A Look Back on 2015: Chasing A Time & Trying Again Another Day

Now that I’m all settled in a new place, here’s one of the posts that’s been sitting around…


The last year has been a bit unusual for me.

Over the past 3-4 years, I’ve pretty much PRed every race I’ve run.

If not a new PR, I’ve run exactly the same time as my then-PR (twice! Once in back to back half marathons and another with 5Ks that were a year apart). Disregarding races when coming back from injuries of course.

So the Boston Marathon was a bit of an anomaly.

Add into that, Boston is Boston. It’s a race full of fast people that some of us (who are young or not serial Boston runners) have dreamed the ‘if only one day I can be fast enough to run it’ dream.

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Race Recap: Mountains 2 Beach Marathon

And that’s marathon #4!

This race wasn’t originally planned. After recovering from Boston and from the cold I got following Boston, I started looking around to see if I could find a marathon to make another attempt at a 3:30. During Boston, I made the conscious choice 16 miles in to pull back. So I felt like it was worth looking a few weeks out rather than picking a race later in the year & having to train the full 4 months ago.

Luckily, a fellow runner and friend (Katherine) was also chasing a 3:30. After asking what time frame I should be looking at, to realistically recover and get in a couple weeks of training, she and I connected to try and find a race.

By the way, the recommendation was to find a race 7-8 weeks out. We picked one that was 5.
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Recap: 119th Boston Marathon

So life has been pretty busy since I ran Boston, but I hopped back on to write a new post & realized that even though I wrote up my entire recap for Boston a few days after, I never actually published it! Self fail. So here’s that post, unchanged, a month late. Oops?


 I AM A BOSTON MARATHONER!!!

Woo, got that off my chest. Final finish time was 3:45:54 for a pretty solid marathon. Now this recap is going to be all over the place, mostly because the day itself was crazy and partly because I’m not sure quite how to express it.

Fair warning: really long post ahead!

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Even the airport got some Boston Marathon flavor.

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Setting Reminders: Boston Registration

In case you missed it, the Boston Athletics Association announced the dates registration for the 2015 Boston Marathon will begin. Set your reminders for September 8th and keep an eye on their website. That will be the first day of a rolling registration, where runners who beat their qualifying time by 20 minutes or more can sign up.

For the slower individuals like myself, registration isn’t likely to start until the next week on September 15th. My fingers are definitely crossed that I’ll make it in, as I have a 90+ second cushion.

The nice part about the timing is I’m just getting back to it again. That means not quite 3 months to get back into running shape. Then, the running gods working in my favor, I’ll have 3 months to get into training shape before I jump into full on marathon training.

As a complete side note, hotels for the Boston Marathon weekend are crazy!! Super glad some friends recommended going ahead and reserving rooms, just in case. For all of you who are holding your breaths with me to get into Boston, we don’t have too much longer to wait. Good luck!

A Running Year in Review: 2013

be happyWhen I started this year off still bouncing back from 6 months off and physical therapy, there’s no way I could have imagined how it would go. The first half of the year took some time to gain steam and was my hardest struggle across 2013. Nothing seems more difficult than having to start from the beginning all over again.

Luckily I forced myself out of complacency by joining The Little Things for Cancer charity team to tackle the Marine Corps Marathon. Now there was a goal to work towards and no excuses.

That effort allowed me to stay strong as I worked back into shape and I celebrated it by taking part in I ❤ to Run‘s March challenge to run every day. That was definitely hard even if “easy” days were just one mile. March was topped off with my first 15K (race at least) ever in the Hot Chocolate San Diego 15K that went much better than I was expecting at the time. I got to set my first PR for it and did better than my training had predicted.

Coming off the positive vibes of the 15K saw me through the next few months as I worked to have a solid base in preparation for marathon training. Without a race near on the calender, hitting those 40 mile weeks consistently was difficult. Eventually I returned to Florida in June so that I could train with the group and coach who had been with me through the past 2 years.

The end of June saw the start of marathon training and the height of the Sunshine State’s summer. With a 3:40 time goal at MCM there could be no slacking just because of warm weather. Summer made me a bit wary of chasing a faster finish time since I trained through fall and winter for Miami, but being Type A and very competitive meant going for it anyways.

Proof that experience helps showed in the fact that handling the mileage load was easier this time around. It culminated with my highest week ever at 64 miles! That was kind of crazy for me as I always remember being the underachiever when I was younger. Marathon training went much better than the first time and I had a solid 18 weeks of running to prepare me for MCM.

I’m pleased (read: mad excited!) with all my running accomplishments this year, but nothing was more amazing than running the Marine Corps Marathon. From all the Marines on course to having a 26.2 mile sight seeing run, I was in awe of the entire experience. Only for it to get even better with a great race where I didn’t hit the wall. There was the thought that one day I would aim for a Boston qualifier, but I truthfully did not believe it would happen at this race.

