On Monday 12/31 I woke up and layered on the winter gear for my last run of 2012. The 4 miler around the Charles was chilly and still a little icy but mostly clear thanks to New Balance who has helped fund snow removal for the path the past four years. The run was short but included my 1000th mile of the year. Within those 1000 miles were marathon training, racing, running with Brittany, running for causes and running just for fun with friends. To recap – here are my top 12 RLAG highlights of 2012
12) The Eastern States 20 Miler (3/25/2012) – I was undecided on a spring marathon or if I would even do a full 26.2 but for the past 9 winters I had trained every Saturday for a distance race so I settled on this 20 miler to get something on the calendar. It was cold, rainy and windy – I think I was even injured a bit – but we weren’t even really being timed so I took it slow made the race a lesson in being tough and resilient even in the rain. (3:05:19)
11) Commodore Hull Thanksgiving Day Road Race (11/22/2012) – This is such a special race for me because it was the first race I completed at the start of my running career. I am one of 27 runners who have completed every race, my PR is on the course and it’s in my hometown of Shelton CT. This year I placed 2nd in my AG and for the first time we stayed for the awards ceremony.
10) I was a kick ass spectator in 2012. Jared completed his first two half iron distance triathlons and I was a proud cheerleader at both events. In June he killed it at the Patriot Half Iron in Freetown, MA and I was able to volunteer at that event, a brilliant move on my part. With my official duties (body marking – yum) taken care of first thing in the morning I was free to jump around to other areas and help out while placing myself somewhere he would see me at transition and on the bike. I even got to give him his medal when he finished. Later in the fall I joined him in the Pocono Mountains for the Ironman 70.3. The course was significantly more difficult but he still did awesome while I navigated around the mountains for cheering sections while dodging traffic, feral cats and black bears.
9) I learned the benefit of giving my body a break by changing the focus a little bit. In 2012 I started making yoga practice a regular part of my fitness routine. I find it very challenging but also refreshing both physically and mentally. After just over a full year of consistent practice I’m feeling significantly stronger head to toe and I stayed injury free most of the year. There is so much I have yet to learn and experience with my practice but the more often I am on my mat the more I receive in return. In November I attended my 100th yoga class of the year and averaged 9.5 classes per month in 2012. My goal for 2013 is 11 classes per month and to attempt crow, even for just a couple of seconds, every time it’s offered in class.
8) I inspired another runner. This year I invited a co-worker/ friend to join Chasing Tail in the spring edition of Reach the Beach. I wasn’t 100% certain she would go for it and a little concerned she would find the distances (without sleep or a decent meal) intimidating but I knew she would be a great fit for the Tails. If she could handle the running she would love the trip. She agreed and I was right on all counts. She struggled a bit with her last leg of the relay but after conquering that challenge her confidence shot through the roof. After RTB she went on to race more and more through the year even completing her first half marathon in the fall. She has her sights set on even more for 2013 including a couple of half marathons and of course RTB. Oh, and there is even a cherry on tip – she started dating one of our RTB teammates and they are super happy. Seriously, I’m like a running fairy godmother. 🙂 Stacey, I’m so proud of you and can’t wait to see what you accomplish in the New Year.
7) Run to Remember Half Marathon (5/27/2012) – This race makes the list for two reasons. One, because I signed up less than 24 hours before the race and two because I followed a perfect race plan to finish under goal and feel great. It wasn’t one of my fastest times but it was fun and allowed me a good strong long run with water and crowd support. Ideal. (1:50:19)
6) The only thing better than Reach the Beach Relay is TWO Reach the Beach Relays in one year. Chasing Tail scored a free entry to the spring edition in Massachusetts allowing the gang a bonus weekend of van time several months before our traditional New Hampshire Relay in the fall. In 2012 Chasing Tail showed off new team uniforms in the form of hoodies and cool hats not to mention we won the hearts of pretty much anyone who watched this video recap of the spring relay.
5) Winter Classic (12/9/12) – As the last race of the year I was ready to bring some speed to this fast 5k and was really happy with my time. It’s the closest I’ve come to my 5k PR (22:35) in a long time and I raced beside a good friend and Chasing Tail teammate John Gianitsis. Uninjured, John should be able to run faster than me but some ITB issues kept him from doing that, still he loyally kept me at pace and then backed off for his own good less than a half mile from the finish line. I crossed in 22:54 reminding me that if I work for it – I really can race a 5k…maybe a new PR isn’t such a long shot.
4) Falmouth Road Race (8/12/12) – I’ve always enjoyed this summer race but this year was special when the New England Organ Bank debuted as a first time charity team. With my history as manager for a Boston Marathon team there was a lot of nostalgia going into the race and getting my team ready. We raised over $18,000 and kicked off what will hopefully be an annual event to raise funds and awareness for organ and tissue donation. That all being said…it was probably my worst race of the year and I thought I was going to die at the finish line but I finished under an hour. (59:35)
3) Nantucket Triathlon (7/21/12) – Speaking of near death experiences. I find triathlons incredibly challenging no matter the distance, but that’s part of why I do them. I have had a moment during every tri I have ever completed that I think to myself ‘I can’t believe I am able to do this’. Usually this moment happens on the bike where I am the least confident but in Nantucket last summer it was around the time that I was finishing the swim and realized that I was not going to drown at Jetties Beach. 2 minutes before that moment I was all but certain I was going to drown at Jetties Beach. They say do something once a day that scares you, but completing this tri took care of the remaining days of 2012. Regardless, I’ll probably sign up for ACK Tri 2013 because I refuse to end my tri career with a mess like that.
2) MSPCA Run Fur Fun (11/10/2012) – I finished this 5k with more pride than any race before including marathons and PR’s since I had my best friend side by side with me. Brittany does not have a great history of running and if she is not awful on a 4 mile loop I consider it a monster victory. Yet, for some awesome reason she raced with me around the Brighton loop on the Charles with incredible focus. It wasn’t until I finished the recap that I realized it was the slowest 5k I have ever run. Regardless, our 27:29 still earned Britt 3rd place in the Medium Dog division. Good girl!
1) Manchester City Marathon (11/2/12) – I was so excited to run the New York City Marathon in November. I had trained all summer long on hills, on vacation and through a fake cold that turned out to be allergies. I had raised almost $3000 for the American Liver Foundation from many generous friends. Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t seem to care what my plans were when Hurricane Sandy came roaring through the east coast and wiped out a good portion of NYC. The race was eventually cancelled and although I was incredibly disappointed, it was never an option to throw in the towel and not race. Sometimes life isn’t fair and things don’t go your way, there is a lot we cannot control, but what we can control is how we handle the situation. Jared and I chose to find a plan B and plan B took us to Manchester NH where they were conveniently holding a marathon the same day as New York. They not only allowed everyone who wanted to run to register but they welcomed us with open arms and the previous year’s t-shirts. The race was very difficult but more importantly very special. Thank you, Manchester.
Honorable mentions: the 3.5 mile run we did in Punta Cana, the one time in 2012 I went to Casey’s, the awful 10 miler with Kate on June 30 – I have a note in my run log that says ‘what a nightmare’, the Finish on the 50 10k and the birthday bike ride Jared forced me to do, which I loved.
Every year has its ups, downs, goods, greats and could-have-been-way-betters. Now it’s all behind us and we have a fresh new year to look forward to. I can’t wait to see what the next 1000+ miles has in store.
Happy New Year Everyone!