Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 a new runner's journey in review

Jen & Ang share victory at the Jersey Shore
I love me a New Year. So shiny, so new - so bursting with opportunity and "anything is possible-ness." A chance to look back at the previous year and appreciate the good, reflect on the bad and savor the great.

So as we count down the last few hours of 2010 I take this time to reflect on the 525,600 minutes that transpired for me:

The first few days of 2010 were tough, I lost my dear sister-in-law Ritzie from complications of diabetes. Her death was shocking and she passed way too early. Her passing reminded me that life is so short and that we must grab hold of our moments and take control of our health, the best we can. Her passing inspired me to continue on my weight loss journey.

January found me studying Jack Canfield, a self-help guru, who's book, The Success Principles really rocks. Through this book and its suggestions of writing out life goals - led me to putting "run a 1/2 marathon on the list..." Not sure where that came from, or if I was just filling space but there it sat on my life "to do" list.  The book urged to take action on your "to do." And while I took action on other things - that one just kinda sat there - alongside, go to the moon - it was kind of farfetched.

Come February, a best buddy of mine, Angela had just run the Surf City half marathon, and here that goal was on my list. On a whim I did a google search for New Jersey + half marathon and found The Jersey Shore half for May - I counted on my fingers - 4 months, a lifetime away - that sounds good. I don't know what came over me but without ever having run a day in my life, plunked down my credit card and signed up.  And so my running journey began.

With 42 days of training under my belt - I ran my first 5K on March 21st. And though my I huffed and puffed and had to run/walk/run those 3 miles - I crossed my first finish line - in 40:57. I held back tears - I might've well have just won the Boston marathon - I was so proud.

April brought training and more training - putting in the time and building up the miles to lead me to that big first race...

And on May 2nd, in record breaking heat and with my friend Angela (who flew in from LA to run this by my side) - I did it. I ran (and walked) my first 1/2 marathon. And a runner was born.

Later in May, I ran my second 5K with a good friend Frannie who was inspired by my blog to start her own running journey. She finished slightly faster than my 35:53 finish - a full five minutes better than my last 5K!

I struggled to find my running groove through June, July and August - the heat, a toe injury and a lack of something blocked my way.  Even with an upcoming September half marathon, I was off my game.

On September 27th, I ran my second half, again with Frannie and again she finished better. I ran strong until I hit a huge wall at Mile 10 -- I hobbled the last 3 miles and vowed "never again." What was the point? I was so disappointed with my 3:00 hour time, even though I had finished a full half hour better than the first one.

I was done. I would run for fun... No more marathons for me.

Yeah right - two days later, I signed up for the Jersey Shore half in 2011. Of course I did.

October was a nice comfy month of happy, easy running and feeling good - then in November...

November brought marathon fever - and the NY marathon. I got itchy. I couldn't get the idea out of my mind - maybe I should try to run a full - hmmm?  While pondering that, I crossed an 80 pound weight loss finish line, and ran my third 5K. I ran it in a pretty good PR time of 32 minutes - and knocked 9 minutes off from my first 5K! Jason named me a role model in his blog and it became official... I would run my first full marathon in San Diego.  And I got to training.

December brought long run days, learning to suck it up, dreadmill runs and snow... And today it brought my longest run ever - in fact my longest distance - I'd never even walked this far - 14 miles. And I did it in 2:41... Which is something I'm feeling pretty proud about.

And here's my New Year's toast to my fellow runners - I wrote it with an Irish accent in mind but use the accent of your choice ;)

Run with pride, may your shoelaces stayed tied, nice weather supplied and your heart your guide.


Happy New Year!


Jason said...

Does it make a difference that the STOTAN in me just cried a little tear?

I am so moved by this post. You have had a tremendous 2010 and you have learned so much about yourself. You will be unstoppable in 2011 for that I have no doubt.

Thank you for being a friend, an inspiration, a motivation. Keep doing what you do and great things will come your way.

Have a Happy and Safe New Year Celebration!

Lesley @ said...

2011 is going to ROCK... I know it. 2010 had nothin' on 2011. With the miles you are getting in, you are going to be so ready to conquer 26.2!!!

Jen said...

Aw, Jason - I'm so happy to have become friends with you and Lesley, and Julie, and Sara, and Christine, and everyone else in running bloggy land. It's made the world of difference for me and geez I must've pulled on being "stotan" and "suck it up buttercup" and make this mile count about a thousand times today!

Lesley, it is gonna rock! I'm so excited for San Diego! xo

wannaberunnergrl said...

So many accomplishments in 2010! What a year for you! And I agree, the feeling of finishing your first 5k is like nothing else. And congrats on those 14 miles today!!
Happy New Year!

Jen said...

Thanks wannaberunnergrl! Appreciate the comment - Happy New Year to you too!!

Anonymous said...

Woohoo!! Awesome run!!! When is your next half marathon? You are certainly going to PR, little lady! I had no idea it was your SIL's passing that started your journey to health. You're doing great, mama!

Jen said...

Thanks Christina! My next 1/2 isn't until May - my anniversary run - though, if I find one that's relatively cheap between now and then, I might sign up.

I had started my weight loss journey a few years ago and it's been a long run but that passing really put a lot in perspective for me about health and my reasons to continue.

Happy New Year!

Sara said...

Oh Jen! Your post brought tears to my eyes!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously - you have such an inspiration story, and it so much like my own. You said, "The first few days of 2010 were tough, I lost my dear sister-in-law Ritzie from complications of diabetes.....Her passing inspired me to continue on my weight loss journey." I had no idea, and I am so sorry to hear of Ritzie's passing. This just really hit home for me. As you know, I was struggling with pre-diabetes before I started running and loosing weight and getting healthy and I think sometimes people forget that diabetes actually does kill people. It's that serious - it's not to be taken lightly, as you know too. I am so happy to hear about your accomplishments, and I am so happy that we are training for our first marathon "together". I can't wait to hear more as we head into 2011!! Thank you for sharing your story again - I am so happy to have found your blog and to call you my friend!

Jen said...

Aw, thanks Sara - I feel the same about you. I got gestational diabetes when I was pregnant and that definitely scared me - with my own family history of diabetes, I was warned that the path I was heading down wasn't a good one.

I'm glad we are friends AND training together too :)