I've been running consistently for over 9 months now, which seems crazy to me - I mean, I must be a "real" runner if I keep at it for that long, right? I had a brief flirtation with running last year but gave it up pretty quickly; this is the first time that I've really stuck with a workout habit. And - shockingly - I love it!
So far, the races I've run this year are:
Get Your Rear in Gear 5K - March
This was a small 5K held in Philly, and was really just a checkpoint in my training. It was a nice day, and still cool outside. My goal was to run the whole 5K, and I did it - for the first time.
Official Time: 40:34 (13:04/mi pace)
Garmin Time: 38:45 (12:27/mi pace)
Broad Street Run - May
This was a HUGE race, one of Philadelphia's most famous. It's one of the largest 10-mile races in the country, and I could definitely feel that when we were all lined up and ready to go. I had just gotten over a nasty cold and was hoping to just make it through - on top of all that, the temp reached 90 degrees by the time the race was done. It was hot and messy, and they had to turn the sprinklers along the course on to keep us from dying - but it was an absolute blast. The course being mostly downhill helped, and my cold didn't bother me too much. Definitely one of my most memorable races.
Official Time: 2:23:00 (14:20 pace)
Garmin Time: 2:23:00 for 10.09 miles (14:11 pace)
13.1 Marathon Boston - June
Compared to Broad Street, the 13.1 Marathon (bad name, I know) was a much smaller race, held on the grounds of Prowse Farm. The weather was absolutely beautiful - sunny but cool and breezy. Although it seemed a bit disorganized (it was the first year of the race, after all), I really enjoyed the enthusiastic atmosphere and friendliness of everyone involved. I pushed myself through an extremely hilly course - much tougher than anything I trained on - and made it through at a much faster pace than I thought I would! I'll always remember this one for the sweetness of my boyfriend, who walked to the central point of the course at 5:30 am just to cheer me on.
Official Time: 3:02:46 (14:00/mi)
Garmin Time: 3:02:46 for 13.29 miles (13:47/mi)
I've been training hard for most of the summer, even through the hottest parts, and I feel like I'm ready to tackle the next two half-marathons I have coming up. The first one, the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, is this weekend - and if my long runs are any indication, I'm ready for it. I haven't done as many long runs as I'd like, but the race is on a familiar course, and the weather should be great, so I'm psyched. After that, I've got a bit of a break (we're talking 6-mile long runs, not a total break), and then I'll be getting ready for the Philadelphia Marathon's Half Marathon in November. More detailed goals will be in the next post, but basically, all I want to do is feel stronger and faster with each race this fall. I would love to PR at each one, especially with the weather getting cooler now, but I'll be satisfied with feeling good after each race.
Overall, I've come to love running - it's a great cardio workout, and I can definitely tell that I'm in better shape now than I was last year. I can do a LOT of stairs without getting winded, and a quick jog when I'm running late doesn't make me all hot and sweaty - it's a huge difference from before. I do want to change my workout plans a bit this winter, though - I haven't been focusing enough on strength training, and I don't think I'll get much faster or leaner without improving my strength. And for a girl whose ultimate goal in starting to run was to lose weight, that's a big one - I want my running hobby to make me healthier AND happier with my body. The winter will bring more yoga and more weights, plus a bit of TRX in the spring (thanks in advance, Elisabeth!)
So there you have it: my reflections on running. More to come after the next races, for sure!