Running Year in Review 2014 - Finally!

Well, hello there.  I know it's been a while (a really long while) since I posted.  I actually wrote this post before the end of 2014 but never published it.  As the title states, this was a recap of our 2014 running season.  It's almost the end of 2015 so this recap is a little stale. I hope you would indulge me and read all about our adventures in running of a year ago!

Marathon #2 -Walt Disney World Marathon, Orlando, January 2014
I cannot believe that my second post would be after my last race for 2014!  Yes, it's been that kind of  year! I couldn't let 2014 pass without writing about what an awesome running year it was for me and my husband.  We opened 2014 with a goal of running 14 races in 2014!  We lined up the races that were must runs while others were added just to make the number!  At the end of the year, we were surprised that we actually ran 15 races in 2014!  We both ran personal bests in our time, traveled to other Florida cities and fours states!  I ran 1 marathon, 8 half marathons, 1 marathon relay, and 5Ks!  Ralph got me beat by running an extra 5K and ran 2 marathons!  The most fun half marathon we ran was at the RnR Chicago and the longest distance we traveled for a race was the RnR Las Vegas.  Locally, we had the best time at the Melbourne Music Half Marathon.  Incidentally, this is the race (the 5K) that we started our running adventures almost 3 years ago.

Melbourne Music Half Marathon, Melbourne, February
 Along the way, we accomplished smaller goals.  After the Melbourne Music Half Marathon in February, we started looking to qualify into the Half Fanatics, a running group!  It has several moons to accomplish depending on number of races run!  We set our sights on running 3 halfs in 90 days!  We qualified after running the Best Damn Race in Orlando and the Lake Minneola Half marathon in Clermont.  What do we get from being a Fanatic, you ask?  Discounts on some races but mostly being a member of a group who are just as crazy as we are to keep running half marathons!

First, let me recap our first qualifying half marathon, the Melbourne Music Half marathon.  This race was only 2 weeks after our second marathon at the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend.  In the past, we have run two 5Ks during this race weekend so it was a change for us to run the half this time.  The weather was muggy and foggy!
Best Damn Race Half Marathon, Orlando, March
The course went over two of our local bridges.  If you have read some of my blog posts, you would have found out that I don't particularly like running over these bridges!  I hate running over one, much less two!  It wasn't easy but I did it.  We started off of East Strawbridge, heading north on US 1, west over Eau Gallie Causeway, south on to Riverside Drive in Indialantic and over the Melbourne Causeway to the finish!  The best part of the race was the entertainment throughout the course including a grand piano atop the Eau Gallie Causeway!

The best Damn Race was a fun race and our first personal half marathon best!  We even got to ring the PR bell to share our accomplishment!  The race started by Lake Eola in Orlando.  The course was not too bad except for the first part when we ran on brick pavement.  Ralph and I did not particularly like this part.
Lake Minneola Half Marathon, Clermont, April
That said, the race was well organized and the after race party was awesome!  This was the first race we drove to the race on the morning of the event and pick up our race bibs.  We thought it would be cutting it close but we had plenty of time to pick up our bibs, sit in the car to wait until the start and even go the bathroom!  The drive home was a little bit challenging but we took it slowly and stopped by McDonald's to stretch and grab some food.

After scouring the races that were driving distances from Melbourne, we decided to run the Lake Minneola Half Marathon in April.  Since we were not familiar with the place and the distance from Melbourne, we decide to stay in Orlando for the evening.  We also went to pick up our race packets the day before so knew where to go early the next morning. As we drove to the park, we noticed rolling hills!  Hills!  There can't be any hills in central Florida!  Well, there were and we ran over them for 13.1 miles!  Not only did we run on hills, the temperature had gotten so warm by the time I reached 10 miles that I just couldn't get myself to run anymore.  This was one of my slower races but I finished and became a Half Fanatic!
Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon, MA
Rock N Roll Savannah Half Marathon, GA

With the summer months in the offing local long distance races are no longer available.  We started looking at races outside of Florida. This is when we decided to start working towards our goal of running half marathons in all 50 states in the next 10 years! So we decided on the races we would like to run this year.  We chose the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon in Newton, MA, Rock n Roll Chicago, IL, Rock n Roll Cleveland, OH, and Rock n Roll Savannah, GA.  Two months before we were to run Rock n Roll Cleveland, OH, they cancelled the race for low participation so we transferred it to Rock n Roll Las Vegas, NV!  Ralph and I thoroughly enjoyed our trips to these states and had the best time running! Heartbreak Hill did not get this name for nothing.  I thought the Clermont Hills were crazy, running uphill at mile 12 when you have no more energy left is downright brutal!

Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, NV
Rock n Roll Chicago was by far the most fun race we've run!
 The weather was not too optimal, even quite warm but the energy emanating from everyone who ran it was great!  Running through the best sights around downtown was awesome and the entertainment and race support was the best.  I'm glad that we ran along commercial streets because you don't need to find a porta potty to relieve yourself!  Burger King was welcoming to the runners!

Savannah had the most optimal weather that Ralph and I ran our fastest half marathon time so far.  Race start was about 47 degrees and finished in the 60s!  The hotel where we stayed was occupied mostly by runners and volunteers that they opened for breakfast at 4 am!  The worst part of the this race was the walk back to the river to catch the ferry to get to our car!  We had to be out of the hotel by 12 noon and drive another 5 hours to get home!  This was the longest distance that the we have driven to a race!  We were both not fans!

Our last out of state race was the Rock n Roll Las Vegas!  Oh what an experience.  My cousin's husband picked us up from the airport and headed to the convention center to pick up our bibs.  There were hundreds of runners milling around and after we picked up our bibs and shirts, we just followed the path toward the exit.  We love Power Bars so we headed to their booth and noticed that there was a line forming.  We thought it was for samples that they were handing out but it was instead to meet Meb, the 2014 Boston Marathon winner!  I lined up and waited in line for 30 minutes but it was
RockNRoll Chicago, IL
worth it to be able to shake hands and get the autograph of a champion in the sport that Ralph and I also do!  The race itself was another first for us since it was run at night to take advantage of the lights along the strip!  Because it started at sun down, the temperatures got cooler towards the end of the race.  Ralph always runs his pace but for this race, he ran my pace.  We didn't PR but finished under 3:00 but mostly because we had to hit the porta potty along the way.
We also ran on a relay team at the Donna Marathon Relay in Jacksonville.  As part of Space Coast Pinays and Space Coast Pinoys, Ralph and I ran the 3rd of 5 legs of the marathon course.  Four other local runners ran the relay with us and had a great time.  This was our first relay and didn't know what to expect.  Since we were in the third leg, we didn't have to be at the start early but had to be at our leg start on time.  The race started with great weather but while the fifth leg runners were still on course, there was lightning so the course was stopped.  We were lucky that our runners were close enough to the finish that they were able to complete the race.  The rain was pouring hard that we had to rush and get some food as we were starving and just headed home soon after.
Donna Marathon Relay, Jacksonville,

In between all the half marathons and marathons, we ran 5Ks to round up our year!

Firecracker 5K, Melbourne, July

Run for the Gecko Luau 5K, Melbourne, May

Run for Pizza 5K, Viera, August
Turtle Krawl 5K, Indialantic, September

Florida Tech Homecoming 5K, Melbourne, October

Our final race for the year was at the Space Coast Marathon and Half Marathon.  Last year, we both ran our first marathon at this race!  I would like to simply forget the time it took us to finish but we finished.  I decided to run the half marathon instead this year and Ralph ran the marathon!  We are on track to earn the extra medals in the Big Bang Series.  The weather was perfect and the course support was awesome!  I started the race with the 2:45 pace group and stayed with them for the first 3-4 miles.  At some point, I found myself ahead of the them and felt great.  I thought maybe I could make it closer to 2:30.  However, I never caught up with that pace group so I knew I would finish in between. 

Space Coast Marathon and Half Marathon, Cocoa, November
2015 is going to be another year packed with races!  We open the year with the Melbourne Music Half Marathon on February 1st, and the Michelob Ultra challenge on February 22, and the Sarasota First Light Half Marathon in March.  We will also run the Excalibur 10 miler if we are up to it after the Ultra challenge weekend.  So here's the challenge, over the course of a weekend, we will run a 15K,a 5K, a Half marathon and an 8K!

We are still debating which states we want to run in 2015.  When we make a decision, I will sure to share them with you.

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