My Year of Running 2014

My Year of Running 2014

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? 🙂

My Year of Running 2014

Best run?

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.

My Year of Running 2014

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! 😉

My Year of Running 2014

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.

Fit Mama Friday - Meet Allie

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.

My Year of Running 2014

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.

My Year of Running 2014

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!

The lovely Amanda, aka Miss Zippy

 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. 🙂

Happy Running!


  1. Karen @karenlovestorun says:

    Sounds like a great year! I’m a NYC/tri state area gal and some of these races look great!
    I am also pregnant and in my second trimester but unfortunately my running has turned into walking thanks to some SI joint/back pain (ouch!). It’s awesome that you are still running! 🙂
    Karen @karenlovestorun

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Congrats Karen!! But sorry about the SI pain, that is no joke. Have you tried prenatal yoga? I’ve been doing it weekly and it’s helped so much!

  2. Great post! I may have to join in the fun. It’s inspiring to read others’ experiences and learn from them. I really like that you phrased the year as “eye opening” and “humbling” because one of the best things about running is that it helps up to grow so much as a person! Cheers to great running in 2014 and in the year ahead!
    Ruthie@She’sWickedHealthy recently posted…Workout Wednesday: Why You Should Give an F About Your Posture (and How to Make it Better!)My Profile

  3. Oh My word Carly why must you make me cry so early in the morning? Thank you so much for your kind words, you must know that your unbelievable support has carried me through many days and many runs but most of all your constant encouragement just made me feel as if I can DO IT and that is what keeps me running. I am so happy to be a part of this world now! I love all of your preggo running photos, that inspires me too if I ever decide to have a third! Big hugs!
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…Weekly Wednesday Workout: Easy Side Sit UpsMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      It was from my heart, Nellie! You are a true running rockstar and I am ridiculously excited to watch you conquer the next big, scary distance!!!!

  4. Congrats on a great year of racing and PRs in every distance!!! I joined Miss Zippy’s linkup too, always fun to go back and look at the year. I love all the photos of you running with the baby bump – your little one is going to come out running!
    Gabby @ Marathons and Macarons recently posted…Holiday Parties and Goals for Sunday’s 5KMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thanks Miss Gabby! You had a pretty unbelievably good year yourself! 🙂 Loved your post in the link up and totally agree with Amanda – your race photos are all awesome because you’re so clearly HAPPY in every single one! 🙂

  5. You know I LOVE your pics for inspirational runners, right? Two awesome mamas. And I also love your piece of advice and the fact that you followed it. Such true words. You had some great racing and running this year–7 min. PR at the half? Yes!

    Thanks for linking up!
    misszippy recently posted…Staying the course isn’t always easyMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thanks for hosting! 🙂 And yeah to #motherrunner power! Allie and Nellie were amazing this year.

  6. What a great year of running/races. There are so many great ones for me as well, that I couldn’t just pick one.
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…The OTHER Charcter meal at DisneyMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      You had an awesome year as well, Lacey! I love how many races you and your whole family do, it’s so awesome. 🙂

  7. What a great recap of your year!!! I love that you picked Allie & Nellie as your 2 most inspirational runners.
    You had a pretty epic year of running – I’m sure that after you have your sweet new baby you will be back out there pounding the pavement stronger than ever!!!
    Kim recently posted…My Year of Running 2014My Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      I am really curious to see how postpartum running is for me this time – it took me a while to get back into the swing of it after Roman. Loved your post on your year of running too. 🙂

  8. Love Love Love this and hell yes, a 7 minute PR is something to be proud of!! I loved how you went for it this year. And I know what you mean about surprising yourself about running faster. I love your picks for inspirational runners. Both of those women are rockstars in my book!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…6 Upper Body Exercises for RunnersMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      I know you know what I mean, speedy mama! You had a killer year as well, setting PR’s all over the country! 😉

  9. Wow – so inspirational! Our half-marathon times and goal times are very similar, but I have yet to break 1:50… Awesome job!
    Karien @ Running the Race recently posted…Ctrl + Alt + DelMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      It took me years to believe I could break 1:50, Karien, I bet 2015 will be your year for doing it! I really committed to the half this year – I wanted that PR to go DOWN, ha ha! 😉

  10. I love the advice, “don’t waste a chance to race.” This is great advice and so true, races can serve as great speed workouts even if you don’t hit the PR you are looking for. Here’s to crushing that 1:45 Half time this year! Happy holidays!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…My Year of Running 2014My Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Thanks, Sandra! Hearing/reading that advice was such a lightbulb moment for me. Happy Holidays to you, too! 🙂

  11. What a great racing year you had! To set PR’s in every distance you raced is amazing. You rock!
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…A Little Girl Finding The Perfect Christmas TreeMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      Awww, thanks Deb! Yup, it was definitely my best year yet. But of course I’m so competitive with myself I want my second postpartum comeback to be even more momentous! 😉


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