Goodbye 2013! It’s been a blast!

I would have to say that 2013 has been my most favorite year!

Why?

Well, so many great things have happened this year. Many of them by chance, but most of them because I worked my ass off and made them happen.

At the beginning do this year I made a decision to change my life. I wanted to get back to running which is something that I had loved in the past. I never in a million years did I think I would run nine 5ks, a 2-miler, two 10ks, and a half-marathon! Thirteen races total from March to October. The only thing that stopped me from doing any more than that was finishing up my final weeks of nursing school.

And to top it all off I graduated Nursing school! The biggest goal of my life so far! I did it all while I worked midnights every weekend, took care of my son, AND ran 3-5 days a week with some weeks doing cross training as well. It was HARD, but so worth all the hard work.

Now on to 2014!

There is no doubt in my mind that this next year is going to be even better than the last. I’m going to start working as a RN (as soon as I pass that pesky NCLEX) and I’ve come up with a few goals. I’m going to declare them here because once I get them out, they become real and I have to complete them. This blog is how I keep myself accountable and on track!

Goals for 2014:

1. Run at least 1000 miles

2. Complete at least 4 Half-Marathons (I’ve already registered for 2 in April. I know I will do the Akron Half-Marathon for sure again in September and I’m sure I’ll find another one to do. Heck, I may end up doing more than 4, but that’s my goal)

3. I want to run a 5k in under 35 minutes (My most recent PR is 36:55, so this one might take some work, but I’m up for the challenge)

4. Complete at least 20 races this year (13 races from March-October was actually NOT hard to do and that was with working midnights EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND! Really the challenge wasn’t the time for me. The challenge was the COST! I was a very poor, single mom, nursing student. I had to save my money for races, but races were the only fun thing I did for myself I the past year since I didn’t have a very active social life. With my new job as a nurse I will have the benefit of getting every other weekend off as well as be able to afford to pay for more races)

5. I want to travel to do a race (It doesn’t have to be far, but I would love to be able to go somewhere not around here and do a half or 10k. Ultimately I want to do a Run Disney half-marathon. Fingers crossed I can accomplish that one this year if possible!)

There you have it! My big goals for this year. I don’t think there is one that I won’t be able to accomplish as long as I keep my head up and my heart in the game!

Happy New Year!

#runnersheart

-Jen

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Accomplishments

Today I received this in the mail:

Ohio Challenge Series 2013 Finisher Shirt

Ohio Challenge Series 2013 Finisher Shirt

It’s my Finisher’s T-Shirt and invitation to the Finisher’s Banquet for the Ohio Challenge Series that I was apart of with the Running Bestie this year. To be apart of this you have to have finished 6 races in the series. I signed up back in March and to be honest, I didn’t think that I was going finish 6 races in the series, but I did! In fact, I’ve completed a total of 10 in the series, along with the Color Vibe 5k, Hall of Fame City Challenge 10k, and the Akron 1/2 Marathon! It’s been a busy racing year and I still have a few left before the year ends. Very excited to attend the banquet and get my Finisher Medal to add to my collection πŸ™‚

Happy Tuesday!

#runnersheart

-Jen

13 Races Since MARCH!?!?!

Only 5 weeks left until I’m completely done with nursing school! To say I am excited is a MAJOR understatement. I have been working so hard to reach this goal and have sacrificed a lot to get where I am today. It all comes down to these last 5 weeks and if I can make it through them or not. It has been a long, hard road, but I am so proud of where I am standing today.

With everything with school this week and getting ready for my son’s 7th birthday, I didn’t get to update about my AWESOME 5k last Sunday morning with my Running Bestie, Sarah.

Going into this 5k, Sarah and I had talked about want to smash our current PR’s for 5ks. She really wanted under 34 minutes and I wanted more than anything to beat my most recent 5k time of 38:14 (hey I’m slow and sweaty, remember?). I was really hoping for something under 38 minutes if possible, but I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it because I hadn’t really run since the 10k we did the week before and really hadn’t done much training before that.

It was FREEZING that morning. The coldest morning we’ve had for a race since the St. Patrick’s Day 5k back in March.

