Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 year in review

2016 was a decidedly underwhelming year of running for me. I headed into training for Boston 2016 off my best year of running yet, with PRs in nearly every distance in 2015 and no sign that things were headed anywhere but forward. I put together what I felt was a really great training cycle this winter, but sadly it didn't pay off - all of my race results, including my goal race of Boston, ranged from acceptable to largely disappointing, and to top it all off I ran my way into a case of hip tendinitis 2 weeks out from Boston (that's not even discussing the nagging high hamstring/hip rotator issue that I dealt with through the training cycle, and will be addressed in a second). I ran what I'd say was my best race of the year at the Harpoon 5 Miler, popping out with a surprise PR and helping my team take home the title for the second year in a row. My hip was feeling better, and things seemed be looking up. However, it was not to be. The previously mentioned mystery hamstring injury (like Voldemort, it's the injury-that-must-not-be-named...or even identified by my physical therapist self) reared up in a HUGE way during my ill advised attempt to race a 10 miler off virtually no training in mid-June. And thus, I learned what it was like to be injured for the first time in a long time. The summer was essentially a wash. By the time fall rolled around I was finally in stable enough condition to at least attempt to run a reasonable amount, and I was able to jump in a couple of low key races including a trail 5K (extremely tough, but extremely fun) and a Turkey Trot back home in Wisconsin. The corner finally seems to have been turned, and I feel like maybe, just maybe, I have some momentum going into 2017...and a much healthier respect for my body and the TLC it sometimes needs.

I did this last year and it was kind of fun, so some numbers for this year:
Miles run: 1404 (this is probably missing a few since I got really lazy about logging what I felt were stupid 2-3 mile runs while coming back over the summer)
Races run: 15 (I find it SO bizarre that despite being injured for half the year, I only ran one less race than I did in 2015! But the distances and the stats below tell the story: 1 marathon, 3 halfs, 1 10 mile, 1 15K, 2 5 miles, 5 5Ks (one of which was run with my dog), and 2 track races - a 3K and a DMR)
New races run: 8
AG/overall awards: I'm almost embarressed to say 7, and 4 of them came in the absurd 5Ks I ran while hungover/injured/on trails this fall
PRs run: technically 2, but I BARELY can count the PR I ran in my second ever 15K, which I was running as a tempo. Not a great year.
Hardest race experience: The freaking Boston Marathon....AGAIN (why do I keep doing this to myself? We may never know). Runners up include the New Orleans Half when I just felt like ass for no particular reason the entire time, and both of the 5Ks which I ran with large hangovers and without any form of training.
Best race experience: Harpoon 5 Mile was definitely the best all around race - a strong, surprising performance and the most FUN day ever

Some other notable things happened in 2016, which I feel like I need to add to this post mostly so I can look back on it later...
-I hiked 4 4000 footers in NH and completely fell head over heels in love with hiking - got a backpacking pack for Christmas and cannot WAIT to try it out!
-The dance company that I'm a part of presented our FIRST full length concert, which included a piece that I choreographed which is definitely my favorite thing I've ever choreographed, and probably the first piece I've ever made that turned out as well on stage as I envisioned it in my head
-I read 50 books again! Without even trying to! My goal this year was 30 books in different categories, with at least 5 additional books. Clearly I was inspired because I've been plowing through books, particularly during the second half of the year. I wish I had more time to read...sooo many books still on the "to read" list!
-I saw the original Broadway cast of Hamilton in what will certainly go down as one of the most crazy, surreal weekends of my life
-My personal life was more dramatic than it has been in quite some time, but I learned a lot about myself and what I really want for myself...and the best part of it is that in the end, everything found it's way back together anyway (hey, would the road be any fun without some twists and turns? It's the same thing with running I suppose...)

I think those are the major highlights! Overall it's been a really great year - more bumps in the road than I would have liked running-wise, but you can't get to the summit without climbing the mountain...or something like that. Week 1 of Boston 2017 training is just beginning and after such a long layoff from true training, I'm torn between being nervous about what the next 16 weeks holds, raring to get back to fighting fitness, and already missing the days when actually doing my planned run was optional. But no matter what, it's here, and I'm hopeful to get some vengeance on a few courses in particular in 2017. As always, I can't wait to see what happens next!