I’ve written a yearly running recap every year since I started blogging. Most years as I reflect I’m also starting to increase my training in January and think about a spring race. This year is different, and I’m enjoying the freedom to be slower and more deliberate. I’m working out solely to sweat and feel good — and keep my body healthy for baby — instead of eyeing a big race or time goal.
The change is hard in some ways but mostly refreshing, and I will say it’s nice not to feel guilty about skipping long runs when the winter weather is wicked and the alternative is hours on a treadmill!
I have been pregnant for almost half of 2015, but the early part of the year still brought a lot of race excitement and success.
I ran throughout the winter months planning to do the same two long races as 2014, Earth Day Half Marathon in April and Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon in May. While I also trained toward the possibility of an April 50K, which would have been my first ultra marathon, I ultimately decided not to run it. Read: My body, hips, and shins were hurting a lot in March, and I realized it was probably a poor idea to increase training even more and run my first ultra feeling miserable or worse.
I used the Earth Day Half as a final training run before Lake Wobegon, and while that made my time slower than the previous few years I knew I was actually in good shape for the marathon. It was also the nicest weather for this mid-April race day I can remember in the six years I’ve run it. Sunny and around 50 degrees feels amazing after a long winter.
I ran a local 5K I wanted to support during the last weekend of April, and while it also wasn’t my fastest time I ran a strong negative split, placed second female, and loved the rural course and familiar faces. I felt as ready for 26.2 miles as ever.
May 9th came, and it proved to be a beautiful day for the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon. I was (and still am!) so thrilled I was able to run the race I hoped and thought I was capable of.
Marathons are great for making new friends!
Crossing the finish line at 3:57 was a two minute PR and a five minute course PR, but it felt like so much more than that. After a training cycle full of small but frustrating aches and pains and setbacks I was over the moon to run a PR and another marathon under four hours. Even better than my time was the fact that I kept fighting the whole race. I kept it together during the final 10K when things really start to hurt, and I never gave up on my time goal.
The race was doubly special because I got to celebrate with my friend Jill as she finished her first marathon! Running and racing is always better with friends to share the journey — both the successes and the rough spots.
After this race I decided I would take a break from the demands of marathon training. I kept running, but it was slower, easier, and included more days off. I also figured it may help our chances of having a baby if my body was under a little less physical stress.
In June I ran another local 5K and on July 11th I ran a four mile race for my thirtieth birthday. It’s fun to race for fun, and there was something really satisfying to me about celebrating a new decade with a race. Even if it was ridiculously humid and the course sent us on a wrong turn. :-)
In August I found out I was pregnant, and my training focus since then has naturally switched. Running was no longer about me; it’s about baby and me. Hard training just didn’t seem right anymore, and first trimester exhaustion and upset stomach weren’t exactly motivating either. I know some women keep racing longer and even run marathons while pregnant, but I am not one of those women. And I don’t even think I want to be.
For me I’m glad to be able to walk and move lots at the farm, mostly keep up my normal work activities, and run enough to enjoy it without worrying much about pace or distance. Some months I’ve set small goals to run more than the previous month or do a certain number of workouts per week, but these are flexible goals just meant to keep me from skipping exercise for no reason.
I did do a holiday 5K race in November to connect with some friends, and that was the perfect blend of running and fun. I’m so glad these ladies agreed to run with me and embrace the Christmas spirit early!
This is a 2015 recap and not a post for new year goals, so I’m not even going to attempt to outline 2016. I do hope by the end of this year I can get back to some sort of running routine I feel good about, but that’s all I need to decide right now. So many things about having a new baby are unknown to me, and I want to take time to embrace the journey and maintain as much patience and wonder as I can. This is true for the happy times I know will come and those inevitable late nights and early mornings when I will be so tired I can’t think straight!
I’m grateful for the past year, and I look forward to what will come!
Do you have any personal highlights from the past year, running or otherwise?