Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What 2013 and Running Did To Me...

Oh 2013....what a year it was....

I have to thankfully say that there wasn't as much heartache as 2012 was, which was a nice change of pace, but 2013 has to be the year that changed my whole life. I became a brand new person this year, not only on the outside but the inside, my whole mentality and life has changed, with just a single step and a pair of shoes.

I know it sounds cliche and typical but it really did happen that way. Running has changed my life for the better and I really cant put into words how much it has. And if you know me that's pretty serious, I can put anything into words. But running, well running is better expressed by getting out there and doing it, rather than writing about it. I can sit here and tell you all the wonderful amazing things running has done for me, and don't worry I will, but what I mainly want to get across is I want you do the same thing.

With 2014, just a mere 25 hours away, take into consideration of experiencing running, start slow, start fast, start with an old pair shoes or get new ones, run down the street, run to the corner, run a 5k, run a fun run, run a half or run a full, run to get away from your life and stress and drama, run to feel something beyond what you think you can feel, run to feel close to some one or to get away...

run to feel alive, awakened and new.
run to be yourself or become someone new.
run to think clearly.
run to sweat or scream or cry.
run to music or the voices in your head or the sounds in nature.
run in the rain.
run in the heat.
run on your birthday, Christmas, any holiday.
run to eat.
run to drink.
run to feel.
run to think.
run to be you.

My main point is just run.
Run a little or run a lot.
Just experience a run, believe me you'll be thanking me by this time next year.

I started 2013 pretty strong. I had goals in place but I wasn't sure how far I was going to take them. I pretty much made 2013 all about me. I know sounds selfish but what I mean is I made 2013 the year I was going to find myself.

The beginning of the year was amazing.

I started running right away.

My friend Jacke and I had started training for St. Pete Rock and Roll and we condensed some serious training into about 5 weeks. I loved it!!!

I loved and looked forward to each and every one of our long runs. I couldn't believe I was doing this. When I ran my first 8 miles, the longest I had ever ran, EVER. I cried a bit, but after I felt pretty bad ass. I felt like I could take on the world. I signed up for R &R and I was ready. Each week we increased our mileage a little bit more. Jacke became injured but that girl stuck with me until the end.

When I did my first training run, 12 miles to exact, I cried at the end. I mean straight up sobbed. I looked to the sky and called to my dad and I cried. I mean I couldn't believe I had just ran 12 miles. Come on, ME, I DID IT! I was the girl who in High School would refuse to do the mile. It would take me almost 22 minutes to get a mile in high school, 22 minutes is almost 2.20 miles now for me. When I ran those first 12 miles, I was feeling more than bad ass, I was Bad Ass. And I was ready for that 13.1.

The next weekend we did a 13.1 training run and I couldn't wait for the race in almost 2 weeks from then. February 9, I ran my first Half Marathon ever in my whole life. The thought of running that long and that far would have never even crossed the old Angelina's mind.

I remember the day like it was just yesterday.

The feeling I had the whole time was something I could never describe, I seriously had a grin the whole entire time. It didn't hurt, I didn't get tired, I just ran, ran with over 4,000 people but I was running. I felt close to my dad that day and I know he was with me the whole time. I had a time of 2 hours and 45 minutes. Seeing James on the sidelines took my breath away to just know I had someone waiting and cheering me on.

And well ever since crossing that finish line, I was hooked and 13.1 was my new best friend.

Two weeks later Jacke and I ran another half marathon, just for the fun of it and do more. I loved it! I felt experienced and a veteran. I was prepared and I was taking on another one in a different city. I felt like a seasoned runner. When I would take those water or Gatorade cups, I would toss them to the ground like I was super hard core. I was out there kicking pavement and taking names. My boss and her family ran the same course and it was a very cool experience, waving and high fiving  someone who truly inspires you while your running.

After Feb. I didn't have anymore races until April when I ran Iron Girl Half Marathon. But I trained and I trained alone. Jacke suffered a really bad injury so she had to sit out some future races.

March was a hard month for me. I went home to Catskill, to be with my family since my dad's death anniversary was coming up. I don't ever want to be away from them on that day, EVER. I ran the whole time I was home on vacation. I ran a lot to keep up with my training for IG, but I also ran to be closer to my father. He used to run those same streets when he was in his prime as a child, teen and later as an adult. I wanted to keep his legacy alive and I did.

April came and so did Iron Girl. By this time my confidence was through the roof. I mean I had never in my whole life been confident, I might have come off as I was, but I put on a good show. I started to see my body change, not the weight, the weight went up two pounds, then down two pounds, etc. But my body started toning. I was trying new things, I got a gym membership, I was running more than I ever had.

I was ready for Iron Girl.

