Highlights From My 14 in 2014 Race Challenge

Last year I accepted the challenge of running 14 races in 2014 and I've been chronicling each race here on the blog.  Feel free to go back and check them all out, HERE!  I've gotta say, I'm really proud for achieving this goal, but I'm kinda glad it's over.  I really enjoy running races, but ensuring I had 14 throughout the year was tough at times.  I was literally scheduling my life around races, not that I minded that too much (wink wink)!  We got to travel a bit for races too, which I loved, except when Jason forgot to pack our bag with my race sneakers for the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon.  Yea, that wasn't too fun.  Thankfully, it all worked and I ran the race in new shoes thank to my sister!  We also traveled to Temecula, CA for what should have been my Spartan Trifecta weekend.  I'd ran the Spartan Super in April here in Vegas and was all set to run the Spartan Beast & Sprint SoCal but the weather had other plans.  There was a major heat wave and although I did finish the Beast with my girl, NinjaEve, the Sprint was canceled the following day.  I really enjoyed running the Spartan Beast, even though it was a pretty brutal course, and I'm looking forward to going back and trying for my trifecta again next weekend! AROO!!!!

A few other favorite races were the Bubble Run 5K because I got to run it with my 5 year old daughter and that was just a blast!  I also had fun running the Komen Race for the Cure 5K with my sister.  Of course, I can't forget Tough Mudder and facing my fear of heights.  Different than Spartan in so many ways, Tough Mudder has a way of changing me for the better each time I run it.  I can't wait to see what Tough Mudder X3 has in store for me in 2015. 

Running 14 races in 2014 ranging from fun 5Ks to a half marathon and physically grueling OCRs, taught me that I am capable of so much more I give myself credit for.  We are all capable of so much more. Our bodies are strong and can get us through anything, it's our minds we have to convince otherwise.  I see that now.  But, most importantly, this year has shown me how much support I have from my family and friends.  I could not ask for better people in my life and I don't know what I've done to deserve it.  I just know I couldn't get along without them.  I couldn't get along without friends willing to french braid my hair at 10pm so I don't have frizzy hair for a race, for a sister who is willing to drive over 3 hours to watch the kiddos while we run a half marathon, for friends & parents who don't complain when I ask them to watch my kiddos so I can run and train for races, for racing OCR peeps who run & encourage me even though I'm slower than they are!  Thank you! 

Yes, 2014 has shown me so much love and support.  It's made me appreciate those in my life so much and I hope to always be there for them like they are for me.  I'm ready to take on 2015 running some fun and challenging races.  I know I won't ever be alone.  This journey is not mine alone, it's a journey I started for myself, but has become so much more than that.  It is about finding inspiration where there was none before, it's about motivating not just myself but those I love.  No, I won't be running 15 in 2015, but every race I run this year I will run with purpose.  I will give it my best because it's the least I can do for everyone who is helping me get to where I am going.  Where that is exactly, I'm not sure, but wherever this journey takes me has got to be way better than where I was before.  It's already been a fun ride so far! 

Where will 2015 take you?


Race 14 of 2014 | Changing of the Year 5K

I am such a procrastinator!  I seriously waited until the last day of 2014 to complete my 14th race. Not only that, I didn't even register for the race until the day before.  Honestly, I'm not usually this bad at procrastinating.  With the Spartan Sprint being postponed in Temecula in September, it throw off my schedule.  My last race should have been Trails of Glory.  So, I was stuck trying to figure out how and when to add a race to an already very busy end of the year schedule.  I was going to settle for doing a virtual 5K, but I honestly don't love "virtuals" so I held off.  Finally, it was down to the wire and I had to find something.  Like I said, Dec. 30th I finally signed up for the Changing of the Year 5K put on by Jus Running.  It's held at the historic Floyd Lamb Park in Las Vegas.  It's a nice park with lakes and pathways, so it made for a pretty location for sure.   

I am not a cold weather runner.  I live in Vegas and we have pretty mild winters, plus if it's cold I run inside or change up my workout!  I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to the cold.  So, I was pretty nervous about the weather for the race, since all week the forecast was for snow! Brrrrrrrr!!  I ended up purchasing a pair of fleece lined leggings and a beanie to cover my ears.  The rest of the stuff I already had and layered!

On race day, we did have some flurries in the morning by my house, but the temps rose to upper 30s and the wind calmed down by the time the race started at 4pm too!  My family came with me to the race, they too were bundled up.  I did feel kinda bad for them because I knew that once I got running, I'd warm up, but they were just going to be waiting for me at the finish line.  They didn't even complain about the cold.  I love them so much for always supporting me.  My children and husband are just too good to me!  I also met a few runners before the race from my facebook running group, so that was super nice!  It's always great to actually meet people you interact with only on social media.

