I’ve done some generalized reflecting on my first year of running, but I was waiting to find a good survey to follow along some sort of guideline with tangible questions to answer to myself and to readers. My hope is that my blog this year has inspired other new runners or those still thinking about starting running to try it. As I ran alongside my friend Courtney from EatPrayRunDC tonight at our track workout, and mentioned I’ve dropped my 5K time by almost 5 minutes in 7 1/2 months, I realized that by this time next year, I could be running a sub-25. That moment of reflection led me to forming some of my 2014 goals, but before I do that, Courtney herself posted the very kind of survey I was looking for in a year of running recap. I’m linking up with Miss Zippy because I love to see what other runners have to say about this kind of stuff too. So without further ado.

  • Best race experience? I have to go with Richmond Half Marathon. I was so, so happy throughout the race, and felt like such a strong person, not just physically but emotionally, for having come so far in just a year. I originally signed up to run the race because I knew a friend would be there, but for reasons I still don’t understand, and am tired of asking, weeks before the race she completely shut me out and I was on my own. And you know what? I couldn’t be more grateful for that. Running my first half-marathon completely on my own, including the trip down, the sleep the night before, and the trip back, with only texts from home to encourage me, taught me just how strong I am. I don’t need anyone as a crutch. People will come and go, and that’s okay. “Friends for a season, friends for a reason, or friends forever.” All three are okay as long as you know your strength to accept that not all friends are friends forever, or will always be good for you. The race weekend was more than just my first 13.1. It was the weekend I found my own freedom and strength all in my own body and mind, devoid of bitterness. For a long time I’ve been bitter when someone I counted on or put trust in somehow lets me down, and finding my strong through running has taught me that even if everything crumbles down, I’ll still be standing on these two runnin’ feet. And for that reason, I just can’t find it in me to resent anyone anymore.
  • Best run? The Sunday before the Richmond half I went out and ran a 9 mile last long run before the race. I was endlessly happy. I saw just to what extent the world is at my feet, literally. Running has empowered me as an individual in a way nothing ever has before – not yoga, not acting, not writing. From every brain cell to my last toenail, I feel power and strength in my body and mind. Around mile 6 of that training run I felt so light and happy I could sing.
  • Best new piece of gear?  This is tough. As of next week I might even have some I’d want to add! But I think I will go with my Nike drawstring capri leggings, in this blue and white pattern. Not for any other reason than they fit and stay on the very best out of all the running capris and leggings I’ve tried this year. They’re my favorite to wear in any exercise situation for reliability, comfort, compression, and all around functionality.
  • Best piece of running advice you received? “Trust your training.” I can’t remember where I heard it, but ever since I started being able to repeat it to myself before a race, my races have consistently improved. I always know I can do it, and confidence is huge.
  • Most inspirational runner? Dorothy Beal at Mile Posts was my first introduction to running bloggers and running social media. A friend of mine on tweeted at her while he was training for a half-marathon and I’ve followed her blog ever since. Her total joy and love for the marathon, every aspect of it, always reminds me that running, ultimately, after everything else, at the end of the day, is for joy and peace of mind. I like that she’s human and she gets frustrated if it’s not her best race, but she always finds great perspective. And she’s so supportive of the newbies like me who follow her.
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? I found my strong and I ran happy.

ImageI’ve definitely got a few posts left before 2014 arrives, but in the mean time, to all those who have expressed enjoyment and inspiration at reading my little running blog and running tales, thank you, truly. Sometimes this blog is just my way of recording my own revelations so if I ever lose perspective down the road I can be reminded of my ability to feel joyful. But it’s infinitely better to know maybe some of that joy has spread.

I hope you keep reading my writing about running in 2014. It’s going to be a heck of a year. 🙂