30 for 30: Number 8

Hello!  Man…I don’t even know where to begin with this one…

Race 8/30:  Shamrock’n Half Marathon

12814123_10156533102700462_5103174490331576765_n

This one was a race unlike any I’ve ever experienced, and it’s certainly one I’ll never forget!  Originally my first half marathon of 2016 was scheduled for April, but this one is a local favorite and became a last minute addition to my schedule of 30.  That being said, this was my third year running this race, and the only time I’ve ever actually enjoyed it.  The past two years have been hot and just flat out mentally draining races for me.  Apparently third time really is the charm because this year was everything opposite what those first two were!

First, the weather.  El nino is being very generous to my drought-ridden river town, and this past weekend was no exception.  The downpour that started in the middle of the week forced a last minute course change due to an area of the course being flooded out by the river.  No big deal…the part of the course we lost was the part I dread the most, so I can’t say I was sad to see that happen.  It was raining pretty hard when I got to the start, lightened up a little for me to get warmed up, and then came a downpour just in time for the start!  It was a crazy little kickoff, but the rain didn’t end up being so bad.  It mostly was just a light rain the whole way through.  The worst part was the wind.  There was actually a point about 4 miles in that it was so windy I was being forced sideways.  Crazy!!

12249979_10156544082360462_2929541046745540699_n

This race was my 24th half marathon, but it’s only the second one I’ve ever had to run in rain.  It’s also the first time I’ve ever started a race in a trash bag.  All in all the weather wasn’t nearly as big a factor as I thought it would be.  It was actually a nice change to the usual warm conditions I’ve experienced in the past with this race.

One of the reasons I love this race so much is the fact it starts and finishes at one of my favorite places…the baseball field!  This one actually has an on-field finish, but due to the rain they had to change that part of the course too.  Oh well…there’s always next year! 😉  At least it gave me a nice view to warm-up and (try to) stay dry.

10600594_10156540531020462_5571398073333327563_n

I was so pleasantly surprised by this race experience, and I’m still rocking the runner’s high two days later.  Since I wasn’t planning on running a half until April I went into this one the most undertrained I’ve ever been for a half marathon.  I wasn’t expecting anything special to happen…I just wanted to enjoy it and put the miles in.  I didn’t come in at any sort of spectacular time or anything, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt this was the strongest race I’ve ever run mentally.  There were so many moments that even months ago would’ve had me trying to talk myself out of running or giving in to a walk break.  This race was so different for me.  There wasn’t one time I doubted myself, and no matter how hard the wind kept blowing or how cold I was from the rain I just kept telling myself, “You’re stronger than this mile.”  It became my mantra for this race, and it’s one I think I’m going to carry on with me for the rest of this journey.  🙂

So next up:  a double race weekend!  Another half marathon on Saturday followed by a fun little 5k mud run on Sunday.  So excited to keep adding on the miles to this crazy ride!

30 for 30: 7 Down, 23 to go!

Two more races have officially been checked off the schedule!  Both races were shorter distances for me, but they were both also two of the strongest races I’ve ran in about 5 months.  I struggled coming back from taking a longer break than usual at the end of last year, but these two races finally having me feeling like I’m back on my A game!  I can’t WAIT to see what the next ones will bring!

6/30:  Valentine Run 4 mile

This is actually one of a very few races I don’t run every year.  I’ve only ran this one once before, 4 years ago while training for my first half marathon.  Back then this race fell perfectly into the start of my half marathon training, so it became the first 4 miler I ever ran.  Before I did this race 4 years ago I’d never run further than a 5k.  That day was exciting for that reason alone.  Going back 4 years later I conquered this course about 12 minutes faster than I did that first time, set a new 4 mile PR, and felt a million times stronger.  I finally felt like the work I’ve been putting in the last month and a half was starting to pay off, and it got me excited for what was coming up eight short days later.  Running motivation at it’s finest!

12717841_10156429589395462_5596784771236102478_n

7/30:  Davis Stampede 5k

Next up was a race I swore I’d never run again.  Two years ago I ran the half marathon course for this race and ended up walking away with a hip injury that took me out for a month.  It should’ve probably sidelined me a little longer, but, hey, I’m stubborn and was ready to run.  I decided to finally go back and tackle a shorter course for my return.  I had a GREAT race!  I crossed the finish line just about a minute shy of breaking my 5k PR.  That’s the closest I’ve been since I set that PR two years ago.  The more I run longer distances the harder 5ks seem to be for me, so I was super excited to even be close!

12718344_10156457232645462_6045164682473292068_n

Now that March is upon us my races are moving into half marathons and starting to get a little busier, but I’m excited to see how much further this journey is going to take me!  So far it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride, but it’s all starting to smooth out and just become fun! 🙂