Princess Half Marathon Training Log – Week 4

What a week, especially when it came to the weather.  I started the week off with yet another snow day, after having had snow days on both Thursday and Friday the previous week.  When we finally returned to school on Tuesday, the day flew by both due to the two hour delay that we had due to ice ,as well as the result of trying to play catch up with my students after three snow days in a row.  Then by Thursday the temperature was 59 degrees!  And yesterday the temperature struggled to get out of the 20s.  This weather is just nuts!

I did my best to take advantage of the nicer weather, and managed to complete two of my runs outside.  I cannot wait for it to warm up again because running on the treadmill is getting a bit boring.  Despite the roller coaster weather, I managed to have a very productive week of training.

Monday, January 8th

I took advantage of the snow day and the fact that it was nowhere near as icy as school transportation officials had predicted.  After spending a couple of hours at school working on getting caught up in my empty and quiet classroom, I headed to the gym where I spent 30 minutes on the elliptical, did 30 minutes of full body weight training, and ended my workout with 5 minutes on the stair master.

Tuesday, January 9th

46 degrees felt incredibly warm after more than a week of freezing temperatures.  I took full advantage of the mild winter weather and ran outside for the first time since before Christmas.  The run was far from a great one, especially since I was almost hit by not one but two cars, but it was so nice to just enjoy being outside, and post run I walked an additional 1.40 miles.

Wednesday, January 10th

After an incredibly stressful day at work I opted for an unplanned rest day.  Relaxing on the couch with my little man was a much more appealing idea that evening than working out was.

Thursday, January 11th

Since it was 59 degrees outside I was able to run outside again.  My body struggled during this run with running outside as opposed to on the treadmill where I’ve been stuck running lately, but a slower run outside was definitely better than a faster run inside.

Friday, January 12th

Since I had back to back runs on my schedule for Saturday and Sunday in order to help prepared me for running the 10k and half marathon on back to back days next month at Disney, I took a full rest day on Friday.

Saturday, January 13th

I debated for a couple of hours whether to run outside or inside, but ultimately decided that because of the 20+ mph winds plus the temperature in the low 20s that running inside was the better decision.  After completing an easy but speedy 3 miles I did 30 minutes of full body weight training.

Sunday, January 14th

With the wind chill in the single digits Sunday afternoon it was back to the gym where I completed my long run on the treadmill.  Sometimes long runs on the treadmill can be a huge mental and physical challenge, but this run was far from that.  I really focused on pacing myself and took it extra slow during the first couple of miles of my run in order to help prevent physical burnout.  My conservative approach to my run really paid off, as I felt strong from start to finish and managed to run some speedy splits for a long run.  I finished up my time at the gym with a mile long cool down walk.

Total Weekly Mileage – 25.71 miles (7.09 miles more than week 3)

Total Princess Half Marathon Mileage – 80.97 miles

QOTD: How has the weather been in your neck of the woods?  Are you also experiencing roller coaster winter weather like we are here in Northern Virginia?

I’m linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap link up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well.

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My 2018 Race Calendar

One of my goals for this year is to PR in every race distance that I run.  I know that this is going to be quite a challenge, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not up for it.  This goal has been in the back of my mind as I have been working on figuring out which races I’ll be running this year.

I’m currently only registered for four races this year, but I have many more on the list of possible races to run this year.  I don’t want every race that I run this year to be a goal race, so I’m trying to carefully balance my choices out while also considering the needs of my family as well.

Below is what the draft of my 2018 race calendar currently looks like.  Races in italics are the ones that I have not yet registered for.

February 3rd – For the Love of It 10k – This race will be a last minute decision, mainly because I want to keep my eye on the weather and see if the weather will be more or less ideal for running a winter race.

February 24th – Princess Enchanted 10k (Part 1 of the Fairy Tale Challenge) – As I’ve previously shared, my friend Kathleen and I will be running this race with the only goal being to have fun.

