Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Everyone else is doing it...

Some of my friends have been dusting off their blogs lately while others have started new ones, so I figured I should jump on the bandwagon, too. That's kind of how things seem to work among running friends, I think. "Hey let's do this!" "Um, sure, lots of time on my feet and risk of losing a toenail? Why not!"

Ok, maybe that's an extreme example, but you get the point. Misery loves company, and the running community is full of awesome people who love to share battle wounds and encourage each other.

Thanks to many of these people, who have become essentially my running family, I made it through a packed Spring race schedule with very little issues with my foot.

March was my comeback race, the Shamrock 1/2 in Virginia Beach. Katie and I ran it together and pulled off a (barely) sub 3 hours. I also learned that flat courses are great for time, but I really do do better with hills, as my legs were begging to use some different muscles toward the end.

The end of April brought the inaugural Iron Girl 1/2 in Columbia, MD. We made it a large bridal celebration weekend for Katie, having her wedding shower the day before. Knowing she would run in a special tech wedding dress on Sunday, we surprised her by all wearing blue sparkle skirts while running with her. The race itself was unmemorable (and I'm not likely to repeat it), but the time on the course together was fabulous.

Another reason behind doing Iron Girl was that they were offering special bonus bling, Titanium Girl, for also completing the Frederick 1/2 the following weekend. Frederick one of my favorite races, and I was already registered for both races when the bonus medal was announced, but hey, I'm certainly not one to turn it down. ;) Happily, this was another sub 3 hour race for me. Corrigan Sports made some awesome changes to the race based on runner feedback from previous years. Can't wait for next year!

I wrapped up my long distance races just before Memorial Day with the Run for the Dream 1/2 in Williamsburg. I did the inaugural the year before, and it took very little arm twisting to make me return to one of my favorite towns. We made it a big girls weekend, with six of us taking over a 3 bedroom timeshare. While I had been registered for the 1/2 since the fall of 2011, in early March they unveiled a special Patriots Challenge medal for completing the 1/2, as well as the 8K the day before. I knew I had to do it. I'd never done any kind of challenge like that and figured why not go for it since I made it through the spring with little issue with my foot.

Katie and I comfortably cruised through the 8K, and she got herself a PR. Yay! I was feeling strong the next day and figured I'd see what I could do. By mile 9 I was exhausted, alone, and miserable. I even considered sitting on the side of the course and waiting for my wonderful gaggle of friends to catch up and finishing with them, but I knew I had to keep the forward momentum or I'd never finish. Once I finished I learned they ran out of the Challenge medals. Disappointing, but I knew the organizers would make it right, and about a month after the race a medal appeared in my mailbox, along with a stainless steel water bottle as a thank you for waiting. Class acts. I'll likely be back next year, just a matter of whether or not I want to give a shot at the challenge again or not.

Summer was spent doing a few of the Women's Distance Festival 5K's, women's only races put on many of the local running clubs. These are fun, and full of great spirit, particularly when getting to watch participants finish their first races. These were a nice way to keep moving while preparing to begin the main focus of my summer, training for the Annapolis Ten Miler.

I also paid a visit to my good friend, Lauren in Massachusetts. She'd been trying to find a race for me to travel up for. See, what happens when runners become friends with runners? ;) For the first time in probably two years I attempted to plan a trip that did not coincide with a race. It turned out that the weekend I picked was when the annual Carver Cranberry 5 miler was. Of course, right? This was a great race though. Lovely course and great food after. We had great weather, and I finished really strong, a great boost.

This past Sunday I did 10 miles for the first time since the Spring. Between the heat and hills, it kicked my butt. When I first did the A10 in 2010 I was in good shape and confident about taking on a legendary and challenging race. I was registered for last year's, but it was canceled due to a forecasted hurricane. It's just as well, as I had no business doing it with my foot problems at the time. To say I'm anxious about successfully completing it this year is an understatement. Keeping my fingers crossed for cloud cover and a nice breeze on the last Sunday of the month!

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