I find it extremely difficult to write a recap of an entire year for Team Grace. There were so many memorable moments and highlights, from races, fundraising events, social activities, and sometimes just training runs, in what was just our second year as a team. Regarding our charitable mission, we finished our 2012 fundraising campaign on a high note. We surpassed our $5,000 fundraising goal with an unexpected sizable donation two weeks ago. Over the course of our first two years, we have raised over $11,000 for the charities and causes we have supported. This is more proof, if any was needed, that runners are generally great people who like to help others. Fundraising is optional for our members, and those who choose not to fundraise will often volunteer at our events, or just help spread awareness of our mission by recruiting others. In 2013, we are a Charity Partner for The Flying Pig, which means we need to raise a minimum of $5,000 for our charity. We will be announcing soon the charity or charities that we’ll be running for next year.
2012 was a year full of noteworthy accomplishments and firsts for the team. We had many first time half marathoners and marathoners at our “featured” races. We continued some traditions, like our annual spaghetti dinner, and we also tried some new things, like a bake sale and garage sale during the summer. As a team, we ran well over 1,000 miles just when counting races! Next year, we will try to get an estimate of total miles that we run as team, training runs included, just to see how many miles we run for charity. Our 2013 Campaign page includes much of what we’re planning to do next year.
Here are some highlights and just a small percentage of pictures from 2012.
The first Saturday of February was the start of winter/spring half marathon training program. While winter was very mild here in the Midwest, I still remember some cold Saturday morning runs
For the second consecutive year, Cynde and I ran the Heart Mini 15k in Cincinnati, and Jason ran the half marathon. It’s a really fun race, despite a few challenging inclines.
We held our second annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser, and we were happy that Eli and his family were able to make it to the event. We had a great turnout from the church congregation, and since we made 20% of our overall fundraising goal just from this dinner, holding it as a freewill offering, instead of a set price, seems to work well.
For our Spring featured race, most of the team participated in the Capital City Half Marathon in Columbus, Ohio, with a smaller group going to Pittsburgh that same weekend. It was a hot and humid weekend in the Midwest so many of us didn’t have great races, and probably one of the most memorable events of the weekend was how late we had to eat in Columbus the night before, but as always we had a great time together. Personally, my goal was just to finish since I was recovering from a sprained ankle. I had it professionally wrapped, and along with compression socks and run/walk intervals, I made it through. Read the posts about Cap City and Pittsburgh.
One of our members, Russ, completed his first Ultra Marathon, a 50k in Englewood, Ohio. Russ set a challenging goal for the year and he acheived it. He went on to run two more marathons during the year, for a total of 4 marathons (or greater).
We were fortunate to run with a local celebrity during one of our training runs. Jamie Jarosik is the popular meteorologist for the Dayton NBC afflilate WDTN, who was training for her first half marathon, the Air Force in September. We met her near the University of Dayton campus to get some hill work at Woodland Cemetery. She brought great weather with her that morning, and also at the Air Force marathon.
Our first team trail race was in Manistee, MI, the North Country Trail Run, marathon and half marathon. Five of us made the 8 hour trip north on a Friday night, made it to the state campground overlooking Lake Michigan, set up tents in the dark, and had to get up very early the next morning to go to race in Manistee National Forest. Four of us did the trail half, while the fifth person did the full marathon. It was a great experience, and a beatiful course that was deep in the forest so it was shaded, but it was the toughest half I’ve ever done. Despite that, I decided I want to do a trail half at least once per year. Link to race recap.
Our second featured race of the year, for the second straight year, was the Air Force Marathon and Half Marathon. This was our biggest race to date in terms of number of participants. We had 13 members run the half (plus a few other “friends” of Team G) and 6 who ran the full (two of them first timers). Link to AF recap with several pictures.
Towards the end of August, after essentially following a full marathon training plan during the summer when teammates were training for the Air Force full, I decided to switch my Columbus half registration to the full. After doing a 20 miler in August and one in September, this was the most prepared I have felt for any of my previous three marathons. During the first 16 miles of the race, I was under my target pace, and should have been able to finish under my goal, but it just wasn’t meant to be that day. I still PR’d by almost 3 minutes though. I am most proud of the rest of the team’s performance. We had five others doing the Cbus full, and it was the first full for 3 of them, plus 3 others who did the half. The first time marathoners did great! For some reason, we didn’t get very many pictures, and
One of the races that I’ve had the most fun at was the Hot Chocolate 15k in Columbus. I’ve heard mixed reviews about Hot Chocolate races, and with this being the first one in Columbus, I didn’t know what to expect. I guess going in with low expections, and a plan to just have fun, is the recipe for success. I have many pictures and highlights of this race to share, so I’m going to write a separate post.
Winter arrived early in Ohio, so we’ve had to get used to cold weather running in a hurry. In the past week and a day, several of us particpated in the Christmas Eve morning run at Up and Running in Troy, Megan and I ran through Troy the day of the blizzard (and made the news that night!), and our Saturday morning group run.
Finally, finishing out the year, I have to give kudos to Jim, who started the year as a first ever featured runner of the month. Last weekend, Jim ran the Huff 50k in Indiana for the second consecutive year. After seeing what he endured in last year’s race, it is evident that Jim likes a good challenge and is very determined and motivated to push himself to do more. Did I mention that we had not one winter storm but two storms come through the midwest in the past week, and much of that snow is still on the ground? The rest of the team is in awe at times at Jim’s accomplishments and the number of races he does, but we are all very proud of him and glad he is on our team.
As you can see, we’ve had a great year. Looking forward to another great year in 2013.