New beginnings, a clean slate, a blank-paged book, a fresh box of assorted chocolates with no cheat sheet. Hello, 2014!
The first half of 2013 was packed full for me in the running arena. I started out being introduced to the Ultra Running world the first weekend in January by crewing for a fellow runner and friend at her first 50k. It was sparks from the beginning. It prompted me to create my main goal last year: run my age, which was 31 miles, a 50k. I planned to train during the summer months and run a local 50k in Greenville. Before that training would start, I preempted it by running 5 half marathons in the spring before summer hit: Myrtle Beach Half Marathon, Columbia Half Marathon, Blue Ridge Half Marathon in Roanoke, VA, The Varmint Half Marathon in Tazewell, VA, and Diva Half Marathon at North Myrtle Beach, SC. It was a busy spring and I was seldom home on weekends. If I wasn’t running, I was off crewing for another runner. I loved every minute of it.
Myrtle Beach Half Marathon – with Kerri and John, two of my favorites
Columbia Half Marathon – in front of the Capital Building
Blue Ridge Half Marathon, Roanoke, VA – the 6th hardest US Half and Full Marathon. Ran with a new-found running friend, Mindy.
The Vamint Half Marathon, Tazewell, VA – my uncle Ron and I ran our first Half Marathon together, in our home state.
Diva Half Marathon, Myrtle Beach, SC – with Terri, a very sweet dear girlfriend.
Summer hit and I was ready to get started on my ultra training. So, I started my long runs for my 50k training and didn’t run another race for a while. July, August and September weekends were booked for me. When people would ask what exciting plans I had for the weekend, my reply was always “running 16 miles” or “running 20 miles” or “running 23 miles.” As a runner, this is exciting, at first. But, as you know, I got really burned out on running near the end of my training. I decided to move out my first ultra to 2014 since my love of running had waned. And, as you know, I got my mojo back and I started hitting the pavement again. With my renewed love of running, and the sport as a whole, I volunteered for a few races with the Greenville Track Club. And, I think I’ve mentioned that volunteering for a race is second to actually running it. Cheering for fellow runners during a race can be so rewarding.
Even though I trained for 3 straight months during the summer with no “race payoff”, that training was not in vain. No training is never in vain. Just like there’s no such thing as “junk miles.” I fought a very hard mental battle while running those long, hot months and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m a better runner because of it.
The year ended with running fun runs with my running friends and buddies. Christmas Eve morning run is one of my favorites as we meet at a Greenville landmark restaurant, dressed up to the Santa nines, and run 4 miles, then eat breakfast at Tommy’s Ham House before we go celebrate Christmas with our loved ones. It’s not an official race or an official course. We just spread the word by word of mouth and show up at 6am on Christmas Eve morning every year.
And this year, we had an inaugural New Year’s Eve Champagne 5k race on New Year’s Eve night. You could either run as a single participant or on a centipede team of 8 runners tethered together the whole run. I, of course, was part of the centipede team. It was fun to dress up and enjoy the New Year’s Eve party afterward with my running friends.
But, as the year comes to an end, you start thinking about your running goals for the next year. You start asking your running friends, “What’s big on your race schedule next year?” Well, I have a quite a few on mine for next year, but I’m not going to broadcast them, for once. If you keep up with me on Facebook or through my blogs, you’ll just have to wait and see what I post AFTER I have accomplished it. I thought this would be more fun and it even makes me wonder what I will accomplish this year!
But, here are a few things that I will share with you that I WILL be doing this year:
1. Run for fun. If it stops being fun, I’m doing something wrong.
2. Run with other people more. I’m a lone wolf a lot. Time to change it up!
3. Volunteer at more local races.
4. Incorporate fartlek training in my runs (go ahead and laugh, but in layman’s terms, it’s called spurt training or interval training)
5. Be thankful every step I take for my health God has so granted me with for now, to enjoy this gift we call running.
6. Don’t take it for granted.
So, here’s to you and yours in 2014! Dream big. Life is so short, so take chances, risks and live passionately. Auld Lang Syne, 2013!
Colossians 3:23-24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.