Well it's been a while since my last post but that's mainly due to rehabbing my ITB and working my speed and mileage back up to be ready to go once marathon training starts in 2017. So I thought I would share my year in review and then talk about my 2017 plans.
This year was a great running year for me but also a year of learning. I went into the year with two main goals: to finally run a 1:45 half that I had been chasing since January of 2015, and to qualify for Boston. I started off with the Rock n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon in mid-January and I ran a 1:44! I crushed one of my goals right off the bat which made me optimistic about the rest of the year and it was a great way to kick off Cleveland Marathon training. In March I teamed up with a friend to run the Green Jewel 50k relay and we finished as the second place co-ed team and I ran an 8:24/mile pace for 16+ miles over an incredibly hilly route! The next month I ran the 20 Mile Drop as a long training run. I finished at an 8:33/mile pace, which was right on pace with marathon training. I ran the whole thing with a couple and made new friends who I still am friends with to this day.
In May I ran the Cleveland Marathon with the goal of qualifying for Boston. The weather was the worst weather I have ever ran in since it was about 25 degrees, snowing, raining, hailing, 30+ mph winds, and sleeting. I held my BQ pace through mile 18 despite cramping quads at mile 16. Around mile 19, stomach issues threw me off pace and I had to stop because of them. But I pushed through and finished in 3:48 with a 7 minute PR and knew I was on pace for a BQ the next time around. A couple weeks after Cleveland, I celebrated Memorial Day with a 4 miler and managed a 7:30 avg despite stiff legs from the marathon.
I made my fall marathon decision a few weeks later and decided on Big Cottonwood in Utah, an all downhill race. Picking that race meant I had only a little over 12 weeks to prepare for the race. I knew I would be fine because I was coming off of another full. I planned to up the training to more miles a week. What I didn't know was how hot and humid the summer would be.
Training was incredibly rough with high temps and full humidity at 5am when I was doing long training runs. I began to have poor quality runs, I was getting sick mid-run, my times were worse than when I trained for my first full, and I was not recovering well. Early on in training, while doing speedwork on a treadmill, I got a back spasm and had to miss my long run. A silver lining was when it healed quickly and I made up the long run with the Hat Trick Race, a 5 mile then 5k then a 2 mile race, and I won 1st in my age, 3rd overall, and 2nd overall respectively. It lifted my spirits about training and got me back on track.
In early August, despite a rough 20 miler training run, I raced the Captain's 5k the next day and managed a 7:30 average on heavy legs. In mid-August I ran the Rock Hall Half Marathon with the goal of trying to PR. That changed a mile in when I was struggling to breathe through the humidity and feeling miserable. My goal turned into just finishing and not stopping. I finished in 1:53, which was far from my best but also far from my worst.
The next week in training, my ITB started hurting. I called my long run a couple miles early and took it easy the next week. The following week I tried to do my 12 miler and my ITB was so painful I called it at 10. I took two weeks off and hoped I was good to go for the marathon.
When I started Big Cottonwood I had high hopes about my knee. There was no pain for 10 days and when I started the race I felt great and was under BQ pace. Even with altitude issues at mile 4, I was under BQ pace until 10. At 10 my ITB was inflamed because of the downhill and I had to make the tough decision to DNF at the half. It was my first DNF ever and probably the hardest decision I ever had to make.
It turned out it was a smart decision because I was able to start running about two weeks later and I was able to race a 5k at 7:30/mile by Halloween, finishing 1st in my age and 4th female. The injury taught me a lot about over training and having to take the time off coupled with rebuilding my base after the injury helped me rekindle my love of running. By the end of November, I was able to run the Fall Classic Half Marathon in 1:54 for first distance run back from the injury. I rounded out the year with the Selfless Elf 5k in 22:53, finishing first in my age and 6th female.
It was a crazy running year full of ups and downs, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. It brought me a new half and full PR, 7 awards, and a 16 minute plank PR. I did 11 races this year and my plank streak will be at 329 days. I can use everything I learned this year to build my training for 2017 and to make sure I play it smart so that my body and my mind stay healthy.
So with all that, what am I thinking for 2017? My goals for 2017 are pretty similar to 2016: drop my half PR again and then get that BQ. I also would like to drop all of my PRs (especially my 5k because it has been too long) and up my plank PR. I will be continuing my plank streak as well.
I also plan to go into serious cross training to prepare for my spring marathon because I want to prevent injuries and make sure I'm fully prepared for that race. I will also be incorporating speed work and hill training now that I know I am fully recovered from the injury.
Race-wise, I haven't selected too many races but I am signed up for two right now. I will be running Rock n' Roll Arizona again on January 15th with the goal of PR-ing. I will also be running the Cleveland Half Marathon in mid-May. Of course I will be doing some of my staple races like the Fall Classic 5k, the 20 or 10 mile drop, and the Hat Trick race. I know I will be doing a fall full, and I know I won't be doing it in September because training for that time does not work for me. I will also run some summer halfs to prep for my fall marathon and other distance races in the winter to prep for my spring marathon.
Speaking of my fall marathon...I have decided that I will be running the Oklahoma City Marathon on April 30th. While I'm not officially signed up yet, I'm pretty confident that that will be my spring full based on my research of the course and weather. I'll also be able to check off another state!!
Training kicks off on January 1st and Rock n' Roll Arizona will be my first big test! 2016 was great, but I'm ready to bring in the new year with new goals!