As the year comes to a close I reflect back on my first full year as a runner. I started running in the summer of last year with an eye on running my first race - the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January. After accomplishing that goal I ran several more 5k's, 10k's and Half Marathons, culminating with a Full Marathon in November. In this blog I will summarize my thoughts on the different events I participated in.
One thing right off the bat. I have also started doing a podcast - mostly for the fun of it. I have done a couple of episodes of the podcast that concurrent with posts in this blog but I've never really attempted to coordinate what goes in the blog and the podcast. I just sort of wing it (for better or worse). This time I decided to have the blog and the podcast compliment each other.
So, in this blog I will summarize the events I participated in and summarize some thoughts on each. In the podcast I will do a "best of" and "worst of" summary of the year. Hopefully this will be at least a little interesting! So, after reading this blog be sure to check out the podcast. Just click on the image below. Or listen to the podcast first. Whatever. Far be it from me to tell you what to do..
First, a summary of my year:
|Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon, Sleepy Hollow NY, March 23, 2013
OK, so my chiropractor is also a runner. He has given me endless helpful advice while keeping my back in alignment. So, after I ran the WDW Half Marathon I told him I had signed up for the Sleepy Hollow race. "Wow" he said, "I've done that race. it's a tough course! Very hilly!" Lovely. Only my second race and I was challenging myself with a notoriously tough course. I wanted to run the NYC Half Marathon but it was sold out unless you wanted to run for a charity. I thought of doing that but when I heard about the Sleepy Hollow race I decided to do that instead. After all, it was only about a half hour away! Well, it was a tough race. But you know what? I made it. And I did it in a faster time that I thought I would be able to. And while the course certainly is tough, it is also a beautiful course that winds through wooded trails and and along the historic Hudson River. I don't intend to run it in 2014 but I do think I will tackle it again eventually when I can better appreciate the course.
|Bedford Hills Run for the Hills 5K, Bedford Hills NY, April 2, 2013
My first ever 5K. After the race i found myself thinking "what a civilized distance! It was particularly satisfying because, having lived in the town for many years, I had seen the signs advertising the event many times over the years. It was nice to actually run in it. It was also great seeing my chiropratcor there - who is a sponsor of the event.
|Unite Half Marathon, Somerset NJ, April 21, 2013
My first half marathon that was not accompanied by a fear of not being able ti finish in time (other than the typical fear of injury). Organized by CGI racing, it was a very well run event. I heard a lot of folks complain about the hilliness of the course - having just run Sleepy Hollow recently I did not see what they were complaining about. The race went through the Rutgers University campus. Running on a college campus was in interesting experience. I'm surprised more races don't do this.
|South Salem Races 5k & 10k, South Salem NY, May 27, 2013
I had originally scheduled to run a half marathon in New Jersey but it was cancelled. So I decided to do this race instead. Then I fractured by elbow the day before. You'd think maybe someone was trying to tell me something? Well, if so, I didn't listen. I did both races, sling and all. And I got a medal for it (sort of). I had signed up for a virtual half marathon which I intended to run that day. What with my arm I gave up on that, but the rules of the virtual race were such that miles I had already put in counted and I figured I deserved it!
|Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon, Fairfield CT, June 23, 2013
Looking back, I'm pretty sure that the heat at Walt Disney World had made an impact on my time for that race, but the Fairfield race was the first one where I was consciously aware of the effect the heat had on my pace. Although the race was near the water, it was still in sweltering heat. I started the race with the intention of doing a PR, but after a while it was clear that was not happening. Ultimately I finished with no issue, but it was an excruciatingly hot event.
|Katonah 5K Road and Trail Race, Katonah NY, September 7, 2013
Another local event, this was one I decided to do last minute. My training called for 6 miles on that day, so I ran the course twice essentially. This may have sounded like a good idea until I got lost and made it back just in time for the start of the race! This was also the first race I did that billed itself as having "trail" components - although technically the Sleepy hollow race did as well. I'm not sure I'm a trail running sort of guy, but it's a local race so I'll probably do it again.
|Electric Run NYC 5K, Brooklyn NY, September 27, 2013|
This was my first (and to date, only) "fun run" (a race with no timed element). And boy was it fun! The "Electric Run" series has events all over the country. They are known for their electronic music and large light displays. It was especially fun for me because my wife and daughter joined me. In 2014 we'll be looking out for other fun runs like the "color runs" and maybe "zombie runs". A lot of fun.
|Rock and Roll Providence Half Marathon, Providence RI, September 29, 2013
My first Rock 'n Roll Competitor event definitely will not be my last. Well, OK, that's pretty much a non-statement considering that when I ran it I had already signed up for the Brooklyn 10k. Still, you get the idea. The RnR races are well organized, with good courses that offer far above par in-race entertainment. Plus they offer very cool medals for participating in multiple events. I have to say, purely in terms of enjoying the actual race itself, this Providence race was second only to the Disney race. This was a great event!
|Rock and Roll Brooklyn 10K, Brooklyn NY, October 12, 2013
This event had a triple whammy of goodness. Whammy number one - it was another RnR race which, as I have established, are very fun events. Whammy number two - It was in the beautiful Prospect park in the awesome borough of Brooklyn. Whammy number three - and the best of all - I got to run it with my daughter! Who could ask for more? I think this just might be an annual event.
|Route 66 Marathon, Tulsa OK, November 24, 2013
All this work all year, all this training, came down to this: my first full marathon. The experience honestly was not what I had hoped - the weather was bitterly cold which not only impacted the race but also my hopes to socialize and maybe meet people before and after. Also I had gone with the intention of getting together with my brother which also did not happen. Still, this is a very well organized race with one sweet medal! And as they say, you never forget your first. I also got a chance to see a new city and state, which I always enjoy. Tulsa is quite a charming city. Of course marathon and half marathon courses tend to show off their host cities, and this was certainly true for Tulsa. Running along the river and through the university were highlights.
|NYC Runs Hot Chocolate 10K, Roosevelt Island NY, December 15, 2013
My last race of the year and I was able to do it with Natalie! Cold cold COLD! And slushy and sloppy. Still, a very nice course and easy to get to. Also my first race with NYCRuns - I am planning to do their Central Park half marathon in February. This may become another annual event.
All in all, a pretty good effort for my first year I think. I was able to mix in lots of different types of race including a fun run, 5k's, 10k's, Half Marathons and even a Full Marathon. I am hoping for 2014 to be even a bigger running year for me. Next time I will delve into my plans for next year.
Until then, keep running!