2014 has been quite the year for me, as a runner. Back in January, I was sweating the approach of April, and my first 1/2 Marathon. I was averaging 8-10 miles a week … long runs were in the 6-7 mile range and I was mostly on the treadmill. In March, I did what has become a traditio for me. I went out to run the 13.1 to prove to myself it was not beyond my reach. I ran closer to 18 miles that day. I got lost. I learned a lot and got so dehydrated I was a wreck for days. In April, I ran the Dismal Swamp Stomp (already registered again this year) and ran it in two hours and forty or so minutes.
I have dropped from 235 pounds to 195 and stayed there.
In May, there was the 5K a day in May challenge. I started strong, and I was kicking major butt through the first 3/4 of the month, but in the last week, I injured my foot (I think it was a stress fracture). Inestead of resting – I had a 5k race I’d signed up for – I powered through. That cost me the 5k a day in May, and it cost me what would have been my first 100 mile month. I was out of commission for nearly three weeks, and had a major paradigm shift in shoes from minimalist Vivobarefoot shoes (which made my feet strong but offered little protection) to zero-drop Altra shoes (which I still love).
In June I got the belt buckle that I wear to this day – 100 miles in one month, and I had to do it (basically) starting on the 13th with almost no miles logged. I passed the 100 mile mark, and have gone more than 100 miles every month since. I am still learning to properly take care of my feet, but I work at it, and I will not go through that injury mistake again. Somewhere along the middle of June I signed up for the Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon in August in Virginia Beach, and continued running. As often as I could, I stretched the distance, eight, nine, ten mile runs. They were hard, but I found my 5K and 10k times getting better.
In August, I cut twenty minutes off my 1/2 marathon time. I ran on, and I continued to up my distance. I think it wsa in September when I signed up for the Newport News One City Marathon – even signed Crossroad Press (my publishing company) up to sponsor mile #13 (at that time it was as far as I was certain I’d go).
I ran a lot of miles in October, working my way up. I did a 17 mile run and felt fine at the end. Went shopping and mowed the lawn. Still, that thing that always itches at my mind…itched at my mind. I asked for (and got) a Camelback hydration pack for my birthday in October. In November, I strapped it on, filled it with water and snacks, and headed out to run a marathon. Just like the first time…I got lost. Then I got found and figured out where I was, and I made that course stretch to the 26.2, despite having missed a major turn. At mile 23 the love of my life brought me a bottle of Power-Ade. I ran on, and I finished the marathon in 5:32 … so now I know.
Today, I broke my 5K record. Last January I was hovering around 30 minutes on my best day for a 5K … Today, I ran one in 25:42. To cut off five minutes in only 3.1 miles…not as easy as it might seem. Particularly when you ar 55. I can see myself trimming it farther in the year to come. All of my running goals for this year plus one have been met. Below is a small photo gallery of the year’s fun… and here are my stats since I started running seriously again a year and a few months ago. Thanks to all of you who have helped, encourged, laughed, and even those of you who doubted…