#377: Complete a Race a Month for a Year

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My goal for 2015 was to run ONE race per MONTH for the entire year. This was no easy task to complete either and I learned a lot about myself and the perseverance I am willing to take on. I managed to do all my training outside, and ran through a tonsillectomy, bronchitis, other sickness, extreme cold, extreme heat, rain and breaking a foot in September and still completing my goal. If you set your mind to something, you can pull through anything. 

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JANUARY RACE
Ninja 5K
January 20, 2015
Yorktown, Va
racejanJanuary was basically a huge blur to me as I had my tonsils taken out on December 30th of 2014 after several months of strep and inactivity. I knew I would not be able to make any coordinated race towards the beginning of the month. I’ve started hearing buzz about online race fulfillment and was interested. Several websites off legit 5k, 10k and half marathon races online. The money goes to charities, and you receive a bib and a medal in the mail to complete the race. Nearly half the cost of a live race, these come with conveniences to complete at your own time before their race deadline. You can complete it at the gym, on a street, at home, basically anywhere as long as you log the time and it is on your honor. Is this cheating? Maaaaybe, but it IS still a race that I paid for, and did my time. This counts for me! I decided to pick a race from usroadrunning.com. The races contribute to local charities in the Philadelphia area. I decided to do the Ninja 5K because the medal was super badass! Needless to say, after recovering for the last 3 weeks, doing 3.1 miles was actually really hard! I was exhausted after half a mile but kept on trucking. I walked slowly the entire way and I’m super proud of the 55.09 minutes it took me to complete a 5k, because guess what? I DID IT and I did it after having a surgery!!

FEBRUARY RACE
Viniterra Race for the Chocolate 5K
February 14, 2015
New Kent Winery: New Kent, VA
Cost: $48.70
http://www.raceforthechocolate.com/

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If you’re going to spend your time doing a race on Valentine’s Day, then it might as well be for chocolate and wine! My race this month was to support the New Kent Winery. I went with Lina and Amanda and it was a chilly 18 degrees out when we started. Even with cold weather gear on, I still managed to lose feeling in my toes. Sadly, I didn’t get much practice from my recovery after surgery so my time was 50 minutes. However, that’s 5 minutes faster than January, so I’ll take it! Afterwards we were greeted with a flight of wine tasting, a bunch of chocolate and some pretty awesome looking medals.

MARCH RACE
The Lucky Leprechaun 5K Virtual Run
March 21, 2015
Mt. Trashmore: Virginia Beach, VA
Cost: $27.50
http://www.willrunforbling.com/

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Yes, another virtual race. I have my cheapo reasons though. I probably should have signed up for the Shamrock 8K in Virginia Beach, which oddly enough is today as well. However, by the time I thought to sign up, the price was around $70 and not worth it to me when I did this as my first race back in 2011. Considering I haven’t trained much anyways, an 8K might be a bad idea at this moment. So, virtual race it is! This race supports a good charity at least. The proceeds go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and helps to fund research. I decided to change up the location and run at Mt. Trashmore. It was a beautiful day, and I was able to run around a lake. My time was 42 minutes as well, which made me extremely happy to see the progress I was making. Not to mention a few weeks ago I got bronchitis and have been nursing myself. Seriously, when am I going to stop being sick!? I coughed the entire run, but I survived and beat my previous time by 8 minutes and my January time by 13! Baby steps! The medal was pretty cool too for a virtual one. It probably helps that it also dubs as a bottle opener. You know, for all the green beer I need to reward myself.

APRIL RACE: TWO RACES THIS MONTH!!!
ODU Big Blue 5K
April 11, 2015
Old Dominion University: Norfolk, VA
Cost: $38.00
http://www.odubigblue5k.com/

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Today’s race was going to be slightly difficult, I could tell. While I’m not sick this time (YAY), I have managed to injure my foot in March and it really bothers me while running. Going to push through it though. Always seems to be some ailment I guess. The race didn’t start off too great either as I thought it started 2 hours before it actually did. Things quickly improved for the better as the day progressed. Lesson learned: triple check the time so I can sleep more!! I ran with my friend Will, who graciously agreed to run at my pace even though it would be almost like walking with how tall he is. The charity for this race was supporting Bon Secours Hospital. I managed to do a very great job with my first mile and clocked it at 10 minutes. Probably a first for me, in like ever! I pushed myself super hard and it paid off because I finished the race in 38 minutes. This was definitely one of the best times I could ever hope for since I haven’t been able to really train much. The medal was pretty awesome as well because not many medals have the date and location on the ribbon. We were also offered THREE beers at the finish, unlike the usual one beer. My foot was hurting super bad, but I’m glad it didn’t stop me. This race was particularly special to me since I graduated from this college. Go Big Blue!