I wasn’t feeling very confident at the beginning of the race because I was so cold and so tired from working the night before, which is the norm for me on race days, but that day I was extra tired for some reason. I told myself at the beginning of the race that if I don’t beat my goal, then it was okay and then listed all the excuses in my head that would cause me to not get a a PR today.

The race started and we were off and running. I just decided to do my own thing and go at my own pace and not worry about everyone else around me. When I get caught up in all the hype of the beginning of a race, I tend to start off way too face and it bites me in the ass later on, but not today. Not this race.

I finished my first mile in my usual 11:22 and chugged on for mile 2, which normally I finish much slower than mile 1. Mile 2 came in right around 12:28, which is actually a lot faster than when I have been getting mile 2. I pushed on for mile 3 and I just had it in my head that there was no way that I was going to get under my goal, but I kept going in my usual 2 min run/1 min walk pace. At one point I looked down at my watch and saw that I was at almost 3 miles and I hadn’t even hit 34 minutes yet. That’s when I realized that I was going to do it. I was going to be under 38 minutes!

I crossed the finish line at 36:55! 1 minute and 19 seconds faster than my most recent PR for a 5k! I almost started crying when I crossed the finish line. I never thought that I would get under a 37 minute 5k…I had been working so hard for so long and for some reason I just felt I wasn’t getting any faster, but I DID IT! And it felt amazing! By the way, Sarah smashed her goal too! Go Sarah!

Honestly, the best race I have had all year. Lucky number 13!

Next race isn’t until the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. I’ve got to buckle down on the studies and get ready to pass my finals so I can graduate in December. Once that is over, it’s back to the grind of racing as much as I possibly can. It’s going to be EPIC!

And now, I must head off to work my 12 hour midnight shift. Hoping to get a Β run in the morning when I’m off if I am feeling up to it.

Happy Friday!

#runnersheart

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Happy!

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PR BABY!

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Happy PR Smashing Girls!
Sarah and Jen

 

-Jen

10k’s and Hair Products!

This past Sunday, I ran my 12th race of the year…back in March when I ran my first race of the year, a St. Patrick’s Day 5k, I never thought I would run 12 races this year, let alone finish a half-marathon (!!!) and three 10k’s within those 12 races.

The race was the Mark’s Place Healthy is Beautiful 10k and of course I ran it with my Running Bestie, Sarah πŸ™‚

Can’t run a race without her now πŸ™‚

I have to be honest though, we both were not feeling like running this race on Sunday. We’re not sure why, but we both admitted to each other that we were not feeling this race, but we decided to do it anyway because we knew that we would regret not doing it.

This race a little different for me because it was scheduled for the afternoon and not first thing in the morning, I’m used to. What I’m used to is working midnights and running my race first thing in the morning after I get off…crazy I know, but if I’m not running a race after I get off my midnight shift, then I’m working out or running at least a 5k myself anyway…so why not run a race??

Anyway…

I must say, that I am so very glad that I ran the race. I PR’d my 10k time (AND my 5k time by the way…go me!), and it was a beautiful fall day with the leaves changing and falling from the trees as we ran.

The best part about this race was the loot we got for running. The 10k was sponsored by a salon and for running we got a travel sized Matrix shampoo, conditioner, and hair spray (along with our t-shirt)…AND when we were done got a 2 bottle combo pack (big bottles) of Matrix shampoo and conditioner that costs $32 in the salon. We were suppose to trade our bibs for those, but Sarah and I asked if we could keep our bibs because we save them and lucky for us, they let us keep them. I don’t think I could give up my bib, even if that is the exact type of shampoo/conditioner that I use for my hair and it’s expensive…I earned my bib and it’s important to me that I save it for my wall…

It’s a runner thing…

Selfie

Post-Race Selfie

Another 5k coming up next Sunday! I’m actually excited about this one! Race number 13! When I started again at the beginning of this year, I had a mental goal to do a few races, maybe 2 or 3 over the summer…never thought I would be where I am today. I am very proud of myself.

Big plans in the works for 2014…it’s going to be EPIC!

I am a runner.

Happy Monday!!

#runnersheart

-Jen