Groundhog Half Marathon - The start of the year of the halfs. This race was the most fun one can have running through 14 inches of fresh snow with some of your very best running friends. I was completely unprepared for this race but it really didn't matter. It was 100% run for fun. Dressing up like Miss Sunshine didn't hurt, either.
Martian Half Marathon - This was supposed to be a training run and turned out to be a 17 minute half marathon PR when I finished in 2:10:36. The weather was crap, the course was changed the night before because of flooding, and I was sick. Didn't matter. I killed that course and I got to meet Lori!
Rivertown Races Half Marathon - I tried very hard to run this as just a training run. It was fun to run with Mindy and just take it easy. The weather was crazy warm and this was another race that changed it's course the day before the race. For an inaugural race, it was handled well and I'd consider running this one again.
5/3 River Bank Run 25k - Looking back at this race report and reading that I'd just planned to use a 15.5 mile race as a training run for my "A" race - the Bayshore Half - seems laughable now. WTF was I thinking? What ended up happening was a really great run, even paces, and another PR. I took just over 11 minutes off of my only other 25k from 2 years before, running a 2:41:33 (a 10:25 pace). I had fun, talked to lots of random strangers, and just got lost in the moment. I snapped this selfie after the race, and wouldn't you know - the RBR people ended up using it for some of this year's media. I managed to snag a free entry for 2014 out of the deal :)
Bayshore Half Marathon - This was my "A" race for 2013 and I scored an A+. I took another 3 minutes off my half PR and this one stood for the rest of the year. 2:07:09 is my new time to beat. This race will probably always be a favorite. Beautiful scenery, the weather was awesome, and I got to run with a ton of my friends. We stuck around afterwards to watch friends finish the full. I rarely get to be a spectator at races and watching friends set marathon PRs was pretty freaking special.
Get Lost in Running - Not an official race, but a race series based on the numbers from the movie LOST. To kick off the series, I had already run the 4k race but I got to run the 8k with one of my favorite people in the whole world. Corey was in Michigan for her nephew's graduation and she braved some nasty rain to drive over to my side of the mitten and run. There's a pretty good chance this 8k is my fastest ever (we averaged a 9:18 pace!), but since it wasn't a real race, I don't know for sure. All I know is I had a blast meeting up with Corey and we have some pretty awesome running planned for 2014. I went on to finish the entire series - 4, 5, 15, 16, 23, 42k - before the end of the year and earned the series medal. I still need to hand the medal hanger but I have to say, it was probably the most fun virtual race EVAH.
Reed's Lake 10k - The PR streak continues!!!! I signed up for this race at the last minute and by race day a few days later, I didn't even want to run. I met up with friends before and decided to try and reach that elusive sub-60. I did a great warmup with Pete and even saw Cat on the course at one point. The brain gets fuzzy when it's dehydrated (it was muggier than F*ck) and I wasn't sure I'd hit my goal, but the stars aligned and I nailed it - a 58:50!!! I found my friends again and we realized all 4 of us PR'd that day. It's crazy how you can go into a race expecting nothing and pull an amazing run out of your very tired ass.
Tri Del Sol - I had planned on completing a few triathlons in 2013, but running sort of consumed my life. At least I had registered for this one way back on New Year's Eve, so if forced me into crosstraining. This race was so much more a mental challenge than my 2012 tri and I honestly don't know if I'd race it again. I hated everything about the swim and almost didn't even start. The fact I finished was a huge accomplishment.
Streets of Fire 8k - this was an evening race and the 2nd run in a double for relay training, so I wasn't expecting anything more than to get in a 2nd 5 mile run for the day. I've only run one other official 8k and this one was a PR by almost 6 minutes (although my virtual 8k with Corey was about a minute faster). I ran most of the race with my friend Jenn and she really pushed me at the end - I clocked a sub-9 mile for what might be the first time ever in a race! The best part was the beer and pizza at the polish hall afterwards though :)
The Fred 200 Mile Relay - In August, I checked something off my bucket list by participating in a 200 mile relay. It was incredible in so many ways. I faced my fears of running doubles and triples. I ran at night in night gear. I lived in a van. Over the course of less than 24 hours, I clocked about 18 miles. It was exhausting and exhilarating and I hope I get asked to run it again.
Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon - When a huge group of girlfriends suggested we all head down to my home town and run a half marathon together, I jumped on the chance. What I didn't think was how raced-out and broken I would be after so much racing all summer and finishing a relay just a few weeks before. This weekend was so fun, but the uber-hilly race pretty much was the nail in my coffin. I finished this race really injured and questioning how the rest of the year was going to play out.
Shrinking Jeans Ghostly Gallop Virtual 10k - I wasn't going to include this since it wasn't an official race and I never even wrote a race report, but I changed my mind and put it in anyway since I included the LOST series. I ran the 10k as part of a weekend long run (I think I ran 8 that day) and finished my 10k portion in 1:03:59. Not bad for a training run.
Jax Bank Half Marathon - I capped off the Year of the Half by traveling to Jacksonville, Florida and running my 6th half of the year and 10th overall. I wasn't 100% healthy and pretty much knew all hopes of finishing the year with another PR were probably shot. Getting down there and being hit by the humidity and then rainstorms during the race just solidified that. It was still a great weekend and I got to meet up with some DailyMile friends and drink a lot of local beers. I fought hard and finished with my 4th fastest time ever (beating my 1st half marathon time by about a minute). I'm not convinced Florida loves me since I've run 2 of my hardest halfs there, but I'm not giving up on southern climates yet.
In case you weren't counting, that makes 13 races in 2013 :) Yes, I know 2 of them don't really count, but for me this is a pretty big deal. It was a busy, busy year and I think I learned a lot about myself as a runner. Some of those thoughts might make it into a future post, but mostly I learned the valuable lesson of training to race and not racing to train. I'm now struggling to take the month of January off from running so I can come back even stronger and faster in 2014. Who knows, I might even have some pretty huge race goals this year.
How did your year shape up?