Monday, January 11, 2016

Courage: 2016

CONNECT 2016: Run with others!
In a change from previous years, I've been slow and deliberate in deciding my run goals for this year. In part because I just returned from a long vacation abroad and had to re-acclimate myself to work, routine and the timezone. 

I've also taken my time because of my end of the year, season-ending injury and my desire to come back strong yet remain injury-free. 

I needed to balance my desire to not let fear stop me from achieving or seeking #WomanUp2016 type goals vs. being smart about my return to running and what my body is capable of {at this moment}. 

Courage. It's my word for the year. The word that will guide me, that will push me. Courage to challenge myself, to grow, to be uncomfortable. It's the word that will drive me to achieve my goals and it is also the word that will help me ask for help when I need it. It's the word that allows me to step back, reassess and know that achieving my goals is a journey and it's the path I take that's important not the outcome. {especially important for me and my history of injury}.

2016 Goals

  • Connect with other runners: Last year I spent too much time running alone. Not only do I enjoy running with others, I also learn a lot and it helps me be a stronger runner. 
Group run with the Runegades:
I could hang!
There are two local running groups: The Lopers and The Runegades. I've participated in the past with the Lopers. They're the group that helped me train for my first marathon in 2010-2011. The Lopers are an inclusive bunch with lots of different pace groups. I've participated off/on through out the years and they host group runs on Sundays and speed training on Tuesdays. 
The Runegades are a speedier bunch. I've known about them for awhile, but didn't join because of my fear that I wouldn't be able to hang. I finally joined at the end of last year, but because of my injury didn't run with them until this past weekend. They host group runs on Saturdays. They also have mid-week runs/speed training on Tuesdays, Wednesdays (track), Thursdays. 
I've also partnered up with my friend and fellow Oiselle Volee teammate, Dani for the 6-week #runlovechallenge. We're both participating in a weight-lifting/strength-training workshop on Monday mornings. And as of this morning, we now run together prior to the class to warm-up. 
Goal: Participate in at least one group run a week. 
  • Develop a routine (make it a habit) for essential non-running activities for running: This includes core work, keeping up with my physical therapy/glute strengthening exercises, pilates/yoga, strength-training, sleep and stretching. This also includes setting aside plenty of time to rest and recover.

  • Run a sub-4 hour marathon: My goal race is the 2016 California International Marathon on December 4th. I pretty much have the whole year and I am going to take this time to develop a strong base. I deferred the 2015 race due to injury and I don't want that to happen this year. Marathon-specific training will start in August and until then, I will focus on getting stronger.
  • Run a sub-1:45 half-marathon: My primary goal is the sub-4:00 marathon but I will also attempt this goal this year at a half-marathon (actually, at multiple half-marathons) not yet determined.
That's all my run goals. I debated adding a mileage goal. Last year I attempted to run 2,015 miles in 2015 and ended 300 miles short. I thought about joining the 2016 challenge. I thought about making a goal to run at least one more mile than I did last year. I came to the conclusion that for me, I need to focus on quality miles and not quantity. If I end up running more than last year, hoorah! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

the path taken: reflections on 2015

Trail running between Grasmere and Ambleside:
The Lake District, Cumbria, England December 2015
I've been mulling over my 2016 goals, as people are wont to do this time of year, and I have ideas and notions on what I want to achieve. Before I put pen to paper, I want to reflect on the year that was--which is somewhat strange for me. Usually, I just charge forward with the new year and new goals. I think it's because on first glance it looked like I failed big time and did not achieve any of my 2015 run goals:

  • Run 2,015 miles in 2015
  • Run a sub-1:45 half-marathon
  • Run a sub-4:00 marathon
Reviewing my stats for the year, has helped me reframe my failures into progress: *I always feel a bit weird writing lists like this because it feels a bit like boasting and showing off, but really listing things like this pulled me out of bit of depressive funk because of my injury*
  • In 2015, I ran 1,712 miles. In 2014, I ran 1,102 miles. Over 600 miles more!
  • I ran my first full marathon since I broke my kneecap in 2012. It took me over 2 years to finally register and run a race this distance. I'm still not comfortable with it, but I did it!
  • I set personal records in all race distances I attempted:
  • 1/2 Marathon: 1:47:38 (Surf City, Feb 2015) 
  • Marathon: 4:24:09 (LA Marathon, March 2015) 
  • 5K: 22:44 (PossAbilities, April 2015)  
  • Not only did I PR in a 5K, I won it! First place, overall female. And as a prize, won some cash--enough for a new pair of running shoes, a marathon race registration and a couple of GUs.
  • I learned I have weak glutes, especially my right side (the side with the broken kneecap). But because of this, I am working with a kick-ass physical therapist who has been challenging me and torturing me with exercises that will only make me stronger and more well-rounded.
  • I met a lot of strong, awesome Oiselle Volée teammates throughout the year for group runs, Ragnar Wasatch Back, cowbell corners and of course, brunch. Oh, and even a NFL fantasy football league (ha ha). 
  • I was selected to be an ambassador for Nuun and joined the team.
  • In December, Paul and I were able to travel to England for most of the month where I was able to enjoy some breath-taking, gorgeous and pain-free running (I tried to run or walk at least 3 miles everyday while there, never running more than 2 days in row).
For 2016, I will still have some goals related to distance and time (#womanup2016). I also want to run more with others and participate in more group runs. To that end, I'll become active with my two local run groups again and participate in the #runlovechallenge with my friend, Dani. We've already decided to run together Monday mornings before strength training. I'll also make sure to continue my PT work, yoga/pilates, stretch and sleep. 

Right now these are all nebulous ideas floating around my head and I'm still a bit jet-lagged from my trip, but I'll formalize them soon.