February 25th – Princess Half Marathon (Part 2 of the Fairy Tale Challenge) – Like with the 10k, the one and only goal of this race will be to have fun.

March 4th – Reston 10 Miler – Like with the For the Love of It 10k, whether or not I register for this race will be a last minute decision based on the weather.  I haven’t run a 10 mile race since April 2015 so I’d like to change that this year.

April 22nd – Loudoun Half Marathon – I ran this race last year and really enjoyed it for multiple reasons.  This will likely be my first half marathon PR attempt this year.

After last year’s Loudoun Half Marathon

July 4th – Firecracker 5k – I have no idea what our 4th of July plans are yet, but if we’re in town I’d like to kick off our country’s birthday by running this local race.  I’ve previously run this race in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

August 19th – Leesburg 20k – This race should work well as a long training run for the Chicago Marathon.  I absolutely loved my race experience back in 2014 and this would definitely be a fun way to complete one of my marathon training runs.

Nearing the finish line of the 2014 Leesburg 20k
Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

October 7th – Chicago Marathon – I’m hopeful that with the right focus, dedication, and training that I will be able to run this race faster than I did this past year.  Just like last year, I’ll be running with Team RMHC again.  I cannot wait to represent this fantastic organization once again this year.

There are a couple of other races that I have in the back of my mind as possibilities for this year, but this is the current list of races that I think is most realistic for myself and my family.  I cannot wait to see what I’m capable of accomplishing this year and how close I’ll be able to come in reaching my PR goal this year!

QOTD: What races are you most looking forward to running in 2018?

I am linking up with Deb for the Race Linkup.  Be sure to also check out her post for more race ideas.

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Princess Half Marathon Training Log – Week 3

This past week was a very interesting week.  With New Year’s Day on Monday, I headed back to work on Tuesday.  Tuesday and Wednesday were regular school days, with the only exception being that everybody was watching the weather.  Overnight Wednesday night into Thursday, it snowed less than an inch, but with how cold its been here lately, in addition to there being high winds, it was enough for school to be canceled.  Then Thursday evening we received notice that school was also closed on Friday due to the dangerously low wind chills that we were forecasted to have.  The very cold temperatures remained throughout the weekend, and it took lots of self talk to bundle up anytime that we needed to leave the house.

Needless to say, all of my workouts were done indoors last week.  Not only am I a wimp when it comes to dealing with the cold, but the sidewalks in our area had too many patches of ice last week.  It was just not worth the safety risk to try and run outside.  Thankfully, my gym never felt overly crowded, despite it being the first week of the new year.  I’m not sure where all of the New Year’s resolutioners were, but I was quite happy that the gym wasn’t as packed as its been at the beginning of January in past years.  It made it much easier to get all of my workouts in.

Monday, January 1st

Since I completed an 8 mile run last Sunday, I kicked off the week and 2018 with cross training and weight training.  I spent 40 minutes on the elliptical followed by 30 minutes of full body weight training.

Tuesday, January 2nd

Despite the New Year’s gym crowd, I still managed to run on one of my favorite treadmills at the gym.  Score!

Wednesday, January 3rd

Since I had an appointment at the chiropractor after school I took the rest of the evening  off from working out.

Thursday, January 4th

With Thursday being the first day of Disney World Marathon Weekend, I decided to participate in the indoor virtual 5k race, as the 5k race was held at Disney that morning.  I even dressed up for the occasion and wore the “Run Now Wine Later” tank that I wore in November 2016 for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  After my run I walked another mile.

Virtual races are always a great source of motivation. Thursday’s #IndoorWDW5k was just what I needed to push myself to run a tad faster than I have been lately.

Friday, January 5th

With the wind chill well below zero for the majority of the day, I was too cold to do much that day.  It wasn’t initially planned, but I wound up deciding to make Friday a rest day.

Saturday, January 6th

Even though Saturday was another very cold day with the wind chill again below zero for most of the day, I finally found motivation to do an at home strength training workout Saturday evening.  I spent 30 minutes focusing on my lower body and abs.

