On September 12th, 2009, I ran a 5k road race with my brother and his wife. They were trying to run a race each month, and at the time, I thought - what a fantastic way to recommit to running and staying healthy. I had been running off and on through the summer months and really wanted to renew my focus on running, with an eye on running a couple of half marathons and maybe a full in 2010.
That morning, in a misty, light rain, I took the first steps of what has proven to be a fantastic journey. I finished that race in 28:17, and vowed to run a road race each month left in 2009, and in every month in 2010. I am proud to say that I have achieved that goal. Along the way, I have completed two half-marathons, and the grueling hills of Stu's 30k. I've run into both Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium. I've raised money for some fantastic causes. I've run along side great friends, and gotten to meet some really awesome people from the local running community. In just over two weeks, I'll be running the Smuttynose Half Marathon. In just over a month, I'll be running the Bay State Marathon. I'm pretty excited about October.
The culmination of my year of races occurred one year to the date, this past weekend, when I ran Lex's Run. If you don't know about Lex's Run, you should definitely check it out. It was my favorite race of the year thus far. Doug & Lex, the race organizers, are really putting together a top notch event for the running community. The course was great, the swag was excellent, and the energy was just awesome. I got to meet some really, really great people - Chris Russell of the Run Run Live podcast, Matt Wilson / Luau (Run Luau Run). These are guys I really look up to. Chris has qualified and ran Boston a bunch of times and is just a really strong, fast runner. Matt is trying to BQ this year, and is a fellow VFF lover. I got to meet a handful of other Twitter/Dailymile friends, and I got to meet the truly inspirational Mary McManus. It was really cool to get to hang out and chat with everyone after finishing the race, as we cheered on everyone else running. The picture is of me, Luau (3rd place), and John (2nd place).
The race course itself was unique - a little bit of everything. Some trails, a huge hill at 3/4 mi mark, some flats, and a nice downhill finish. I was very pleased with my time - 24:28. I didn't sleep a lot the night before (bachelor party), and the day before, I had run 19 miles. But even so, I ran 8 seconds shy of a PR on a challenging course.
While I was out on my run this morning, I reflected on the year of running road races. In just a year, I have knocked off almost 4 minutes of my 5k time. I'm very happy about this. I'm very happy that I've gotten to run in some fantastic events. But most of all, I'm happy that I have rediscovered, reinvigorated, and reignited my passion for running.
So, a heartfelt thanks to my brother Joe and his wife, for getting me out there one year ago. And many, many thanks to everyone in this truly amazing running community, who have welcomed me, cheered me on, provided tips, suggestions, encouragement, and just been really, really wonderful.
Until next time, run happy!