I concede: it has been a while. I get that.
It’s ooooooooold news, but I’ll do some quick highlighting and ruminating on what’s gone down since we were last together. Where applicable, I’ll post some (probably awful) pictures. Why not. I’ll try to be brief, but you know me… brevity’s not my thing….
1. Water Splash Dash 5k, back in Ohio (July):25:15, so not great, but scored an AG win. Funny thing about the race–my first race since giving birth–was that I was beat in the last few strides by a girl who was about half my age. Humbling to say the least. That girl could fly! Funny pictures below… such a dork…
2. Labor of Love 5 miler, back in Ohio (September): 41:24, so again, not breaking any records, but still easing into things. Fun thing about this race was that I had never done that distance before, so it was an automatic PR, ha! It was actually quite enjoyable, though it was organized by some anti-choice church group. I might have thrown away my morals for 41 minutes that morning in order to run a race on Labor Day in northeast Ohio. Not my proudest moment, for sure…
3. Kennedy 5k, back in Rockford (October): 23:59, so faster than my first post-baby 5k in July, but still not blazing. However! Very exciting here again… it was enough for an AG win that morning and I think third woman overall. What I remember most about that day was how crazy it was, as C, A, and C’s dad mad-dashed it up to a wedding in Wisconsin that night. Timing was not on my side that morning, so I … um … went to that super-fun wedding rockin’ the 5k look. (Hey, if nothing else, it made straightening my hair that night that much easier… gotta love natural oils. Ewwwwwwww).
4. Monster Dash Half Marathon, in Chicago (October): 1:44, which was super encouraging! This was my first “endurance” event or what I had been “training” for all summer, as I slowly worked my way back into the endurance world, so I went into this race with minimal expectations. I told my training buddies that if I went sub-2, I’d be giddy. With that in mind, then, I was totally STOKED that I posted a 1:44 because that was basically just a few minutes off what I’d normally post pre-pregnancy. I remember feeling very encouraged by this and hopeful that good things were to come in January, when I was slated to run the F^3 half and the Polar Dash half. Plus, I ran a half marathon dressed up like Robin! Why not, right? It was Halloween…
5. Home Run for the Homeless 4 miler, back in Ohio (November): One of the best, lowest-key, but tough races out there, and my mainstay if we’re in Ohio for Thanksgiving. Very few other races have you spend more than half of your miles traversing through a very hilly (but very cool) cemetery. This year’s time was the fastest ever of the three times I had run it before, and it was especially interesting to do this time around because I was pregnant in 2010 when I did it last. This race is such an awesome tradition, and I learned that it’s actually the second biggest race in Summit County (next to the Road Runner Akron Marathon, I’m assuming).
6. The Great New Years Eve Race (GNYER) 5k, in Ohio (December): Wow! Totally surprised by this one! 6:55 average, which let me post a 21:32 overall, enough for an AG win and I think fourth woman overall. And! to boot! a 5k PR! I was floooooooooooooooored. Definitely wasn’t expecting this to happen, even though the course was just an out-and-back through a residential area in Stow-Munroe Falls (though of course, there were some good climbs and descents sprinkled in there). I have to say that overall, I think the NE Ohio racing circuit does a good job of putting on high-quality but inexpensive events when you consider the race price relative to the amenities and premiums. For the $40 pricetag of the race (maybe give or take $5), I got an Asics dry-fit baselayer-type of jacket with the race logo imprinted on the back, and for winning my AG, I got an aluminum waterbottle–very useful and practical, not just another random piece of bling that’ll inevitably go into a box somewhere. In addition to all that, the post-race gig was awesome, too. The only weird thing about many Ohio races I’ve done–which probably warrants another post in and of itself–is the way that they time everything with the timing chips or bibs. It’s very peculiar to me and definitely not how it’s done in Chicago.
7. Polar Dash Half Marathon, in Chicago (January): The funny story about this race is that the race organizers, based out of Minneapolis (I think), kinda screwed themselves over. Racing a half in Chicago in January is a gamble to be sure, but the race actually got postponed from its original date because of the city’s/police’s/park district’s/race director’s fears that the huge snowfall we were slated to have that weekend would make for unsafe conditions. I get it. Better to be safe than sorry. The funny thing, though, was that the race was on a Saturday, and they called it off by like, mid-day on Wednesday. Kinda wild. Adding to the irony of it all was that when they actually did have the race, about two weeks later, the DAY before the race Chicago got hit with what was probably its largest snowfall of the season (since our winter this year was really mild), so the race would have been better off held on its original date. Go figure. The RD had to do some last-minute course changes, but all told, it went over well. I got a huge surprise at this race by posting a 1:35–which was a five-minute PR–and in the process, won the women’s field by finishing first overall (and within the top 30 or so people, I think) and consequently winning my age group as well. No idea how to explain it. I prefer cold weather over warm, to be sure, but I hadn’t really been doing any sort of formal speedwork prior to the race. I just kinda ran with it… ha ha, bad joke. Needless to say I was floooooooooooored again. And… kinda funny… since this was the first year of the race, I can say that I’m the women’s record holder 🙂 I haven’t found myself in any of these pictures, but here are some good ones that show you how polar-ly it was that morning: http://www.facebook.com/ChicagoPolarDash?sk=photos.
8. F^3 (fast, fucking, frozen) Lake Half Marathon, in Chicago (January): With the Polar Dash getting rescheduled, that put me running two half-marathons in back-to-back weekends. While during the Polar Dash, it was snowing and breezy the whole time (and we were on the south side of the path, running between Museum Campus and 31st Street, roughly), on the morning of F^3 it was just f***** COLD! Lots of good-sized ice patches on the eastern side of the lakefront path (since we were running between Foster Ave and North Avenue), and the wind was relentless. In fact, at the very end of the race, with probably two miles to go, a woman I was chasing slipped on a patch of the stuff and bit it hard. Running in January can be brutal. (but don’t worry, she was ok, and actually passed me in the last 30 meters….) Despite the coldness and the windiness and the frozenness (making up words here, sorry), though, there were still tons more runners at F^3 than there were at the Polar Dash. I went into the race thinking that I’d be happy just to finish the thing, seeing as how I was pretty fatigued still from the Polar Dash, but I don’t know–the stars aligned or something–and I posted a 1:33, a new PR, breaking the old one I had just set six days before. The 1:33 was enough to land me another AG win and be something like the 4th or 5th woman overall. Again, totally floored, totally not expecting that time, and still (months later) not quite sure how it happened, especially in the absence of any formal speedwork. (Cool thing about this race, in addition to everything I’ve already said, is that there were three photographers on the course that morning, and all of them availed their pics online, for free! That never happens!!)
So. That’s what’s been up. Sunday I’ll be racing in Cary’s March Madness, which is one of the two hardest half marathons I’ve ever done–and I think will be half marathon #19 (though I need to check my records)–and the weather is looking quite favorable. I am excited. After that will be the Shamrock Shuffle 8k and then, following that, in late April will be my first marathon post-pregnancy, down in Urbana-Champaign.
Pretty stoked and a bit nervous, to say the least… but mostly just stoked at this point.
We shall see.