The 12 Miles of Christmas

Today was our local run store's 12 Miles of Christmas. It's nothing fancy, just a way to bring the community together for a run and collect unwrapped toys to benefit a local charity. You don't need to even bring a toy, it's just a free training run. Typically the run falls during a weekday and I can't do it because of work. However, since Christmas Eve was on a Saturday I could pull it off! Now, the longest distance I had recently covered was 8 miles, so I knew 12 miles would be pushing it. I figured I would gauge how I felt on the run and go from there.

So, last night we had a rough night at our house and I was only able to sleep about 4 hours. I was tired this morning but I really wanted to do this run. So I snacked on a banana as I got ready and left everyone sleeping at home. On the way to the run I realized parking was probably going to be a nightmare since the store is located in a small strip mall. This run is kind of a big deal in our local area and as I pulled into the parking lot I realized I was right. Luckily, I lived around that area for about a 1.5 years and parked somewhere I knew my car would be safe.

As I jogged to the store I ran into a good amount of people that I knew. It was amazing. I felt like I was home again. This past year has been rough with trying to balance out being a mom and a runner. I typically can't make group runs and sometimes I have to sacrifice running all together. I've been frustrated and disheartened but I've been trying my very best. You just want to pick up right where you left off, but you can't. Your cardio is diminished, you're body has been through war, and time is scarce. But you try, and try, and try and eventually you will get there.

The training run had pacers and I decided to go out with the 9 minute/mile pace. I figured I would scale back if I needed to but lately I've been keeping a relatively nice pace on my runs. The first mile proved to be a little difficult but I want to say I ended up with a 9:30 min/mile pace. I ended up running next to someone I knew and I was so glad I did. Granted she pushed a stroller with 2 kids which weighed about 100 pounds as I just chatted beside her. However, it was so nice to talk to her about life. She's a local star athlete and wins a good amount of races in the area. She talked to me about being a mom and also an athlete; the struggles she had and words of encouragement. There were a couple of things she shared with me.. one being "your body is different and you just need to find a way to carry it now" - and she's so right. I knew I could come back close (if not better) than my usual run times. There's a whole bunch of other awesome things she said to me but of course I can't remember them all now.

Since we ended up picking up the pace I decided to run 5 miles and turn around. Now, I think people thought I had turned around at the 6 mile mark, but I tried to clear that up real quickly and not get credit for something I didn't do. I smiled as I ran past runners and tried to let them know that they were doing an awesome job. I always think it's nice to have people encourage you during a run, maybe that's just me. I kept picking up the pace and I'm pretty sure I negative split the second half of my run. I wasn't too on point with my Garmin so I didn't have my total time. First of all I started it a mile too late and then halfway through I must have saved my run and so I had to restart a new run in the process. I have to check out the pace though because I'm pretty sure it's the fastest training run I've ever had. The last two miles I want to say I ran at an 8:15 min/mile pace AND I felt FANTASTIC.

Overall, I was so happy with my run. I'm a little stiff now so I have to stretch a bit. I have to admit I'm really excited on how well I did. I know that I've been working hard and trying to slowly regain my speed, but it's been a slow process. I signed up for some of the local races next year and have one race scheduled each month right now. I am curious to what my 5k times will be now, but am trying to not put too much pressure on myself. For now, I'm just taking it one run at a time.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas Eve!!!!

Funny side note, at the end of my run a duck was flying low to the ground and almost nailed me. I had to duck (no pun intended) and screamed as I tried to avoid it. I laughed pretty hard afterwards.

Here are some photos from today:


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