2015 – The Year of Many Firsts!

It’s December 31st (I started this on December 31st so lets just pretend it was posted on that day). The day where you reflect on the past year and set goals for the upcoming year.  I am all about reflecting on the past – what went right, what went wrong, how can I prevent some of the mistakes/injuries/poor choices from happening again, but I do this on  just about every run where I have alone time to just think.  That being said, December 31st is really no different than any other day that involves a long run 😉

Exactly a year ago, I wrote a blog post “Best of 2014”.  I couldn’t help but look back at it before I began writing and boy did it crack me up.  I went from a rough spring full of injuries, not a lot of running, still breaking away from that ‘need to be lean, body competitions stage’ to finding crossfit, biking and setting a half marathon PR. 2014 was no doubt a great year and of course we all hope the following year will top the previous but I can wholeheartedly say that it did.  My expectations for 2015 were to just keep on rolling and keep on improving in all areas of the life.  I also learned the importance of taking care of your body.

2015 was not only the year of marathons but also the year of yoga!  I jumped around from different yoga studios and different types of yoga and I finally found my niche.  I do hot yoga about 3 times a week and 100% swear by it!

2015 started off a little rough in the running department.  After a painful Christmas morning 6-miler, I was pretty much out of commission for about a month due to some tibial tendinitis.  I managed to get out every once in a while for short runs but 4-5 miles was all I could handle for a good chunk of time.  Despite my crazy schedule and constant soreness, the best part about balancing running, crossfit and yoga is that when disappointment from not being able to run is bringing me down, I always have my Crossfit family to give me a kick in the butt and bring me up!

 

With not much training under my belt, my mom and I were off to Disney during February vacation for some sun, rest and relaxation.

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Just Kidding…we actually had a not-so-warm welcoming with 40-50 degree Florida weather, walked around Disney until we were sore, and then had the Disney Princess Challenge (10k on Saturday and Half Marathon on Sunday).  I was definitely worried about the races due to my lack of training.  I decided that I was going to race the 10k hard because if my tibia starting acting up during the half, I could say that I gave one of the races all I had.

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It was a solid plan considering I finished 3rd place in the 10k.  I was leading the race for a good chunk of time but my lack of running starting showing and I just couldn’t hang on.  I was proud of my finish but frightened for the half marathon that I was about to endure in less than 24 hours seeing as the short walk to buses was a painful and sore walk.

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But like always – we panic/stress/freak out but somehow manage to get it done! And in a little over a month my mom and I will be back again for our 3rd Disney Princess half marathon, second Disney Princess challenge, and first year tacking on the 5k too!

2015 was a year of (attempting to) balancing everything.  I have grown passionate about both running and crossfit.  Rather than try to be amazing at one, I just wanted to do well in both.  I had a solid half marathon PR from 2014 and didn’t feel the need to keep chasing a new one. I spent 2014 racing all my half marathons and wanted to learn to just enjoy the 13 mile distance.  With that mindset, I ran the Boston Run to Remember Half at a casual pace and was able to do the annual Memorial Day Crossfit Hero WOD the next day!

It felt really good to balance both and accept that not all races need to be a painful sprint.  With this slow and steady mentality, I thought that maybe a marathon was feasible.  Slowly increase my training runs and learn to keep a maintainable pace was something I was ready to do.  I signed up the San Francisco Marathon with the plan to just keep bumping up my mileage after the Boston Run to Remember half.  Each week I feared the increase in mileage.  14 to 16 was frightening but with a couple running buddies, it was accomplished and felt great. Then 18…then back to 15..then 20…and just like that, I chipped away at all my training runs and was ready to taper.  (I was short for training time so I had to do some pretty decent jumps in mileage, it was not something I would suggest or would have done if time was on my side.)  Every Sunday morning was a bit of a panic as I set out to run an unfamiliar and long distance but with a determined mindset and some running buddies to pull me through those final miles, June was a month of huge victories in the training department.  These small victories eventually led to an even bigger and better victory..my first marathon!

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It was beyond memoriable.  I fell in love with this city when I did the half marathon last year and I was so excited to be back with my best friend.  It was a vacation of so many memories and a race that tops all other races.   I ran conservatively because it was my first marathon and I didn’t want to do anything crazy..but still had a BQ in mind.  With each mile that passed, I just felt more and more confident and excited that it was all happening.

I took a few days after the marathon to recover but knew I had a 100 mile team relay coming up so I tried to remain active while taking care of myself.

This was my first relay and it was NO JOKE.  I had to laugh because there were moments that I thought my 6 mile legs were more challenging then my 26 mile race 2 weeks prior. The rolling hills, the run-sit-run-sit-run thing and the not-fully-recovered-marathon legs made for a tough day. Difficulty aside, it was a ton of fun and I would 100% do it again.

As September rolled in and school was starting back up, I kept thinking about a fall marathon.  I wasn’t training for anything in particular but I still kept my long run Sundays at about 12-15 miles.  I figured that I should capitalize on that mileage and crank out one more marathon.  While I was sitting on that idea,  I accomplished another first.

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My first Spartan Race. A friend from crossfit was not able to take part so I volunteered to take her spot even though I knew very little about the spartan race… and even less about the Spartan Beast.  “It’s some obstacle course right??” …lets just say, if you go into the Spartan Beast with that mindset, you will be in for a RUDE AWAKENING. I took some advice and bought a Camelback and some hearty snacks for the trek because it finally dawned on me the day before the race that this was probably not just an obstacle course.  And that thought was more and more solidified with each passing hours that we were out there…imageThe line of the day was “I am never doing this again!” But like all things that involve dedication, challenge, pain and end in pride…I always go back for more. Though I don’t plan on going back to the beast for some time, I got a little Spartan fix from the Spartan Sprint at Fenway park in November.  45 minutes rather than 8 hours was much more tolerable..and a night out in Boston with friends is always a plus.

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Once I was able to walk again after the Spartan Beast (Spartan Beast made me more sore than anything I have ever done..including the marathon!), I picked up my running mileage a bit.  When a 14 miler went so well that it turned into a 19 miler in October, I decided it was time to commit to a fall marathon.  I had my eyes on Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas but my wallet and work schedule were not on the same page so I opted for the Philadelphia Marathon.  I figured I made the right choice after hearing the weather was terrible in Las Vegas.  After an amazing weekend in Philadelphia, meeting a new running friend, and an 11 minute PR it could not have been more clear..Phildelphia was the right choice.

A couple weeks after my marathon I mustered up the energy to take part in another Crossfit competition..

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and the following day I got a 5k PR.

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A PR is always great, but not when it comes paired with a calf injury.  I guess after spending the previous few months running high mileage and taking part in a crossfit competition 15 hours prior..my body was ready to take a rest and I didn’t comply.  That being said, as I am hours away from a new year my focus and resolutions are not the usual, “work out more, lose weight, go to the gym…” My goal is to listen to my body and learn to rest.  I am such an active person and hate being stagnant.  Even if I try to be couch potato for a day and do the whole ‘watch netflix all day’ thing, I get bored within an hour and am ready to do something.

2015 was certainly a year I will never forget because there were so many incredible firsts and I was able to enjoy these firsts with the people I love.  I have no expectations for 2016.  Just like years past, I am sure there will be bumps in the road and injuries I will have to nurse but I am sure there will be moments, races, and events that I can’t even imagine/predict.  Exactly a year ago at the the start of 2015, I had no idea nor did I hope to run a marathon or do a Spartan race in 2015.  Each year is a journey. I rather just enjoy the ride than set goals and expectations for how I want my year to go.  The surprises are what make it memorable and more enjoyable!

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