The Boston Strong 5K Virtual Run
April 19, 2015
Mariner’s Museum Noland Trail: Newport News, VA
Cost: $27.50
http://www.willrunforbling.com/

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Even though I completed a race for April, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do this amazing race. So many lives were affected by the Boston Marathon bombings that I think it is great that this race gives back to that. The charity for this race was the Hearing Health Foundation and giving back to all the people who lost their hearing from the bombings. I decided to go a slightly different route and really challenge myself today by doing my first ever trail run. I’ve never been to the Noland Trail before, but it proved to be absolutely beautiful. I probably wasn’t ready for all the uphill work I was able to do, so I walked a good portion of it. However, even while walking, some running, going uphill, and taking lots of pictures; I managed to complete the 5K in 45 minutes, which was still better than my January and February race times. Also, just to challenge myself more I decided to do the full trail loop, which consisted of 5 miles total. I completed this in 1 hour and 16 minutes. Something I am very proud of. This trail run might become part of a weekly training routine!

MAY RACE
The Patriot 5K
May 29, 2015
Williams & Mary College: Williamsburg, VA
Cost: $33.50
http://www.runforachievabledream.com/

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This month’s race was the Patriot 5K at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. I’ve never seen a race on a Friday night before, but the race was taking place at 6:30PM. The charity for this event was to support Paralyzed Veterans of America​. It was hot, around 90 degrees, and something I’m definitely not used to running in yet. I knew my time would be affected some. I decided to wear my Captain America headband for an added patriot effect. Apparently, everyone else got the Captain America memo as well because so many people had on the shirt. The race around the campus was so pretty, but also provided a lot of hills. However, I finished in 39 minutes, which isn’t bad considering I had heat and hills to deal with, and hadn’t run in a bit. The negative: The medal for the event is the worst ever. It’s rubber! The positive: I got a ticket to Busch Gardens to use for free. Basically the race paid for itself with that!

JUNE RACE
Life’s a Beach Triathlon
June 13, 2015
Buckroe Beach: Hampton, VA
Cost: $67.00
http://www.lifesabeachtriathlon.com/index.php

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The Life’s a Beach triathlon was a baby on the scale of triathlon events with just a 200 meter swim, a 5 mile bike ride and a 2 mile run on the beach through various obstacles. Luckily, this was also a bucket list item of it’s own, so if you want to read the full story, please go HERE: Complete a Triathlon.  The race supported the Sea Turtle Watch program to help get turtles hatched and ready to hit the ocean. The swim was the start of the race and I was kicked pretty hard in the face, so it sort of got it started on a bad note. However, bike riding on a beach cruiser and completing obstacle courses on the beach was fun! I also never realized how hard it was to run in the sand. I was pretty happy with my time of 59 minutes considering all that I had to do, along with changing clothes. One thing is for sure; I have a huge amount of respect for people who do real triathlons! Not for me one bit!

JULY RACE
Road Rage XC 5K Trail Run
July 11, 2015
Virginia Weslyan College: Norfolk, VA
Cost: $43.40
http://www.roadrageevents.com/events.html

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This month’s race, I was sick…yet again. Not a good year for health that is for sure. However, I decided to pull through and run it regardless. The race was a trail run (one of my favorite runs to do) and it was around Virginia Weslyan College. The charity supported was Wounded Wear, which helps warriors rediscover themselves again. The race was definitely a hard one when I didn’t feel well and the fact it was super hot (around 98 degrees). I finished with a time of 40 minutes and then promptly ran to the bathroom to throw up. Yea, that bad. BUT, a race completed is a race completed, right? Right!

AUGUST RACE
Dirty Girl Mud Run
August 22, 2015
Clarksburg, Maryland
Cost: $60.12
http://www.godirtygirl.com

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The Dirty Girl mud run supports Bright Pink, an organization to help aid the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer. I was on board the second I heard it was a mud/obstacle run, and that it was for WOMEN ONLY! Equipped with Lina to run it with me, we were pretty excited. The day provided to be super packed, even though there were various waves to the event. It was so packed, that there really was no way to run the event. As soon as you got a trot going, you were stuck in line waiting to go through an obstacle. Even with all the waiting in line (there was a lot of it), the event was super fun and I loved the obstacles. We had to slide down slides of mud, climb up rope ladders, climb over walls, crawl through mud, and mud, mud, mud. You could tell people really brought out their worst shoes possible as we kept seeing the soles of shoes just stuck in mud. By the end of the event, I couldn’t even see where my clothes were against my skin! Sadly, they also ran out of water before we could clean up. Which meant, I did double the duty of washing in the shower.

