Where do I start? It’s been an amazing year for me for running. It was a year where my dream came true. A dream that I had in my heart since I first realized I loved this sport called running. God blessed me with the gift of running and then my dream race this year. 2015 became a year like no other.
2015 was and is the year of New York. I rang in the year on January 1, 2015 truly believing that. I had a feeling deep inside that my dream race was going to become a reality. It’s hard to explain how I just somehow knew it was going to be my year. Of course, I didn’t truly know it was going to happen. There was the NYC Marathon lottery to contend with.
January didn’t contain any races for me, but I did have my final training long runs for the 26.2 with Donna. Specifically, January 24th. I remember that training run very well. The theme of that run was rain, rain and more rain. Five of us crazy marathon and half marathon runners began our wet trek at 3am. It was a fairly consistent rain for the seven hours we ran/walked those training miles. We were drenched from head to toe, but continued to push through. It’s amazing what you can do when you leave your comfort zone. That run was just one more thing I accomplished being a runner with the Orlando Galloway training group. I know it’s a run, an experience that I’ll never forget.
February brought marathon #4 at the 26.2 with Donna. That was an amazing whirlwind weekend as I was a Race Ambassador. Race morning itself was good, I recall feeling pretty great as I waited in the corral for the race to start. I ran with a pace group, and by about mile 15 or thereabouts, I wasn’t sure why I was doing another marathon. Funny how your emotions are a roller-coaster through those 26.2 miles. One minute you are smiling, riding along with both hands in the air, screaming in enjoyment at how fun the ride is. Then, the next minute, you are grasping the inside bar, feeling as though you are holding on for dear life. Wondering what in the world you were thinking getting onto this crazy ride. I suppose that’s just how marathons are for a lot of us.
March was the Gate River Run 15k. This was a race that I had wanted to do for a year or so and was excited to run. It was just under a month after doing marathon #4, so I suppose I wasn’t exactly ready to run another race. In retrospect, I didn’t recovery very well from the marathon. I should have taken it a bit easier getting back into my training regime, but that’s not what I did. So, Gate River Run became a tough 9.3 miles for me. Not to mention that it was quite warm that morning. In the end, I finished the race, not in a time I was happy with, but I finished. And, I learned something about recovery and racing that close to a marathon.
The month of March was also when the New York Road Runners NYC Marathon lottery took place. On March 3rd, I learned that my dreams were coming true. I had been selected to run the 2015 NYC Marathon. I had never been more happy to have my credit card charged $255. It was a surreal feeling knowing that something I had been dreaming about was coming true. I knew that the big guy upstairs, God and all those prayers to Him made it possible. An answered prayer or more accurately, prayers) was given to me on that day and I felt so blessed. From that day forward, just about every since person around me knew (or would know) that I was running my dream race, the NYC Marathon in November.
My race schedule slowed down a lot after that. Of course, after about April, the humid hot weather tends to make racing pretty impossible (unless you want to melt that is). I did do a couple of local 5ks including the Corporate 5k and my favorite, Run for the Trees. The latter takes place on or around my birthday, so it’s become my birthday 5k each year. It’s also a favorite because I tend to improve my 5k P.R. at the race.
June was the official start of my NYC Marathon training with the kick-off of the new season of our Galloway training program. I had run all through the maintenance months, but the program has a break from the end of February until June. The craziest thing I did was also in this month. I had signed up for a half marathon in the summer in Florida back in late 2014. I wasn’t alone in my insanity though, a number of my fellow Orlando Galloway friends also had registered for the race. Since I had 9 or 10 miles listed on my training schedule, my plan was run/walk those miles, then walk the last few miles in. This seemed like a good idea until I actually was out there in those humid temperatures. The last 5k of the race felt like I was walking double that mileage. As sweat was pouring down off of me, all I knew was that I wanted to be done and finish that race. And, I did, I finished those 13.1 miles in 3:36 which wasn’t too bad considering the heat and walking.
July, August and September were all about training miles. I was settled into following Galloway’s marathon training schedule for the 5th time. I was considering going over that 26 mile point, but I wasn’t sure I would. I closed out the month of September having run up to 23 miles. It wasn’t always easy with the brutal Florida heat to get those miles in, but the runs got done. Before I knew it, the month of October was greeting me. That meant one more long run to go and then it was taper! I remember thinking, where did the time go since that early March day when I was jumping up and down in excitement at getting into my dream race.
October 3rd was the day, with 28 days until the NYC Marathon, my last long run was happening. It ended up being quite a long, tiring morning of running and walking. I was more than excited to be done with those 26 miles once my Garmin hit that glorious mileage that morning. Then, I was convinced by my NYC Marathon running partner to walk another 3 miles. In the end, I did get in 29 miles. It’s the furthest I have ever run, and ever plan on running (no ultras for this runner girl). That day, I earned that peanut butter cup smoothie, that’s for sure. 🙂
The remainder of October was all about the taper, and that meant endlessly thinking about the marathon. I wasn’t so much nervous about the 26.2 distance (heck, I had run 4 marathons and trained that kind of mileage before those as well), but it was the NYC Marathon. The big one. Sure, Boston is huge, don’t get me wrong, but for me, this was my biggie. I’m nowhere near a fast runner, so I will never qualify for Boston (would have to do it for a charity if I do it), and New York just has so much meaning for me having been born there. Two previous attempts to get into the NYC Marathon had me imagining and thinking so much about what the experience, that day might be like for me. I watched the coverage on TV for the last three years, and this time around, I was going to actually be there. I was going to be among those 50,000 runners on Staten Island.
Arriving in New York three days before the big race, it became what I now recall as a whirlwind experience. It was amazing, but went by way too fast. Before I knew it, race morning had arrived and I was at the starting line on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Running through the boroughs of New York City was an amazing experience. There were ups and downs, as there are with any marathon (not to mention those five bridges), but despite how difficult that race was for me, it was one of the most incredible and memorable adventures of my life. I don’t know if I can say it was everything I expected it to be, but it was most definitely awesome in just about every way.
The running year closed out with two half marathons back in Florida. I ran the Space Coast Half Marathon the weekend of Thanksgiving and finished with a shiny new P.R. And then, I ran the OUC Orlando Half Marathon on December 5th. I didn’t run as many races in 2015 as I did in the previous couple of years, but being able to run New York City way more than made up for that.
With such an amazing 2015, I honestly don’t know where I go from here. What I do know is that 2016 will be the year of half marathons. No marathons for me for at least a year. I’m allowing my body to not have to deal with the stress of training and running 26.2 miles. Funny thing is, I’ve already thought about running the NYC Marathon again…yes, I’m truly a crazy runner. If it’s meant to be, it will be in 2017 or after that. We shall see…
Thank you for coming along with me for the fun ride that was 2015. It’s a year I will never forget.