Last week was the first week of tapering for the Disney World Marathon Weekend in two weeks. I spent the week trying to rest from the 20-mile run last Sunday and planned on reducing my mileage. So I ran on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for a total of 23 miles.
On Saturday, I ran a 'virtual' Half Marathon with four friends of mine to raise funds for the survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. 'Virtual' means you run the race distance wherever you wish (there is no actual race location).
It was a chilly, overcast morning and we started at 7:35am. One of my friends, Tonya, had never run 13.1 miles before so this was going to be a personal challenge for her. We finished our run in 2:49 hours covering 13.89 miles. We prayed for all those killed in the violence and for their surviving families, friends and the Newtown CT community. It was a special run, and one I will not forget. I want to thank those who contributed to this fundraiser. And for those who want to help, you can still contribute by going to my fundraising page.
Then this morning, I decided to go out for one last run in 2012. I ran for 4.65 miles (including my warm-up and cool-down time) and although my legs were a bit tired from running for the past three consecutive days, it felt good to be outside. The last mile was incrementally faster, to the point where I was at an 8;28/mm pace when I finished. It felt pretty awesome!
So as I looked at my statistics for 2012, I have to admit to being somewhat amazed. It has truly been a magical year for me from a health and exercise perspective. I got through a full year of running and races without any major injury and several new achievements. Actually, everything I did this year was something 'new' for me, making each month a new adventure.
For this last month of 2012, I ran a total of 138 miles. This was my sixth month going over the 100-mile mark. That is so cool! And for the whole year, I totaled 1,132 miles! That is just crazy, right? I had a private goal of reaching 1,000 miles for the year, but I wasn't really sure that was realistic until the Fall. It is a very proud accomplishment.
In 2012, I ran a lot of races. 18 officially timed races, the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer (2 fast walks for 39.3 miles), and 2 'virtual' Half Marathons. And when I wasn't running a race, I was training, training, training! I feel like the whole year was just one really long training plan with races peppered throughout the plan.
My complete list of races can be found on the race schedule page of this blog (not including the two virtual halfs). A few of the more memorable races were:
- Walt Disney World Half Marathon (2:29:01): This was my first Half Marathon race and it was a total blast. In fact, I blame the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend for planting the excitement of running firmly in my life.
- Polar Dash Half Marathon (2:44:09): This was my second Half Marathon, just two weeks after the Disney race. Ran in 11F and snowing, it qualified me for membership in the Half Fanatics running club which was one of my goals.
- Illinois iChallenge Half Marathon (2:18:59): This was my fastest Half Marathon this year and is my current Personal Record time (I also ran the 5K and PR'ed in that race as well). I had a great time running this race, especially since I shared the experience with Colleen and Megan as well as my running partner Mike.
- AVON Walk for Breast Cancer: This was a major commitment that had a lot of meaning for me. I walked my first full marathon (26.2 miles) on a Saturday, and then walked a half marathon (13.1 miles) the very next day. It was truly amazing and I met so many inspiring people! I was happy to raise $2,500 towards the effort to find a cure for breast cancer and help provide funds to those currently fighting it. Thanks to everyone who contributed. It meant a lot to me.
- Bank of America Chicago Marathon (6:02:34): This was my first timed Full Marathon event and I had the best experience ever in this race. I had wonderful friends and family along the route to cheer me on, and the whole atmosphere was electric. My friend Beth came all the way out from New York to run it with me. I could not have asked for a better 'first race' experience than this for my first Full Marathon.
The race breakdowns for me this year were as follows:
5K - 5
10K - 1
10M - 1
Half - 10 (plus 2 virtual Halfs)
20M - 1
Full - 2
I ran a race every month of 2012 except for February; I figured that February would be a more relaxing month after having run my first two Half Marathons in January. So instead, I ran/walked for 75 miles of training in February. Not sure that could be considered 'relaxing' but hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
So as 2012 comes to a close, I look back on it with many fond memories. Memories of races finished, no DNFs (did not finish), and of solid friendships made throughout the year. I also celebrated my first full year of having normal blood sugar levels and not requiring any meds for diabetes! Although I wanted to lose more weight this year, I found that very difficult to do while training for all these races. But I am happy to say that my weight has been stable for the year. Not gaining weight for an entire year is definitely an accomplishment that I am proud of.
2013 will be a new year with a new set of goals and challenges. I welcome it!