I started off the year promising myself that I would race less than last year…. Yea… clearly that happened…
I never had the intention to PR at all this year. I went into the year with zero expectation and lots of hope. And, no, I do not consider them one and the same. I knew that the running needed to get back on track and I really wanted to improve my race times over last year. So, I guess you could say those were two goals that I had for racing this year.
Surprisingly, I managed 3 PRs this year… and I also managed to put up some of my worse times for a few distances… which I find ironic and amusing at the same time. The worse times can definitely be attributed to weather (Jingle Bell) or falling off the training wagon (Navy Pier). But overall, I consider the year a success.
When I look back over the year of racing, there are certain races that rank up there for me in terms of wonderful memories.
New Year’s Day 5K
The year started off with a race… and in my mind it set in stone that I was committing to getting my running back on track. I was lucky enough to have my best friend and her husband in town and I got to spend the day with them. The husband joined me for the race and we ran it together. And though neither of us was truly pleased with the time, I still rank the race and the day as a fond memory. (Full re-cap of the race to come in the New Year)
Rave Run 5K
The race itself was just so-so. But on the way to the race, I met Courtney on the bus. We ended up chatting most of the evening and though we didn’t actually RUN together during the race, it was wonderful to have met someone new and have a new friend. She was instantly added to the racing crew and was promptly sent an email with a list of races she should sign up for… This became a common thing throughout the rest of the year
Chicago Spring 10K
Yea… Not going to lie… I was beyond disappointed and pissed after this race. It was the first time in about 2 years that I was doing a 10K race that I actually felt prepared for. But hot temps and not enough water on course proved to be my downfall. Though this race memory actually stings still, had it not been for this race, I would not have done SF10…
Soldier Field 10 Mile
After Chicago Spring, I wanted redemption and this race had been on my mind for several months already but I was afraid to take the plunge back into distance. However, after that 10K, I just needed a running ego boost. So two days before race day, I signed up quickly acknowledging that this might not be my smartest move. I wasn’t trained for a 10 mile race since my longest run to date had been a 10K but I went into the race with the knowledge that I was going to give it my best effort and that it was going to hurt. Having some friends there helped to calm my nerves on race morning. I had a solid plan for the race… run the first 6.50/7.00 miles like it was a “training run” and play the rest of the race by ear… if I felt good, keep running and if I didn’t, I was perfectly content with walking. The weather and running gods were on my side that morning though and I ended up having an amazing race. Not only was I able to run 90% of the race, but it was also my first occurrence of getting very emotional on a race course as I struggled with tears of joy the last mile. I was so beyond thrilled with how this race went for me… and bonus… I didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought I would.
United Run for the Zoo 10K
This is and probably always will be my favorite 10K but when I woke up on race morning and saw that it was drizzling, I was very disappointed. Dad was in town to watch me run this race and the week prior I had secretly laid out some goals for myself… One outlandish goal that I really WANTED but assumed I just wouldn’t hit because I had been nowhere near it in training, One realistic goal that I had every possibly of hitting if I pushed myself a little and one easy goal… a goal that I knew I could easily hit unless something went seriously wrong during the race. Again, the running gods were on my side (even if they did cause the rain) and I ran amazingly well. I had no idea of what my time or pace were until I crossed the finish line and checked the watch… not only had I blown my outlandish goal out of the water but I finished the race a full 6 minutes earlier than I had predicted… and the time I told my dad to head to the finish line (he hung out inside to stay dry)… Oooops. Despite what the watch said, I wanted to see the official time before I got too excited but over brunch with my friends (including new addition to the crew, Maureen) I saw my official time and was overjoyed. I had never expected to PR in the 10K this year but was pleasantly surprised given I didn’t feel like I had run hard at this race.
Bastille Day 8K
A race that I came to love the previous year… and really… I love all of my LP Races. I decided to do this race again despite my dislike for running in the heat. And in all reality this race will continue to show up on the schedule. But, as luck would have it, the heat broke and it was the perfect evening for a race. I wanted to PR but after getting sick in the beginning of June, I hadn’t run more than a 5K in quite some time, so I figured it was out of the picture… that is until I saw the 4 mile marker on the course and I suddenly realized that I was actually on pace to PR. I held on and flew into another PR for the year…. And it would be my last for the year. I was especially excited that I had my friends to share the experience with and the trip to get frozen yogurt after the race didn’t hurt either.
Nike Get Fly Track Meet
Though not a race in the typical sense, it was the end to a month long program where I and three of my fellow bloggers met for a relay track meet where we would run a mile and try to better our time from the beginning of the month. I was incredibly nervous when I agreed to this because I knew that my teammates were stronger and faster runners than I was. But I threw caution to the wind and had a BLAST with the whole program… and of course the boat load of free Nike gear and the Free Training Session with a top personal trainer didn’t hurt either. We all arrived at the track in our coordinated outfits ready to run. I definitely had a goal in mind… I wanted to knock a minute off my mile time… in a month. When it was my turn to run, I lined up for the hand off and… forgot to check the clock for the start of my lap but remembered to check the mid-way clock… and then promptly forgot to look at the clock for the rest of my laps (4 in total) so I had no idea if I was on pace or not. I originally thought it would be difficult to accomplish this goal but with the support of my teammates, I not only nailed it but bettered it. All in all it was a fun evening spent with three amazing women.
Women Rock 10K
This all women’s race was perfect for the female members of the race crew and I was thrilled that Maureen convinced her sister and roommate to join us as well. It was unfortunate that one of us had to fly home for a family emergency as she was greatly missed but the rest of us did enjoy the race. The race itself was decent but after two races earlier in the week, I was a tad tired so ran well but definitely didn’t push it at all. After the race, we all enjoyed our glass of Champagne and chatted. It was just a fun morning for the girls.
Pumpkins in the Park 5K
When it came time for my favorite 5K, I definitely did my part to convince as many people as I could to sign up and quite a few from the crew did. We all ran our own races and my own race was run foolishly considering I had a time goal in mind… break 32:00 at the very least but I really wanted to break 31:30… Due to my foolish mistakes of going out too fast and then the extreme weaving I did… I essentially spent the race running intervals which caught up to me by the end… especially with the hills. But I managed to hold on enough to break 32:00. Post race, we mostly parted ways but a few of us went to get ribs for dinner… because… you know, you are supposed to eat protein after you run :-p
To recap the race year in numbers
Number of races signed up for = 25 + Nike Get Fly Track Meet
Number of races ran = 20 + Nike Get Fly Track Meet
Number of races I took a DNS on = 5
Number of race miles = 95.10
Number of PRs = 3
It really was a great year of racing for me… lots of highs and lows and many more fantastic memories. I can’t wait for next year!