What stands out for me more than the finish lines are the friendships that got me across those finish lines.
For me, 2014 was the year of the Sole Sisters!
There was that Florida halfathon. Hot and humid, I crashed and burned. But made a friend, Caroline, who got me across the finish line! "You're not walking this one!" Nope, we ran, slowly, across the finish line.
|Mile 13 and we're smiling!|
|Penny, Michelle, Marcia, me|
|New friend Yolanda hugging me at the finish line!|
|Karen, Sara, me, Michelle|
I had no other races scheduled until Chicago. I completely focused on my training, which after Zooma, went off without a hitch. As my running became stronger, so did my confidence in my ability to finish the marathon with a respectable time. The morning of the race, I rode down on the El and met a couple of women who I easily chatted with. In the race tent, I met up with Bonita, my coworker. And then I got a text from Penny, who was outside the tent. We hugged and wished each other good luck.
|Bonita and me|
|Penny and me|
Along the course, I saw my friend Sandy and my coworker and friend Zuly. Got hugs from both and felt the endorphins lift. My legs felt light and I felt like I was flying. Miles 23-finish were a little tougher as my hamstrings tightened up. Knowing my friends would be waiting for me at the finish line, I pushed to the end. After I crossed the finish line, I had the experience of muscle spasms in both legs. I got a ride to the medical tent, but was able to get myself out of there quickly. I found Sara, Karen, and Penny, and we all congratulated each other!!!
|Zuly and me|
|Penny, me, Sara, Karen|
In a spur of the moment, I decided to run a Turkey Trot, an 8k, and strong-armed Marcia and Sara to do this one with me. It was cold but we sat in Marcia's car before the race and chatted like friends do. We ran fast to stay warm, and I finished 2d in my age group. These ladies stuck around for me to collect my award.
|Marcia, Sara, me|
And finally, my last race of the year, a "non-race", a 5k for charity, the Underground Polar Express. Organized by my friend Karen, we decided to support her and run it. We also ran into another Michelle, whom none of us had met before, but felt like we'd known her forever. We hung around after for pizza and a beer. For me, it was the perfect finish to the year of the sole sisters.
|Karen, me, Penny, Michelle|
I run most of my races solo. I train solo. But having friends to run races with made this my most favorite running year ever. Because it isn't about the numbers, but the friends we meet along the way.
I'm looking forward to 2015 and meeting more running friends. All of you, even those of you I haven't met in person but have met through social media, have made this year epic for me. I could not have had the year I had without my friends.
A recap of 2014 would not be complete without me talking about my coach/trainer Becky. I started working with her last year, to help offset some chronic injuries and pains that threatened to end running for me. Not only did she help make me a physically stronger runner, she infused me with confidence and made me a mentally tougher runner. I've run harder and stronger than I ever have. I look back on this year with awe and disbelief. I couldn't have accomplished any of this without her. I feel so lucky to have this amazing woman in my life. I can't imagine what 2015 will bring, but she's already got me working...
|Me and Becky|