Friday, January 29, 2016

Four Years Ago

I call January 29 my runnerversary. Four years ago, on a bitterly cold morning just south of Atlanta, Georgia, I ran my first half marathon at Callaway Gardens.

That's me in lime green back there!
I trained for this race for about three months, running a bunch of 5Ks in Athens, having a longest run of about 10 miles, and being beyond excited when I nailed my 2:20 goal in a time of 2:19:52.

I trained with the first edition of Nike+ -- the one where you had a chip in the sole of your shoe? -- and Nike+ told me that my half marathon was 16 miles long. I did some math and came to the conclusion that maybe my longest run wasn't 10 miles, but like 8ish? Whew. Good thing I realized that after the race and not prior, as I probably would have had a meltdown.

I trained for this race entirely on my own. Long runs on Saturday mornings before football games, mid-week runs around the neighborhood with Molly. I learned how to run in cold weather (layers on layers on layers!) and learned that when I set my mind to acheiving something, I generally got it done.
Callaway Gardens scenery.
Here I am, four years later. This weekend I'll be running half marathon #40. I've learned plenty of lessons. I look back at my first training weekly updates and race recaps and laugh at the novice status of my training - but we all have to start somewhere, right? I'm training for full marathon #3, and little did I ever think I'd ever call myself marathoner because half marathoner was good enough.

I've taken my time from a 2:19:52 finish to a standing PR of 1:50:38. Not to say there haven't been any worse (plenty of those), but I've worked hard to cut that half hour off consistently. I've learened how to train smarter, fuel smarter, run smarter and am looking forward to cutting time to a new half marathon next weekend.

Running has brought me joy, sanity, frustration, and pride. I've helped others reach their goals either by pacing or running alongside friends who were looking for a PR. I've made some of the best girlfriends and connections thanks to those I share finish line photos with or miles of California coastline, running coast to coast and everywhere in between. I'm 9 states down on my dream to run a half marathon in all 50 states and am looking forward to another state or two this year.

I've even convinced Doug to run with me and while he likes the challenge of 5Ks enough, he's working on half marathon #4 himself - and says he's retiring after Surf City next weekend - but another fun thing to share with him on some weekends. I am so grateful.

Pretty much one of my favorite finish line photos ever.
Thank you, running, for all you've brought and added to my life. If you want, you can read my recap of that first race here!

When's your runnervesary? The date of your first race, or the date you laced up a pair of shoes for the first time?

1 comment:

  1. Oh I love this! Happy runniversary. 4 years and 40 half marathons later. That's amazing!! I'm not really sure when I can't say mine is. I started with couch to 5k. Would I use that as my start date? My first race was a thanksgiving 5k in 2011. Wow. That's a bit longer than I thought.