Iron Girl was a lot of fun, a great race, organization and awesome company. I ran with my boss and her gym family. They were huge supporters and inspiration. I had a PR on that run for my first mile and a record set to beat for my half's. The next day was the Boston Marathon bombing. I remember feeling so connected to these runners and hurting like them, because all runners, no matter the age, sex, race, etc, we are one community. I signed up for a memorial run around here and donated and ran in honor, we ran 2.62 miles with candles in memory.

May was Color Me Rad, which was fun but not all that it was cracked up to be. It was hot and not as much color, it was okay. Not a race I will do again. I also got my tattoo this month to signify my father. The tattoo came to me in a dream and the tattoo artist made it a reality, I'm not sure you can ever repay someone for a gift like that, he gave me my father forever in ink.

The summer months were the death of me, no races, but plenty of heat. But I managed every day off I would run some, some long runs, some short, but I ran just to run. It was my new hobby.

Clothes started feeling better on me, I started looking better and I was feeling the best I ever felt. I went home in July for a vacation and ran every day with my Uncle, all 7 days, I enjoyed their company and had a blast. I didn't use my vacation as an excuse, I used it as a result to get some mileage in. I turned 28 and as a gift for myself I ran.

I ran by my old house. I felt alive.

September 5 came and it would have been my father's birthday. I missed him a lot this year, something was missing.

My closure.

I scattered his ashes finally and released him. I scattered his ashes on his birthday before the sun came up and I ran 10 miles. The first couple of miles, I cried because I missed my father, but mainly because I finally said goodbye. I finally gave him a resting place but also I gave myself a new beginning. I know my father is with me every single day, but that day I set him free.

I also finally got fitted for new running shoes. A good pair of shoes truly changes your life.

October I just ran a lot. I finally started eating more to fuel my body. I started to be able to wear medium pants and small shirts. I was more into my running. I got up at 5 to get my long runs in. I refueled and recovered properly.

I became a better runner.

Which when November came so did the Women's Running Half. My best race yet. I PR and even made it a minute under my goal. I started in Feb with 2 hours and 45 minutes and then ended with 2 hours and 29 minutes. I went from the bottom to the top. Women's Running sparked a fire in my belly. I knew this running thing was for me.

Then I did the Turkey Trot, which now will always be a tradition in some fashion for the rest of my life.

And now December I have done a challenge to run at least one mile a day for the whole month until January 1st. 30 days done, two more to go. From December 31 and what is planned for tomorrow I would have ran 823 miles this year alone.

Can you guess what my goal in 2014 will be???

See 2013 was all about me and running.

Sure I have learned a lot this year and have grown into a better person.

I learned James and I will never be on the same page but we are going to make it work, he is my soul mate in some fashion and I cant imagine my life without him.
I learned it is okay to call your family and cry to them every 13 of the month.
I learned to let go and let be.
I learned that when you work hard, good things will come your way.
I learned that running has made me better in all aspects of my life, including my mental focus with stress and work.
I learned friendships are rare, but when you find the right few, hold on to them.
I learned to speak up for myself.
I learned I am stronger than I ever thought possible and it is okay to be weak every once and awhile, it doesn't mean I fail.
I learned its okay to still miss my dad, its only been 18 months and it is never going to get easier.
I learned people will say things about you because they are jealous.
I learned that loving someone for who they are is harder than you think.
I learned that I am more than my father's daughter and his death had a bigger impact on my life than I thought.
I learned that even though I am running, I am not necassarily lose weight. I have eat right, train hard and wait for results.
I learned that not all successes are defined by a number on the scale.
I learned that the right fitting clothes make a world of a difference.
I learned its okay to hit a rut, but just keep pushing through.
I learned that when you look at yourself in the mirror, you might not see the same person, but a better one.
I learned to see myself in a new light.
I learned I can wear shorts and tank tops and no one cares that my arms have some fat to them. No one cares or will make fun of me anymore.
I learned reading a good book changes your whole day.
I learned hitting snooze does not change the day.
I learned a good nap is very well deserved.
I learned to delegate more and not take on more than I can handle.
I learned to ask for help when I needed it.
I learned to work on my own and be on my own.
I learned it is important to hold yourself accountable, it makes a difference.
I learned I am an inspiration and motivation to others. I never thought that was possible.
I learned that family members and friends will want to follow in my footsteps.
I learned that I don't mind getting up early to run. Starting your day early is the best way.
I learned days off aren't just for laying around and being lazy, you can exercise too on those days and still enjoy the day off.
I learned it is good to separate work and home life. DON'T BRING WORK HOME.
I learned I am a big sap when it comes to emotions.
I learned that when you fall, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going.

Mainly I learned I am the person I was always meant to be.

2013 gave me this blog and I seriously cant imagine my life without it. Those who read this thank you.

Thank you for sitting through my rambles and thoughts and obsessions, failures, successes, joys and heartache.

Thank you mainly for just listening.

2013 was pretty life changing, but I have a feeling that in 2014 it will only be better.

I am going to take my new outlook on life and conquer the world.