Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Year of the Half

3 weeks ago, I ran my final half marathon of the year. "The Year of the Half" was officially over - my goal of the sub 2 hour half marathon was a {half} fail. Downhill at Dawn was the only 13.1 race with "1" in the hours column. On one hand, the vast majority of the miles were downhill. On the other I know people who haven't sub 2ed at a downhill race.

Mostly in my mind, where it truly counts, this year was a fail. I thought if I could train and get my time down to that fast of a pace, I could maintain it without much work.

I'll wait while you finish laughing at my ignorance.

I finished the year with my worst half time of the year, which came as a direct result of poor training and mental defeat. I'm learning. Perhaps slowly and painfully, but learning non-the-less.

A sub 2 half wasn't my only goal for the year though. I also wanted to PR (at least once) at each distance. The marathon distance wasn't included in this goal, given the year's focus on running faster rather than longer.  I raced a crazy amount, but did manage to meet this goal.  Let's review, shall we?

After not racing during the first 2 months of the year, I traveled to South Carolina to visit a friend and run the Famously Hot, Surprisingly Cool Columbia Half.  The race wasn't the sub 2 I was working toward, but I did get a new shiny PR out of the deal with a finishing time of 2:02:19. I definitely learned from this race pacing that would carry into my next half.

The next race of the year was Barley's St. Patrick's 5K. One of my favorite pub style restaurants hosting a race - complete with free beer!! I went out too fast and crashed at the end, but still managed a PR with a time of 26:10 and enjoy my 2 free post-race brews.

Race #3 of the year was my A race - Covenant Health Knoxville {half} Marathon. I'd been training for months. Despite my smiles, I was sorely disappointed with my new half PR 2:00:22. 23 seconds from the sub 2 I was hoping for. Once again, I knew exactly where I went wrong and had high hopes of correcting my errors in subsequent races.

The week following, I participated in my 2nd 5K of the year, and earned my 2nd 5K PR of the year with a time of 25:50. The Runnin' for Regan 5K not only scored me some cool A/G bling, but also went to support a local boy who is very ill.

who knew i'd be the girl to text a frustrated 'son of a bitch' in regards to a 2 hour finishing time?

A little less than a month after Covenant, I traveled to Columbus to {visit Jay's parents} and run the Capital City Half Marathon. 2013 was the 10th anniversary of the race, and the finisher's medal was nice, but my result was disappointing. I'd grown accustom to PRs this year, and this race was 25 seconds slower than CHKM - 2:00:47.

The last week in May, I ran my first official 10K race. Up until that point, my 10K PR was from a virtual race I ran with the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. I was exited to run Expo 10,000 knowing I've vastly improved as a runner since the virtual race. My finishing time and new PR was 55:16!

The first of June found me traveling to North Carolina to race with my friend Jaime at the Downhill at Dawn half marathon.  This was one of the most beautiful race I've ever done - the scenery was very much like running in the our national park. 1:57:47 was my new half marathon time to beat.

Also in June, I ran the Summer Solstice 8K. My prep work for a hot, hill summer race sucked, but I got some of my best race pictures out of the deal - not to mention a killer after party. Finishing time 51:16

The month of July brought me 2 more attempts at the 8K distance, and 2 8K PRs!

Crazy 8s in Kingsport was the first of the two. I knew it was billed as the "world's fastest" so I assumed it would be flat (as the Kingsport Half is flat). Not so much, but I did enjoy it. Paced with a buddy for the majority of the race, then finished up the last mile on my own coming in at 45:10.

A couple weeks later, along with members of my running team, I ran another evening race - the Pigeon Forge Midnight 8K. I bit the pavement in the 1 mile pre-race warm up, but was able to get cleaned up and make it to the starting line. Ended up shaving another minute plus off my time for yet another PR of 44:05.

The Racing to Remember 5K is on my race calendar because my friend's father suffers from Alzheimer's.  26.32 wasn't good enough for a PR, but it was good enough for my first ever 1st place a/g win!!

Just looking at the picture, I can hear myself wheezing. Screaming WTF were you thinking? I ran the Hal Canfield Memorial Mile in the beginning stages of a virus. Asthma girl + infection + sprinting over 1 mile = UGLY! But also a mile PR of 7:49.

what's a girl to do when the cough towel is tucked into her pants & she needs to use the portapotty?

A week later, I showed up at the Townsend 15K with a cough towel, and delusions of grandeur. I enjoyed the early miles, but the later miles really showed me what I was made of. I dug deep, didn't die, and learned a few lessons along the way.

Since one mile races aren't easy to find, I was thankful when a Daily Mile buddy pointed me in the direction of the Douglas Dash. I was able to set a new mile PR of 7:26 (amazing what healthy lungs can do).

Thanks to the above-mentioned illness in combination with fall allergies, I just wasn't able to train for the Iron Horse Half Marathon like I wanted. This was never meant to be a PR race, so I tried to be okay with my 2:07:43 time. The scenery was gorgeous and it was a fun weekend with friends.

By the time the On Cosby Moonshine Run rolled around, I was having some hip pain. To save myself for Ragnar, I chose to walk this race with my family AND my grandfather won in the 80+ age group.

After the chiro got everything back in place, I participated in my first ever trail run, The Trail that Can't Be Concord. Oops! Guess I forgot to blog about this one. It was a prediction run, so no watches allowed. Just under 7 miles of trails without a way to know how long I had been out there or how much further I had to go. Not the best circumstances to start a trail run career under. I hated some parts and loved others. We'll see if 2014 holds any trail plans for me.

The Secret City Half Marathon was supposed to be my winter "A" race. Not sure why my preparation sucked, but it did. I've found my speed but hadn't trained well enough with the speed over distance. Morning of the race, I planned on a sub-2 race. Instead I went out to fast and crashed by mile 5, resulting in my slowest half of the year 2:11:55.

My final "race" of the year ended up being another participation walk. My van-mates from Ragnar and I walked the-Santa Hustle 5K. Nothing like a leisurely stroll to enjoy some candy and goofiness!

Events Participated: 19
Events Raced: 17
PRs Earned: 11

While this racing year wasn't the success I wanted it to be, it very clearly was a success. 


  1. What an amazing year! Congratulations and happy 2014!

  2. Awesome year for you! Finally getting the sub-2 and having lots of fun along the way. 2014 will be even better!

  3. O my word--you did amazing things running wise this year!
    My year running wise sucked big time, but the good thing is that I can move on and look forward to next year!

  4. Fabulous job! Are you starting 2014 with the Calhoun's race tomorrow?

  5. It very clearly was a huge success! You are amazing and awesome and I think your times were fantastic. Happy New year my friend!! Stride on!

  6. You had an amazing year and I totally get the disappointment in finishing the year on what (you thought) was a sucky performance. Been there. Very recently. I am so proud of how hard you trained this year and you 100% earned that sub-2. Maybe, someday, I'll finish a half with a "1" in the hours column too.

  7. Fabulous year of races girlie!! Remember to be proud of the positives & more positives will come your way :)