The same is true for my year in running. The year started out great but then took a nosedive into terrible and is just now starting to even out again.
First, the good:
I ran a total of eight races this year: seven where 5k and one was 8k.
Although I started running in the spring of 2013, 2014 was the first year I considered myself a runner. Yes, I couldn't bring myself to run outside during the dead of winter and ended up not running at all during January, I was able to regain and actually improve my fitness when I started running again in February. I also started working with a personal trainer to improve my overall fitness, and she has helped me improve my balance, strength, and flexibility. When the spring finally rolled around, I hit the ground running. Literally.
|I may hate the treadmill, but it comes in handy from time to time.|
|Lining up for the 2014 Ravenswood Run 5k.|
The coolest race I ran was the Rosehill Cemetery Crypt 5k. Running through Rosehill Cemetery at night was just generally awesome, and I'd run this race again in a heartbeat, though I wouldn't pay the extra for chip timing and would probably prefer to run with friends, as I most people were there in groups and I felt a little lonely.
|Just waiting for it to get dark enough to run through the cemetery.|
Of all the races I ran, I think I had the most fun at Uno 5k Carrera de los Muertos. The people, the music, the decorations, the overall atmosphere...this race felt like a great big block party, and I spent the whole morning with a smile on my face.
|Why not celebrate the Day of the Dead with a run through Pilsen?|
The most supportive race had to be the Proud to Run 5k. I was actually supposed to run the 10k race that day, but was feeling ill. The other runners and volunteers seemed genuinely concerned about my well being and helped me finish the 5k. In fact, another runner actually slowed down and walked with me for a little bit to make sure that I was okay and to encourage me to keep going once she was assured that I wasn't going to die then and there.
|The crowd slowly forms at Proud to Run in anticipation of the race starting.|
And my favorite racer ever had to be this guy, spotted at the PAWS Run for Their Lives 8k:
|Hot Dog dog is very happy to be participating in the 2014 PAWS Run for Their Lives 8k & 4k.|
Oh...and how could I forget, I also started blogging this year. I began this blog to help hold myself accountable when it came to my running. It is really easy to skip a run and stay on the couch, watching movies and snacking on junk food. It is much harder to skip a run if I'm publicly stating my goals and documenting my successes and failures.
Of course, the whole year wasn't great. In fact, there was a lot of disappointment when it came to running. So now it is time to remember the bad:
I encountered my fair share of rude people while running this year. Although I find the running community to generally be incredibly welcoming and supportive, there are still a few jerks who feel the need to bring others down. There was the woman at the Esprit de She 5k who told me to get my "fat ass out of the way." There was also the dude bro who called me a jogger and told me to "learn to run or stay home." At the beginning of December, I encountered the gym rat who felt the need to loudly ridicule me following my attempt to take a class that I had never taken before at the gym.
This spring, I started having some health problems that made running incredibly difficult, but I refused to stop and give my body the rest it needed. I kept training and racing even though I should have been resting. I ended up just making myself feel even sicker and more tired. I ended up having to run the 5k at Proud to Run instead of the 10k, and I had to put my plans for a half marathon on hold.
|What was supposed to be my first half marathon ended up being just another 5k.|
My worst time was at the Turkey Day Run 5k. I finished in 40:01, giving me an average pace of 12:53. I had worked really hard and actually trained for this race in the hopes of a PR, but my dreams were quickly dashed when I had to walk after only one mile.
|My worst performance at a race ever was at the Turkey Day Run. Even a giant inflatable turkey couldn't cheer me up.|
My biggest disappointment was missing the Rudolph Ramble 8k. I got horribly sick the night before the race and spent the next couple of days in bed.
|The race that never was. I still have my sad, unworn bib number.|
Although I made a lot of progress early in the year, I found myself in a pretty awful slump at the end of this year. Between my horrible performance at my last several races (each race saw me running slower than the last race) and missing the Rudolph Ramble, I was feeling pretty terrible.
Luckily, things are looking up! I'm excited for what 2015 has in store for me. My last couple of weeks of running have been great and have made me motivated to keep moving forward. I won't be sad to see 2014 go, and I welcome 2015 for the challenges it will bring.