for at least one race.
- Have fun! This is something I love and while I want to always push for the next level, running is something that I want to be part of my life for a good, long time. I don’t want to push too hard or burn out, mentally or physically.
Feel free to play along by linking your own recap of 2013, share some of your highlights from the year, or post some of your 2014 goals in the comments. I’d love to cheer you on!