Today was the annual Nutcracker 5k at the UVSC. Admittedly, this morning’s race was not my favorite in terms of my performance or weather conditions. However, I still had a lot of fun. Bre and Richard joined me and are actually the creators of our festive tutus. We looked amazing (as you can see from the photos).
This was my very first race one year ago and marks a culmination of quite the year of races. I ran six 5k’s, a 10k, a half-marathon and a full marathon this year; nine races in one year. I hope to raise that in the year to come.
In honor of my first “second” race, I would like to share a few thoughts on running. Not training thoughts or advice thoughts, just random thoughts. This past year, during my many, many, many training runs, I have had the opportunity to think a lot. This is probably my most favorite part of running. There’s something about pounding the pavement that brings so much clarity.
Running has great psychological rewards. It helped me to get out of the funk I had been in for quite some time. It helped me to work out some things that had been bothering me. It helped stave on my seasonal depression. And it has brought me into a whole new circle of friends, both friends in real life and my BRFs (blogging running friends). I also love the camaraderie of runners. I don’t know a nicer group of athletes than runners. There’s also this amazing sense of accomplishment that comes from running. It isn’t about beating someone else’s time or distance. It’s just about me and my improvements and new distances.
Running has taught me to really appreciate my body and what it can do. While I still don’t love the packaging, I have discovered many other things I do like about it. My body has become my friend. Yes, sometimes we have to have little discussions about how I need to push it harder than it wants to go, but those are few and far between and for the most part, it lets me have my way. I love how strong my legs are and their willingness to carry me miles and miles and miles. And I love the awareness of every muscle in my body the day after a long training run.
And lastly, I have been able to see amazing places. My runs up the canyon this summer gave me the opportunity to appreciate just how beautiful Utah really is (even though I do want to leave here eventually). My training has forced me to run in various parts of the country (including my lovely tour of D.C. and the monuments in August). As I plan my year of races, I am looking forward to all of the new places I will see. So far, I have a race in beautiful Moab and one during the gorgeous cherry blossom season in D.C. And I hope to run a few wherever it is I end up going to school.
I can’t wait to see what this year brings. Hopefully many more miles and some new PRs. The best thing about “first races” is that they are all PRs.
Now, I just want to leave you with a list of my friends (both IRL and BRF) who have inspired my running over the past year:
Dianne, my friend from work who got me to sign up for that first 5k a year ago and with whom I have enjoyed several early morning Saturday runs.
Anne, my marathon buddy. Often times, knowing that we were both training for the St. George Marathon was the inspiration I needed to keep me going. She also introduced me to many wonderful running products that I cannot live without.
Maren, who, just nine months after having her first baby, is running a marathon today.
Christy, a blogging friend with whom I ran my first (and only) 10k. She is the only thing that kept me from backing out. I had run much farther than 6 miles at that point in my training, but I was still scared to do it as part of a race.
Katie, who I have known her for over seven years now. She never ceases to both amaze and inspire me.
Julia, who I met through Maren (and blogging), often commented on my running posts, leaving words of encouragement and advice. It has been fun to read about her runs and triathlons and be inspired by all that she has done.
Jen, who I have yet to meet, but has been so encouraging. The first time I visited her running blog, I remember thinking that it was just the inspiration I needed. And then she continued to inspire me through both her blogging and the wonderful cards and packages she sent me. She has now run two marathons in one month! Amazing!
Holly, who has set this amazing goal to run races in all fifty states. In the case that I end up in Texas, I hope that we will have the chance to run a race or two together, even if it is a bit of a drive from one city to the other.
Kristi, who secretly trained for a marathon for months and ran her first one this fall. I often felt like training required way too much time, but then I would think about her, with her girls, in the D.C. heat, and it made me feel like such a wuss (in an inspirational way).
Shelah, who leaves great comments a will be running her first marathon in a little less than a month!
Scott, who just ran a 50 miler. Yes, FIFTY MILES!
Kim, who emailed me randomly to see if I wanted to run a few training runs with her. She also completed her first marathon this year!
And finally, Zach, who would comment regularly on my blog and also trained for and ran St. George. It was fun to finally meet him at around mile 2…Anne and I heard someone yelling our names from behind, which shocked both of us just a little. It was Zach!