Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Running Year in Review

Wow, can you believe that 2014 is already coming to a close? Where did the year go?! I'm sitting at my computer updating my fitness tracking spreadsheet and I've realized that I've had a pretty incredible running year. I've overcome some major physical, mental, and emotional hurdles in my running, health, and fitness over the past year and I've learned a lot of good life lessons-- so I thought it would be fun to list them out and share with everyone :)

In no particular order:

-  I learned that my body is incredibly strong. Much stronger than I give it credit for most of the time.

- 26.2 miles is never going to be easy; but you can train to make it hurt less and to help yourself recover quicker.

- Finishing a long run with a steep uphill makes you feel super badass.

- You can be throw-up sick and still run 23 miles. AND you'll feel better after doing it. 

- All my running anxiety earlier this winter/spring was in my head. I'm strong and healthy. There was no reason to make myself so anxious I felt nauseous before a long run. 

- I had a huge marathon PR at the Myrtle Beach Marathon with 4:51:38-- almost 20 min faster than my first marathon!

- Then, I had a even bigger marathon PR at the Philadelphia Marathon with 4:32:46! Wow.

- While we're talking about PRs..

- I had a half marathon PR at the Wineglass Half Marathon with 2:12:53.

- I had a 10K PR at the Pax River Fall Classic with 0:56:33.

- And I had a 5K PR at the Shamokin Rotary Club Turkey Trot with 0:27:17. Oh, and BTW I placed 2nd in my age group.

- I got to walk with my mom in her first 5K! And hopefully we'll get to do it again soon.

- It's ok to celebrate a 700' elevation gain (over 2.5 miles) during a half marathon with a glass of champagne and mini fancy cupcakes. 

- Speed days are absolutely key in improving. 

- This girl can run a 8:13 min/mi mile on the treadmill-- four times in a row (with recovery time in between).

- In my head I still see myself as the slow fat kid. Until someone pushes me; then I can run a minute repeat on the treadmill at 9.2 mph.. that's a 6:31 min/mi for anyone who's keeping track.

- Yoga has been a large part of my running improvement over the last several months. It has helped with the anxiety, and has helped me learn ways to really stretch my tight muscles (especially my hips).

- Yoga isn't just for flexible people. Even those of us who can barely touch their mid-shin with a flat back can do yoga. And we should probably do it more often than most people. 

- I will never be a fair weather runner. A fair weather cyclist.. now that's a different story.

- Running to work is the cool thing to do. I'd love to start a run to work group. We leave the house at 4:45am and we run anywhere from a 9-10:30 min/mi if anyone wants to join sometime.

- Trail running helped me get over my mental barriers with the extra-long run (meaning high teens/low 20s). For whatever reason, running multiple laps around St. Mary's Lake was way less scary than running on the road. 

- I've learned that the best way for me to not be intimidated by the 20+ mi run is to break it down into pieces-- "It's only 5.5 mi to St. Andrew's Church Rd, and from there less than 3 mi until we hit Indian Bridge..".

- I'm pretty confident that I'm hypoglycemic. And ever since I've recognized that and have found the right way to fuel my body during long runs, I haven't made myself sick.

- Gu's, gels, and other fake energy boosters are not for me. I'm a real-food runner. I'd much rather carry a sliced orange, bag of blueberries, or trail mix on my long runs. 

- I've learned the difference between pain that you can run through and pain that says you actually need to stop.

- I made a huge mental improvement last weekend in my running-- I was tired and in some pain towards the end of a 16-mi run. Nick asked if I wanted to walk, "I said yes, but I wasn't going to suggest it." Instead of walking the rest of the 1.5 miles to the house, I sucked it up and kept going. The old Amanda would have walked home. 

- I'd choose an 8 mi run over a 3 mi run almost any day. Seem odd? Well, whatever the distance, all the prep and post-workout cleanup is the same-- and 3 miles isn't worth the effort.

- As of writing this, I'm at 1,608 miles for 2014.

I'm sure there are plenty of others that I'm forgetting. If you made it all the way through this-- thank you for reading! I want to hear about YOUR accomplishments throughout 2014. Please share in the comments below :)

♥ AK

Myrtle Beach Marathon

Blue Ridge Half Marathon

Wineglass 5K

Wineglass Half Marathon

Philadelphia Marathon

Shamokin Rotary Club Turkey Trot