As we draw to an end on the 2017 year, it is time for my yearly recap. This year I covered a lot of half marathons but my training was not as substantial as years past.
In the past few years I have hovered around 1,000 miles of running. This year I decided against this methodology for quality over quantity. So for the year 2017, I cut down on junk mileage runs, and made sure there was a purpose for every run. Because of this, my mileage reduced, and I ended up with 700 miles.
The year started out really weird. In January we drove all the way to Jackson, Mississippi to run the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon. We met our friends Matt & Kira there. It is a good thing they were there with us because the race was cancelled due to snow and ice! That is right, we drove 11 hours and hardly left the hotel. It was a miserable weekend, but luckily we got to experience the misery with our friends. On the way home, I received an email from the Charleston Marathon that they were offering discounts to those whose races were canceled that weekend (the Walt Disney World Half Marathon was cancelled as well). So, since I live in Charleston, I took advantage of the discount and registered for the Charleston Half Marathon the next weekend, since I was already trained and ready. I finished in 1:57:18 (8:52 pace). This unfortunately did not allow for a new state completed; however, the race directors paid my entry to the Dallas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon I ran in March to help easy the burden, and allow me to complete another state toward my goal.
My second half marathon of March 2017 took me to Arkansas and my 18th state with the Little Rock Half Marathon. This was a quick turn around race in that I flew out on Saturday morning, and flew back home after the race on Sunday. This race was run in mostly a downpour. I finished this race with a 1:54:28 (8:44).
The third half marathon of the year, which was two weeks after Arkansas, took me to the Lone Star State of Texas for the Dallas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. This race was not planned at the beginning of the year; however, with the cancellation of the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon, its race directors paid for my entry into this race. It was another world-wind trip flying out on Saturday and flying back home on Sunday night after the race. I found myself a little tired in this race so my finish time was not sub-2 hours, which is always my goal going into any race. I finished this race with a 2:02:39 (9:22 pace). But I did get the opportunity to complete state 19 toward my 50 states goal.
Cannot go to Dallas without trying on a cowboy hat! But it was far too expensive, so I ended up with a gaudy belt buckle instead!
The next race, which is my favorite each year, with the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge at Walt Disney World. This was in April. In 2016 I just ran the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon. In 2017, I was able to get into the Dark Side Challenge, which includes both the 10K and Half Marathon. For the Star Wars Dark Side 10K on Saturday, I set out to run as hard as I could to try and break my 10K PR, since I do not run 10K races often (the last being in 2013). I set out to run a sub 50 minute 10K, but did not quite accomplish that mark, but did PR with a 51:57 (8:22).
The next day was the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon. I have reduced my RunDisney race selections to this race each year because they have gotten so expensive. I run this race totally for fun, taking in every single character stop. This year I dressed up as Boba Fett the Bounty Hunter. I finished this race with a time of 2:25:03 (11:04 pace).
Look how much fun I am having here!
What better way to finish, than to have my picture taken with Boba Fett in my Boba Fett running costume with all my bling!
It was a nice haul for the weekend.
Two weeks after the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge, it was off to the state of Kentucky for state #20 with the Kentucky Derby Half Marathon. We drove up to Kentucky and made a long weekend trip. After the race we went and touring The ARK Encounter & the Creation Museum. This was a fun race, once we got started. We had several lightening storm delays before the race was ever started, but once the race started, we did not have any bad weather. This was a neat course because we got to run inside Churchill Downs where the Kentucky Derby is held. For this race, I found myself tired and a bit disheveled from the several race start attempts, so I finished in 2:01:15 (9:14 pace).
At the convincing of my friend Tommy, I agreed to go run the Ridgecrest Downhill @ Dawn Half Marathon in Ridgecrest, NC in June. Since it was an unusual course topography, and not a new state, I took it on as a fun adventure with Tommy, Brian, & Chris. We had a blast with this race, and will probably do it again in 2018. I ran a 1:56:43 (8:56 pace).
In October it was back to knocking out states. I decided to do another back to back half marathon weekend in Delaware and New Jersey to knock out states #21 & #22. My wife and I drove up north and spent the weekend state hopping.
The first, on Saturday, was the Monster Mash Half Marathon in Dover, Delaware. This race started & finished at the Dover International Speedway, so as a NASCAR fan, I was loving this. It was a great race for me. It was my 3rd fastest half marathon with a time of 1:49:07 (8:19 pace). After cleaning up after the race, we drove to Atlantic City, New Jersey.
On Sunday, I ran the Atlantic City Half Marathon in Atlantic City, New Jersey. After my stellar performance in Dover, DE the day before, I woke a little tired for this race, so my plan was to not go all out and just run to the feel of my body. It was nice weather at the start so I got out to a good pace and was running a good race. However, the last 5 or so miles was on the Boardwalk and the sun had risen and it was getting quite warm, so it zapped the energy out of me. I still managed to have a good performance with a 1:57:05 (8:56 pace). After cleaning up after the race, we started our trek to Virginia Beach, Virginia where we were going to meet up with our friends Chris & Beth. However, right before leaving Beth called us that she was taking Chris to the hospital. Chris had run the Baltimore Half on Saturday and was having some complications afterward. We told them we were still heading that way, and would find a place to stay. On Monday morning, we went to the hospital to see Chris and then hit the road for home to end a long weekend!
The final half marathon of the year is no surprise. If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you know I have been running the 5 year Big Bang Series at the Space Coast Half Marathon. This was my fifth and final race of the series. I started the Big Bang Series in 2013, and each year’s medal commemorated one of the five Space Shuttles. This year was the Atlantis.
I got to have fun with friends as we celebrated our five years together.
Afterward we went to Disney & Universal for a few days and of course did our annual post half marathon bowl-A-Rama at Disney Springs Splitsville!
For my final race of the year, it a local 5K, exactly 5 miles from my house. It was the Nexton Cocoa Cup 5K. We do a lot of training runs in Nexton, so Tommy and I decided to sign up. It was a great 5K and I ran it in 24:44 (7:52 pace).
Since it was close to home we got to see a lot of friends from church at the race. It was a good race to wrap up the year and just have fun! Of course my body is not built for 5K events, so it felt like my lungs were on fire after the event. I will stick to half marathons!
So it was a good race year. I completed 9 half marathons, a 10K, & a 5K in 7 states. As of now, I have completed 41 half marathons and 22 states.
Only five races went toward new states for my 50 By 50 Challenge. Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky, Delaware, & New Jersey.
Well here is to another year of running. Stay tuned soon into the new year for what I am planning for 2018! I hope everyone had a save and healthy 2017 of running, and looking forward to a safe and enjoyable 2018 running year.