Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Year of Running

MissZippy started a wonderful post idea, Year of Running. I have really enjoyed reading other people's year of running recaps, but wasn't sure if I could pull one together. It can be hard to pinpoint a best run or name the most inspiring runner.

But, when I sit back and reflect on my year, running has been such a huge part of it. This was the biggest running year for me period. And it's funny because it didn't start out with running at all. Many of you will recall that I was sidelined with a blood clot in my left jugular. I was told no running, no exercise, sit on the couch.

It was a tough pill to swallow. Not only was I terrified because of the clot, the one thing that I could do to decompress, to sort of get away from it all, I couldn't do. I couldn't run. I couldn't run away from the problem. I couldn't have that zen me time.

Once I was cleared to run, I tried to jump right back into it, but it was HARD. I could barely run two miles. I struggled a lot. I think it was from the down time and also the medication I was on. But I fought hard. I didn't give up. I ended up with a PR at the Little Rock Half Marathon in March, I ran my first 10K in April, and then went on to PR at my next two half marathons (Soaring Wings and CASA Half).

Safe to say, it truly has been a year of running for me after all. This year I feel more like a runner than ever before. It's not just my mileage or pace, it's something that's settled into my heart. In some ways, I feel like running helped save me this year. Not literally, but definitely mentally. 

So, now onto MissZippy's questions ...

Best race experience? 

This would be the Soaring Wings Half in October. While it's a pretty tough course, everything feel into place for me. I didn't hold back. I didn't doubt myself. I gave myself permission to run fast. I ended up coming in under 1:40 and actually got 4th place in my age group earning myself a trophy. 

Best run?

Now this one stumped me. I've had so many great runs for various reasons. Sometimes great because of the conversations. Sometimes great because they can just be funny (like seeing a giant fish tank randomly parked). Of course there are also the amazing sunrises. Sometimes it's even a much-needed cathartic solo run.

I think I have to change my perspective on this question and say that my best run was when I got to run with Lindsay Cotter in Branson. It was gorgeous weather. It was a scenic route. But I finally was able to meet Lindsay (and her hubby) and get to run together. Those miles flew by as we were engrossed in conversation. It was just a wonderful way to spend time with a friend. 

Best new piece of gear? 

Hmmm, this one is tough because I didn't get any cool new gadgets this year. I guess maybe my Newton's would be the best piece of new gear for me.

Best piece of running advice you received? 
Slow down. I think I've seen this answer for several people. But yes, sometimes you gotta slow down.

Most inspirational runner? 
I really don't know how to answer this one. There are so many runners in my life who inspire me daily, and for so many different reasons. Sarena inspires me because she (finally) fell for running and that just makes me smile. Lindsay because she runs from the heart. Krysten because of what she's overcome. Leah because she also overcame a major injury and is simply a total badass.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Growth from overcoming obstacles and learning to let go.