Here I am with Emily, from  Our Knight Life  blog and my little Elysse!

Here I am with Emily, from Our Knight Life blog and my little Elysse!

I am not a huge fan of 5Ks because it usually takes me about 2 miles to warm up and find my running groove.  I've only ever done a few fun 5Ks with friends like the Color Run, Bubble Run, and some trail 5Ks.  My time for the trail races was not so good and of course, we weren't running for time on the fun ones!  So, when the race started I wasn't going for any PR, I just wanted to give it my best, push myself to take off faster than my usual pace, and see what happened.  I forgot to take a whiz of my inhaler before the race started, so 3 minutes in or so, I pulled off to the side to take my puffs and move on.  A little after mile 1, I saw the first person heading back to the finish and that's when I realized how much I don't like out & back courses.  I can see all the faster runners coming back and it's a little disheartening.  It killed my spirit during the Wild Land Fire Awareness Trail 5K and I was starting to get that same feeling during this race, but I didn't let it creep in.  This was my race, not anyone else's and I shook it off.  I made it to the turn around and started to lose steam.  The gap was getting wider between me and the small group I was behind.  I'd also been having some calf pain all week and it was acting up.  I slowed down a bit and even took a 10 second walking break before I took off running again.  I knew I was close to the finish line and I really wanted to push myself to run faster.  I saw my son at the sidelines and he started running alongside me.  That was the best thing ever! And when I looked up a the timer and saw it was at 29 minutes, well that was just gravy!  I ended with an official time of 00:29:24 with a pace of 09:28.  I was 6th in my age group, 14th female, and 28th overall.  Woohoo!! Not only did I finally get a sub 30, but my family was there with me cheering me on and supporting me.  It's such a great feeling to have your kiddos say they're proud of you!  I was so happy with how I ended my year of 14 races in 2014!  

Virtual 10K and Spartan Trifecta Training Update

Just 17 more days until we head to Temecula, CA and I take on the Spartan Beast & Spartan Sprint!  I'm still really nervous about, not only getting my butt kicked during the 12+ mile Beast course, but doing it again during the Sprint.  I keep reminding myself that my hubby will running along with me during the Sprint and he'll be a huge help for me over walls and such! Plus, after 12+ miles, the 5K Sprint shouldn't be so bad right? 

Either way, I have amped up my training and have been really focusing on endurance & upper body strength training.  This past weekend, I put my training to the test.  I ran the Moms Run This Town Summer Safari virtual 10K with some other amazing ladies Saturday morning.  We started at 6am, knowing that it was going to be a pretty hot day.  We met at a local park with a nice paved running trail.  The run was great and totally non competitive.  We ran together at a nice pace, chatting it up!  I forgot how much I enjoy running with a group.  I'm so used to running alone that it was definitely a nice change and I really need to remember do it more often.  This was also race 11 of 14 for 2014!

After the 10K, I went over to an LVAC gym nearby for a nice stretch, shower, and snack before meeting up with 2 other amazing ladies from my facebook running group and we headed up to Mount Charleston for Camp Rhino's Elevation/Spartan training at 11am.  This was an awesome 2 hour workout that really pushed me.  It was tough and brutal at times, but so rewarding!  Getting to the top of that ski slope after carrying up a sandbag and then pulling a tire up the slope felt unbelievable.  Literally ever muscle in my body was being used.  My legs and arms were burning and sweat was just dripping off of me.  Once at the top of the slope, we could take the ski lift down or walk/run back down the very steep slope.  Let's just say, I conquered my fear of heights this day and got on that chair.  I was scared and nervous, but the view and rest were totally worth it!  

Once I got home, I had my Skoop recovery protein shake (review on that coming up tomorrow!). I stretched and took a nice warm epsom salts bath.  Surprisingly, I didn't feel too tired or sore.  I figured it was the adrenaline still running through me, but when I woke up on Sunday morning, I really wasn't as sore as I thought I would be and I made it to Sunday morning's 90 minute Camp Rhino boot camp!  I'm glad I survived this weekend!  I figured it would be a good test on where I was physically and endurance wise.  I think I did pretty good and even doubled up on boot camp classes on Monday!  Putting my body through these tests is definitely helping build up my strength, but also my confidence.  Whatever happens during my crazy Spartan weekend, I'll know that I trained hard and gave it my best.