2014: A look back - Sarah Wassner Flynn
525,600 minutes: To quote one of the greatest songs from one of the greatest musicals, one year can be measured in so many ways: In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. So, how do you measure a year in the life of an #athletemom? Let me count the ways.
In longer distances. A huge triumph for me this year was breaking out of the 5K box. I’m comfortable running (and training for) that distance, and never loved racing much more than 3.1 In 2014, I learned to embrace longer races, like 8Ks, 10-milers, and the half-marathon. Finally, I’m able to run strong from start to finish without burning out or falling apart halfway through. I have a long way to go before I actually see the results I really want in these races, but I’m heading in the right direction.
In adventures. In 2014, I laced up my running shoes in Panama City, Panama, Charleston, SC, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Vancouver, BC, Corolla, NC, Skagway, Alaska, and the Yukon Territory. I did my first live TV interview in Roanoke, VA (before running up the town’s highest mountain); appeared on the cover of the sports section of the Wheeling, WV Intelligencer (small town, big press), and spent two days with eight strangers in an RV taking turns running the 110-mile journey tracing the route taken by the prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. Running has taken me to so many beautiful corners of the globe—and on so many fun adventures—and I am so grateful for that.
In podiums. My grand tally for 2014: 21 races, 21 age-group top 3 finishes, and six top 3 overall finishes. Granted, some of those races were on the small side, but consistency has never been my thing. Hoping to even out that age-group/overall count more in 2015…
In track workouts. After years away from the oval, I returned in earnest this past June with Team LUNAChixDC. What used to completely intimidate me (mile repeats, 1600-400 ladders) suddenly excited me. I learned to embrace the pain, show up ready to work hard, and walk away feeling completely obliterated…in a good way. Nothing—I mean nothing—gets you faster than tough track workouts. Totally worth the pain.
In running (and non-running) friends. I can’t say enough about how motivated and inspired I am on a constant basis by the women in my life. Whether it was randomly meeting Julie at her neighborhood pool and quickly realizing we shared so many similar goals, to racing back-to-back triathlons with Kristen, to being buoyed by the support of my sisters, parents, and close friends, I would have spent many mornings in bed if I wasn’t constantly surrounded by ambitious, inspiring people. So, thank you.
In heart-melting moments. When times get tough in a workout or on the race course, I think about my little family. About how they may be waiting for me at the finish line, or how their bright eyes light up when I come home from a race, always ready with hugs and kisses no matter how I do. How Nellie, now nearly 2, asks me, “You go running, mommy?” when she sees me in my workout gear. How Eamon is always there to high-five me at the finish line, and how Nora is always so excited to wear my shiny new “necklaces” (medals). And, of course, I owe so much to Mark, who is so, so supportive and hardly even gripes when I take off for hours at a time on a weekend morning to go race or train. As my little ones grow older, I have even more reason to work hard and race well. Having these amazingly enthusiastic cheerleaders in my corners the best support system I could ever ask for.
And that’s a wrap for the year! Here’s a recap of my races:
FEB Empire State Building Run Up (2nd, media division)
MARCH Lucky Leprechaun 5K (13th OA; 1st AG; 21:21)
APRIL Holy Child Tiger Trot (4th OA/1st AG; 19:44)
APRIL Blue Ridge Marathon 10K (2nd overall, 1st AG; 46:39 (3,000 ft elevation gain)
MAY Run For The Animals 5K (4th OA/1st AG; 21:07)
MAY Ogden Downhill Mile (1st OA; 5:10)
MAY Ogden 5K (4th OA/1st AG; 20:21)
JULY Montgomery Village July 4 5K (1st OA (20:44))
JULY Midsummer’s Night Mile (4th OA/2nd AG; 5:47)
AUGUST Going Green 2 Mile (4th OA/2nd AG; 12:17)
AUGUST Outer Banks Run Swim Run (1st OA/ 34:50)
AUGUST Irongirl Columbia Sprint Triathlon (2nd OA/2nd AG; 1:37:12)
SEPTEMBER Eastern County 8K (4th OA/1st AG; 33:28)
SEPTEMBER Giant Acorn Sprint Triathlon (7th overall, 2nd non-collegiate, 1st AG; 1:24:05)
SEPTEMBER Frederick YMCA Women’s Sprint Triathlon (2nd overall, 2nd AG; 1:00:55)
OCTOBER Matthew Henson 5K (4th OA/3rd AG; 20:59)
NOVEMBER Candy Cane City 5K (2nd OA/2nd AG; 20:24)
NOVEMBER TCS Annapolis Half Marathon (10th OA/1st AG; 1:36:40)
NOVEMBER Fairfax Turkey Trot (4th OA/1st AG; 20:34)
DECEMBER Turkey Burnoff 10-Miler (7th OA/4th AG; 1:11:37)
DECEMBER Jingle Bell Jog 8K (3rd OA/2nd AG; 32:00)