When I run into people I haven't seen in a while, they always say the same thing, "Wow, you ran a lot last year. And you're still running!". It's true. I ran over 20 races last year, and admittedly lost count along the way. What people don't realize, however, are the sacrifices I made, the goals I set and the personal milestones I reached along the way. And that was just for the Cali Combo!
As many of you may recall, I ran all over California last year in my quest for the Cali Combo medal. I even ran the Remix Challenge in San Jose - just for added fun! Check out the recaps below:
- Rock 'n' Roll San Diego
- Rock 'n' Roll San Jose 5K
- Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half
- Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles
The reward for running these races was not just the gorgeous, heavy duty Cali Combo medal I coveted, but more importantly, the true sense of satisfaction for setting a goal and chasing after it. Literally.
It was not easy. As a working mother, with sometimes more than one job, the challenge wasn't just about the physical miles. It was about commitment, health, fitness, training, tenacity, balance and setting an example. I ran each of these races alone. I traveled to each city alone. I sometimes did not sleep for days leading into these races because I wanted to be sure everything at home was 200% perfect before stepping foot out of my house. Yes, even for the San Jose races 15 minutes from my doorstep. My family always comes first.
When my daughter was little, it was easy to take her on trips with me. As an employed teenager, athlete and senior honor student in high school - it's now impossible. And of course, NoTwitterTodd travels for work, so our schedules just don't jive when it comes to running. And they are perfectly fine with that. While traveling without my daughter was terrible in terms of the guilt I constantly felt for not having her by my side, the text messages she and NoTwitterTodd would send me on race mornings asking if I won made it better.
I know many women often ask the question: what is it like to run alone. The answer? Honestly? Fabulous! During my trip to San Diego I visited Bali Hai, enjoyed great meals and played in the Gas Lamp Quarter. I exercised when I wanted, I ate and slept when I wanted. I took my time sightseeing and never answered to anyone or had to adjust my schedule to fit anyone's needs. For my LA race, I actually drove down 2 days early and went to Disneyland where I enjoyed their Halloween Party. The next day I had fun in Hollywood and saw The Nightmare Before Christmas in 4D at the El Capitan. Both times, my hotel accommodations were perfect - a king sized bed all to myself. I used Hilton Honors points for rooms and Southwest Airlines cheap flights for my travel to San Diego. Yes, these trips would have been just as fun with friends, but running solo is something I enjoy. I like being alone, independence is my thing, and this is the only time I get be alone. (Although "alone" does not mean "free from any of my responsibilities or problems", trust me.)
Bottom line: if you're thinking about running alone - do it. If you're thinking about earning the Cali Combo solo or with friends - go for it! Run the miles. Earn the bling. Drink the beer/mimosas.
Many thanks to my beautiful family and the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon team for supporting me along the way. Special thanks to my runner friend Kristin for introducing me to the team! I met so many wonderful runners in these different cities, and enjoyed lots of time sightseeing. I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for us!
Please enjoy this video I made, which celebrates my journey to earn the Cali Combo in 2014.
P.S. I'm happy to announce that I am once again a member of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon's Rock 'n' Blog Team! This means I get the opportunity to run these amazing courses all over the country while also offering my friends a $15 registration discount! Just use code "FLOWERSCROON" (all caps!) for any half or full Rock 'n' Roll marathon race your heart desires. There are plenty to choose from!