It’s January 2nd and after a road-trip down to SoCal for some time with my sister and future BiL and a short retreat in Indio, I finally have a moment to really reflect on the year.
Breaking 3 in Santa Rosa could have been the highlight of my running year, but my real highlight was the CIM marathon relay, because it really wasn’t about me and my goals. Of course, I wanted my relay team to do well, but I was really excited to see my friends and teammates’ training come to fruition in the full marathon. I am beyond delighted that I was there to witness so many people accomplish amazing things. The high of that weekend was pretty hard to come down from.
Two weeks later, the Oakland chapter represented at the Christmas Relays at SF’s Lake Merced for a last hurrah to celebrate an incredible first 6 months. It was fun and spirited and everything that I could have hoped for with my teammates and friends. That day my team ran negative splits every leg (Bob to Meg to Katie to me), and I ran negative mile splits on a rolling inclines sort of 4.46 mile course (and while trying to sober up from the previous night’s holiday festivities): 6:36/6:21/6:19/6:12/6:07. It was another great effort to cap off a year of quite a few efforts.
Here are the numbers for 2017:
- 2 marathon attempts
- 1 DNF (my first)
- 1 sub-3, a nearly 14 minute PR: 2:58
- 1st 18-mile race: 2:02
- 1st time running Wharf to Wharf: 38:21
- 3 5ks, each one a PR in the distance: 18:27
- Two relays
- CIM Marathon Relay Challenge 7.3 mi leg: time not sure because I kept going
- X-Mas Relays 4.46 mi leg: 28:22
2017 was a much more intentional run year than I’ve been in a long while. Prior to this year, I ran a couple of races a year: one would always be a turkey trot, and the other for the past 5-ish years has been a marathon. I’m a big run-streaker and I think in this last decade I’ve taken off maayyyybeeee two weeks from running, combined? This guaranteed a base of anywhere between 20 to 30 miles and training rarely included speedwork or anything super intentional beyond lacing up my shoes and heading out. This all goes to say that in hindsight, my two races a year were hardly true races, or very indicative of my running potential.
I started the year with Boston Marathon training with the intent of breaking 3 hours there, feeling I was in the best shape of my life, not to mention postpartum life. I ran my speed workouts 1-2x a week with Meg, took my easy runs easier, and looked for climbing adventures with new running friends like Erin. Unfortunately, when I developed the stomach flu the day we touched down in Boston, all hope went out the window.
The heartbreak of a DNF was possibly the best thing that happened to me. While in bed post-DNF with a 104 fever, I dragged out my computer to sign up for the Santa Rosa Marathon. It was the first of many spur-of-the moment race sign-ups that I did. I soon chose the Sirena-18 mile race in May, which did some to help me regain some confidence.
By the time Santa Rosa rolled around, I had joined Arete and also racked up 2 5ks PRs and a nice tempo at Wharf to Wharf under my belt as well. The summer races I treated less like races, and more as “fun” and “tempo” efforts. Part of it was to remember that these shorter races were just tune-ups. The other part was trying not to remember how much I hated pre-competition nerves. The same nerves that brought on anxiety-ridden nightmares and insomnia in high school.
Looking back on this year of running, I feel that I had much more true “races”, despite telling myself that most of these efforts were “for fun” and “good workouts”. The bare-naked truth is that prior to this year, my races in high school cross country were the last time I did truly intentional workouts beyond increasing mileage, and the last time I took big risks in my running. I was so burned out from racing and the anxiety that it brought, that I shied away from team-stuff and racing for a long time, thinking that I could be ok if I never really tried to be great. Being “good” or “better than the average runner” would be fine. Well, not even close.
After meeting so many amazing people this year and taking a chance on investing in them and myself, and with the numbers in from all the spontaneous race efforts, I feel pretty confident in racing in 2018. I’m ready to take more risks (maybe even blow up spectacularly from going out too fast) and be a lot more honest about testing myself. Already, I feel more at peace with knowing that if I fail at some of these tests, it’s all a healthy part of my growth. The best part now, is that I have an awesome team for inspiration and support!
Here’s the racing schedule so far for 2018:
2/4 Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon – registered
3/17 She is Beautiful 10k – registered
4/16 Boston Marathon – registered
7/22 Wharf to Wharf – not yet registered
12/2 California Internation Marathon – registered
Hope to see you at some of these races!