I feel like these “look back” posts always creep up on us, while realistically, we all know the end of the year is here. I love this time of the year as a runner – looking back on the year and forming goals for the year ahead. By the time 2016 is over I will have put in almost 900 miles, as opposed to about 675 in 2015. I’ve run the healthiest I’ve ever ran *knock on wood* and finally saw some improvements.
January-March: I put in two months of training in preparation for the Half at the Hamptons. Most miles were completed on the treadmill in the twilight zone that is otherwise known as a New Hampshire winter. January was great however February was plagued with a flare-up of my ITB syndrome and the beginning stages of a weird hip/quad injury. I finished the Half at the Hamptons in 2:19:35, running a very consistent race and meeting all the goals I set!
April-May: After March’s half, took it easy before my second half of the year. My ITB problems subsided, but my hips/quads were all kinds of messed up (from sitting in child sized chairs, I believe, as it still bothers me at work sometimes). I ran the Vermont Half Marathon Unplugged again, which I should have DNS’ed. It was a horrible experience and taught me to listen to my body. I took the next 5 weeks off to heal and to focus on finishing my Master’s program. I slowly returned to running when I moved to Maryland, enjoying a 5K with one of my best friends.
June: In June, I considered myself almost fully back from my hip/quad injury. It still felt wonky at times, but I was managing. I began running using Jeff Galloway intervals and by following a loose “heart rate” plan. I was able to build my miles back up in time to start marathon training. June included two fun races with friends, the Zooma Annapolis 10K (1:04:30) and Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K (29:30).
July – September: July started with a 4 mile race, my last race for a while. After that I started marathon training with a coach. She truly led me though a great training cycle that I followed as closely as I could – very well during the summer, but struggled once I started my full-time job. I continued running with intervals and with prescribed heart rate zones, which I attribute to my running injury free. I was seriously loving running in a new way. I ran the Parks Half Marathon (2:22:xx) in early September and finished off the month with my first 20 miler -a huge feat!
October was THE month. A second 20 miler, my 10th half marathon, and my first marathon. I killed my 20 miler. I had a good Baltimore Half Marathon (my last long run) on a hard course and set a course PR (2:25:11). (Actually, at first I thought I didn’t beat last year’s time. But I DID and realized it when I went through last year’s recap and remembering I started my watch late. I need to edit my 2016 recap!). The Marine Corps Marathon was a bittersweet experience, with many ups and downs. No matter how it went, nothing can take the pride away of finishing my first marathon!
November-December: These two months have been full of recovery and running when I want to. There has been a lack of any structure to my runs and I’ve just done what has felt good. Unexpectedly, I set a big 10K PR at the Annapolis Running Classic (1:00:20) and a huge 13.1 PR at the Race 13.1 Half Marathon (2:09:05). I have one race left for the year, a 5 miler on Saturday. Like the last two races I just plan to have fun, and if I have a good day I’ll maybe push myself a little. It’s my first 5 mile race, so it will be an automatic PR.
In 2016 I completed 1 marathon, 5 half marathons, 2 10K’s, and 5 races shorter than 10K. In just 6 weeks I set 3 PR’s (+1 more if you count this next race)! Part of me is a little stumped about where I should set my sights yet, but I’m also very optimistic about what 2017 will hold!
What were some of your running highlights this year? What was your favorite race?