Fast forward 11 months. I'm reading the year end review from the gals over at We Run Disney and one of them reports how 2014 was a year of ups and downs. In the comments, I wrote about how my year was essentially a bunch of bad races and missed goals and an injury up until my huge mega race in Philly and that while the year as a whole could have been better, I really couldn't complain. A couple of days later, as I was putting my thoughts together for this post, I realized that what I wrote there really wasn't true.
January 2014 - The Disney World Marathon
Its hard for my big head to get around this, but I actually had my greatest running accomplishment in 2014. It just doesn't feel that way. The way it's set up, with the race being held in January, I did all my training in 2013 (and most of 2012) so in a way, running the marathon feels like a 2013 accomplishment but in reality it was this year. And what an accomplishment it was. Even now, its hard to put my head around the fact that I was able to run 26.2 miles. Not only that, I was surprised at how well I was able to do it. I ran strong and followed every interval. Sure I was sore at the end and I was walking funny for a week but man... That was pretty high on the awesome scale.
And that I guess, is part of the problem with having your greatest moment at the very start of your year. I'm not gonna say that there is no way to go but down but it becomes quite easy to do so.
Spring 2014 - Superman Syndrome and I try for a Tri
So I ran a marathon. That means I can do anything right? Well, it sure felt that way. Suddenly, every other distance seemed like a walk in the park. At least on paper it looked that way but it is really faulty math. I figured, hey I ran 15 minute miles for the marathon so that means I can travel at the speed of sound for a 10K right? Wrong! A pretty loud wake up call in the form of The World's Best 10K let me know that wasn't so. I took off like a galloping horse and forced to walk after 4 and a half miles. Very humbling. While I PR'ed for that particular race it fell short of my overall 10K PR. I did get to meet Jared, the Subway guy before the race though.
On top of that, I also had a horrible case of Runger. After the marathon, I was like...
I gained some weight back of course, even though I was pretty active at this time. Some of you might remember it was around this time I took my first attempt at triathlon training. All I can say is, don't bring a knife to gun fight. It's not that you have to go buy the latest and greatest gear but you do need some basics and I did not have them. It sure made for some funny moments though. The image of me riding my wife's mountain bike (which I, you will also recall, broke) around the neighborhood is one of them. But hey quitters are not the ones who fail, its the ones who don't get up and try again and I will try again. But that's another post.
Summer 2014 - The Summer of Speed (Not)
To close out spring, I sort of dared my friend Al, that if he signed up for the Philadelphia Half Marathon, I would join him. He is a very busy guy. I wasn't sure he was gonna pull the trigger but sure enough, he did. And to be honest I was kind of happy about it though the pressure was on for sure. I had set a goal to run a sub-3 hour Half Marathon in 2014 and this race seemed like the perfect one to attempt the feat. But I had to get cracking. This, in hindsight, seems to be the point where I got my knee injured. As I focused more on speed, I might have stressed my joints a bit more than I should have. It was around this time where I ran a trio of 5K's that ended up being a bit frustrating as there seemed to be no progress in my times. I failed to PR in all of them. The 5K for Values, Altamesa 5K and Popular Bank's 5K all felt like I was behind. It was really a case of me aiming too high. By the end of the last one, my knee was feeling funny.
On the good side, near the end of summer, Mindy from Road Runner Girl introduced me to the concept of the Diet Bet. A game that allowed me to get back on track and lose what I had gained thanks to the bad case of Runger gone amok earlier in the year.
Fall 2014 - The Thrill of Victory... The Agony of Defeat
What a roller coaster of a season! It was at this point where two very important happenings took place. First, after returning from Las Vegas, I went to the Doctor, found out what was wrong and was asked to rest. The Philly Half was right around the corner and I was freaking out!. On the other hand, I was also featured on Today.com on an article about overweight people that have tackled a marathon. It was kind of surreal and the blog traffic sure went up during that time. I'm sure I've said this before but when I started this blog, it was for me and if some friends wanted to read it that would be awesome but here we are. The fact that people actually read this stuff is mind boggling.
Winter 2014 - I Surprise Everyone, Even Myself
Ans so it was time for the Philadelphia Half Marathon. The Doctor cleared me to run -but being careful of, course- and I trained as best I could under the circumstances. I knew I could PR. If there was anything good about the time of my first Half is that there was room for improvement. But under three hours? After the year I had? With a questionable knee? It certainly looked improbable from where I was standing.
But what ensued on that cold November day, I never would have guessed. With the help of fellow Team Run Disney member and friend Natalie (who I thank for running with me every time I tell this story) I ran a race I just never thought I had in me. Not at this point in time anyway. You would think running so high above what I'm used to would be hard and tedious. That with every mile I would be panting and squirming in pain but to cap it all off I had an absolute ball doing it. I ran, I talked, I high fived spectators, I cheered and I even danced a little. What a race...
I learned so much about myself during that race. About what I can do and could be doing. During the year, there wasn't much progress from a numbers standpoint. But the Philly Half was more then enough proof that sometimes you can't measure progress from a numbers standpoint alone. I can say that I am a much better runner today, crap knee and all, than I was last year. And if this year was interesting to say the least, I can tell you right now, my plans for the next one are even more exciting. Sure, there were some hard lessons to be learned but I intend to use those lessons to the fullest next year. Looking at 2014, I see a "rough" sandwich. Two incredible experiences acting as the bread for a pretty rough middle in between. But here's to new beginnings. A new year full of potential and I hope that you dear readers, are able to tap into that potential and fulfill whatever you are cooking up for 2015.