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Half-Marathon Anniversary

When you think of the version of me you know through this blog, you may think, "she runs a lot of races."

Well, you mere mortal, let it be known that this Sunday will mark the 1 year anniversary of my first ever half marathon.

As I think is explained somewhere on my "about me" page, from 2006 through 2010, I pretty much ran one race per year.  A marathon.  I have always loved running, and at the same time didn't really understand racing.  Why pay money when you can run for free, I always pondered.

In the past 365 days, I have run:

6 half marathons (not including the one I may run this Sunday).

1 full marathon.

What the hell happened this year that bumped up my racing by 600%? (if I did the math wrong, then consider it hyperbole).

so many things....

1) I received a Garmin for Christmas 2010, and became enraptured by the possibilities of numerical proof of improvement; of competing with myself; of racing with a freaking clue how I was doing, pace-wise.

2) I started a blog, super accidentally.  I reserved this page on the web so I could comment on other running blogs.  And then my sister and friend Allison found it, and I was so embarrassed that there was no content on it.  So I added content.  Got addicted.  etc.

3) I grew to love racing.  LOVE it.  So much more excitement in my running now.  Running used to be primarily for relaxation / problem solving / meditation / endorphins / alone time.  Now it is also my time to challenge myself and to create goals.  I lost this part of myself in law school; kind of gave up on myself as someone who was capable of being great at something.  It feels really freakin nice to have that small "type A" part of myself back.  Having a fireball of motivation for something in your life is a great way to feel excited to wake up in the morning.
 
I keep thinking this is just that year that I ran a lot of races, and that next year will look much more sparse.  But I already know I will run my local Oakland half because I adored it so.  And for that matter, the half is my new love of all loves -- so easy to pick one up without the prep, mental and physical, that goes into a full marathon.  So I imagine I'll run a handful of cheaper halfs next year. 

5ks?  10ks?  Maybe I'll touch one of those.  Still unsure about that.

My year in racing (find full recaps on my "Races and PR's" page...I'm not in a linking kind of mood right now)

US Half in San Francisco  1:38:xx

I learned to wear brights so the Gentleman could find me



Just a miserable, miserable run.  The rain came down hard the entire 98 minutes it took me to run this thing -- and the tough hills to conquer had none of the rewarding views (such as those from the Golden Gate Bridge) because of of the thick rainclouds.  Not my best first impression of the half-marathon.

Oakland Half  1:30:00


If you don't recognize this photo, you read this blog from your Google Reader


This was my first race ever wearing a watch, and what a world of difference it made.  I watched myself blow through mile after mile between 6:30 and 6:50 paces, not even having a clue I was capable of that.  I adored this course which starts just outside my neighborhood, and can't wait to run it year after year.


Western Pacific Half Marathon  1:32:50


this endless dirt trail was....boring



The race in which I learn that I do not like out-and-backs, nor do I like running without any crowd support.  I struggled to motivate myself, but in the end it was good I took it a little easier since this was 2 weeks before the Big One (Eugene).

Eugene Marathon  3:08:17

Pink and baby blue; dressed like an infant



This one's a blur.  I don't know how I ran a 1:32 first half and then had the energy to run the second half in 1:36.  I don't know how I will attempt to top that this December at CIM either.   But I do remember being on Cloud 9 all day, buzzing with happiness for what my body could do, especially after a knee-injury scare I was dealing with in the week leading up to it.

See Jane Run Half Marathon  1:28:22


I will never run in a ponytail again


I had heard good things about this one and I adore Alameda, so I showed up.  And then gagged at all the estrogen.  It was like going to a Sex and the City premiere.  Too many "women love chocolate"-type taglines.  And I don't like chocolate unless it's white or filled with caramel.

However, I got my half PR here.  Now I realllly need to get a new PR so I can hate this race through and through.

The Giant Race Half Marathon  1:30:40



freakishly blonde after buying a new brand of hair-dye


I unexpectedly won an entry into this one 3 days prior.  I loved the stress-free feeling of racing without any expectations.  And I especially loved that it was free, and then I won/received upwards of $150 in goodies.  I dealt with a hamstring issue this day and almost experienced my first DNF.  Also experienced my first mid-race port-o-potty stop.  Rite of Passage.

Livermore Grape Stomp Half Marathon 1:28:35

I like the palm tree in this pic...


I remember this one like it was just 10 days ago.  Cause it was.  Decent course, but sadly a bit of a confidence dropper for me, as I had expected my new method, consisting of copying other runners who actually "train" for races, to pay off with some huge improvement.  Turns out, I ran the same pace as I had back at the Oakland half on no speed training at all.

San Mateo Running With the Jets Half Marathon

[PLACE FUTURE PICTURE HERE]

Help me out.  I'm leaning towards entering this and running it this coming Sunday, but for one problem.  Forecast shows rain.  One of the very prominent reasons I want to run this is to practice racing in the shoes that I think will be my marathon shoes (asics gel nimbus).  But I always assumed it was a bad idea to wear your good shoes in the rain, because the rain could warp them.  Could this be true?  Should I try to avoid wearing my potential marathon shoes for a wet 13.1?

Oh and of course, naturally, I won all of those races.   [That's a joke.  the Gentleman didn't get it, so I must clarify].  We can't be winners all the time....unless you just lie about it.  Whatever.  Have you had a kick-ass year of running?