Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

For those who are interested, check out my 2013 year in review!

After lots of races and new experiences in 2013, this year had me going back to the basics when working out — basically, keep moving! — albeit for a totally new reason. Being pregnant and then a new mom meant fewer miles, usually performed more slowly, but they were still pretty awesome. As we cruise into the new year, here’s my annual fitness year in review to provide a quick look back.

Best Race Experience: If I’m not mistaken, I only raced one true race this year: the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill 10K in June. Luckily, it was fantastic. I ran alongside my wonderful college friend, Kaitlyn, who was also featured in the 2013 “Best Run” category. We ran the race to celebrate our 30th birthdays and while it was scorching hot and I was six months pregnant, we had a ball.

Best Run: This year, I also took part in my running club’s summer fun run series, which was a fantastic introduction to the group and takes top prize as a cumulative “best run.” In particular, I loved that some club members brought their children with them each week, either pushing joggers or running alongside them. I wrote a few times this summer about my running buddy Tommy. Following his progress this summer was one of my personal highlights. I wrote about it a bit here and again here.

I popped in for the winter edition of the fun run this past Sunday and was thrilled to see familiar faces and feel like I belonged!

Best New Piece of Gear: This year I was thrilled to discover Gap’s GatFit line, which for me, was just as comfortable as lululemon and the mainstream running brands, but at a fraction of the price. GapFit maternity tanks and tees were ultra comfortable and might just be sticking around as part of my post-pregnancy workout wardrobe. I’ve always had a hard time with running tank tops — I usually find them too clingy and unflattering — but the stretchy and fitted material on these was close cut, but didn’t make me feel like I was wearing a casing.

Best Piece of Advice: You can’t stop running because of what other people think. Amen, Mom. Amen. When I took an epic digger back on my 30th birthday, landing me and Baby P on monitors at the local hospital, I immediately worried about how I’d deal with everyone’s inevitable advice that I put away my shoes for the rest of the summer. On the phone with my mother, she reminded me to keep on keeping on and to tune out others’ opinions. Do what feels good within my limitations, she reminded me, but don’t quit because other people think you should.

Most Inspirational Runner: Can I be a creep and shout out someone I don’t even know? I loved discovering the running blog Sweat Once A Day this year and was completely inspired by the writer/runner Emily’s adventures. Like the ladies who keep all of my favorite blogs, I want to be friends.

Emily runs ultra distances and mostly on trails and her photos are killer, fitness is incredible, and attitude is so much fun and real. As far as inspiring me, she definitely makes me want to venture out on trails more than I have before. If you aren’t already reading her stuff, I recommend it.

Sum Up Your Year In A Few Words: Overall, I think this year might have actually been all about discovering a true love of running. Yes, I always liked it (in the past decade, at least) and I’m always inspired and motivated by having a race on the calendar, but carrying Henry and learning to run with a new and different set of limitations actually enabled me to move just because it felt good. When I took a bit of time off at the end of my first trimester and into the second, I realized how much better and happier I felt — more like ME, I started saying — when I went for a run, no matter how slow or how short. Finding that realization and embracing it is going to set me up perfectly to dive back into 2015, especially with a completely different set of challenges like fitting running in with my job, daycare drop-off and pick-up, and the literal limitation of hours in a day.

I think that appreciation and simple joy will make me use my miles more efficiently, train smarter, and balance life better. I’m excited and grateful and wish you all a very happy new year.