Sunday, January 7th

I moved my long run for the weekend to yesterday, and am so glad that I did.  I started off my long run slow, and slowly increased my pace with each mile.  Even though I was worried about how the run would go, especially since it had been incredibly cold multiple days in a row and I had struggled with my 8 miler last Sunday, this run wound up being a great one.  I felt strong throughout my run, ran perfectly negative splits, and managed to run the last mile in 9:40!  After my run I walked an additional mile.

Yesterday’s long run was the complete opposite of last week’s.  The only similarities were that they were completed on the treadmill and that I started out slow. But yesterday as I slowly picked up the pace, I felt stronger with each mile.

Total Weekly Mileage – 18.62 miles (0.10 miles less than week 2)

Total Princess Half Marathon Mileage – 55.26 miles

QOTD: Do you enjoy running outside in the cold weather, or do you run on the treadmill when it is cold outside?

I’m linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap link up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well.

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January 2018 Goals

Earlier this week I shared my goals for 2018.  Just like I have in the past, I’ll continue to set monthly goals to help keep me focused and on track towards meeting my bigger goals for the year.  I find doing this to be incredibly helpful, as it keeps my goals at the front of my mind and forces me to check in and reflect on my progress on a regular basis.

Before I share my goals for this month, let me first reflect on how I did with my December goals.

1.  Log at least 120 miles.

Grade: C

I’ll admit that I was very ambitious when I set this goal for myself, but I wanted to see just how far I could push myself to meet my yearly mileage goal, which on December 1st I was just under 120 miles away from reaching.  In hindsight, 120 miles was a bit unrealistic, especially given that I knew how busy the second half of the month was going to be.  My final total for December was 76.1 miles.

2.  Weight train at least two times per week.

Grade: C

During the first half of the month I reached my goal, but once the social and family events increased in frequency during the second half of the month my focus on weight training nearly disappeared.

3.  Stay healthy and sane.

Grade: A-

For the most part I succeeded in reaching this goal.  There were only a handful of days when I either suffered from a migraine or otherwise felt rundown.

Now that its a new year, I’m eager to start the year off strong and on the right foot.  Thus, I have some ambitious goals for this month.

1.  Log at least 100 miles.

My 2018 mileage goal is 1,200 miles.  Since I want to start the year on a strong note, I’d like to log at least 100 miles, which is the number that I need to log in order to be on track for reaching my mileage goal this year.

2.  Work out at least five days per week.

In addition to running, I also want to make sure that I’m focusing on cross training and weight training this year, and doing so on a regular basis.  I want to work on getting into a better habit of working out at least twice each week in addition to my regular three days of running per week.

3.  Weight train at least two days per week.

Weight training is essential for multiple reasons, especially when it comes to making me a stronger athlete and helping me to prevent injury.  While I’d like to increase this frequency down the road, I think that two days per week is a realistic goal for me right now.

4.  Lose at least 2 pounds.

My goal this year is to lose 5 pounds, and then keep them off.  I’m hoping that my beginning of the year enthusiasm will help give me the jump start that I need to get the ball rolling on this goal.

5.  Cook in larger quantities.

One of my downfalls is that when there isn’t a leftover in the fridge to grab for lunch that I usually turn to throwing a frozen entree into my lunch bag to bring to school with me.  Frozen entrees are far from the healthiest thing for me to have for lunch.  Cooking in larger quantities will help to ensure that there are more leftovers in the fridge, which will still provide me with something quick and easy to grab and take with me in the mornings.

QOTD: What are your goals for January?

I’m linking up for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup.  Many thanks to the wonderful ladies at Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for hosting!

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Princess Half Marathon Training Log – Weeks 1 and 2

After taking just over two months off from official training after the Chicago Marathon, I kicked off Princess Half Marathon training back on Monday, December 18th.  By starting my training on the 18th, it’ll give me 10 weeks to prepare for my next set of races – the Princess Enchanted 10k on Saturday, February 24th and the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday, February 25th.

