A Review of 2009:
In January I ran my first half marathon*, the inaugural Mississippi Blues Marathon in Jackson. This is a bigger deal than it seems. I had try to train for a half before but my knee kept swelling up, and finally after a ten miler it swelled so much that I could barely walk. So I thought I could never do distance. Well, I kept training and it worked! I was so nervous before the race. Jason came to support me and I remember being in awe of all of the marathoners and what they were about to do. My goal was to run 2 hours, and Jason and I were excited when I finished at 1:51:52. I was officially hooked on distance running! I finished knowing I could have run harder, and was excited to see how fast I could go. Jason even got me flowers :)
I had told myself if my body let me finish the half I would keep adding miles until it didn't let me go any further, hoping I'd be able to eventually run a marathon. I decided if I did one it would be the National Marathon in March. My best friend had already run a few marathons, and I never thought I'd actually be able to do it too. I couldn't believe I was in the process of making it happen!
The following weekend I ran the Gulf Winds 15k in 1:15. I remember freaking out when some of my miles were under 8 minutes... I thought that was way too fast!
The following weekend I ran the Frostbite Half Marathon in Starkville, MS. I told you I was hooked! I ran a 1:48 on another tough course, and actually ran negative splits. I remember getting to the half way point thinking "wow that was nothing."
The first weekend of February I ran the Tallahassee half. I had been experiencing a really weird foot/leg injury that didn't make me stop, but caused me to slow down for a couple miles. I still finished in about 1:41. I finally felt what it was to "race" this distance and for once felt like I gave it my all.
I continued to train, and my injury continued to nag. I would be reduced to a walk during my long runs and I would just cry. But I kept going anyway, and kind of realized that if I walked a couple minutes every mile or two I could finish the distance.
I finally made it to my 20-miler! I was so exited and nervous because I knew whether or not I could run the marathon depended on if I could finish this run. I ran in Jackson while visiting, and the night before ate my "pre-race" meal. I went out with my fuel belt and ran out and backs on a bike trail. I had a lot of hip pain (looking back I think it was the shoes), but I did it! After the run I signed up for the marathon.
So March 29th I ran the Suntrust National Marathon. My goal was 4 hours, and I finished just over. Everyone told me to be careful not to start off too fast and I actually started off in 9:45... whoops! I walked 30 seconds through every water stop, regardless of if I felt I needed it. I ended up doing my half right around 2 hours, and finishing about 30 seconds over my goal time. I really enjoyed the race and the pace, I met a ton of cool people. I remember someone telling me to never forget this moment, and to write about it when I get home. I waited almost a year to write about it, but I don't think I'll ever forget the feeling. When I finished my mom, brother and sister-in-law were there, and laughed at me because I didn't seem tired. I couldn't WAIT to beat that time!
Since my body struggled a good bit during the training and school was busy, I took some good time off. A couple months. When I started back is when I started the blog. In July I ran an easy 5k on the track, and easily accomplished my goal. The next week I ran the 800 and was so excited to see I ran a 2:34. It's about ten seconds off of my college PR and I wasn't even training that hard. I also felt like I could go faster, and it really excited me.
Meanwhile, I was training for the Mississippi Coast Marathon in November, slowly adding on mileage, but still sticking with three runs a week.
In August I ran the Breakfast on the Track Mile and aimed for under 6. I ran a 5:44 (I don't know if that's a PR) and feel like this is another time that I can definitely beat.
There was a race in September that caught my eye- The Red Cross Hurricane Run. As a meteorologist, and hurricane researcher, I felt obligated! I wanted to run under 21. I ran with a friend (Michael) and when we reached the first mile marker I looked at my watch and laughed and said "6:28." It felt way to easy to run that mile, and I realized I could really turn this race into something because I was feeling so good. About half way in I passed the girl in front of me to move into first. At the three mile marker I realized that I was going to be realllllly close to achieving my goal of my running career- a 5k under 20 minutes. I ran as hard as I could and crossed at 20 FLAT!!!!! I was disappointed but happy with my PR at the same time. Maybe next time :(
In October I ran the Baltimore Half Marathon with my dad and best friend, while my brother completed his first full marathon. Our goal was to go under 1:40, and we stayed at 7:45 pace for much of the race. At mile 9 I pulled away and picked it up, dropping my pace to under 7, and finishing in 1:37. (See entry for more details). I look forward to challenging this PR! Everyone thought the course was really hard, but I didn't even feel the hills. I don't know if that means I wasn't going fast enough, or all of the Tallahassee hills have paid off!
The last race before my marathon was the Lake Caroline 15k in Jackson. Jason came to watch and my goal was to go under 1:10. I ended up going out with the first place girls, passing them at 3 miles and taking it from there! I finished in 1:02. (Detailed entry in training log). This is my fastest race according to age grade I think. It is definitely the hardest I feel like I have ever pushed myself. It's going to be tough to beat that one! I think the trick to it was that I was in such great distance shape, having just done an 18 miler for my marathon. I now know the importance of training way further than your race.
Somewhere in the mix Sasha told me I'm not running enough. So I picked up an extra easy day a week, and realized it's too late to change what I'm doing for this race. Michelle reminded me that what I do now will go towards my next marathon too, so it's not all wasted.
My marathon finally came November 29. My goal was of course to PR, but I really knew that there is no reason I shouldn't be able to do that. My REAL goal was a BQ. It was the worst I have EVER felt during a race, but I did it! Most miserable experience though, seriously. I don't know if it was the weather or all the driving before hand. (Once again, details are in the race report). Time: 3:37 and definitely beatable in the near future!
Because of my school calendar I decided to wait until Boston for 2010, and even decided not to do a spring marathon. Although now I am beginning to wish I planned on doing one. But for 2009 I really want some PRs and want to prove that I have some good times in me. I really think I have some talent in there that I haven't touched, and I want to see if that's true. I want to train more, but smart, and see what I can do. And I REALLY want that 19:59 5k!!! I also plan to run as many of the Gulf Winds Grand Prix events, and try to place in the final standards at the end of the year.
So hopefully 2009 will be a great running year like 2008. Happy new year and happy running to all!