After running 20 races this year, I thought it might be fun to look back at 2015 in its entirety and pick out some of the highlights (and even lowlights). It also seemed like a great way to start looking at what I hope to accomplish in 2016.
Favorite Race Experience
I have to give this one to the Runner’s World Half & Festival in Bethlehem, Pa. Hands down it was probably one of the most fun weekends I’ve had when it comes to running. It was so well organized, the crowd support was great, the courses for the 5k, 10k and half were all unique and fun and showcased the best Bethlehem. I can’t wait to do it again!
This is a tie between two races, the October Half Marathon and the Rehoboth Seashore Marathon. Both races saw me PR. In the half marathon, I finally beat 1:50. I wasn’t sure I’d get there, but it makes me feel confident that I can continue to improve my time in that distance.
For Rehoboth, I saw an 18-minute improvement. Granted the course was flat, but my goal with marathons has and will always be to finish. Improving my time is secondary. I wanted to improve my time but was thinking running a 4:15 was more realistic. Running a 4:10 felt so good and made me reconsider what I thought would be my best. I walked away inspired to push myself to reach higher as I move forward.
Favorite Piece of Running Gear
This is a tough one! I think I’m going to go with my SPIbelt. It’s small, stays in place and can hold quite a bit. I use it for gels, my key, my cell phone. Maybe all of those things at once. It seriously is one of my favorite pieces of gear. It accompanies me on most runs now.
Taking some time off. While this hasn’t always been a problem in the past, it seems to be now. After all three of my previous marathons, I would take a few weeks off. I’d work out, but running was out of the picture. After Gettysburg in April, I basically took about 6-8 weeks off. I ran two short races and one half, but otherwise I was really never running. Honestly, I was a little burnt out.
Sometime in June I got the itch and got myself back into a routine. After deciding not to run a fall marathon, I realized I missed training and found Rehoboth. When I started having IT band issues, I was worried I’d have to back out. Thanks to the help of a sports med doctor, Rock Tape, and exercises, everything turned out great in the end.
I felt so good after Rehoboth that taking time off didn’t seem necessary. On Sunday I went for a run and felt like I could run for hours, although I stopped after 6.5 miles. That evening my knee was sore, but this time it wasn’t IT band pain. It was sore in a new way. After getting it looked at, it was once again recommended that I take some time off.
This time I’ve heeded the advice. In the meantime I’ll be cycling, swimming and rowing to keep my cardio up so come the New Year, I’ll be ready to run.
This is so tough, but I think I’m going to have to go with Rehoboth. It was beautiful! A nice chunk of the course was rail trail surface in a state park along the ocean. There was so much to see. The crowd support was also great and so were all the other runners on the course.
Best Piece of Running Advice
Getting help. I could’ve tried to solve my knee pain by myself, but I’ve learned in the past that ultimately getting to the root of the problem is the best option both short term and long term. This has proved true previously with shin splits, issues with my toes and other things. It never hurts to ask for help.
Goals for 2016
Ooo there are so many to choose from. I think something simple to go with is to continue to improve and to continue to have fun. Running has become such a part of my life and I want it to continue to be for many years to come. I do hope to take on some bigger challenges, while continuing to take part in many races in my favorite distance, 13.1. I’ll share my 2016 race plans as they evolve.
What has your running year been like? What are your goals for 2016?