My friend Kathleen and I will be running these races together, and our one and only goal during Princess weekend is to have fun.  Thus, the focus of this training cycle is on preparing to run safe races.  With there not being a PR focus, some of the pressure for this training cycle is alleviated and the main focus is to just get the miles in.

Kicking off training during the height of the Christmas season was far from easy, but I did my best to fit in workouts when I could, and overall had a great first two weeks of training.

Week 1:

Monday, December 18th

I kicked off Princess training with a 5k run.  To celebrate the beginning of Princess training, I decided to wear my Belle Sweaty Bands headband since she’s my favorite Disney princess.

Tuesday, December 19th

Due to little man feeling under the weather and being extra clingy to me, I wound up taking an unplanned rest day.  #MotherRunnerProbs

Wednesday, December 20th

I headed to the gym for a cross and weight training session, during which I spent 35 minutes on the elliptical, 30 minutes doing full body weight training, and 10 minutes on the stairmaster.

Thursday, December 21st

Thursday evening was one of those nights when the stars aligned for me.  All day I had been thinking that I would have to bundle little man up and put him in the BOB stroller in order to get my run in.  However, my husband wound up coming home enough early from work that I was able to run on my own.  During my run, I was able to enjoy an absolutely beautiful sunset, and managed to run negative splits during my run.  Yay!

Friday, December 22nd

Friday was a complete and total rest day as far as fitness was concerned, but with little man’s 2nd birthday the next day and Christmas right around the corner I was kept plenty busy with lots of chores and errands.

Saturday, December 23rd

My first long run of Princess training wound up being one of those runs that just did not go according to plan and I had to cut my run short.  I had intended to run 7 miles, but around mile 5 the wind really picked up with gusts well over 20 mph.  I struggled for over a mile, running into the wind, and at the 10k mark knew that I needed to stop.  I wound up walking the last mile home, so I still completed all 7 planned miles, just didn’t run all of them.

Sometimes runs just don’t go according to plan and you have to know when to call it quits.

Sunday, December 24th

Christmas Eve was a rest day as far as fitness was concerned, but with plenty of family activities for the day it was anything but a relaxing day.

Total Weekly Mileage – 17.92 miles

Week 2:

Monday, December 25th

Between being tired from all of the Christmas Eve and Day activities, coupled with the wind being over 20 mph outside, I opted to bundle up and complete a powerwalk during little man’s nap instead of my planned run.  The most important thing is that I got outside and got moving, and made time to do so on a very busy day.

Tuesday, December 26th

While we were out of town visiting my in-laws for Christmas the weather was anything but runner friendly.  Between the temperatures well below freezing, as well as the wind, I was not feeling up for braving the elements.  Thankfully, my sister-in-law was kind enough to let me run on her treadmill Tuesday evening, so while our sons were upstairs playing I took a quick break from the family and ran on the treadmill in her basement.

Running on my sister-in-law’s treadmill was a welcome break from being outside in the freezing cold.

Wednesday, December 27th

I was absolutely exhausted from all of the Christmas family activities and was in desperate need of this rest day.  I even took a nap during little man’s nap.  I cannot remember the last time that I did that!

Thursday, December 28th

Even though I didn’t do any formal exercise on Thursday, I was quite active, as Preston and I spent the day in New York City.  We spent the morning and early afternoon down at the World Trade Center at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and St. Paul’s Chapel, and spent mid and late afternoon doing a walking tour of some of the store holiday displays in Manhattan.  According to Apple Health I walked 9.6 miles that day!

Preston and I in front of the tree at Rockefeller Center

Friday, December 29th

After driving home from New Jersey and then taking little man to his two year old doctor’s appointment, I found some energy from I’m not sure where to do an at home workout.  I spent 25 minutes using my ankle weights doing a lower body and ab workout.

Saturday, December 30th

Saturday’s treadmill run was one of those when I felt strong from start to finish.  I carried that strong feeling with me after my run when I did a 30 minute full body weight training workout.

