New Year

brace-yourself-new

Now, I don’t mean to get all sentimental and mushy. I’m not sure why, but New Years resolutions make me want to gag. Maybe it’s because the normal quiet gym gets packed with people who all of a sudden decide to get in shape. Don’t get me wrong. I think it is super awesome that people want to make a change and get more active. That’s great! But for people who go all the time, the crowd can be a bit overwhelming. HOWEVER, I think it is important for improvement purposes to look back at my training every so often and plan out the next year.

2014 was a pretty big year for me. However, the first half definitely did not go well. My first marathon training cycle was a bit of a disaster. I ended up getting sick with a bad chest cold for the Half Marathon Unplugged and stupidly ran through it. Then I got a stomach bug for my first marathon (Maine Coast). I ended up finishing my first marathon at VCM, but that did not go so well either.

family after VCM 2014

family after VCM 2014

The second half of 2015 went really well, though! I cut nearly 1.5 minutes off my 10k PR in the summer. The fall races I ran at the Downtown 10k and Labor Day 15k were plagued with some pretty horrible weather, but I got some good efforts in. I qualified for Boston at the Baystate Marathon, which is my proudest accomplishment of 2014. I also got a half marathon PR at the Wolf Hollow Half Marathon.

running to my new 10k PR

running to my new 10k PR

Crossing the line at Baystate!

Crossing the line at Baystate!

I ran 2237 miles. That’s about 13.2 straight days I’ve spent running. Sheesh, it sounds weird when I put it that way. I got a marathon PR (well, obviously, since I never ran one before), a half marathon PR, a 10k PR, and a 15k PR (once again, never ran one before). Not too shabby.

The BIGGEST thing for 2014? My immune system finally picked up its game. Hallelujah! I literally have not been sick since May (knock on wood). This probably doesn’t mean much to most people, but this is HUGE for me. All throughout college and high school (maybe earlier but I can’t remember) my sports’ performances have been seriously affected by my weak immune system. It’s not like I would get any really bad sickness, but just constant colds with the occasional stomach bug. Every sports season in high school I would get a cold at least twice, but normally three times during the few months of competition. It was ridiculous. Oftentimes it would fall right around states or another important meet and I would have to suffer through. It’s not like a cold will always stop someone from competing, but the lethargy and difficulty breathing through one’s nose or chest definitely impacts performance in endurance sports. Just look at the first half of 2014 to see how it affected me. A chest cold made for a pretty miserable half marathon and a badly timed stomach bug ruined my first marathon.

I honestly am not sure why my immunity has improved because nothing has seriously changed in my lifestyle. I almost always get enough sleep (~8 hours). My nutrition (although not the best) has not changed much. My allergies have improved slightly so maybe that’s why. Or maybe it’s just luck? Whatever the reason, I’ll take it. Crossing my fingers that my immune system keeps this going in 2015!

I also didn’t have any major injuries. A touch of tendinities in March, and a tweaky groin/hamstring that came and went, but really nothing serious. I’m soooooooooo grateful for that.

All in all, it was a pretty solid year of improvement. I had some really big lows, but I also had some really big highs. I guess that’s running for you. Any sport, really. You are guaranteed to have ups and downs, but it’s just important to learn and get past the bad parts and celebrate and also learn from the good parts.

What’s coming in 2015?

I already told most of you that I’m not planning on running a marathon in 2015. I think I’ll run a couple halves (Unplugged Half Marathon and a relay at VCM) with probably some 10k’s or 5k’s thrown in. After my 10k PR this past summer and decent 5k I ran a few weeks ago I’m interested in seeing what type of damage I can do at those distances. I haven’t nailed down all the races as I’m still waiting for the dates of some of them.

What I’m most excited for, though, is the bike trip my dad and I are planning. I’ll provide some more details soon, but we are planning a big trip from the end of June until the end of August. We are so so excited! My dad has always wanted to do something like this, but has just not gotten around to it. I’m so happy to be coming along for the journey.

my Dad and I on our bike trip last summer

my Dad and I on our bike trip last summer

The aftermath of biking through a rain storm. Our legs were covered in dirt and grease when we got back.

The aftermath of biking through a rain storm. Our legs were covered in dirt and grease when we got back.

However, the bike trip will definitely impact my fall plans. I know that it won’t be possible for me to get quality running training in during this time. When biking 100 miles/day it’s just not feasible for me to also get in a good base. I’m still planning on running some as I don’t want to lose too much running fitness, but it’ll probably just look like ~25 miles/week. I don’t regret this at all, though, because the bike trip is a chance of a lifetime. Who knows the next time my dad and I can coordinate our schedules to do something like this?

I’ll figure out the fall when I get there, but I plan on using it to start getting ready for Boston in 2016. Hopefully I’ll get a spot in the race. If so, I would love to run in the Boston Marathon.

Goals for 2015?

  • PR’s in the half marathon, 10k, and 5k. Those first two I’m confident I can do, but that last distance makes me nervous just because I’ve been away from it for so long. It’d be really nice to get a new 5k PR, though, and would help me gain the confidence that I can still do shorter races.
  • Consistently get in 3-4 20-minute strength workouts each week. Sometimes I get lazy, but I normally get in 2 core/hip workouts each week of about 20 minutes. I know I should do more, but this is probably my least favorite part of running. I know it’s really important for injury prevention and performance, though, and really want to make a change next year.
  • Blog at least once/week. I don’t force myself to write a post when I’m not in the mood. Otherwise it comes out forced and weird. However, if I go too long between posts then it’s hard to make things flow when I get back to it. I think once/week is a good goal.
  • …. Yeah, guess that’s about it for now.

What did your 2014 look like? What’s on your plate for 2015?

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5 thoughts on “New Year

  1. Pingback: Catching Up | Joy Runner

  2. What a great year! I’m not sure if you do this, but I drink orange juice every morning and haven’t been sick (knocking on a huge piece of wood here) in about two years. That was the only thing I changed, so figured it’s the good ole OJ. I’m sure I’ll get a cold just for saying that.
    A note about biking and running – when I picked up some real biking this summer for my triathlon, it made a huge impact on my running in a positive way. So don’t fret about (I can’t believe I just used the word fret) not running much when you’re biking that much! It’s only helping you set a really good base for marathon training! Happy 2015!

    • That’s interesting about the OJ. Maybe I’ll start doing that. I also don’t take any vitamins, so maybe I should do that as well. Thanks for letting me know about your experience with biking. I’ve never been big on cross training, but hoping that it’ll help me out. Cutting my running mileage basically in half probably won’t be helpful, but since I’ll be biking so much hopefully it’ll give me a good base. Happy 2015 to you too! 🙂

  3. This is an awesome post! I really hope your immune system keeps being good to you next year. The best part of this post is your bike trip with your dad. That’s so sweet and I think it will be one of the best experiences of your life. You definitely cannot pass that up! Enjoy your time with him 😀

    Best of luck to you in 2015!

    • Thanks so much! I agree – I think the bike trip will be one of the best experiences ever. I don’t know if we’ll be able to match up our schedules for 2 months again to be able to do something like this. Definitely a chance of a life time. Happy New Year! Good luck in 2015! 🙂

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