Wow, 2016 was quite an exciting year! This past year has been filled with lots of running, particularly motivated by my goal to get back to my pre-pregnancy shape. In the process of working towards reaching that goal, I also managed to become a faster runner, which in no way was my main focus of the year. Despite the fact that I ran far fewer races that I have in previous years, since I chose to focus on running quality races instead of focusing on a total number of races, it truly was an incredible year of running! And even with running fewer races, I managed to PR in all three distances of races that I ran this past year.
I’m excited to reflect on this past year of running, and to once again participate in Courtney’s Year of Running linkup.
My Running by the Numbers (as of December 14th):
Total Miles Run: 519.5 (So far 15 miles more than 2015, and the year isn’t over yet! I also wasn’t cleared by my OB to start running again until the end of January.)
4 Half Marathons
My Best Race Experience:
Without a doubt, my favorite race of the entire year was the Wine and Dine Half Marathon last month at Disney World. Preston and I waited more than a year and a half after our initial registration, which we deferred because of my pregnancy, to run this race, and the wait was well worth it. Running at Disney with absolutely zero focus on my finish time, and doing so with my husband, was such a fun experience.
My Best Run:
I ran my strongest half marathon in 2016 at Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly back in September. I spent all summer training for this race, and although I faced the challenge of balancing my time as a mother, as well as lots of summer travel, during my training cycle, I still successfully managed to secure a PR for myself. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly course is flat for the most part, and is quite scenic, so its an easy race to focus on a fast run at.
My Best New Piece of Running Gear:
I don’t know what I’d do without my BOB stroller. Being able to take little man with me for runs makes scheduling my running so much easier. He wasn’t big enough, and didn’t have enough head control, for me to be able to run with the BOB until late in the summer, but being able to take him with me made it so that I didn’t have to coordinate for somebody else to watch him while I went for my run.
The Best Running Advice I Received this Year:
So many people encouraged me to not focus on my pace, or to be discouraged by it, during my postpartum return to running. While I was initially disappointed to see how slow I was in my first weeks of returning to running, in the end I wound up being able to become a faster runner than I had been prior to getting pregnant. Patience, persistence, and determination paid off.
My Favorite Medal:
ZOOMA Annapolis in June was my first postpartum half marathon. (Yes, I ran/walked Rock ‘n’ Roll DC in March, but it was a training run – I ran the first eight miles – and then I walked the rest of the race). My ZOOMA medal symbolizes so much for me, particularly my postpartum fitness.
My Favorite Picture from a Run or Race this Year:
I continue to look at this finish line photo of Preston and I taken as we crossed the finish line of Wine and Dine last month. When I compare it to our Disney World Half Marathon finish line photo from January 2014, I can’t help but see just how much I’ve improved as a runner, and how much more fit I’ve gotten.
The Race Experience I Would Repeat in a Heartbeat:
I know that I keep mentioning Wine and Dine, but it was such a fun race weekend. I cannot wait to be able to return to Disney and run another race.
If You Could Sum Up Your Year in a Couple of Words What Would They Be?
Completely unexpected. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that running would serve so many purposes for me this year. It served as a form of self care during my postpartum recovery. It was my way to escape from the stresses of motherhood at home, and a way for me to feel like I was the old, pre-mother, me. I never expected running to serve this purpose.
I also never expected to make the improvements with my pace that I did this past year. “Speed work” wasn’t a priority this year, but running with the BOB stroller was certainly a great resistance workout, which helped me to become a faster runner when I ran without it.
I currently only have one confirmed race on my 2017 calendar: the Chicago Marathon. I’m excited to undertake the challenge of training for and running my first marathon. While I have a list of quite a few other possible races in 2017, I haven’t committed to any other races yet. I’d like to run one, maybe two, half marathons in the spring before I turn my focus to marathon training. Hopefully I’ll make a decision soon as to which race(s) I’ll be running.
QOTD: How was your year of running? Did you accomplish everything that you wanted to? What are your big goals for 2017?