Sunday, December 31st

Unfortunately, Sunday’s run did not go anywhere near as well as Saturday’s did.  The last three miles of my eight mile run were both a physical and a mental struggle.  My body was sore from Saturday’s workout, and the further that I ran on the treadmill the more bored I became.  I wound up taking some extra walk breaks, but the important thing is that I didn’t give up and that I finished.

Total Weekly Mileage – 18.72 miles  (0.80 miles more than week 1)

Total Princess Half Marathon Mileage – 36.64 miles

QOTD: How do you mentally and physically manage the challenges of cold weather running?

I’m linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap link up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well.

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Goals for 2018

Happy New Year everybody!  A new year of course means a fresh start, and time to set new goals.  As I reflected back on 2017, I realized that I want to challenge myself even more in 2018.  But I don’t just want to challenge myself when it comes to fitness, I want to see how I can improve myself in multiple aspects of my life.

1.  Log 1,200 miles.

My initial 2017 mileage goal was 1,000 miles.  Back in October when I knew that I would easily meet this goal I modified my goal to 1,150 miles.  My 2017 total wound up being 1,108.8 miles (818.5 miles run, 161.4 miles walked, and 128.9 miles on the elliptical).  Even though I didn’t quite reach my modified 2017 goal, I’m more than okay with what I did accomplish.

Naturally, I want to increase my mileage in 2018.  Logging just under another 100 miles, for a total of at least 1,200 miles, should be manageable.

2.  PR in all race distances.

In 2017 I ran one marathon, four half marathons, three 10ks, and one 5k.  I PRed in the 10k distance and since I ran my first full marathon got an automatic marathon PR.  Although I do not have many races on my 2018 calendar yet, I want to push myself to PR in all race distances that I run this year.  Let me be clear though, not every race that I run will be a PR attempt.  Some races that I run will be just for fun, like next month’s Enchanted 10k and Princess Half Marathon at Disney World.

Celebrating my half marathon PR last April at the Loudoun Half Marathon

3.  Lose 5 pounds, and keep it off.

Last year I faced a couple of health challenges that resulted in some changes to medication that I take, which consequently led to some unwanted weight gain.  Now that those health issues are under control, I want to focus on losing the weight that I gained.  The weight gain was far from intentional, but unfortunately resulted in some of my clothes becoming tight and affected my fitness overall.  Five pounds might not seem like much, but five pounds will make a huge difference for me.

4.  Focus on self care.

Part of why I faced some of the health challenges that I did was because I frequently put everybody and everything ahead of taking care of myself.  Work, chores around the house, blogging, you name it, I spent more time and energy focusing on everything but taking care of myself.  I cannot let that happen again this year.

5.  Keep my family as a top priority.

This goes along with self care, but other than self care my little family needs to be my top focus this year.  I did a good job in 2017 of prioritizing my family, and as little man continues to grow and thrive I need to maintain my family as the center of my attention.

On Christmas Day with my boys

Just like in 2017, I plan to not only set monthly goals to help me stay on track with my goals for the year, but I will also do quarterly check ins to monitor my progress.  I’m looking forward to the year ahead and seeing what I’m able to accomplish!

QOTD: What are your goals for 2018?

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2017 Goals Reflection

Where has 2017 gone?!?  It feels like just yesterday that I wrote out my 2017 goals, and it feels like its way too soon to be looking back and reflecting on them.  But with only five days left in the year, its now time to do so.

1.  Log 1,000 miles (modified in October to 1,150 miles)

Grade: A

As of today, my 2017 mileage total is 1,096.8 miles.  So while I reached my original mileage goal, its unrealistic to think that I’ll be able to log another 53.2 miles in the next five days.  Earlier this month I was initially disappointed when I realized that I wouldn’t reach my modified goal, but after some self reflection I’ve decided that I need to celebrate my accomplishment instead of focusing on the few miles that I did not log this year.

