What can happen in a decade?

Alternative title: Running into my 60s

A lot of half marathons, it turns out! By my standards, anyway. Considering I’d just barely begun to run ten years ago. In fact, the halfs were run in seven years, since COVID put a stop to half, for me, for now.

This is going to be a long one, folks!

Las Vegas 2011My very first, and my only night half

2012: I turn 50 & run my first half
Technically I ran my first half roughly six weeks before I turned 50, as I couldn’t resist joining some friends in Vegas (NV) for their first halfs (turns out I was the only one to actually run Vegas, but I did meet some of those online friends — you can read about it here).

The half that was supposed to be my first, Austin (TX) (you can read about that here), turns out to be the only one that Mr. Judy actually wasn’t with me for the actual race. He was at a conference and flew in later that night.

I had an online friend I’d never met to meet up with though, and also hooked up with Austin friends (we’d moved away from Austin a few years before). I could walk to restaurants and the start.

Oddly enough, there was a massive snow/ice storm not long before I left for Austin, and because I was on my own, I had to tackle it alone. Plus I was actually alone on my 50th birthday, too, as I didn’t know too many people here yet.

I ended the year with a race through Montreal. I briefly saw Kara Goucher, but sadly didn’t wait to get an autograph or speak with her. This was also the half where I found out my Dad had a massive, although thankfully benign brain tumor the day before we left.

I believe this was also the year we had to put Simba to sleep and Mr. Judy’s Dad passed away.

2013: Doubling down on Vegas
My family would go to NYC so my Dad could have his tumor removed. At 87. They sent him home within days. Amazing what they can do these days!

I ran a half in RI in the spring, which had beautiful weather but was a disaster for me. Then I rocked a PR in NH that fall and thoroughly enjoyed a post race lobster roll and chowdah.

I closed out the year with a second try at Vegas — one of my friends did actually attempt it this time, and we ended up walking it together because unfortunately she was injured. I told her I would have plenty of other halfs — and I was right!

2014: Only two; what happened that year?
I don’t know what happened that I only ran two halfs in 2014; of course, that assumes my list, which hasn’t been updated in forever, is accurate. I felt really called to do the RnR Heartbreak Half (MA). I knew I was never going to BQ. This time I failed to get Shalane Flanagan’s signature, although I did go to her panel. It was an ugly, hot, humid day but I survived. This was the only time this race was produced. One and done!

2014 clearly wasn’t my year for running. I tackled Gettysburg (PA) on an abnormally hot day and had some pain the last few miles. Thankfully I’d learned how to tape by the Heartbreak Hill Half, and unlike RI, I was fine post race. We did have a great time in Gettysburg, which neither one of us had ever been to, and on the way home I finally got to meet one of the online friends who was supposed to do Vegas with us in person.

I met Deena Kastor in this running store too — I think the same year, but in the Spring! Frank was super nice.

2015: The good, the bad, the ugly (MD was ugly, y’all)
In the Spring, I ran the Redding Road Race (CT). Such a well organized little jewel! Despite abnormal heat, and yes, hills, I pulled out a PR. Despite living in MD for a year after college, I never made it to Annapolis. Such a cute, quaint town! The heat and the hills wore me out completely (read about it here). I never even got a MD mug, but we did enjoy some al fresco dining and we met up with one of my HS friends.

We wrapped up the year with a return to VT (we’d lived there when first married), and I managed to pull out another PR on a very windy day on a very hilly course; read about it here.

On the personal front, we also had an epic trip to Seattle, Vegas, and CA all in one trip. I’d forgotten about this one! We visited the MIL & SIL, and we attended one of my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah — on my birthday. I ran in all three states (once around a parking lot because there was nowhere else).

My parents were also supposed to come. My Dad fell and break like 5 ribs and ended up in rehab for weeks. It was the start of his decline. And Chester’s heart failure was worsening (you can read his story here).

On a happier note, I got to meet Frank Shorter picking up my bib for a local 15k — it was my first 15k.

This was one of the most amazing experiences!

2016: Goodbye Chester,  Finishing strong
2016 started off rocky for racing. I tackled ME in June, the forecast was totally wrong, the course was pretty but let’s just say it wasn’t my favorite race. Read about it here. Things were better (but of course still hot) in AZ, where I ran up a mountain. Well, it was a small mountain, but it’s about 1000 ft of gain right in the middle of the half. We also visited Sedona for the first time, and went on a private hike where I also had an amazing private Yoga class. Read about it here.

I wrapped up the year when a former blogger invited me, Darlene, Wendy, and Marcia (along with a few other bloggers who no longer blog) to run a race with her in FL — while staying at her vacation home. Holly was a marvelous host, the weather was perfection, and the race was a PR for me that actually felt easy. Read about it here.

On the personal front, my mom had to have surgery. The surgery was fine, the recovery was rocky (ultimately she was fine) — but it finally became clear to my siblings that I was right. My parents could not stay in their home, and we moved them to the senior living community my mom still lives at. At the beginning of the year we’d had to say goodbye to Chester; you can read his story here. Grab some tissues.

