On To The Next One...

As I sit and type this I can't believe that the year is just about over. I have so much to be thankful for this year and have experienced so many wonderful things. As 2012 comes to a close I can only reflect on the wonderful year I had, and look forward to even better things to come in 2013.

This year was my 3rd year living in Florida. I think I've become a lot more settled in and I feel comfortable calling it home. I may not know where everything is, or still might not know how to get around, but I love it. The weather, the scenery - it's beautiful, and I couldn't be happier with a location to live. Many people ask if I miss NYC. I do from time to time. But it's cold, and crowded. And yes, the people are nasty. I feel like I'm starting to lose a lot of that "hard" NY attitude since living here, and I like the change. It's definitely a positive.

In February of this year I decided to try out this whole running thing. I couldn't run a mile. I would get out of breath after one minute of consecutive running. But I set a goal for myself. I wanted to run a 5k and be able to do the whole thing running. I didn't want to have to take a walk break. I downloaded a couch to 5k app on my phone and ran when it told me to, and walked when it said. This seemed to work. But it was hard for me at first. I went to a Run Tampa party, and everyone there was talking about their half-marathons and marathons. I just wanted to run my measly little 5k! They gave me so much encouragement and told me that soon I'd be setting my sights for longer distances. I thought they were crazy! Two and a half months later I ran my first half marathon. 

Me, running my first race EVER - Gasparilla 5k March 3, 2012
I think that Gasparilla was an awesome choice for a first race. I went to the expo and it was HUGE! So much to look at. All this cute running gear. And all of these things I had no idea about. Sports gels, compression socks. What did all of that do? It was an awesome experience. There were so many runners! Who knew that many people ran? I got inspired. I signed up for the iron girl 5k at the expo. (Later I would run the half marathon instead). The race itself was huge as well. There were so many people. I forget the number, but I was astonished at how many people came out to do the race. I ran. It was hot. I thought I did terribly. I felt a little sick at the end. 33:18. Not too bad. I was handed a medal. I felt so accomplished. I had never gotten a medal for anything before. I set a goal and I achieved it. I was hooked.

The next race I ran was a 5 miler, and then of course the half marathon in April - Iron Girl. I must say I'm pretty crazy for running that with pretty much no training. But I'm so glad that I did. It was really hard. I started out too fast. My leg cramped. I got really hungry (for which I was given a donut at mile 10 - and I think that was the only reason I survived). But the feeling of crossing the finish line and knowing that I completed a half marathon - 13.1 miles, was amazing. I don't think I have ever felt like I had achieved something so great before. And then I took a long deserved nap. 

My first half marathon

I ran several other races - According to Athlinks I've run 12 5ks, 1 10k, 1 5mile, 1 10 mile, 1 spartan sprint (Savage Race), and 6 half marathons

For my 5k races my times have ranged from 30:58 - 33:41. 

My 5k goal for 2013 is to run a sub 30. I recently ran 4 miles in under 40 minutes, so I'm pretty sure I could get it done. 

One amazing 5k experience I had wasn't included in athlinks races. I ran a 5k in London, England. I got to run through beautiful Hyde Park. There was a 5k going on while I was there. It wasn't chip timed, but it was a great experience. They obviously didn't use mile markers. Every kilometer was marked, so I think mentally I felt like I was making more progress. I didn't have a running watch at the time, but Jim did, and since we ran together my time was his time. Apparently I finished in 28:09. I have no idea how I ran that fast, maybe it's the magic of London. 
Beat the Banana 5k, Hyde Park, London

Of course everything else in London was amazing. And I got to see Paris for a bit too. So that, of course, was a highlight of the year.

For 10ks I only have a time for one. I was registered and ran in two, although I DNF'ed the 2nd one. If you go back to my previous post "Scare" you can read about it. I was having chest pain, and heart palpitations. No good. Still don't know why I have a rapid heart rate. They're working on it. 

I completed my first Disney race right after the whole heart rate to-do. I was afraid I shouldn't be running 10 miles without knowing what was wrong, but I completed a stress test and the doctor gave me the ok. So off to the Tower of terror 10 miler I went. My time wasn't great, but I finished while monitoring my heart rate the whole time. And then got to ride the rides after. Always a plus.
During the Tower of Terror race. One of my favorite race pics!

Then it was on to half marathons. The first one I did since the iron girl was the Frankenfooter. I actually ran two 5ks the day before and managed to still make my secret goal of a sub 2:30. My time: 2:59:54. I was amazed. I almost didn't even realize they were handing me a medal!

Then it was the Women's Half Marathon in November. That's where I hold my current PR. And every weekend from then - for 4 weekends I ran a half. That qualified me for half fanatics!

One of those halves was in Vegas. That was an amazing experience as well. I got to spend time with my amazing cousin, Adele, who was running it for her birthday. I had met Adele the year before after not knowing her my entire life. We bonded over Facebook about running, and when she mentioned wanting to go to Vegas to run for her birthday I was in! I am so glad I made this decision because I got to spend time with her and she is a wonderful person! And she also decided to run the Chicago marathon with me - our first! And I also must be a Broncos fan now. I DO have a shirt, that means I'm a fan right? (She's from Colorado)
Adele and I, after the race, with our medals
And all cleaned up!

All I can say is that I'm so proud of myself for my accomplishments this year. I have done things I never would have thought I could do. I pushed myself through physical and mental walls. And I can't wait to push harder and accomplish more next year.

I plan on having a whole new outlook on life for 2013. I want to rid myself of any negativity and only focus on the positive. I want to keep striving to make myself a better person - in all aspects. I want to spend more time with family and friends. I want to just be better. And that's all anyone can ever do - is just keep trying to be better than the person you were tomorrow. We never stop growing. 

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and supported my this year. And thank you to everyone who has been reading and following me along my journey. 

Happy New Year!

May 2013 be better than the last!