Friday, January 2, 2015

The Best of 2014

As far as running goes, 2014 just wasn't my year.  I had such high hopes. I went into 2014 calling it "the year of the marathon". My first marathon was supposed to be in April and then Marine Corps in the Fall.

My training for RNR Raleigh came to a screeching halt with my first 20 mile run. What followed was 4 months of physical therapy and 2 months of getting up the nerve and the athletic base to start running again. I DNS'ed more races than I ran, including Marine Corps.

To say I was frustrated would be an understatement. When I started running again in August, I felt like I had a huge hill to climb to get to where I was before I got injured. My legs felt heavy and nothing about it was easy.

But then something clicked. Looking at my training log it seems like all of the sudden with one 4 mile treadmill run everything changed for me. I stopped running intervals and my paces were dropping. I give a lot of credit to the Another Mother Runner 10k Finish It plan. I used it to train for my Thanksgiving Day 10k race and the workouts were more structured than anything I had tried before. And I was nailing them. Training for that race using that plan gave me so much confidence in my running.

As the Fall went on I PR'ed in the 5 mile, and 10k distance and placed 2nd in my Age Group for a trail run. I had so much fun coming back to running. Looking back on my injury, I can honestly say that I am thankful for it. While I could not see the benefits while I was in the thick of it, it gave me the chance to completely reset my running and the tools I needed to get even better.

So instead of looking at 2014 as "the year that wasn't" I prefer to focus on the positive experiences. And because I really like Miss Zippy's Year in Review (2012, 2013), here is my Best of 2014!

Best Race Experience
I'd have to say my best race experience was the Bull City Race Fest 5 miler.  It was a race I initially signed up for for fun because it was a local race and a lot of people I knew were running it. I was my first race in almost a year and my first in my Oiselle singlet. It was awesome to have friends and teammates on the course. Plus, I completely shocked myself with a >9 minute improvement over last year's time.

Best Run
It may seem strange but my best run was a 4 mile treadmill at a ungodly hour on a Monday morning in September. It was an easy 3 miles followed by 6 strides and I did the whole run without stopping once. This was huge for me. It got me thinking about the personal boundaries I set for myself and gave me the courage to push past them.

Best Piece of New Gear
My Oiselle singlet! This year I joined the Oiselle Flock and am having so much fun being part of this team!
Lovingly stolen pic from here

Best Piece of Running Advice
This came from my physical therapist who strongly indicated over and over again not to neglect my core and hip strengthening exercises. I very aware that running can't just be about actual running. To prevent another lengthy injury and to become a better runner I really need to make core work and hip strengthening exercises a priority.

Most Inspirational Runner
This would have to go to my Oiselle teammates near and far. I love reading their highs and lows and everything in between. In particular I absolutely love the little team we have assembled here in North Carolina. I've lucky to not only consider them my teammates but also my friends.

Oiselle Team NC at the City Of Oaks Marathon Relay in November

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
A total learning experience.

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