2018 was the year of little structure and a lot of registration fees. And of course growing as a runner. So I present to you the monthly recap.
I decided to do the First on the First 5k as a fun run. Now, I run in cold weather regularly and love the cold winter air hitting my face. I also love a dry ground. Well, a blizzard rolled in in the days leading up to the race and brought single-digit temperatures with it. The wind chill felt like -5, and I discovered as I was running that I should have worn lined leggings. Additionally, running on snow is a calf workout on its own. My final time was around 38 minutes, which is pretty slow for me. But I comforted myself with the tacos at the post-race lunch, so it wasn’t a bust by any means.
My coworker Missy is an avid runner as well, and she shared some information on our company’s social media about the Fight for Air Climb on the 17th, which involved a climb up 40-something flights of stairs to raise money for the American Lung Association. I decided to do it and as a two-woman team on behalf of our company, we both raced to the top. I made it in a little under 11 minutes, which I felt pretty good about since I rarely use stairs anymore (first story apartment.) That reminds me – I need to start training for that. I’m doing it again this year.
March was one of my better months for racing. I decided to incorporate some smaller races into my training for Glass City so I could get a good idea of what my pace could look like. My goal for the full was a 10:00 min/mile, so I ran the Run for More Birthdays 5k on March 10 and the Kinsale 4-Miler on the 17th.
My time goals were 30 minutes and 40 minutes respectively, and to my satisfaction I ran the 5k in 29:20.6 and the 4-miler in 39:57. I felt great after the former and had some cramping during the latter, which I’m still a little salty about. (And yes, I’m serious about the salty part.)
Leading up to Glass City, I decided to do a “random” (meaning not a 5k, 10k or half) distance race, which was the Choo Choo 9-miler. I was pleasantly surprised to finish the race in 1:27, which put me at a 9:39 pace. I was even more surprised to see my mom standing at the finish line in Westerville, which she was quite proud of herself for pulling off without me knowing.
Then came Full #3. Two nights before Glass City I laid down and felt a sharp pain in my left calf. It came and then went away quickly, so I took an aspirin and decided to hope for the best. The pain was on-and-off Saturday as I traveled up to Marblehead and then Toledo, and I was feeling fine when I went to bed that night.
Then the next morning came. I wound up having to walk-run starting at Mile 3 and was in a lot of pain. My calf wouldn’t stop flaring up and I was extremely nauseous during and after the race. I still ran in my fastest time yet – 5:03:58 – but it was miserable. That’s still one of the few finish lines I didn’t enjoy crossing.
The Indy Mini was strictly a fun run on May 5, so I didn’t PR and didn’t care either. My mom came out with me, so we focused on having fun in our hotel and at the Old Spaghetti Warehouse the night before.
My workplace offered a free entry for the Challenge Columbus 5k. It was way too hot and I realized after the first mile I didn’t give myself enough time to decompress from Glass City and the Indy Mini, so I didn’t feel good and didn’t run as fast as I wanted. On the plus side, doing something with my coworkers was fun.
The only race of June, my “start of summer” race is the Columbus 10k. It was humid and I didn’t beat last year’s time, which I was pretty cranky about. So I comfort ate Jeni’s ice cream and smothered my sorrows by the pool at home.
July and August
I didn’t race during these two months. July was a good training month for Columbus and Indy, but in August we had a family medical emergency and my training fell by the wayside. I have nothing but respect for you people who can run even further and harder during stressful times. At the peak of our emergency I lost all motivation to run and became disillusioned with several areas of my life.
(As a quick post script: the medical emergency was quickly resolved and my relative is completely free and clear as of Thanksgiving.)
The Air Force Half was a fantastic hot mess. The first half of the race was humid but overcast, so not ideal but also not unbearable. Then the sun came out. Mid-September can get pretty hot, but I don’t think anyone was expecting a massive amount of runners developing heatstroke, medic tents crowding and the race getting black-flagged not too long after I crossed the finish line. I finished in 2:27, which was about 10 minutes later than my self-projected time. And I can confirm for the straight ladies and gay men: airmen really are where it’s at.
The Run Like A Girl 10-Miler two weeks later was perfect. I kinda sorta met two women running and pushing a young girl on behalf of Team Heart and Sole and followed them for a while for their upbeat playlist (I don’t wear headphones while running) and felt great the entire time. My energy and mood remained high and it was definitely an emotional boost from the Air Force Half to finish 10 miles in 1:37:32. The booze for the over-21s was a nice touch too.
The Indy Half at Fort Ben was my second-slowest half yet at 2:35. “Runner’s World” said the Indy Half Marathon at Fort Ben is one of the most scenic races in the country, and they weren’t wrong. Running through the woods around Fort Harrison State Park was beautiful. However, I didn’t anticipate the hills, especially at Miles 3 and 10; humidity on an unseasonably warm day; getting nauseous during the home stretch; or my Vaseline failing and fresh blisters popping up on my feet (ouch!) I felt terrible after finishing and thought I was going to throw up on the way back to my car. I told Mom on the way home this was the first half where I felt like I had to physically earn the medal. But nonetheless I’m still glad I did it.
Two weeks later on October 21st was the Columbus Half. While Fort Ben was hotter than Hell, Columbus was 25 degrees that Sunday morning. Mom and I were freezing and I debated running in my puffer coat, wearing it back in the corrals while we waited to go. I decided not to wear it after all and managed the most flawless pass to my mom in the crowd.
The long-awaited half PR of 2:10 was wonderful. As was running as a Children’s Champion on behalf of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. But that handover was too perfect. I’m a terrible thrower and Mom’s an okay catcher, and yet I managed to throw my coat to the right person and she caught it.
I’m still too happy about that part.
First off, Mom and I had way too much fun running around Indianapolis. We didn’t know we were in the same hotel as President Trump until we got back from dinner and had to go through the Secret Service to get back to our room. The view overlooking Downtown Indy is still one of the most breathtaking I’ve ever seen.
The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon was the first sub-5 marathon. Around Mile 13 my mind and body felt over it, so the last half of the race was a challenge. I was having plenty of doubt during the home stretch of Mile 25 of whether it was even worth it to push through. Then I heard the KLove booth playing my favorite MercyMe song, “Even If.” I said something that rhymes with “bucket” and took off, finishing the full in 4:51:52. It wasn’t the 4:20 I was gunning for but a PR is still a PR, so I decided to take it for the victory it is.
The Hot Chocolate 15k was my final race of the year on November 18th. Depending on how Indy went, Hot Chocolate was going to be a fun run or a morale booster. I finished that race in 1:32:25, keeping the same pace I did throughout the Columbus Half. And in true final race celebration style, I made sure to jump into the hot cocoa ball pit. Because was it really a good time if you don’t play with some balls? 😜
I’ve enjoyed the downtime and reflection this month. 2019 is the year of the full, with four full marathons on my agenda. I’m excited, I’m scared, I’m looking at bank statements and wondering what I’m getting myself into. And ultimately, I’m ready to smash some goals.
Happy New Year, friends!