What made it even sweeter was being able to share that accomplishment with running friends and my family. I’m not sure many other races will compare to having my mother travel up to D.C. just to see me run this race. Or to find out my father was constantly following the updates and posting to Facebook as I progressed through the race. The sheer amount of support from all of my family and friends leaves me without words to properly express my thanks.

Then I got to follow it up a month later with a PR and age group win at the Women’s Half Marathon running 3 minutes faster than my last PR. Huzzah! And of course, a week later letting the rest of my running friends race a half while I tackled the shorter 5K for another PR.

There may not have been a lot of races on my calender in 2013 but they were of such a high quality that I cannot complain. Without any doubt, I am happy with the path I’ve traveled this year.

happinessIf 2013 has taught me nothing else, it’s that there is always a little bit further you can go, a little more you can give, and what you are possible of may just surprise yourself. I wish you all great running and fun races in 2014. On to the new year!

Race Decisions & Time Off

I didn’t broadcast it, but I had been throwing around the idea of running the Jacksonville Marathon on December 29th.

My original thought process was that I could come off the half at the end of November and get a couple weeks of hard, high mileage training. Maybe about 2 weeks of good work in and then slip into taper with the intent to try and beat my MCM time at Jax. I say this because Jacksonville is supposedly a flat and fast course, a small race, and generally has good running weather.

The first week of December I got in a good 45 mile week, but caught a mild cold going into the second week. After pretty much getting no miles in, I made the executive decision to nix Jax for the full, and a few days later, the half as well.

As I was reminded, I’d basically been training with no time off for well over 6 months. There were rest days, but nothing really under 1-2 days off and 35 miles minimum a week . After deciding I couldn’t tackle another marathon the way I would want (which would be chasing a better time, not just for fun) it really settled on me that it was the best decision.

So for the last couple of weeks I’ve just been running casually. Nothing longer than 10 miles and spread out with more days off. Pretty much just letting my body relax and recover from a hard year of running.

I’m super happy with what I’ve been able to accomplish this year, even if half of it was spent rebuilding myself as a runner. But sometimes it’s making the decision to back off and let your body just enjoy being in good health. So while I may pick up anything from a 5K to a 5 miler in the next week just for fun, no major plans at the moment.

Take this as some friendly advice: taking a break from training to just enjoy life and maybe run can do a lot to keep your body and motivation going. Plus, I definitely don’t want any injuries since I plan to have an awesome spring season of running too.

So I’ll relax until after the new year when I can start tackling the build up for Ragnar and a potential ultra challenge for Gasparilla. Are your spring racing plans already set?

The Post-Race Void

It’s interesting that we spend all those months of training looking forward to THE Race (caps intended). Especially as the mileage ramps up and the event itself is so close, yet still not quite there, where we want it to happen only so we can spend less time training. Finally, the weekend arrives and all the excitement is focused on having a good time and a great race.

Then suddenly, it’s done. The training is over. No more rearranging our days to get all the miles in. No more planning weekends around long runs. No more intensive mental preparations to make this race the one we’ll always remember (though truthfully, we’ll remember every single one).

You take the few days after off. Instead of running, they’re spent recapping with friends, responding to posts of congratulations, putting up pictures of our triumph, and basking in the glow of achievement. Then it’s time to reverse taper back into a semi-regular schedule. Training no longer, simply running because it’s what we enjoy.

End_of_the_Road_Wallpaper_y3v85Yet even then, it feels like there’s a hole. A gap in our existence. Without another big race on the horizon, we lack the purpose of the past many months. An empty void in our lives. A beautiful void (we’ve been waiting for this moment, for the training and the race to be done), but a void nonetheless. And it feels weird. I think “shouldn’t I be training for something? and “shouldn’t my days be consumed with my workouts and the end goal of a race?” It’s hard to re-adjust to the mentality where my life isn’t all consumed by this event somewhere in the near future that’s steadily getting closer, while never being quite close enough.

It seems weird, but I especially feel bereft after completing the Marine Corps Marathon. I met my goal! Not only did I break the time I set for myself of 3:40 so long ago, I went a step further and ran a Boston Qualifier time. While I did not believe I would never run one, I also didn’t really expect it to happen so soon. I sort of expected more years building up my race experience and improving my training before it happened. Now, I simply have to wait until next fall when registration for 2015 opens.

Luckily, not all is an empty void in my future. I’ve plans for a half marathon just before Thanksgiving. There’s high hopes in my mind coming off this marathon that I can go on to PR my half marathon time as well. Plus, somewhere in the next 2 months I hope to run a 5K as well in the hopes of another PR. (All that success going to my head.)

While that void has been in my mind, it’s been good to get back out and just run. Plus having smaller events and goals to run towards is helping me keep from becoming completely distracted.