2013 is coming to a close and for each of us this year has looked very different. For some of us, it was a year of great challenge and change and for others, a year of great accomplishment. I know each of us are looking forward to what 2014 in store for us personally, in running, and for Girls Run the 901. We are excited for all the new opportunities, support, and encouragement that will help us continue to stand beside you and share in your victories and hardships. Here is a bit from each of us on what 2013 looked like.
Janell- 2013 was an all around year of change for me. Some of it welcomed, some took a little more work. Some of the highlights were running the Winter Cross Country Series together as well as the Little Rock Marathon. There is just something about the chemistry when we are all together that I am grateful for which leaves me with a lot of fun memories of laughter and just plain fun. One funny memory is Jennifer and I on an air mattress with a hole in it on the floor= no sleep the night before the Little Rock marathon. Funny now, not so much then. I also had a lot of fun training and racing for the Annie Oakley sprint triathlon. Looking back, this year has been a hard one for me to really get in sync with my training as I had before. I have become ok with that, knowing that I made my best efforts to get whatever I could get in when I could-it just looked a lot different. As a lot of you know dynamics with kids change and for me as this season on their lives they need me. A LOT. I am fully aware that this won't last forever so I'm trying to make the absolute best of this season we are in. Looking forward to new, fun races in 2014 as well as continuing to grow in my training and running!
Debi - 2013 can be described as unexpected surprises! I took a family vacation to Disney and was surprised with a race entry to the Princess 1/2 Marathon. I planned to run a race with my husband but due to injury he could not do it, so I raced alone and reached a PR. And while there were fun races and exciting PRs, what stands out to me are the friendships made this year. I put myself out there and with no expectation in return I came into contact with friendships that will last a lifetime. Went on a girls weekend to do a Tri with Janell and two girls that I barely knew at the time, that turned into some of the greatest friendships ever. Joined local running groups where I didn't know anyone, and met so many new friends that feel like family. My 7 year old daughter asked to run two 5K's with me and did amazing. But the best surprise for me was meeting my running buddy Cecilia! This year has taught me that even though you can have ups and downs and plans change, there is always joy to be found in every situation. Bring it on 2014, I can't wait!
Jennifer- 2013 was a year that covered both ends of the fitness spectrum for me. I feel that for half the year I was working harder and more frequently than I ever have before, from running, yoga, krav maga, to healthy eating. The later half of the year was a struggle between being lacksadaisical with marathon training and enjoying running with no agenda. I think coming up on the last day of the year, it's safe to say that running with no agenda won out over discipline and devotion to a schedule, but I'm not complaining. I have experienced the Memphis running community like I never thought I would, and I am proud of all the levels of success and determination that I witnessed. I have friends that PRed marathons and a mom that diligently trained for 5ks and her health. 2014 should be a new experience of less agenda and training and more running for the experience and just because I can.
Dana- 2013-Where to begin? The year started for me just as I planned, because that's what I do: Plan! I had several races in my sights and several goals to meet. My first was met at the Germantown Half marathon where I PR'd with a sub 2 hour race. Another huge highlight for me was the Little Rock Marathon with the girls. Lots of memories made there! The summer crept up on us and my goal was to concentrate on speed. I did just that and placed in several local 5 Ks in my age group. However, life started having different plans for me that has put my running on hold for the time being. Funny how life doesn't always ask us, huh? Just two weeks after my last race I had a spinal fusion surgery and I am now 11 weeks post operation. Needless to say, this year for me has taken a turn I wasn't expecting but I am trying to fully embrace where I am. I am so very thankful that I am walking distances again! What does 2014 hold for me? Trying not to plan too much, but I do know it will involve lacing up my running shoes in about 5 weeks, but who's counting?
Dawn- As I sit here on the couch this cold December night I think back to the beginning of this whirl wind year that began on a road trip with 6 girls running a marathon in the Windy City. I am so blessed. These 5 ladies have become some of my BFFs and honored to be called their friend! We have some great memories especially in Little Rock, all 6 of us all in one room (shhh, don't tell anyone) and all the laughs and fun all the way through. The Germantown half, they let a guy join the girls by welcoming my man to tag a long on his first half. From short runs at the beach and in the mountains, to the 'just happened to run into you' runs in The Ville and all the training runs for the marathon that didn't happen, and everything in between! I am thankful for all the people we have met along the way and new friends I would not have if not for this crazy ride! Watching these friendship grow in each of our personal lives has probably been the biggest blessing of all! From our baby in the group getting married, another of us hitting a mile stone in age, helping each other with schedules around kids/family, to our maniac marathoner going through one of the hardest years of her life. The bonds are unbreakable! So for me this ride called the GRT901 may have started with a little run in Chicago has become one of the best years of my life!
Stacey- Oh my goodness, as I read what everyone else has written, I can't believe what all we have done in 2013! Boy, how time flies and WOW have we packed some stuff into 365 days!!! I have to agree with all these girls ... it's been a year of challenges and changes. When I look back at what has been covered these past 1500 miles, I smile at the thought of how I have been stretched to try new things - like trail running and tall socks (still not sold, on the high socks that is - they were ankle socks by the end of the race). I learned that not every race has to be tackled with a PR in mind. At Little Rock we took time to stop and smell the roses and for a few photo opps. It's not how you got the medal that matters, it's that you got it! I was able to rejoice in my son completing his first half marathon (Germantown). I'm looking forward to many more finish lines for him. When my running partner got hurt, I had to learn to train alone (still learning). As with the other girls, life is changing and time demands change too. A new job left me with less time to run, I have had to find creative ways to get the miles in and learn to be content with how ever far I could go (long or short). Some long runs were split - a little on this side of town, then run my daughter to practice, and finish a few more miles on that side of town. Then there were days I barely squeezed one in. However, it became somewhat liberating to recapture the mentality of running for fun again which has is really hard when so much of your sport is in your head! Ultimately, 2013 brought me closer to these five ladies for whom I am so grateful and blessed to be able to call my friends. Looking forward to where these running shoes will take us in 2014!
We are thankful for each of you and the support you have given us over this past year. Never would we have imagined that a few girls with a mutual love of running would be able to accomplish as much as we have and we can't wait for what is in store. We plan to continue authenticity, discounts, tips, ideas and encouragements in wherever you are on your journey. We have no doubt grown and learned so much through this experience and are forever grateful.
Here's to an amazing 2014! Who's with us?