A powerful month. Having reached many goals before December, I decided to raise the bars to challenge myself further. I was within 20 miles of my original goal of 365 miles in 2015 so set a new goal to reach 400 miles.
Inspired by the streaking success of MT, I just tried to get out as often as possible and run (usually at least 3 miles). I spent 10 days in the midwest for the holidays and got out for several delightful runs on both familiar and new streets and trails. I reached 400 miles by Christmas Eve and didn’t bother looking back.
I looked at my totals on Dec 30th after my run and realized I could make it to 75 miles in the month of December if I ran 7.5 miles on New Years Eve. The whole thing felt auspicious and I couldn’t resist. The run was long and cold but was so amazing. At certain parts I focused so intently on my feet and my breathing the world seemed to melt away. At other parts I reflected and thought about my year and my future and barely noticed as the sidewalk moved under me. 75 miles in a month is most certainly a record for me, and one that gives me obscene amounts of courage and inspiration.
2016 is going to be remarkable. I can feel it.
To say I finished strong for the 2015 race calendar would be an understatement. MT and I ran the Skagit Valley Jingle Bell 5k in early December and wowee-wee-wah. We both PR’d AGAIN.
My time of 31:26 was almost 3 minutes faster than my previous PR. I was on fire. In addition to a nice mostly flat course, the weather was cool, and I started in the front of the pack and kept up with some speedy runners. Having PR’d in the previous two races, I was feeling motivated to push myself hard in this race and was really aiming for a PR. Whodathunkit.
You might ask yourself, as I have been, what is going on?! Well, I’ll address this in a future post so stay tuned, but let me say that I realize I’m unlikely to touch this race PR any time soon. The course was just a bit shy of an actual 5k (3.05mi by my GPS watch) but I’m not going to let that last .05 get in the way of my celebrating this achievement. Even if the course had been correctly measured, my time would have had approximately an additional 20 seconds, which would still be a huge PR.
Now, it’s time to set new running goals for 2016! I’m pondering a few things and will let you all know as soon as I’ve decided!
Have you sent 2016 running goals yet? What are they?
November 14, 2015 at the Skagit Valley Fowl Fun Run I ran another 5k PR : 34:24 – almost a full minute faster than the previous PR.
I was running on very little sleep after receiving devastating news the night before, and in crappy weather, but somehow I just zoned out and maintained an average pace just under 11mins. This was HUGE for me.
I spent the first mile just keeping my head down and trying to keep the rain out of my eyes. Once I settled into my pace and the crowd thinned a bit, I stayed on the heels of a woman who had knee high pink leopard print socks on. And next thing I knew, the race was over. She kicked into high gear at the last 50 meters or so and I couldn’t keep up with her, but following close to her the whole race gave me something to focus on.
MT, of course, ran as well but did the 10k. She also achieved an impressive PR and we both left in high spirits. Being my forever cheerleader, MT has served as continuous running (and life) inspiration to me over the years and I am immensely grateful for her friendship and encouragement. This day was particularly difficult for me to get through, and I was extra thankful to have her by my side and to have something to celebrate.
We didn’t take a picture after the race, or at least I don’t have one – so instead, here are two other pics of MT and I.
Here we are in 2013 before the Whidbey Island half marathon. This was my first half marathon which was quite the challenge. I don’t think I would have had the courage to do it without her. The weather was awful, but the day remains as an all-time favorite memory.
This one is a bit more recent. We went to the pumpkin patch together in October and couldn’t help but snap this selfie.
I busted my left ankle (the only real good one I had left, if you’re following my injury history) falling down some stairs on September 29th which was a major bummer. (It was also the least of the bummers in my life that day but that story is for another time…)
On October 10th, after taking about a week off of running to nurse my ankle, I ran the Everyday Super Heros 5k with my best running buddy, MT. It was a small crowd so we decided to start near the front of the pack rather than navigate strollers and dogs and children. This turned out to be a great strategy for me. While I certainly didn’t have negative splits on the race, my quick start pace set me up for a 5k PR of 35:18 (ok, it was seconds longer than my Whidbey race, but this race was all trails and hilly rather than flat and pavement, so I count it).
MT’s amazing little one even ran across the finish line holding my hand. It was a good race.
Last weekend I ran the Camano Island Crab Dash 5k! It was a beautiful hilly run with a great crowd. There were less crab costumes and hats than anticipated, but the runners were kind and encouraging. Locals came to the road to cheer folks on, and the race organizers did a fantastic job of course marking, water stations, and support after the race. This was a local gem I will most certainly do again!
