My list of New Year’s resolutions was comprised of all the usual suspects: eating healthier, training smarter, running more hills. You get the point. But while coming up with this list, I kept reflecting not on my goals for the future, but on all the great lessons I learned this past year. So instead of sharing my resolutions, I’m taking a moment to reflect on the past 12 months.
It turns out 2013 was one of my best years in terms of running. And it was one of my best years not only because I came close to clenching my personal goals, but also because I discovered an amazing running community, both virtual and physical, that helped me meet my goals. I have many runners to thank for making this year so freaking awesome.
So without further adieu, I’d like you to meet 13 awesome runners who are bloggers, writers, instarunners, twitterites, mothers, fathers, coaches and helped make 2013 one of my most memorable years:
Jim Hage, former Washington Post journalist and forever DC legend: Jim holds a particularly special place on this list. When I met him at the beginning of 2013, he connected me with Charlie at RunWashington. More importantly, he gave me the confidence I needed to take this wonderful foray into the running/writing world. He generously shared his story with me and continues to spur me to be a better writer and runner, which go hand in hand for me these days.
Charlie Ban, Editor in Chief of RunWashington: Despite not having any prior writing experience other than this blog, Charlie took a chance on me and let me start writing for RunWashington at the beginning of the year. I started out writing race reports for the website and a few months later, I began writing feature stories for the magazine. Charlie not only helped improve my writing, but his assignments gave me the chance to meet with hundreds of inspirational runners to talk about their races and training. Every runner had a story and every story inspired me to be a better runner myself.
Colleen Dahlem, Live Free and Run: Whenever I lacked ANY motivation in 2013, I checked out Colleen’s Facebook page and immediately felt inspired. She’s a fellow vegetarian with great recipes on her website and a delight to follow on Instagram. She’s among my most favorite runners to follow on social media.
Dorothy Beal, Mile-Posts.com: Dorothy was one of the very first running bloggers I discovered and she was kind enough to write me back several months ago when I sought general advice on how to become a better running blogger. She provided me with expert advice on the blog/social media front. Since I’ve gotten to be a more active and savvy blogger and social media user, my running times have improved. I have Dorothy, in part, to thank for that.
Doug Hay, RockCreekRunner.com: Doug has been an invaluable resource for me when it came to trail running this year. I hadn’t thoroughly explored any of the trails in Rock Creek Park until I started reading his blog. He motivated me to branch out (pun intended) and join his Rock Creek Running Club. After the group’s first run together in early summer, I was reminded why it’s so important to have running buddies. The group has taken a break for a few months but word on the street (or trail) is that there may be a run again soon!
Jason Fitzgerald, Strength Running: I first met Jason when I interviewed him for a race report after he won a trail marathon this summer. When I learned that he was a coach, I decided to check out his website and sign up for an online training plan. For a very small price, he provided me with expert advice, an 18-week training plan and several free warm-up and cool-down routines. Because I paid for the plan, I felt more accountable for it and stuck with it religiously. My times significantly improved. Going with Jason also made me feel like I had direction for the first time since having a full-time coach at my disposal in college.
Amanda Hicks, Amandaruns.com: Among Amanda’s many tweets, instagrams and blog posts about her runs, she shares her speedy runs on Garmin Connect. After reading a post about how crucial her Garmin is for improving times, I decided to purchase my own and instantly fell in love. I now track most (5+ miles) of my runs and have a better idea of where my times are at.
Adam Lesser, Lesser is More: Most recently, Adam helped me land my first story on Active.com with his expert advice. A few months prior to that, he agreed to be featured in my first magazine story in RunWashington. Aside from being an awesome interviewee, Adam has provided me with lots of inspiration and advice on his website, Twitter and Instragram.
Anna, NonSequiturBox: Anna is super talented–especially at racing. And it’s not just one distance. From the one mile to half Ironman, she has killer times. Once I started getting into marathons, I thought I would only enjoy competing in long races (10+ miles). Anna’s killer times probably have something to do with competing at all different levels and I was inspired to try something new. In fact, I just competed in an 8K a few weeks ago and loved it. Variety is good. And Anna taught me that this year.
Speaking of variety…
Meaghan Stakelin, DC Fit Crasher: Meaghan shares all of her adventures crashing District-wide gyms, studios, running groups, bootcamps, etc. After reading her blog one day, I decided to throw on my yoga pants instead of my running shoes. Cross training such as yoga and swimming can be the perfect solution to give your legs a rest while not losing any aerobic capability. Even after reading just a few entries from Meghan’s adventures around the District, it’s clear how many opportunities are available to cross-train in the nation’s capital.
Mary Doman, Minutes per Mile: Mary blogs every.single.day. She usually has some awesome sunrise picture up on her Instagram before most people get out of bed. Whenever I’m feeling unmotivated to get out of my covers, I hit up her blog or Instagram and find the motivation to get my running shoes on so that I, too, can enjoy a good sunrise run.
Scott Jurek: Oh come on, Jurek does not need an explanation. Didn’t he improve everyone’s 2013?
Matt Frazier, No Meat Athlete: As a vegetarian for 4+ years, recipes have been tough for me. I’ve never been much of a cook or a healthy eater but Frazier introduced me to the smoothie world. I aim for one of these smoothies every morning, which usually cuts down on my aggressive morning cravings for greasy foods. The healthier I eat, the better I run.
After such a great year, I can’t help but look forward to all the endeavors 2014 holds for me and the rest of the running community. Happy New Year!