I say this every year, but it seemed like 2013 just flew by. So...here I sit at the end of the first day of 2014, and I can't help but look back at all that happened over the last 12 months. My kids can only tolerate small amounts of my reminiscing, so I'm putting it down here.
I started off 2013 with a 5K run with Sue Stein in Chicago. It was a cold but sunny day, and I was hoping it would be the first of 600 miles for me. 3.1 down...only 596.9 to go! I didn't do as much running outside during the winter, though, and sadly kind of gave up on running much for a bit. The Shamrock Shuffle was still on my radar, so by mid-February I started to get back to it. I ran it a bit slower than 2012, but still finished in less than an hour.
In May I ran the Great Western Half Marathon. My time wasn't as great as I was hoping for, but the heat had kicked in and there was very little shade due to a late spring bloom for the trees. I had so much fun training for that, though, so it was a win in my book. Once I was done with that it was on to getting serious about marathon training. Boy...I had NO idea what I was in for when I signed up in February for the Chicago Marathon!
May also marked the beginning of the Fox Valley Marathon committee meetings. What an amazing group of people to be part of!! I signed up to the be the Kids Marathon Expo captain for the first day of packet pick-up, and can't wait to tackle more this year. I lived for our Wednesday night meetings....it was so great getting together with everyone. And the post-meeting margaritas and wine didn't hurt!
Training for two marathons during a hot and humid Chicago summer was definitely a challenge. If I hadn't had the Fox Valley Marathon training runs and running on the off weeks with Pat L., there is NO way I would have made it through. It's pretty amazing to look back at the support I received from everyone, and I actually looked forward to spending hours on the trails with Pat. We never ran out of things to talk about, and Pat kept my feet moving even when all I wanted to was curl up on the side of the trail and take a nap.
Even with all the training and actually running two marathons, I fell about 200 miles short of hitting 600 miles. I had to take about 5 weeks off after Chicago due to hamstring/hip issues, so I might have gotten about 50 miles closer without that time off (although it was much needed...both physically and mentally). I'm finally getting back to where I can run with very little pain, and with that has come the joy I had felt about running in the past. And getting to run with my incredible friends, who I love dearly, makes it even better.
One other thing that was so wonderful about 2013 is the amazing friendships I've made now. I've mentioned this before, but when I was overweight I honestly didn't have one close friend here. Sure...there were people I was friendly with, but there wasn't anyone I could really turn to - for good things or bad. There wasn't anyone I could call up and say "hey, let's meet for coffee". Now I thank my lucky stars for the wonderful friends I have. I don't even have to ask them to meet up...one week was particularly rough for me, and Christine knew a girl's night out was just what I needed for that weekend! And I realize that I need to be much better about being the one to initiate the same way. I hope my friends know how much I love them.
So what do I have to look forward to for 2014? Luckily it started off with a 3.1 mile run and brunch with 40-50 of my running friends, thanks to Jj and his wife. It's been snowing here for over 24 hours, and it was absolutely stunning out there this morning. Yes, it was cold - but the beauty of the snow and being surrounded by such a great group absolutely warmed my heart. As I sat at the table at brunch, looking around at the love and friendships in the room, I was getting misty-eyed. They were happy tears, though.
What I'm planning for in 2014 is to be a better friend, and make sure they all know I'm there for them no matter what. The support I've gotten from them will be returned, as I know many of them have amazing plans this year. I look forward to sharing many races with them, and we'll be starting that off on January 11th with the Polar Dash. Some of us (myself included) are running the 10K, so I'll get to cheer on those running the 14 miler. I can't wait!