2015 shaped up to be a great year for running. Six months ago, as I was battling the zombie death cold that ended up being a raging Mono infection, I thought I would have to hang up my shoes for quite a while. Luckily, my recovery was speedy, and I was able to enjoy a transformative fall season of running and training. On Thursday, New Year’s Eve, I will run my last race of the year, a trail half marathon. I have no time goals for this race (other than to make sure my butt is in a movie seat in time for a matinee showing of the new Star Wars movie). My goal is to simply enjoy the surroundings—icy streams, numerous evergreens, dustings of snow here and there. This race will bring my 2015 total to three half marathons, about a dozen other races, hard-earned PRs in my 5K and 10K distances, and two months (November and this month) of running more than 100 miles a month. I feel strong, committed, and ready to embrace a year of new running challenges in 2016.
Like many other runners, I am sure, I find myself dusting off the calendar (and debit card), registering for the next many events of the new year, and making my long-term plans. For 2016, I would like to:
-Average 1,000 miles for the year, ideally keeping up my streak and running about 100 miles each month (I am giving myself some leeway, because I know life happens and I can’t always run every day)
-Run a half in 2:10 or less. After achieving a 25:12 5K time and a 56 minute 10K time over the last few months, I feel like my time goal of 2:10 is within the realm of possibility. The goal here will be endurance paired with speed.
-Run a marathon. My marathon training was cut short last summer, but I have set my sights on an early fall marathon, which I hope to begin writing about once I register.
-Keep exploring new routes and trails in my own backyard. This year I learned about so many fun running routes—I think the best runs are the exploratory adventures when you get to play geographer and athlete at the same time. I hope to keep finding more pockets of nature with which to become familiar and traverse many times over.
-Stretch and plank. I do not do either of these things sufficiently, but they will keep me from injury and strengthen my core. I am going to set myself up an outdoor “plank” station on the back patio so that I drop down and do it at the end of my runs before coming inside.
I hope to report back soon on how my last race of the year treats me.
Winter running can be a dark and chilly time, but I keep reflecting on how this is the season when we grow our intricate and complex root systems before we can bloom come spring. Happy trails!