The ever-inspiring MT did the 10k and tackled a nasty hill at mile 4-5 – called King Crab Hill. I was not sad that the 5k didn’t head that direction. We had some nice ups and downs but nothing traumatic. Here we enjoying the pre-race shade.
The race shirts are so good: a cartoon crab with a different brand of running shoe on each leg. Adorable. Post-race and feeling accomplished, we changed out of sweaty gear for the ride home.
We stopped at Salt & Thistle Provisions in Stanwood to celebrate their grand opening where we met the Stanwood mayor, grabbed some presents for our families, enjoyed delicious coffee, and split the best carrot cupcake I’ve ever had. We also couldn’t resist taking home some cinnamon rolls right from the oven. What a fabulous June race!
Whidbey Island 5k (Sunday)
The last time I participated in this race day was 2013 when I ran my first half marathon. Six days after a very bad ankle sprain, I braved torrential rains and blustery winds to hobble through my first 13.1 miles. It was an accomplishment that came with mixed emotions, but I am still proud of my ability to persevere through that race.
I felt this year was to be a triumphant return to Whidbey even though I was running the 5k and not the half. Saturday after Fun with the Fuzz I was just feeling good. I felt something in my bones and my muscles and my mind that all told me I was stronger and more prepared for Whidbey than any other race I’ve completed. I can’t explain except to say I just knew I was on the precipice of something.
We made a ladies weekend of the two back-to-back races and headed to Whidbey for some pre-race hijinx – which mostly consisted of snacks in the hotel, thai food for dinner, a beer at a local bar “Off The Hook”, hot tubbing, and some comical commentary as we flipped through channels and snuggled in bed.
The race was amazing. I was so in the zone I don’t know what took over my mind and my legs. The first little bit I navigated the crowd and by mile 1 I had found a pacer to try and catch/keep up with. Our legs fell into rhythm and stayed close enough to be in her shadow the whole time. At 2.3 miles she turned over her shoulder and said to me with frustration, “There are no mile markers on this course”. I showed her my watch and she groaned, “Ugh. Another mile…”. I said, “You are kicking my ass. Thank you!” She smiled and replied, “You are kicking mine!!”
We spent that last mile almost side by side. We didn’t talk, we just ran – each knowing we couldn’t let the other person down by slowing or walking. As we turned the corner to the home stretch she looked over to me and with a determined smile said, “Turn it on!”. I knew just what she meant. We both gave it everything we had and sprinted, pushing our legs to move faster and our lungs to pump harder.
We crossed the finish line and chatted for a few minutes. I learned she was visiting from Denver and was racing with several friends that day (in various other distance races). We thanked each other and talked races, running, and generally basked in the glow of what was most certainly a PR for us both. I will not soon forget her kindness and our race together.
I checked my watch and was blown away. Prior to this race, my race PR was 37:54 from 2013. I have beat that a handful of times in training runs, but never by much. I was aiming for low 37:?? and even dared to day dream about seeing 36:??.It has been a while since I ran a race all-out and I am aware my training over the last several months has been more consistent that ever. I know I’ve talked about my pace in a few posts recently and how I’ve been seeing an uptick in my pace and generally feeling more stable in my runs. I just haven’t seen anything like this.
I finished Whidbey 5k averaging 11:20/mile (WHaaaaAAtt??) in 35:12. Thirty five minutes and twelve seconds. This is almost 3 minutes faster than my previous PR (exactly 2:42 if you’re counting. I know I am.).
Even typing that, I cannot believe it. I am still riding my race and PR high. While I am not counting on every race being faster than the previous – heck, it will be a while before 35min 5k is a regular thing for me – but most importantly, I am more motivated than ever to keep up my consistency and to continue working on my running practice.
Sorry this post is out of order, but I forgot to post about my March race! I ran the Running ‘O The Green 5k with my pals. MT and I busted out our tutus from a few years ago and I made two new tutus matching them as close as I could to the older ones. Mr. didn’t get his own but I don’t think he was too disappointed.
The weather was rainy and blustery – everything you expect from a March day in the Pacific Northwest. MT and Mr. ran the 8K while the other three of us stuck to the 5k. It was a very populated race and it was a reminder of how spoiled I am to live in an area where I’m able to participate in so many small races. I am typically in the last 10th of finishers at these smaller races and while sometimes that affects my mental pep-talks (“there probably won’t even be anything good left at the trough” or “I feel like everyone is waiting on me!”) I usually have lots of breathing room and don’t have to think much about navigating other runners. We got stuck playing leap-frog with a runner wearing entirely too much patchouli which was unpleasant to say the least (btw, “any” is the amount of patchouli that should be considered too much, if you are wondering).