Charging to the end in the Philadelphia Marathon (in blue socks)

For all the time and energy I put into running, I thought it was probably a good idea for a bit of reflection as we close the year. It’s certainly been a big one for me! I still can’t believe it was only in 2010 that I really started getting into running. I feel like I really missed out on all those years before!

But, no point in fretting about the past — I’m making up for it now! I certainly did become a marathon fanatic with three this fall. That’s no world record but I don’t think I believed I would really do it! All three were special and unique in their own way. Take a few minutes to check out my top 5 running moments of 2012:

1. My First Sub-4 Marathon.

I’ve obviously talked a lot about this already but it’s certainly my number one running moment of 2012! I knew I was physically capable but you need just as much mental strength to do it as well. Surprisingly, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I expected. That was due to disciplined training, preparation and a good attitude. Also, having a friend to pace with me through the first 20 miles was a HUGE part of making it successful!

2. My First Tough Mudder.

I never thought I was into mud races until I did this race, kind of grudgingly. Thanks to Team Congo, though, I did it and had a great time. The 10+-mile course was the funnest one of my life and I loved the challenge of the obstacles, the fear factor involved in jumping over pits, climbing over walls and helping others complete each obstacle. Much like Crossfit, this race is all about helping your fellow runners get through, breaking out encouragement and defeating your fears. It was an awesome experience!

3. Being Team Leader for Back on My Feet

If you’ve been reading awhile, you know how much I love and support Back on My Feet. It was an honor and privilege to become a Team Leader for them at Clean & Sober Streets in DC this year. Getting to know men and women who I’d never otherwise have been friends with, encouraging them and listening to them while we run miles in the early morning hours has been priceless. Hearing how they have been inspired and attained goals through running is beautiful. I’ve attended numerous one-year sobriety ceremonies and been completely touched and inspired by the hard work they have put into staying clean. It’s not easy and I’m so grateful I’ve been able to run along side some people who’ve been through more than I can imagine.

4. Running 20 Miles Before Work

If you want to train correctly for a marathon — with enough miles packed into your peak training weeks — and you’ve got a full-time job, you’ve got to get creative with your runs. A girl can’t just run outside in the dark anytime she wants. I also can’t rely on doing long runs after work because my body is always whack in the evenings. In addition to running the 20  before work, I also learned to run home from work, run at lunch and break up my runs. The 20 before work was my own personal challenge and I accomplished it. It wasn’t easy but it showed me you can do anything if you are flexible!

5. Running the Rehoboth Beach Marathon. 

This was my favorite marathon by far. Not because of my time but for two others great reasons. Number one, my sisters were both there with me. I was so excited they came to DC and drove to Rehoboth with me for the marathon. We had a great time together. Number two, it was a smaller marathon with a beautiful, quiet route by the water, through sand dunes, and an adorable little beach town. I ran with no music and mostly alone but found real peace and satisfaction in the run despite having stomach issues the whole time. I hope I can do it again sometime!

What were your top running moments in 2012?
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