THE DIFFERENCE A YEAR (and a little work) MAKES

I have been waiting for the official Sugarloaf 15K race photos to come out so I could have a visual comparison of this year’s race and last, which in my mind would give me some good hard evidence of how far I’ve come.  Well, the photos are here and the evidence speaks for itself.  I started running at age 36 to train for this race last year and had a goal only to finish (and try to run the whole way).  The BF called it my “Couch to 15K” training program – Ha!

My aunt and I trained “virtually” together, updating each other via texts on our mileage – at first only 2 miles at a time!  We did finish and we weren’t last, and we ran the whole way.  Our average pace last year was 11:15 min a mile – it was perfect weather for running in Maine and I was encouraged!  I was done with most meat at that point, but was still eating dairy, fish and eggs.  Shortly after that, I stopped buying any animal based products for my house and only ate it on occasion when I was out (or at a gathering / event).  The last step for me was in the summer and I don’t know what exactly flipped the switch, though it was most likely my mind being on the animals, plus I felt so good! Other than a couple small setbacks in around Christmas (pimento cheese in South Carolina (GAH!) and artichoke / cheese dip at a Christmas party, I have been eating all plant based since last summer.  Ran my first half marathon last fall, trained through the winter at the gym (and long runs outside!!! brrrrr) and ran another half in FL this spring.  Then in May, back to the race that started it all for me and here you go:  Finished in 11 minutes faster than last year!!  Average pace: 9:50s – we also had negative splits (smart pacing was kind of a fluke!).  We ran the last three miles right around 9:30 pace – which is downright BLISTERING for me – but it just felt right, and really quite energizing.  Weather, again, was perfect and I was just so, so, dang proud of myself!  I’m actually getting kind of emotional writing this.  Since puberty I have felt bloated, thick, tired and self-conscious.  A few weeks ago in Kingfield, Maine I felt like a “real” runner.  So here it is:  2014 on the left, 2015 on the right.  I have a new life now, a new purpose and I couldn’t be more determined to see what 2015 brings.  XOXOXO Hannah

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