2.  Run my first marathon.

Grade: A

Even though the race didn’t go as I had hoped it would based on my training, I still crossed the Chicago Marathon finish line back on October 8th.  Despite how challenging of a day it was for me, I didn’t give up, and I still earned the title “Marathoner.”

3.  Make strength training a priority.

Grade: C

As the weather has gotten colder and the hours of sunshine have become fewer, I’ve been slowly losing my drive and momentum for working out.  I’m not happy about that, and need to figure out how to change that going into the new year.

4.  Stay on top of my blogging.

Grade: C-

As the year has gone on, I’ve struggled more and more with keeping up with my blogging.  Initially, I was disappointed in myself.  But after some reflection I came to the realization that there are several things more important than blogging, and I need to keep my focus on those priorities when my time becomes limited.  As I shared last month, part of me finding a healthy life balance has meant removing the self-imposed pressure to keep up with a rigid blogging schedule.

5.  Put my family first.

Grade: A

One of the reasons why I am okay with not being able to stay on top of my blogging is because of the time and energy that I have been able to devote to my family instead of spending additional time sitting at the computer writing.  My family is much more important than blogging, as well as other things, and will continue to remain one of my top priorities going forward.

On Christmas Day with my boys

Overall, 2017 has been an incredible year.  In the next couple of days I will be finalizing my 2018 goals.  I cannot wait to see how next year goes!

QOTD: How was your 2017?  Did you meet your goals for the year?

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Top 5 Posts of 2017

Its always fun to look back at the end of the year, and one of my favorite end of the year posts is always my “Top 5 Posts” of the year.  What were the most popular posts in 2017 on From Dancing to Running?

5.  Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon Recap

This race was by far the coldest race that I have ever run.  The sub freezing temperature made this a very challenging race for me.  This race was a good lesson for me about how no matter how well training goes you never know what conditions you will face on race day.

4.  Marathon Training Plan Advice

After receiving some much needed advice from many friends and fellow runners, I reflected on all of that advice and used it to help shape my marathon training plan.

3.  What I Learned from Training for and Running My First Marathon

In this post I reflected on five lessons that I learned from training for and running my first marathon.  One surprising lesson for many was the discovery that doing the bulk of my marathon training during my summer break and running an early fall marathon works best for my family’s calendar.  And surprising to many, heat and humidity actually don’t bother me that much.  I would much rather be hot than cold, including when I’m running.

2.  Now That I’m A Marathoner, What’s Next

Just 0.2 miles away from crossing the finish line of my first marathon

The week after running the Chicago Marathon I shared my short term plans for the remainder of 2017, as well as looked ahead to the beginning of 2018.

1.  Chicago Marathon Recap

I’m not surprised whatsoever that the recap of my first marathon was my most popular post this year.  Running the streets of Chicago, and doing so on behalf of Ronald McDonald House Charities and in memory of my childhood friend Tammy, was such a powerful and moving experience.  Although there is nothing quite like your first marathon, I’m excited to run Chicago again in 2018.

QOTD: What was your favorite From Dancing to Running post from 2016?

I’m linking up for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup.  Many thanks to the wonderful ladies at Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for hosting!

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Back in Training

Today marks my return to being “in training” for a race.  Just under 10 weeks from now I will be returning to Disney World for a girls weekend with my friend Kathleen to run the Fairy Tale Challenge.  On Saturday, February 24th we’ll be running the Princess Enchanted 10k and on Sunday, February 25th we’ll be running the Princess Half Marathon.

My one and only goal for this race weekend is to have fun.  Kathleen and I intend to stop for lots of pictures during the races, so our finish time is the last thing on our minds.  My only focus for this training cycle is to prepare to run safe races.  The furthest that I have run since Chicago is 6 miles, which is far fewer miles than I feel comfortable completing in a training run in preparation to run 19.3 miles over two days.

Kathleen and I ready to cross the start line in Chicago back in October

I have a tentative idea of what my training will look like over the next 10 weeks, but because I’m focused on having fun instead of a finish time I plan to adjust my training plan based on both feel and need.  As long as I’m prepared to safely run the races, that’s all that matters to me right now.