On July 3, with both Lola and Mr. Judy missing a second dog, we adopted Bandit. It may have ended well, but it was a very, very rocky start, with walking Lola and Bandit separately for months, and completely separating Lola, Bandit, and Gizmo (our elderly cat).

On a happier note, we celebrated my Dad’s 90th birthday.

This one was my slowest half ever, but technically a PR as my first trail half. I STILL have those gloves, LOL!

2017: Hello Bandit & All the PRs
2017 was a very tough year. At least Bandit was finally beginning to actually integrate without us having to worry about him attacking the other furkids, we could walk him & Lola on the double leash (we never thought that would happen), and we no longer had to live with baby gates everywhere.

It was also the year that I went to my childhood home every weekend, along with my sister, to clear out my parents’ house so we could put it on the market.

Racing! Racing was on fire in 2017. I ran four halfs including my first (and so far only) trail half. I was working with a coach, and after that huge PR in FL, I went on to PR in NOLA (LA) on very hot and humid day which had even my southern friends wilting. To this day no idea how that happened! Read about it here.

Close on the heels of my NOLA PR, I ran that first trail half (WA). I met some fellow Skirt Sport ambassadors, one I would meet again at a later race. It was slow, and very muddy (as its name implied) but I had fun. Read about it here. Hot on the heels of that race, it was my first downhill half!

The Utah Valley Half Marathon reached out to several bloggers, so I met up with Marcia again, got to meet Zenaida and a few other bloggers (who no longer blog), and we all ran down a mountain. Mr. Judy and I had so much fun exploring Bryce and Zion, and I may have traded hiking for most of my scheduled runs before the race, which seemed to work just fine as the race was a PR. This race sparked a love the downhill half and also reignited my love for hiking. Read about it here.

I closed out the year with finally running a half in NY. It drove Mr. Judy nuts that I hadn’t yet run a half in NY! Which was fine, this time I went with friends. It was my second coldest half (the first is still Vegas, that first time!) but yup, it was another PR. Read about it here.

Final Thoughts
I realized as I wrote this post that I needed to split it into two posts. A decade ago if you’d have told me I’d ever run a half marathon, I would have laughed in your face. I didn’t even start running until about 2008 and I never planned to race at all!

You’ll see next week when I wrap it up with the second half of my 50s — it was a rocky decade for me. So many highs and some very low lows. We said goodbye to my Dad, my FIL, all the furkids we moved from TX to here. Caring for my parents has almost consumed me for years.

There were wonderful trips, too. Committing to my first Yoga Teacher Training (we’re getting to that!) was definitely one of the smartest things I ever did. Watching my parents age has prompted me to do everything I can to make sure I don’t just live longer, I live better. There are many factors out of my control, but so many factors in my control.

I think the only real regrets I have in my 50s is not doing my YTT sooner and that one race in RI where I injured myself. I also believe that things happen when they are meant to. I know that my 60s will close the chapter on my caretaking of my parents. Sooner rather than later. I hope in pray by the time I am 70 we no longer live in NY! That is the plan, anyway. It won’t be easy, but I think you never really get great rewards without great efforts.

We runners know that, right? Hang on for part 2!


Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.


20 thoughts on “What can happen in a decade?

  1. You definitely made some stsrides this decade (sorry for the bad pun, LOL). I hope you had a fabulous celebration as you enteed into your new decade 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. it’s funny that I just met up with Darlene and heard about the race in Panama City! You had an eventful (half) decade. I can understand wanting to get out of NY- where do you want to move to?
    Writing this post must have been a great way to celebrate your birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, where to move to is the $64 million question. And the topic of much discussion.

      I don’t want to go too far south, because I’m not a fan of the bugs and humidity either. I can deal with some cold and snow, it’s the grayness — I need more sun in Winter!


  3. This post is a very good way to celebrate your birthday!
    Sorry for the lows but however it was a great (half) decade with many adventures and good races.
    The half marathon is my favorite distance but unfortunately I ran my last one in 2011, however I made the decision to sign up for the Orbetello half in late April.
    Like you I celebrated my 50th birthday with a long distance run: the Florence Marathon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh, the Florence Marathon must’ve been amazing — well, of course to me since I’ve never been to Italy!

      I hope you have a fabulous half! April isn’t that far away but your training has sounded like it’s going well.

      There were a LOT of good times in my 50s — but it was a difficult decade. Still I have many friends who have gone through even worse, so I still try to look on the bright side.


  4. I started following your journey from 2017 so that was very familiar. I remember the great racing year you had in 2017 because that’s also when I was a complete newbie chasing 17 that year. I learnt a lot from you. But all the stuff before that was quite new to me! Thanks for sharing Judy and wishing you all the best as you enter this new decade – may it be as fabulous as you are.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just met Frank Shorter on Sunday.

    Quite a decade. Highs and lows. But mostly highs.

    Glad to be a part.

    Hope your 60s are heathy and happy.

    As much as I hate the cold, I’d hate moving more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I saw your photo with Frank. Moving is hard. Especially as you get older. But we moved here on a temporary assignment. We never actually dreamed we’d live here this long, although it worked out well for my parents. And we definitely didn’t want to move away from Austin, either — but again, worked out well for my parents.


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