2019 already? I love looking back at the year, specifically on my races, training, and mentality of 2018, in order to pick out the lessons I want to carry with me into 2019. This past year I ran 4 races; two marathons and two half-marathons. I ran a marathon PR, checked off two more states on my 50 states quest, and overcame injury. Here’s a recap of my 2018 in running.
Bayshore Marathon – Traverse City, MI (May 26, 2018)
This was a pivotal race for my mentality towards the marathon distance. This race I finally realized it can still be a great run and I can still be proud of myself, even without a PR. I felt the joy of tackling the marathon distance and had a blast. The time on the clock didn’t matter, and I finished with a smile. Plus this course was beautiful and the locals provided excellent support and hospitality. It was pretty toasty towards the end of the race, but thankfully my hydration for the week was on point. I had my doubts that I would make it to the finish line due to an injury in the second half of my training cycle, but God pulled me through! You can read the full recap here.
Finish Time: 3:55:55 Pace: 9:00/mile
She-Power Half Marathon – Indianapolis, IN (June 10, 2018)
This race was one of my favorites, and if I didn’t have a 50 states quest, I would sign up year after year. This race is a females only race, so the vibe is empowering, vibrant, and girly! This was 2 weeks after the Bayshore Maraththon, so I really put no pressure on myself and just got out there and had fun. This was an excellent on-foot tour of downtown Indianapolis. At mile 4, the sky turned dark, and then came torrential downpour and thunder. One of my favorite parts of racing is the unpredictability of it, and I smiled and embraced the rain. The swag for this race was also a huge bonus — a giant locket medal, cute shirt, bracelet, Balega socks, a rose, and a drawstring bag!
Finish Time: 1:48:26 Pace: 8:16/mile
Chicago Marathon (October 7, 2018)
This was an epic day, because I finally ran the marathon I knew I was capable of running. Crowds lined the course and the signs, costumes, and encouragement made this race fly by. I surrendered my negative thoughts and worries to the Lord, got out of my head, and just ran with heart. And it paid off. There was light rain for the majority of the race, which helped keep me cool. I will always be proud of this race. You can read the full recap here.
Finish Time: 3:43:19 Pace: 8:31/mile
Colt State Park Half Marathon – Bristol, Rhode Island (November 4, 2018)
One of my favorite parts of my 50 states quest is going to states I probably would never visit if I didn’t have this goal. This course was absolutely beautiful, right along the coastline of Rhode Island. I ran with my husband since it was our wedding anniversary, didn’t worry about pace, and just took in the views. After we signed up, they announced that this race would be the host of the Rhode Island Half Marathon State Championships, so there were a lot of crazy fast athletes! You also know you’re in New England when clam chowder is served at the finish line!
Finish Time: 1:56:21 Pace: 8:52/mile
Running Lessons from 2018:
Faster Running Buddy: For the Chicago Marathon, I ran my weekly speed workouts with my friend Lexi who is significantly faster than me. Running with someone way faster was humbling, but also helped me become a faster and mentally stronger runner. I pushed myself more with Lexi than I would have if I were doing the workout alone; she wouldn’t let me slow down when things got hard. We also ran without music, which forced me to confront the physical and mental pain without the distraction of music. I’m thankful for a running buddy and friend who inspires and challenges me.
IRON PILLS: I’ll admit to being extremely lazy with any type of vitamin regimen. I’ve known I was anemic since college, and this year I started to take my iron pills everyday. After taking them for about a month, I noticed feeling less tired, more focused, and stronger on my runs.
Pure Barre: Speaking of being lazy, strength training is another commitment I could never keep. After my half in November, I took 7 weeks off of running and focused on improving my strength and balance at Pure Barre. The class works every major muscle group of the body, which I know will help my running mechanics. Also, I get to practice mental toughness by resisting the urge to “shake out” during tough sequences. I plan to continue to go to class at least three times a week for cross-training.
FUN! Through my 50 states running quest, I’ve been learning that racing without going all-out or going for a PR is okay. Participating in races doesn’t always have to be competitive. Taking in the scenery, running by thousands of people who share my same passion, “doing it for the bling”, and every other reason to get out there and race is OK. PR’s are wonderful. But so is lacing up and doing what I love most, no matter what the time is on the clock when I cross the finish line.
God-Given Passion: I can’t count the times I have said “Thank You, Jesus for this run!” I’ll never forget that running is a gift and God uses this passion for His Glory. Running for Christ means trusting Him with my hopes, dreams, and fears, and doing the best I can with the abilities He has given me. It means never finding my worth or identity in this sport; I can instead have the freedom to love this sport because with or without running, I am already enough.
What are your biggest lessons and take-aways from 2018? I would love to hear them! Happy New Years, Friends!!!