Looking Back on 2012

Today I ran 12 miles to play out 2012. That’s 12 miles more than I could run less than a year ago. Honestly, it’s 12 miles more than I ever could have imagined running before last March. To say this year has transformed me would be the understatement of the century. 2012 did not start out as the easiest year for me, in fact, it may have been the roughest start of any year of my life, but I’m leaving this year stronger and more confident in myself than I’ve ever felt before.

Oktoberfest

I took my first running steps in the middle of last March. I was not in a good place emotionally at the time and needed to focus on something bigger. Little did I know within 10 months it would become my passion and play a huge role in my life.

As I write this, I’m still having a hard time putting to words how much running has changed my life this year. To non-runners this probably all sounds cliché- how could exercising make you a better person, find yourself even? Well, to my runner friends, they know more than anyone that running is one of those things that strips you down to your core. Makes you figure out what you’re truly made of. That’s true for most of my running friends and it has been true to me this whole year.

I started with a Couch-to-5K run/walk program last March and it took me weeks to get off the treadmill and out on the road. Slowly but surely, my confidence began to build and I felt comfortable on the road. Then I got runner’s knee and felt completely defeated. Just when I was starting to feel comfortable, I’m sidelined by injury? Well, that’s the thing about running. My dad always said running builds you up so high one minute and the next minute it can all be taken away. But I guess that’s part of the thrill and it’s what keeps us all coming back for more.

After my runner’s knee healed, I wanted more and decided to train for a half-marathon. Training was going flawlessly and my mileage continued to increase and then a month before the half-marathon I was struck with a terrible case of IT Band Syndrome. I remember the day in August like it was yesterday when I couldn’t even run a mile on the treadmill. I pressed the big red stop button fell to the ground and basically started crying.

Halfmarathon1

After a week off, and complaining on Twitter, a fellow runner, Ryan Knapp, reached out to me and offered to help with my form because he said that was probably the root of the ITBS problem. He was 100 percent right and with three quick changes I was back on the road, running stronger and faster than ever and finished my first half-marathon at the Hampton Rockfest Half-Marathon in September.

Halfmarathon2

That is another thing about running- the running community is so tight-knit, supportive and just plain awesome! I’ve met so many amazing people just through running and I haven’t even met many of them in person! It sounds weird to the non-running blogger but I’ve met some really amazing people through #runchat and other amazing networks and I can honestly call them my friends. I was also honored to be chosen as a Greatist and FitFluential ambassador, my blog was highlighted on the RunChat website during August for Running Blog Month and even nominated for a RunChat blogging award for best new running blog! The running community had supported me through injuries and congratulated me on running accomplishments and I’ve done the same for them. It is their support and motivation that keeps me going and inspires me to achieve more.

Running also did an amazing thing for me this year by landing me an unbelievable job at Runner’s World magazine as an editor. This is something I couldn’t have imagined in a million years but the experience of graduating from college, getting a job as a reporter and then only a few months later landing an editor job is unfathomable in and of itself. But, the fact that I get to write about running, something I’m so passionate about, is just icing on the cake!

Runner's World

This leads me to my final point and the thing that has brought me the most joy this year from running and that’s been connecting with other runners and helping them out. While I am definitely not an expert, I’m a self-proclaimed novice, I only hoped that my running escapades could help other people and now people are asking ME for advice! Some people start running or a new fitness routine to get in better shape. I started running to change my life and find myself and I’ve gotten that and so much more out of it. While my 2012 only consisted of 10 months of running I’m looking forward to what 2013 will bring. I don’t think this post does my year justice but it’s something I’ll continue to reflect on. I wish everyone the best in 2013 and Happy New Year!

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Monday Motivation: I am Stronger

Happy Monday and New Year’s Eve everyone! To me there’s nothing better than New Year’s because it’s a fresh start and a time to look back on the year you had and what you can do to improve in the upcoming year. I’ll do a resolutions post later on this week when I actually nail them down but I want to hear yours! What promise are you making to yourself in 2013 and how will you stick to it? Whatever your resolution is for 2013, I wish you a strong, happy and transformative new year!

Make it count New Year's Nike

{Friday Faves} Reads, Runs and Raves

This has been quite the crazy week for me between traveling back to Massachusetts for the holidays to coming back to Pennsylvania for work the day after Christmas, to a snowstorm, to some iffy but successful treadmill runs- I’ve been all over the place! But, lucky for you, I still managed to find some pretty cool running things on the interweb. So, here they are- my Friday Faves!

