My Year of Running 2014
Every year Amanda from Miss Zippy hosts a link up for all the running bloggers out there to reflect on their year of running. I loved reading everyone’s posts last year and given that 2014 was a stellar running year for me, I was excited to link up this year! Head over to the Miss Zippy blog if you want to catch up on all the other bloggers in our running community and how 2014 treated them! Thanks to Amanda for hosting. 🙂
My 2014 year of racing really began late in 2013. I ran two races late that year – an incredibly cold 4 mile race in Central Park and the 4 mile Jingle Bell Jog in Prospect Park. I was so freaking cold for the former that I shocked myself with a time I was not expecting, as well as my first ever sub 8:00 mile in a race. After I reflected on that performance, I decided to really go for it in the Prospect Park race, which saw me clock a 4 mile PR – my first PR in that distance since 2008. My fastest ever, not just my fastest since becoming a mama in 2012. Around that time, I also started working with a coach, which was a game changer leading into 2014.
Best race experience?
This is a tie. There were two races that stood out in 2014 for me. One was the NYRR Run for the Parks 4 Mile race in April. I signed up pretty last-minute for this race and really only because there were kids races afterwards, which Roman was now eligible to run, now he was 2 years old. I had a pacing plan, I stuck to it and wasn’t discouraged when there were tough parts, then I casually recapped a PR result in which every single mile was sub-8:00. This is something I never would have imagined a year earlier.
The second race in the tie for best race experience was the NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon. I began 2014 with the goal of not just breaking my 1:53 PR for the half, but smashing it down to a 1:45. It seemed like a difficult, but attainable goal if I worked my butt off. And did I work my butt off!! I committed to training for that record. I had two half marathons lined up, but the Brooklyn was first by 2 weeks and I decided to go all out for that one.
And….I didn’t make it. I missed the 1:45 by a minute and change and my half marathon PR stands at 1:46. This was my best race experience of the year because I knew I had trained as well as I could and done everything I could to prepare. I planned my pacing strategy and stuck to it as closely as I could. I ran hard, I ran with my heart and I gave it EVERYTHING. The last mile was painful, I hurt for days afterwards and when I crossed that finish line, there wasn’t a part of me that thought I could have eked out that extra minute off my time. Also, a 7 minute PR is something to be thrilled about, right? 🙂
I had lots of great runs this year. One that I loved was a gorgeous 5 mile run over the Hudson River walkway, with my cousin Doug. It was 4th of July weekend, the day before it had been pouring rain and I’d done a brutal Vo2max interval run and this was just a fun, relaxed run on a beautiful sunny day. I rarely run with friends, so it was such a nice change to be able to chat and enjoy the scenery with someone for a change.
Another awesome run (what can I say, I’m indecisive) was a long run I did on Summer Streets – on a few weekends in the summer, there’s a long stretch of Manhattan that’s closed to traffic, so that runners, cyclists and walkers can enjoy the city. I was pregnant but hadn’t shared that news with you, so it was just an easy-paced 12 miles soaking in NYC.
Best new piece of gear?
Hands down, my Oakley sunglasses. These were a gift from a media event I attended at the Oakley store on 5th Avenue. I have never run with sunglasses before – I just figured they would be uncomfortable, or they’d slip around when I got sweaty. But they were awesome! So light I forgot I was wearing them, they made a huge difference running in the summer. They’re also prescription, so it’s been pretty cool to actually see details of where I’m running! 😉
Best piece of running advice you received?
I got lots of advice from my coach, from reading running blogs, from talking to friends. But it was actually a comment on a blog post that really stuck with me. I had two half marathons within two weeks of each other – the Brooklyn Half and then the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Vermont. Originally I’d planned to run for my PR in the Vermont race, but I was feeling really good about Brooklyn and wasn’t sure if I should race it or just use it as a long run.
My friend Chris wrote, “Races are for racing…So much goes into having a good performance on race day, only some of which you can control…Don’t waste a chance to race.” He was right and it just took that comment for me to realize. I’m so glad I took that advice, because Brooklyn really was an amazing race day for me and as it turns out, the Covered Bridges Half wasn’t anywhere near the stellar race I thought (hoped) I would have.
Most inspirational runner?
Let’s face it, the pros are always inspiring. I could write about a handful of athletes and moments in pro racing that were inspirational to me. But really, it’s the everyday runners I find most inspiring. I love reading running blogs and seeing other people’s training, their goals and hopes, their race recaps after they’ve put all the hard work in to preparation. There are so many, I couldn’t list them. There are two women who have definitely inspired me personally this year though.
The first is Allie, from Vita Train for Life. When I first started reading her blog, she was beginning training for the World Duathlon Championships in Spain. Incredible, right? The woman represented her country!! But it’s Allie’s total lack of pretense, her humor, her humility, the fact that she trains like a beast while being the mama of twin 5 year old boys (!) and her enthusiastic support of every runner in our running blog community which made me want to be like her when I grow up. Then, when I interviewed her for Fit Mama Friday, I was stunned to find out that post-college, she joined a gym to get back into shape and boasted to her trainer that she ran a 10 minute mile on the treadmill. Now? She wins SWORDS instead of race medals.
The other inspiring runner I’ve loved following is Nellie, from Brooklyn Active Mama. Nellie started running again after a long hiatus just this year. I was so excited when she announced that she was going to sign up for a 10K in Disney, but then oops! she signed up for the half marathon instead! She began training in earnest, getting up super early so as not to take time from her family or career, sucking up the tough parts and just being unfailingly, awesomely Nellie about the whole experience. Then, she tricked everyone again by racing her first half marathon just three months after she began running, without telling anyone until she was done. Nothing can stop her. She just rocks.
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Eye opening. Humbling.
Eye opening because I never imagined I would be running faster than my PR’s all set in my early 30s, pre baby days. Never. It just all clicked for me this year that I could run faster, if I let go of my excuses, believed I could do it and trained my butt off. Talk about eye opening – this was my best year of running to date. I set PRs in every distance I raced.
Humbling because after a stellar year of training and racing, pregnancy threw me for a loop. Funnily enough, it was totally planned and I even tip-toed around writing about goals and plans for running once we had a time in mind that we wanted to start trying for another baby. I knew what it was like to run while pregnant, I had no grand plans to set any records and yet…it still threw me off when my body that was so fit and adapted to running and racing started slowing down, feeling ill and just not like me.
I’ve turned a mental corner and I’m really enjoying running (and even ‘racing’ again) now that I’m in my second trimester and feeling great.
So, what’s ahead for 2015? Quite a few more easy, slow runs, as I get ready to have this baby in the Spring. Then lots of snuggling and recovering after I meet my new little person. Then…who knows? Maybe a 10K or a half in the Fall, but I’m not ready to set any crazy goals for myself until I know how my body reacts and recovers after this birth.
I have a funny feeling my Year of Running for 2016 might be a doozy, though! 😉
Thanks again to Miss Zippy for this awesome link-up! I’m loving going through everyone’s Year of Running 2014!
Want to write your own Year of Running 2014? Don’t forget to link up at Miss Zippy!
Or feel free to answer one or all of the questions above in the comments. 🙂