In many ways, this training cycle will be different than many of my previous preparations for races.  Even though its been just over two months since I crossed the Chicago finish line, I’m still not quite mentally ready to resume rigorous training.  Not every race is meant to be a speedy one, so as long as I get the miles in I’ll be more than okay with how my Princess training goes.

With just under ten weeks to go until I run my 15th half marathon, I’m excited to get my training started!

QOTD: Have you ever trained for a race that you knew that you would be running for fun instead of focusing on pace/finish time?

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2017: My Year of Running

Its mid-December, which means that its time to start looking back and reflecting on the past year.  It feels like every year that time flies by faster than it did the year prior, and in many ways I feel like I just wrote my 2016 Year of Running post.  Just like in 2016, I ran fewer races than I did prior to having little man, but between devoting more time and energy to my family, as well as spending 18 weeks training for my first marathon, being pickier about which races I run is what’s best for my family and I currently.  That does not mean that I haven’t been running though.  In fact, I ran more miles in 2017 than I ever have before.

I’m excited to reflect on this past year of running, and to once again participate in Courtney’s Year of Running linkup.

My Running by the Numbers (as of December 13th):

Total Miles Run: 788.4 (So far 255.6 miles more than 2016, and the year isn’t over yet!)
1 Marathon
4 Half Marathons
3 10ks
1 5k

My Best Race Experience:

It should be of no surprise that my best race experience of 2017 was running my first marathon, the Chicago Marathon.  Even though the race didn’t go as I had hoped due to the warm weather and indigestion that I experienced during the race, running the streets of Chicago was an absolutely unforgettable experience.  I was honored to be able to run with Team Ronald McDonald House Charities, and to make running my first marathon an incredibly meaningful experience by not only running for charity but also running in memory of my friend Tammy.

My Best Run:

The Ringing in Hope 10k back in May was one of those races that I just felt incredibly strong from start to finish.  Very shortly after crossing the start line I had the feeling that I would PR, and that’s exactly what I did.  You couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face because of how proud I was of myself.

Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

My Best New Piece of Running Gear:

I received my Camelbak Hydration Vest last Christmas from my father-in-law.  I logged countless miles wearing it, both during training runs and at races.

Wearing my Camelbak Hydration Vest during the Loudoun Half Marathon back in April
Photo Credit: Ashburn Area Running Club

The Best Running Advice I Received this Year:

“Slow is okay.”  As my marathon training progressed during the hot and humid summer months, my pace started to slow down.  At times it became a bit defeating to know that I do have the ability to run faster, but at the same time I was also increasing my mileage, which naturally means that the pace will slow down.  I definitely cherished those summer days on the treadmill, or when the heat and humidity broke, and I was able to push my pace a bit more.

My Favorite Medal:

My Chicago Marathon medal symbolizes so much for me: hard work, determination, focus, and the ability to accomplish a goal.

My Favorite Picture from a Run or Race this Year:

I’m so happy that I remembered to stop and take a picture at the mile 26 marker in Chicago.  After a tough race, I was so excited to begin my finish line celebration.

Just 0.2 miles away from crossing the finish line of my first marathon

The Race Experience I Would Repeat in a Heartbeat:

Once again, the Chicago Marathon is the winner here.  Shortly after crossing the finish line this year, I knew that I wanted to run the race again.  In a way, I felt “called” to sign up again to run on behalf of Team Ronald McDonald House Charities.  I’m excited to once again be a part of the team in 2018.  And if you’d like to make one of your last tax-deductible donations for 2017, I’d greatly appreciate you donating to RMHC via my fundraising page.

If You Could Sum Up Your Year in a Couple of Words What Would They Be?

Pushing myself.  This past year was all about pushing myself to run new distances and to reach new goals.  I cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store for me!

QOTD: How was your year of running?  Did you accomplish everything that you wanted to?  What are your big goals for 2018?

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