I started the year flying high and ready to tackle my second-ever half marathon. This event meant a lot of things to me. It was the first time I felt comfortable running the 13.1 distance. It was the first time I could consider a race this long to be fun – a celebration even. It was my birthday gift as I started my 40th year. And it ended up launching the year of the half marathon.
After Tink, I felt like I could use the year to prove something to myself. 2011 was a difficult running year for me. On the one hand, I did more than I ever thought possible. On the other hand, I failed at my primary goal. So in 2012 I wanted to do something big. I wanted to prove that I really was a stronger runner. I wanted to leave the girl who trained for her first half marathon in a state of nausea in the dust.
And that’s when I decided to do a half marathon every season.
Spring: Chicago Spring Half Marathon
I purposely decided to do one *every season*. I wanted to push myself to train hard year-round. I wanted to force myself to run distance in a variety of weather. I wanted to challenge myself to run double digits all year long. It wasn’t always easy but I am proud when I look back on this year because I did all that and more:
- In 2012, I ran 824 miles. I didn’t start diligently tracking all running mileage until this year but I know that my previous best annual mileage was somewhere around 500 miles. Add in the cycling, swimming and walking miles and I broke 1,000 training miles this year.
- Set a half marathon PR Finally coming in under 2 hours and 30 minutes for this distance.
- Set a sub-30 5K PR A 28:17 – beating my previous PR by more than two minutes.
- Completed eight races That included a tough, hilly 10-miler and a 15K.
- Took a speed work class. This challenge was never easy, but I left the training session each week shaking, sweaty and ecstatic. As a result, my new comfortable pace is a solid 30 seconds per minute faster than before.
I ran a lot of those miles, and those races, with wonderful people by my side. I also ran a good portion of them all on my own. In both situations, I learned a lot about myself. I am so grateful for every one of the miles and race experiences I had this year – yes, even the ones in the lousy weather.
The medal hung around your neck also signifies the successful completion of training, not only the finishing of a race. ~Hal Higdon