The difference that one whole year and some can make for many things is huge. In my case, I am talking about running. I started running in October of 2009 because of my work. I sit at a desk all day and only get up and about maybe once or twice throughout my eight hour work day for about five minutes at a time. It honestly depends on the day, but for the majority of my 40 hour weeks I spend them at the desk staring at a computer screen. I had tried running a few times before, but I never kept with it. In high school, we ran the mile once a week for gym class my freshman and sophomore years. I think the fastest I ran was about a 7:30 min/mi pace. Not that great for one mile, but good enough for me. (I have not ran a single mile flat out since high school, but for my first race I clocked a 6:30 min/mi.) Back then, I could not even dream about going any further. Too bad there was not any one around that could tell me how great running can be once you get past the first few miles. I still do not like running a single mile let alone three or less. I am even getting to the point where four is starting to become boring. I bet I had it in me then, but I did not understand the joy of it all. It is not enough time to really enjoy being outside taking it all in. It is over before you know it and then what? I love the distance.
Back to the difference a year can make. When I started running in October of 2009, I came up with a ten week half marathon training plan that I followed almost religiously. To be honest, I started out my first several runs, which were all three or higher, at about a 11 to 12 min/mi pace. Nothing great at all, but I was just getting started and had never ran any more than two miles before this endeavor. By the end of the ten weeks, I was running about a 10 min/mi pace. I finished my 13.1 miles (the distance of a half marathon) which was the last day of the plan. I did it! I could do it! I was excited. This was at the end of December. January came and Brent started to slowly run with me. (He had tried in October but had some Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome problems.) He slowly picked up the mileage on the treadmill and we worked our way up to a 10k. In March of 2010, I ran my first race. For the 6.2 mile distance I clocked a 53:37.5 with a 8:39 min/mi. I was ecstatic! I had yet to run under a 10 min/mi pace.
Throughout the year as I trained for my first half marathon that came in July, I was still doing 10 min/mi training runs. I could not seem to push past that number 10. I was training with both Brent and my sister, Krista. Which I believe was part of the issue. Even though Brent is faster than me, I think that I tend to stay in the same groove of things no matter who I am running with. Brent would try and push me to go faster, but my mind was pushing me to stay at the same pace. After months of training and the eagerness to race my first half marathon, I clocked a 2:01:11! I was hoping to get in at under 2 for my first half as I new I could do it, but I came up a little short. I was still extremely pleased with myself as I came so close. My pace was 9:15 min/mi. After the race, I was just trying to think of when I could run another. I wanted to get out there and get started right away. I got home and found another half marathon that was about eight weeks away.
I gave myself about a week off with a 10-12 mile hiking trip. I honestly was considering running the full marathon as I figured I was about half way through the training. I had even gone as far as planning out my training and then, I got hit with a migraine. It put me out for almost a week, which meant I had not run for almost two weeks. I decided to go with the half marathon and save the full for 2011. I ran my second half marathon in 1:59:30 which put me at a 9:07 min/mi pace. I knew I could do it under two hours and I did! I ended the year with having done one 5k, three 10k races, one marathon relay, and two half marathons. Overall a pretty good first year of running.
Now it is 2011 and I have not had the chance to run a race this year. Which disappoints me a little bit, but there are not too many races in Montana at the beginning of the year as winter last through April (please be done now that it is May) and sometimes longer. The few that there have been, I either was out of town or not aware of them, as sometimes there is not the best advertising done. I will race my first half marathon of the year June 5th here in Bozeman! I am looking forward to this as I have been running a decent pace these past several weeks. My best being a 8.24 mile run with a 8:53 min/mi pace. This is more than a whole min/mi faster than I could get myself to break last year. I gave you all the stats about for when I got to this point to show you that I have been improving drastically (at least in my mind) over last year. I am running better than my half marathon pace for my normal runs. I am excited to see what this will do for my half marathon time (even though I am running a some what hilly course in which people tell me not to expect to PR). Bring on the races 2011! Give me all that you got because Jessica Powell is on the move!