Never mind the fact that I've run two half-marathons, three 10k's and countless 5k's; a lost toenail; an injury; my box of energy gels; more running shoes than regular shoes in my closet; and lots more that says I'm a runner...having a race schedule is the defining moment. Silly, right? Sometimes it's the little things...
See, the way I usually go about this whole running thing is I just train for one or two races a year. Let's take a stroll down memory lane...
- I started my running journey in June 2009 when my sister and I decided to run the Disneyland 5k in September, so we embarked on the Couch to 5k program and successfully ran that 5k and then we just kind of kept on running but without any real plan except to get better at it.
- Then in early 2010 we began training for a local 10k race that would be held in June and we just kind of put our own plan together that gradually built up mileage and even though I successfully ran that very difficult mountain 10k, without any formal hill training it kicked my rear!
- After the 10k we decided to tackle a half marathon so we began training immediately after the 10k for a November half (2010). I think, if I remember right, that I just kind of put my own program together for that one too creating a hybrid out of a bunch of different plans. The main point of the training was to build mileage, but I will admit that we skipped some key workouts in there and I went into the half not really feeling fully prepared for it...and it showed as it was a miserable experience for a variety of reasons including an overly warm day, overdressing, underfueled, undertrained, wind, boredom and I could actually keep going. It was one of those races that had every "don't" possible marked off.
- After the half, I decided that I wanted to do the mountain 10k (2011) a little more prepared the next year, so I added in hill training and I'm so glad I did as I was able to shave minutes off of my previous time and I was much better prepared. That training cycle was another one created by me by bastardizing multiple other programs.
- Prior to running the 10k mentioned above I had already signed up for the Tinkerbell Half in January 2012 so I started training for that in early fall 2011 and I think this was the first time I actually somewhat followed a plan as I used the one created for the race by Jeff Galloway. It was an easy plan that didn't incorporate a ton of various speedwork sessions and even though it helped me get a PR, I still can't say I felt fully prepared for it.
- I ran the same mountain 10k again in June 2012 and didn't do any formal training for it and it showed because my time was back to what it was the first year.
- Then I signed up for a January 2013 half marathon that was closely followed with registration for a May 2013 half marathon so I really went into that training cycle wanting to improve my speed and endurance. I began actually following a REAL plan with the Run Less, Run Faster book and was feeling great about 1 month in, but then the knee debacle hit, followed by the races getting cancelled, and I was back to not only having any races but having to go through physical therapy and the gradual rebuild of my body.
And here we are at present day! I didn't go into the fall planning on having a "racing schedule" but it all just snowballed into one. I started off just thinking I would do a winter/spring half marathon, but then we found out that the half marathon we had picked was part of an inaugural race series where we could earn a special medal, so a few more races were added on to the couple that we registered for several months ago when it was still just a hope for me that I would actually be able to run them and not just hobble through. So here's my Fall Race Schedule (drum roll please...)
- Hometown Heroes Honor Run - 5k: This one actually already took place back on October 12 and you can read all about it here. This is the first of the Run Riverside Series.
- Awesome 80's Run - 5k: This is just a fun one in San Diego where there will be no goals whatsoever. We registered for this one what seems like eons ago and is one of those that it was just a hope that I'd actually be able to run it.
- Riverside Mission Inn - 10k: This is the same as my first horrific half marathon, but I have high hopes for the 10k version as it doesn't spend 6 long miles on a dusty, windy, and dry riverbed. This is also the second of the Run Riverside Series.
- Holiday Half - 5k: I know it says half in the title, but we are doing the 5k portion...it's just the name of the whole event. This is my first time doing this event and will be the third for my mom & sister. It has an awesome finishers medal and is a large event. The other one that was a hope back when registering for it!
- Citrus Heritage Run - Half Marathon: This is the culminating event of the training cycle AND the Run Riverside Series. If I can make it through all of these and still feel pretty good then I'll make a go for a full marathon in early summer 2014 (Rock N' Roll San Diego). If I'm completely shredded after these I'll look for a fall marathon instead! :-)
I'll talk about what plan I'm using to accomplish all these races in the near future. I'm super excited to not just have a racing schedule, but to actually be able to race again! During the issues with my knee earlier this year I truly did wonder if I was ever going to be able to again. And here I am, one race down already and 4 more to go!
Happy Fall Racing Season!