Sunday, January 11, 2015

My Year in Review

I started this blog over two years ago fueled by the excitement of a great race in Akron. Since then I haven't written anything. Well, I have...but it never ended up on here. Trying to make a change this year. So, rather than recap everything since then we'll just touch on my race highlights this past year.


April 2014 - Canton Hall of Fame Marathon (Half)




Any ohioan will tell you last winter was a harsh one. Actually, I think most of the country would agree. It made training for a Spring race a bit difficult. But I muddled through. I don't own a treadmill so it can be hard to get long training runs done. In years past I have gone to some gym to make sure that I could keep up with running through the winter. For whatever reason, I didn't do that this past year.

At any rate, the Hall of Fame Marathon was a new race. It was pretty cold for the end of April and I didn't dress as warmly as I should have. Needed some gloves!

It was a sunny day which made the cold a bit more bearable. The course was hillier than I anticipated. The first 7 miles I was flying, excited by so much downhill racing. But...of course...I knew that downhill start means up hill to the finish line. Ugh! But, I ended up with my 2nd best half finish!


2nd Best Half! All smiles despite frozen digits!


September 2014 - Akron  Marathon (Half)

 

For several months I had dropped not so subtle hints to my friend that she should run a half marathon. I hinted at Canton at first but she seemed uninterested. Earlier in April we ran a 5k together and noticed we ran well together. In May we did a couple longer runs together. Right before I headed down south to see my family for a week, we did a 6 miler. Her very first! Later that evening while I was packing she texted me that she had signed up for the Akron Half! I was super excited!

My best friend also decided to run the race. Her 5th Akron race (I believe) and my 4th! As mentioned in my first post, running a half in the first place was her idea! Not sure I would have started this crazy journey without her!



So, training began. And in September we arrived at the start line.

 Gotta have a shoe pic!

Akron is my favorite race. Granted, I haven't done a lot of different races. However, the energy, the support, the crowd, and usually the weather are fantastic at Akron! This year, the temps started to rise in the morning and we struggled a bit as we crossed the dreaded Y bridge back towards the finish line. But, despite the heat we finished! It was so awesome to cross the finish line with her!


October 2014 - Columbus Marathon (Full)

 


Early on in my training for Akron I decided I wanted to do a fall Full marathon. It had been over a year since I had done one. I was nervous to undertake this kind of training. This would be my 4th full marathon.

After my last full I had a bit of a health scare. Long story short, I fainted at work...ended up in the ER....then had to go to a cardiologist to investigate something a little quirky on my EKG. After a stress echocardiogram the doc cleared me to keep running. Basically, low blood pressure, bradycardia (resting heart rate lower than 60 bpm...typical for distance runners) and low blood sugar caused me to faint. The quirkiness on the EKG was nothing to be too worried about. Sports drinks are my friends these days....doctor's orders.

Training went well, though my last long run (23 miles) was NOT awesome. I noticed this has happened during every marathon training cycle. The last long run just plain sucks. I learned a valuable lesson about pacing. I had it in my head that I could get my marathon below 5 hours. Not quite in the cards yet.


Columbus is an amazing race. I did my first full there in 2012. It's a big race. Lots of support, lots of music and a fast and flat course. Each mile is dedicated to a patient at Children's Hospital. Many of the patients are at the mile markers cheering us on. It's a very touching site. Hard not to get choked up!

Admittedly, I was freaked out about this race. My stomach was a mess the morning of! I was not running this race with anyone but I met some fantastic people at the start though. I always calm down once I get there and get my spot in the corral. I met a 74 woman walking the half with her son and I met a 60 year old man who had battled cancer this past year and was running a full for the first time since the 80s!

I paced myself well for this race. Remembering how my last training run went, I kept holding myself back. I told myself once I got to 20, I could pick it up if I felt like it. My husband and his sister were waiting for me at the Stadium (around mile 16 or 17). Another great part of this race is that you get to run into Buckeye Stadium (aka The Shoe). I got a little teary as I approached. I come from a big Buckeye family. They play marching band music as you approach the stadium. It always makes me think of my Dad when I'm there. He played in the Marching Band (TBDBITL)!


Miles 20 through 26 were a suckfest. But they always are. Your muscles really start to betray you. Your mental state starts to decline. It's a struggle for any marathoner. But, you just have to trust the training, trust yourself, trust your resolve. You CAN do it. Visualize the finish. Visualize the Medal. Run, Walk, or Crawl. You'll get there!

And I did...and had a PR for the day!!!! LOVE these medals! Sparkly :)


So, this year. Hmmm, I have a hard time with resolutions. I just want to keep it up. Keep running, keep racing. I have some goal times in mind. But mostly, I just want to get stronger and get healthier (holy holiday food batman!). That's about it! Until next time!