I am dumbfounded at the realization that it is already once again time for me to sit down and pen my now-annual runnerversary message. Heck, it seems like it was just yesterday that I wrote last year’s message. But, since so many of you read it and enjoyed it, and, most importantly have continued to support both me and Casual Runner over this past year, I am back once again to reflect on this crazy road of my Casual Running adventure – an adventure that I would not trade for anything.
If you follow Casual Runner, you know that December 23rd holds a very special place in my heart as it is the anniversary of the date that I stopped making excuses, and took the responsibility upon myself to get up, to get going, and to change my life. Since that day, I cannot even begin to recount all of the amazing and unexpected turns this road has taken, or the wonderful rewards and experiences this adventure brought me. Please go back and read my prior stories about my journey and how I got from logging my first mile to celebrating multiple runnerversaries, I do hope that you will enjoy it.
But now, to focus on 2015, what an amazing year of running and adventure it has been. In this year I ran more race miles and training miles than in any previous year, and I got to do it alongside of some of the most amazing running buddies a guy could have. I am honored to count both old and new friends among those with whom I have logged some rewarding miles in the past 365 days. It is amazing what crazy shenanigans your friends will get you into: from dressing in garbage bags in a resort hotel lobby at 3am on race days; to running in bitter cold, extreme heat, and torrential downpours; to celebrating long into the early morning hours in Epcot, to running 48.6 miles in 4 days; to dressing in costumes to run a race…again, I would not trade these friends or experiences for anything.
Additionally, during this past year, not only did I get to run with my family, but I had the fortune of helping to share the running experience with a new generation of the Rigelsky family. Watch out for this little guy in the coming years, and rumor has it that he has some younger brothers and cousins who will want to earn some SMOs of their own…better get the snacks ready!
Perhaps most significantly, somewhere along the way in 2015 I happened to have the great fortune of meeting my favorite running buddy, Candace. You may not know this, but she and I ran several of the same races in multiple states before we even met, including what was for both us, our first half marathon. Amidst those tens of thousands of runners in those various starting corrals, would be the one person with whom I would want to share this great adventure with the most, only I did not even know it yet. Thus, it was only through luck and fortuity that our paths would meet, and it would not have happened but for this amazing Casual Running adventure. Candace and I ran our first race together back in April in Canton, Ohio, have run numerous races and training runs together since, we’ve traveled to several states and countries, went water skiing and scuba diving together, and we have no plans of stopping any time soon! As I said, I cannot wait to see where this great adventure takes us next.
So, as is my tradition, on December 23, 2015, here is where I stand in my progress. In the last 4 years of my Casual Running adventures, I have now run:
- 1 marathon relay: Akron Marathon
- 7 5ks: Gold Jacket 5k Canton, Holly Shuster 5k, Castaway Cay 5k, 2015 Pluto 5k, 2015 Run & Ride Kings Island Glow Run, 2014 Crazy Lenny 5k, & Bolt for the Heart 5k/Turkey Trot
- 7 10ks: Youngstown Peace Race (twice), Towpath Trilogy 10k, Disneyland, & Minnie Mouse’s 10k, and a Christmas Story House (twice)
- 5 race challenges: runDisney Coast to Coast, Dumbo Double Dare, Dopey Challenge, Goofy Challenge, & the Rubber City Race Series
- 20 half marathons: runDisney Princess, Wine and Dine (twice: 2013 & 2014), Presque Isle (twice: 2013 & 2014), Pittsburgh (twice), Cleveland, Akron (3 times: 2013, 2014 & 2015), Disneyland, Cedar Point (twice: 2013 & 2014), Kings Island, Goodyear, Towpath Trilogy, Green Cathedral, Canton Pro Football Hall of Fame, & Rock n Roll Hall of Fame
- 2 miscellaneous distance races: the runDisney Wine & Dine “Half of a Half” Marathon (weather shortened race) & the Thirsty Dog 8k
- 3 full marathons: Mickey Mouse’s Walt Disney World Marathon (2014 & 2015), & the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon)
- I have run races in 6 states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Virginia, and Indiana) and the District of Columbia, plus 2 countries (USA, Bahamas).
Throughout it all, I have logged more than 3,700 miles, and I am just getting started!
While I still have 1 5k left to finish out 2015, 2016 is already shaping up to be another great year of Casual Running and adventure! I am going to once again take on the Goofy Challenge to try and claim my 4th full marathon finish, I will be taking on the Dark Side Challenge at the Inaugural Walt Disney World Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, and adding some new states to my running log. Stay tuned as I hope to have many fun and exciting stories to share along the way.
So, as I celebrate this, my fourth runnerversary, I want to end this in the same way that I ended my third runnerversary message, by wishing you all the very best in your Casual Running and other fitness goals, and of course, by wishing you all the very merriest of Christmases, the happiest of holidays, and a happy, healthy, and adventurous new year! See you out on the running trails!
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