I’ve got to admit that between the holiday parties, family get-togethers, and the seemingly endless cleanup that follows, I haven’t had the time to properly reflect on 2022, let alone set any resolutions for 2023.
But it’s only a few days into the New Year. It’s not too late to set running goals, right?
Of course as I peck away at the keyboard and think of some of my past goals, I can’t help but yawn. Objectives like “get faster” or “run X amount of miles” come to mind, along with the age-old goal of “lose weight.” All of these are noble desires, of course, but they all give me that same-old, same-old feeling.
To quote Third Eye Blind, I want something else.
I need something exciting to inspire me through the year, something that pushes me into unfamiliar territory, and makes me look forward to growing as a runner. After a little brainstorming, I’ve devised three unique running resolutions for the upcoming year. Feel free to adopt these ideas as your own if you’d like:
1) Try a new race distance or theme: If you’re like me, with most of your best running years behind you, the idea of landing a race PR can seem like a laughable impossibility. I’m just a few years away from 40 and am not the same runner I was when I began this sport in my late 20s. With that said, if you try something new, you’re guaranteed a PR. Find a 7K or 15K, put yourself on the calendar for a triathlon, try an obstacle course race. There are Ugly Mudders, beer miles, and prediction races. Run an ultramarathon or an endurace event. Whatever you do, you can be proud of trying something new and establishing a fresh racing record to chase.
2) Buy a map: Don’t spend too much money, though, because you’ll be coloring it in. This idea is inspired by an old coworker, friend, and night-time runner named James Robinson. The objective here is to designate a place of interest — usually the town, borough, or city you live in — and cover as much ground as you can, filling in the map as you go along. This a process that can take months, or even years depending on your goal, but the journey that comes with planning new routes and uncovering new roads in your own backyard is a reward that will not only make you a stronger runner, but a more knowledgeable one as well.
3) Try a second sport: When I think of different ways to make myself a better runner, all that comes to mind is running. But if you think about it, almost every other sport incorporates running in one way or another, and the cross training involved can ultimately improve your skills as a runner. You can stack several miles playing basketball or soccer, while tennis or pickleball can help you gain that burst you need to finish a race with a kick. Golf a full 18 holes under the heat of the sun without a cart if you want to learn how to endure, while joining a volleyball league could give you the ups needed to clear fallen trees in a single bound during your next trail race.
All in all, I’m happy with the year I had in 2022. I logged more than 1,200 miles, went for the longest run of my life, and saw my running streak reach 762 days before eventually coming to an end.
I’m optimistic that 2023 can not only be a great year of running, but my most exciting year, as well. I’m wishing the same for you, and hope that health follows you every step of the way.
Let’s make this our best and most unique year, yet.
1 STEP BACK, 3 STEPS FORWARD
When it comes to racing in the winter, it’s not always easy to find a local race. Sometimes you have to be willing to travel.
A handful of Local.News runners did just that on New Year’s weekend, fueling up their cars to take on races in Harrisburg, York, and Altoona.
We’ll begin with the Medal Madness New Year 5K/10K in Harrisburg, which drew more than 200 runners, including Chambersburg’s Tyler Gearhart, who finished the 5K in 29:40 to win the 20-24 AG. Bethany Gearhart, also of Chambersburg, finished the 5K in 30:58, while Smithsburg’s Sarah Santangelo completed the 10K in 54:20.
Two more Chambersburg runners, Stan and Lauren Vaughn, took on the Twilight Race 5K in Altoona. Stan finished in 20:06 to take third in the 40-44 AG, while Lauren finished in 30:24.
Finally, the York County Road Runners Club Winter Series got a Franklin County visitor at their most recent race, the John Rudy 5 Miler in York, with Greencastle’s Danielle Defelice cruising to a finish in 48:28.
And now, a look ahead:
Medal Madness New Year 5K/10K: Saturday, Jan. 14, 8:30 a.m., in York. Can US Road Running continue its momentum from its New Year’s races in Harrisburg, which drew more than 200 runners? We’ll find out when the “Medal Madness” makes its way to Cousler Park. Register for the race on runsignup.com.
Frozen Foot 5K: Sunday, Jan. 15, 2 p.m., in Elizabethtown. The first of three “Frozen Foot” winter races comes to E-Town. Register for all three races to receive a 10 percent discount. Find the race on runsignup.com.
Polar Bear 5K Trail Run: Sunday, Jan. 15, 10 a.m., in Lancaster. Test your trail legs in this dog-friendly race, held at Lancaster County Central Park. Look up the race on pretzelcitysports.com.
Also: Medal Madness New Year 5K/10K (Saturday, in New Cumberland); North Park Half Marathon (Saturday, Jan. 14, in Allison Park).