Oh. Hi there, long-neglected blog. You know what I’m not very good at? Finding the motivation to blog when a) I’m not running very much, and b) a lot of other stuff is happening in life that I can’t really share publicly. Suffice it to say: some family issues were scary but are now much better, I’ve been pretty preoccupied with making some big changes happen in my life, and also… I’ve been watching a LOT of The Walking Dead instead of blogging. Sorry, not sorry.

It has re-inspired me to get my ass moving in training for the zombie apocalypse, though.
It has re-inspired me to get my ass moving in training for the zombie apocalypse, though. TEAM CAROL.

Looking Back at 2014

So, wow. What a year it’s been. I hate to look with any kinds of regret, because this year was totally monumental. Looking back I see my ankle injury in March that made the Nike Women’s Half and the Frederick Half pretty miserable. I see vividly my 18-mile long run for Marine Corps that ended in me knowing something was wrong, not just sore or tired, but really wrong with my right hip. These two injuries set back several races that could have been a blast, or at least way more triumphant than they were, but in a way, knowing I finished just makes it a different kind of major achievement.

What were some of the highlights of 2014?

1. Winter running early 2014

While most people spent the holidays and the first few months thereafter fretting over caloric consumption, I was in the best shape of my life. I went running about 4 or 5 nights a week, prepping for the Charleston Half and the Glass Slipper Challenge. I went to Body Pump religiously, and got down to my lowest weight since about sophomore year of college 6 or 7 years ago.

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I just felt great in my own body.

Every night that I went out running with just me, my music, and the pavement was a high I had never experienced during winter before. I was reminded of what a great winter of running it was two nights ago, Sunday, when I really felt no momentum to get running the 5 miles I had planned for the day as I build my base back up before my half marathon in January. As I crested the first hill of my out and back route around my old trusty neighborhood, I felt that familiar rush. I wear bright colors at night and am accustomed to swiveling my head 180*, so though I know running in the dark is not the safest life choice, it’s a risk I personally choose to take because there are few better feelings. I charged a hill as “Eyes Open” by Taylor Swift from the first Hunger Games movie played in my ears and huffed, “but you got something they don’t / yeah you got something they don’t” along with her. It was the kind of charge and electricity I just don’t get running on the treadmill.

2. Brooklyn Half and Queens 10K

CaptureBoth times I visited the Big Apple this year to run a New York Road Runners race were fabulous weekends. Brooklyn was a bit more hectic of a weekend, because I tried to see ALL THE FRIENDS in TWO DAYS. Queens 10K I specifically made a little more low-key – it was a Sunday race so I hopped on a bus up Saturday morning, picked up my bib and shirt at the NYRR building, and subwayed it to my friend Jordan’s apartment in Astoria. We had pasta for dinner, I PR’d the 10K the next morning, we had delicious brunch, and I bussed it back to DC that afternoon. I loved both these races so much that I wore my Brooklyn shirt for the Big Kahuna, my first full marathon, and this shirt from the Queens race is still one of my favorites to wear as a sort of good luck charm to have a good workout. I love NYRR (okay, their customer service is shitty but hey, it’s New York) and really want to run the Bronx, Staten Island, and of course, NYCM and NYC Half races one day.

3. Shady trail runs in mid-summer

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Fall PR’s are made in the summer and spring PR’s are made in winter. Some of my very favorite memories of running this year, like in highlight #1, were just from getting out there running when I otherwise would have avoided it. Summer was all about training for my first marathon, Marine Corps. I lived in a neighborhood less safe for night running over the summer, so I had to either get out there in the morning, which were firsts for me, or I had to buck it up and hydrate heavily and find some solace in the shade of Rock Creek Trail. This made for some of the prettiest runs I’ve ever gone on. Sometimes the most rewarding runs are slow, hilly, humid, and don’t come with a bib, t-shirt, medal, or finish line. It’s just about running.

4. For better or worse, I became a stronger runner – I PR’d every distance!

At one point I just got so speedy!
At one point I just got so speedy!

The only race distance that was new to me in 2014 from 2013 was the full marathon. (Okay, technically the 8K too, but that’s a weird in-between the 5K and the 10K.) So, as ridonk as my time was for MCM, it was an insta-PR. A major highlight that ended up becoming somewhat of a lurking shadow was PRing the half-marathon right off the bat in January at Charleston, but that PR remains today, 7 half marathons later. (I’m coming for you, 2:15 half marathon, in 2015. You shall be fitting.) I already mentioned I PR’d the 10K as well, but I think the two most thrilling PR’s I had this year were at the Annapolis 10 Miler, a shocking 5 1/2 minute PR that felt like it came so easy and was the result of dedicated marathon training, as well as finally chasing down that sub-30 5K at the Autism Speaks 5K on the 4th of July. I had done so much speedwork in June that even with what felt like such a hilly 5K course, I nailed that sub-30 by 2 thrilling seconds, at 29:58. I was on a high for a week. Now to beat that in 2015. 🙂

5. Two major vacations – Vegas and Disneyland!

CaptureFriends! Food! Fun! Bright shiny lights! I had such, such, such a blast at both these events that while I very expensively lost my iPhone to a porta-potty in Disney, and very expensively lost my savings to slot machines in Vegas, I really want to go back and do these events again in 2015. Seeing some of my best friends from college in California during Disneyland Half weekend made my heart smile so, so big. Hanging out til late over drinks and talking running with runner friends in Vegas with a half marathon the next day was a dream come true, even though I had to mostly walk the 13.1. WORTH IT.

Looking ahead to 2015

My mantra has been INJURY-FREE 2015! INJURY-FREE 2015! I look back on 2014 and see two huge shadows, my ankle injury and my hip injury, that put a real cramp in my style for much of spring and fall. That SUCKS. That’s the best weather to run in! As much as I cherish the memories of my winter and summer runs, The last thing I want is to see April 2015 arrive and be limping from training for the Country Music Marathon poorly. So my 2015 resolutions look something like this:

1. Wherever life takes me, there will be core and hip strength exercises happening. Whatever is in my power to prevent injury, I will do.
2. PR all the distances again, even if just by a second. I want my speed to be at least back where it was at one point.
3. Go sub-6 in the full marathon. As long as I train injury-free, I see this as more than doable.
4. Be smarter with my budget. I don’t need three t-shirts from every race expo. And I don’t need to do all the races in every state. Yet.
5. Eat smarter and read more.

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Okay, reading more doesn’t have much to do with my fitness/running goals. But the biggest non-running related thing I did in 2015 was GRADUATE from GRAD SCHOOL. I made it! I got my Master’s in August and finally started going after some opportunities I didn’t have the time to go after before. Now that I have that MA on my resume, I want to take on more work and career responsibilities, but it also means that for now, I don’t have homework waiting for me when I get off work. AMAZING FEELING. Grad school killed my pleasure-reading vibes in 2014, so in 2015 I want to read at least 36 books. 3 per month should definitely be doable!

I think these are doable goals. My top priority really is my career and staying injury-free. Running is what keeps me sane when life, work, people drive me crazy, so I’ll definitely be making time for a lot of running in 2015 as I go after all my DREAMMMZZZZ.

Be back soon with a little New Year’s Day 5K race recap (wish me luck starting 2015 off!) and some talk about training for Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half and starting to train for Country Music Marathon!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

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