SEPTEMBER RACE TWO RACES THIS MONTH!!!
Rock ‘N’ Roll Virginia Beach 5K
September 6, 2015
Oceanfront Boardwalk: Virginia Beach, VA
Cost: $47.99
http://www.runrocknroll.com

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This race is by far the largest I’ve ever seen in my life with over 10,000 people in attendance. The expo was huge as well and offered loads of vendors. I decided to only do the 5k for this event, for one: I had a half marathon in a few weeks, and two: the Rock and Roll is notorious for being extremely hot and humid. Luckily, this weekend was semi cool and rainy which provided great conditions. It was a little overwhelming on race day as they combined the 5K and the half marathon. It was the first event that we had to park far away and get bused in. As the race started, I concerned myself with worrying if I was going to stay on the 5K course or not. What a worry to have right? haha. At around mile 2.95, the course split so that the 5K rounded on the boardwalk to the finish and the half continued on. The only issue was that some half marathoners followed the 5K route and finished AND received a half marathon medal as if they earned it. That was a little annoying. I ran the 5K in 38.28 minutes and the charity funded for this race was for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Divas Half Marathon in DC’s Wine Country
September 26, 2015
Tarara Winery: Leesburg, VA
Cost: $90
http://www.runlikeadiva.com

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I did it! I FINALLY did a half marathon! Unfortunately, this race also caused me to break my foot pretty badly. This was a bucket list item so you can read the full encounter HERE Complete a Half Marathon. The charity for this event was supporting Young Foundation of Florida to help kids fund their education. I managed to do the half in 3 hours and 8 minutes, which is great with an injured foot and hills! I also had a personal best for the 5K and 10K as well as my 10 mile pace PR. By far the best part about this race was getting medaled by hot firemen!

OCTOBER RACE
Wicked 10K
October 31, 2015
Oceanfront Boardwalk: Virginia Beach, VA
Cost: $59
http://www.wicked10k.com

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I have determined that this is by far my favorite race I’ve ever competed in. Not only is it for Halloween, which is my favorite holiday, but the atmosphere of everyone getting into the costume spirit really makes this race special. This was also a bucket list item, so you can read about the full experience HERE Complete the Wicked 10K. Only being 4 weeks since I fractured my foot during my half marathon, and only 5 days since I was released from wearing the dreaded walking boot, I decided to suck up my foot pain and go through with this race. Unfortunately, my time was not as good as usual with 1 hour and 28 minutes. But, my foot was in pain and I had not trained at all. The charity supported for this race was The Nobleman, whose mission is to identify and perform Noble Deeds for great local kids who are in need of help.

NOVEMBER RACE
Blue Moon Harbor Lights Get Lit Challenge: 5K + Half Marathon
November 21 & 22, 2015
Town Point Park: Norfolk, VA
Cost: $116.75
http://www.harborlightshalf.com

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This was the race I have been WAITING for. I was so excited about the Get Lit Challenge, which was completing the 5K on Saturday and then the half marathon on Sunday. Unfortunately, my foot was not nearly as excited as I was. Still pretty painful from September’s break and not being able to train, I was left with a dilemma. Do I do the half marathon? I decided to go to the 5K on Saturday and complete the race. It was running in Downtown Norfolk, which I walk all the time for work, so the race felt like it flew by. It was pretty chilly out, but I warmed up in no time. Due to foot pain, and wanting to do the half the next day, I walked the entire route. My finish time was 43:50. BOO! My foot was semi ok for the race and I decided to go home, carb load and rest in preparation for the Half Marathon. I woke at 3am the next day and wiggled my foot around and noticed it was tender. I ran the half in September with a better feeling foot than today and it caused some serious damage. So, if I ran today’s half with a much worse foot, would this be the end for me? I decided to do the responsible thing and skip out. I managed to still get a race in for this month, AND the weather for the half was cold and rainy. I’m extremely upset that I had to pull out of this, but I will do this Get Lit challenge next year! This race also supported The Nobleman charity.

DECEMBER RACE
Surf-N-Santa 5 Miler
December 19, 2015
Oceanfront Boardwalk: Virginia Beach, VA
Cost: $45
http://www.surfnsanta5miler.com

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Triple Jog Race medals

​This was it! The big finale of races. It’s been a long year with loads of struggles along the way. My foot still hurts, but I felt that it was important to see this goal through. Not to mention that I wasn’t doing much activity, so another 5 miles of run/walk was not going to hurt much at all. The race started at 4:30PM in Virginia Beach and ran along the boardwalk with the Christmas lights. I dressed up as Buddy the Elf, which made for one ichy run! I wish the race had been an hour later so the lights were really visible at night. While I ran on the boardwalk, it was still daylight and the lights were not nearly as impressive. It has been awhile since I’ve done any running, so 5 miles felt pretty tough. I managed to finish in 1 hour 8 minutes, which is acceptable to me considering my foot condition. My parents were there supporting me the entire way. This race also supported the Noblemen Charity. When I set out for this goal, I was hoping to increase my speed and lose some weight in the process. Neither happened, but I did increase my stamina to run for longer distances more often. Improvements were made and I completed the races through adversity. I feel like this was a major accomplishment reached. ​

COST OF ALL RACES: $721.45
RACES COMPLETED: 14
MILES COVERED IN RACES: 62.3
Thanks to the following people for completing these races with me and joining in on this yearlong adventure! Lina, Amanda, and Erica. ​Thank you Mom and Dad for your support throughout this entire year!

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