  • Last week I found out my blog was nominated for the Best New Running Blog of 2012 for the #RunChat blog awards! Honestly I couldn’t believe it but I felt so humbled and honored to have been nominated. The winners were announced today and although I didn’t win, I was first runner up to a pretty amazing blogger- The Runner Dad. Congrats to him and the rest of the winners in the other categories! You can check them out here- RunChat Blog Award Winners announced via RunChat
  • One of my coworkers, Megan Hetzel, launched her newly designed running blog this week. It’s pretty great so you should definitely check it out –Meg Runner Girl
  • On Wednesday night I took part in a #FitFluential twitter chat co-hosted by the Commitment Day race series. This race series is pretty inspirational and challenges runners and non-runners alike to make a commitment as opposed to a New Year’s resolution on January 1, 2013. Check out the race series and what they’re all about here: Commitment Day
  • Found this great read about how exercise and running will make you smarter (but we already knew that, right runners?)– via New York Times Well blog
  • VIDEO: Girl Power! What if men and women switched roles at the gym? (pretty sure this is already happening)- via Greatist
  • Because I had to drive back to Pennsylvania to work the day after Christmas, my family had to switch around some of our typical holiday traditions. Usually we’ll go to mass on Christmas Eve and then to a family friend’s house for dinner and drinks. This year however, my mom planned a really nice day in Boston and we walked around, took pictures and went to a really nice dinner. I was so happy to be able to spend this time with my family because I have definitely missed them tremendously since moving down the PA. But, it’s precious days like we had on Christmas Eve that really make you appreciate each other’s company. Here’s one picture from our day in Boston.

Christmas

  • I might have some really big news coming next week, so in honor of that here’s a great quote:

Disney quote

Run happy this weekend y’all!

{Friday Faves} Reads, Runs and Raves

This week in Friday Faves:

  1. My blog was nominated for a #RunChat award! I’ve been nominated for the “best new running blog” for 2012! If you have two seconds, and a Twitter account, please, please, please vote for me! Voting ends on Dec. 26 at 9 p.m. and I would really appreciate the support! You can vote here: Vote in the 2012 #RunChat Blog Awards
  2. This week in the #slowpokediaries: Favorite run of the week was when I played 5.5 miles of tag with some of my speedy co-workers. They said it would be an “easy” 5, but easy for them is 8:00/mile pace. It was a great run though and one of my fastest yet!
  3. If you haven’t seen “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creak” on the New York Times website yet, you are missing out! They’ve done some really amazing work integrating multimedia and feature writing that just makes my nerd journalism self warm with joy!
  4. The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness in 2012 via Greatist- this included Runner’s World’s own Chief Running Officer, Bart Yasso!!
  5. I have to give a shout out to fellow run blogger Ashley of Running Bun for her feature on Fitness Magazine’s Fit Blogger We Love! So awesome Ashley!!
  6. photoI wrote a story this week for Runner’s World about Doug Masiuk, a type 1 diabetic who is about to complete the ultimate running trek- across the United States. Doug is running to raise awareness of the rise of type 2 diabetes in the U.S. and to inspire type 1 diabetics. Check out the story here: Type 1 Diabetic Running Across the Country via Runner’s World.
  7. And this motivation for your weekend long runs:

Go the extra mile

 

Monday Motivation: I can and I will

Setting goals is always scary, especially when you tell people about them. It takes courage to set goals because if you try to achieve them but miss the mark, it’s disappointing, not just to you but to other people. But it’s important to be confident in yourself and even when you might miss your goal, take comfort in knowing you tried your best and gave it your all. I have some big goals for 2013 and they scare me but that’s okay because I believe I can do them and that’s what matters. Don’t be afraid to dream big!

I can and I will

I’m a FitFluential Ambassador!

FitFluential Is Fitness Found

Seriously, could these last few weeks get ANY better (knock on wood!)? I am very excited to announce that I have been accepted as a FitFluential Ambassador! This means I will become a member of another amazing community of health, fitness and wellness bloggers who share common goals in spreading the good word of health to their communities and readership.

If you’ve never heard of FitFluential than I suggest you take a look at their website asap because it’s filled with a directory of other amazing fitness and health bloggers! Also, if you’re on social media I’m sure you’ve seen the hash tag #fitfluential used by some of your followers. Well, that is just one of the many ways FitFluential reaches out to the larger fitness community. According to the FitFluential website:

We deliver positive messages of health and wellness, but we also promote maintaining a healthy balance. Too often, people view fitness messaging as restrictive and harsh. We showcase how anyone can incorporate habits that will improve their overall health and well-being.

Fitness is all about fitting in to your LIFE. We’ll focus on four primary areas in everything we do: Eat, Sleep, Move, Enjoy.

I’m very excited to be a part of this community and look forward to connecting with more FitFluential Ambassadors! To stay up-to-date with me and my running escapades, follow me on:

Facebook: facebook.com/fitgirlhappygirl

Twitter: @FitHappyGirl

Instagram: @HannahMcGold

Pinterest: pinterest.com/hannahmcgold