Another year is upon us, and instead of writing about resolutions for 2014, I’m going to take a few moments to review some of my highlights of 2013.
It was a big running year for me – the best and biggest yet. I ran in nine races, including a colour run in Nova Scotia, a Halloween run, and three half-marathons. I finished off the year logging 1, 024 km (like running from Saint John, NB to Cornwall, Ont). That compares to 814 km in 2012, which was my first year of distance training.
Favourite run: It’s tough to single out a favourite run, since I love the adrenaline and joy of crossing the finish line at races. But this year, I recall one particularly special run along the north shore of Prince Edward Island. It was mid-June, and the sun was setting, and I was running fast beside my new husband on the Gulf Shore Parkway. We had just eloped a day prior, and the secret was still ours. We were still getting used to the wedding rings on our fingers. The air was fresh and my heart was full. There’s nothing better than running in a beautiful place with someone you love.
Worst run: My worst runs were probably around last spring, when I got some kind of a virus that spread into my chest. I broke the cardinal rule of running through sickness. I was training for my first half of the year and was determined not to miss my weekend long runs. So even when the cold got into my chest, I kept going (a no-no) and I think I made the cold worse. The runs actually felt pretty good, probably only because my adrenaline was masking how sick I really was. But when I got home I would hack up a lung. Eventually I had to go on antibiotics and nearly derailed a long-planned trip to Jamaica (where I happened to fit in some very hot runs at the resort, mon).
Best race experience: Although I cracked the two-hour barrier in Moncton, I would have to say I loved running in the Fredericton Marathon the most. It’s probably because of how much I shocked myself by shaving 15 minutes from my previous half-marathon time. I came in at 2:01, and hugged a complete stranger at the finish. The course was flat, on trails and very pleasant. I also loved crossing the St. John River on a bridge.
Favourite piece of gear: Early in the year, after a bad gym workout, I bought a Garmin Forerunner 10 watch. It has helped me learn to stay on pace and get faster. It has also helped with speed workouts and allows me to venture off while still getting in my goal mileage. Such a great tool.
Proudest running achievement: Running a half-marathon in less than two hours is something I never dreamed possible just a couple years ago when I was scared at the thought of signing up for my first race (a five-miler). But I managed to meet that goal in October at Legs for Literacy, despite cold and rainy weather, crossing the finish line at 1:59:54. I worked really hard for it, running all year without a break. But overall, the experience of training and improving on half-marathons in 2013 was really pleasant and solidified my love of running.
Biggest lesson learned: It might seem obvious, but you get out of running what you put into it. If you want to get faster? Speed train. Run farther? Do more long runs. Stronger and injury prone? Use weights and run hills. Feeling rotten? Eat better and sleep more. Want to lose weight? Track your calories. I’ve also learned – not just this year, but slowly over time – that when you focus on a goal such as running, other elements of a healthy life kind of fall into place. You fell better, eat better (need good fuel and recovery), and your pants aren’t as tight. Don’t get me wrong, I still indulge and I can be a real couch-potato, but in general, running makes me a fitter, healthier person.
Thanks Molly for providing this year-end survey! Other bloggers can feel free to use it, too.