The Evolution of a Runner

….Moreso the evolution of this runner.

I know I have had a fair amount of brag posts about how well I have done in my races, and I have eluded to “how far I’ve come”.  I participate each week in a twitter chat -called run chat (#runchat).  And someone made a great point in the last few weeks – the question that was posed was “What advice would you give to a new runner”, and someone responded – “Don’t give up, and celebrate every accomplishment”.

That really resonated with me.  Because I have not evolved so far that I don’t remember my first 5 k – and how I felt when I first started running.  And how slow I was.

The thing that has kind of clicked with me over time with running and what has made me passionate about it, is how measurable it is; it kind of is like a relationship.  I can see very clearly the progress I have made in terms of my times, I feel the progress by how much easier it is to just get up and go for a 5 mile run.  But I have bad days, and then I have good days.  You cannot appreciate a really great run without a terrible run.

Additionally this year I made a resolution to do a race a month.  And I did 14 races in 11 months (I think in all fairness I met my resolution).  I have lost some weight this year, I am fitter, I am faster, overall I think I am healthier.

Below is a little timeline of my races and how far I have come since starting to get into running.

(**) Indicates PR for that distance 


November 2011: Hot Chocolate 5k 

My goal: to run 3.1 miles without stopping

Time: 37:18; Average pace per mile (ppm): 11:29

May 2012: Highland 5k

Time-Unofficial: ~33 minutes

June 2012: Streamwood Stride 10k

Time: 1 hr 18 minutes 59 seconds

Average ppm: 12:44/mile

This race served as big lesson in a lot of ways: 1) I learned to train for conditions (it was hot and muggy that day – and I always ran at night to avoid the heat) 2) That if I could get through that – I could get through almost any race.  This was the point when I was so down about how slow I was that I made myself sign up for a half and train like hell for it.

October 2012: Monster Dash Half Marathon

Time: 2 hrs 40 minutes

Average ppm: 12:21/mile

November 2012: Hot Chocolate 15k

Time: 1 hr 42 min 24 sec

Average ppm: 11:00

 Lansing Turkeyman Trot

Time: 33 minutes 44 seconds

Average ppm: 10:53/mile

Lansing Turkey Trot 2012.  I coerced my sister into running with me.  She said she'd be thankful if I didn't do that again
Lansing Turkey Trot 2012. I coerced my sister into running with me. She said she’d be thankful if I didn’t do that again

2013 Races:

January: Polar Dash 5k

Time: 34 minutes 41 seconds

Average ppm: 11:09/mile

February: Ice Cube 5k

Time: 32 minutes 35 seconds

Average ppm: 10:29/mile

I didn’t realize it until this moment but I was actually second place in my age group at this race, and it was ~ 17 degrees outside.

March: Mud Dog 10k

Time: 1 hr 6 minutes 58 seconds

Average ppm: 10:45/mi

April: Lakefront 10 Miler

Time: 1 hr 48 minutes 50 seconds

Average ppm: 10:47/mile

 I was really nervous for this race, I actually trained for it, and it was the longest distance I had done in awhile, and genuinely remember being shocked when I realized I was pacing under 11 minutes.  It was a fun race, and I can’t wait to do it again next year!

May: Cinco de Miler (5 mi)

Time: 52 minutes 18 seconds

Average ppm: 10:28/mile

Cinco de Miler 2013
Cinco de Miler 2013

June: Allstate 13.1

Time: 2 hrs 30 minutes 30 seconds

average ppm: 11:30/mile

Allstate 13.1.  My 2nd half.  It was a long road getting to this one.
Allstate 13.1. My 2nd half. It was a long road getting to this one.

Color Run

(fun run – no time)

July: BTN 10 k **

Time: 1 hr 2 minutes 47 seconds

Average ppm: 10:07/mile

Big Ten 10k.  The point when I really saw my times improving
Big Ten 10k. The point when I really saw my times improving

August: Biggest Loser 15 k **

Time: 1 hr 37 minutes 54 seconds

Average ppm: 10:32/mile

Biggest Loser 15k
Biggest Loser 15k

September: Chicago Half Marathon

Time: 2 hr 31 minutes 30 seconds

Average ppm: 11:33/mi

This race was awesome until mile 10.5 when my knee (that I should have taped) acted up, and my hopes of 15 minute pr were dashed.  It really sucked

October: Monster Dash Half Marathon **

Time: 2 hours 20 minutes 45 seconds

Average ppm: 10:45/mi

This race was a HUGE turning point for me in that I did not train for it, but I was logging enough miles that I traded bibs with someone and took their place in the half marathon.  This was kind of the first time that I was like, “I’m a runner, not just a person who runs”

Here's to many more miles, and many more races!
Here’s to many more miles, and many more races!

November: Carrera de los Muertos 5k **

Time: 27 minutes 52 seconds

Average ppm: 8:57/mile

This was seriously probably the fastest I ever felt in a race, and I was so incredibly pleased/shocked/pumped when I saw my time.

Perfect 10 (10 miler) **

 Time: 1 hours 43 minutes 42 seconds

Average ppm: 10: 26/mile

 This was my last race of 2013 (I mean as of right now), and I really wanted it to count.  So going out on a good note (i.e. PR) was just the ticketIMG_2840

The thing is the numbers don’t lie.  However you want to look at it: the numbers on the scale, the numbers on your watch.  It’s not like this just for me.  As you can see I have come a ways since starting to run.  And I think it’s always important to remember that yes you will have awesome, great, amazing PR days days, but you will also have days that are THE WORST, and you will feel slow and sad and want wallow and cry and eat cake.  Doing that is perfectly acceptable.

But seriously celebrate even the smallest victory.  With every high there will be a low, and I think I’ve learned a lot in 2013, and I hope to experience even more in 2014!!!  And I can tell you with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that if you told me the day I did that first 5k, that I’d go on to do the crazy shit I’ve done in the past year alone…. I would have thought you were high.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and who knows where your somewhere will take you.

What are were some of your goals for 2013 (fitness or otherwise)?

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