2015 was a year of extreme highs and extreme lows. I started out the year strong, logging an incredible 135 miles in January, the most I had ever run in a single month. February rolled around, and the massive increase in mileage while subsequently ignoring physical pain led to a measly 52 total miles. I was in pain, but determined to cross the finish line in March for my first marathon. Many tears, extreme pain, freezing rain and a lot of run-walking, I crossed the finish line in March at 4:24, a respectable 10:04 pace for Marathon #1. I was happy to cross that off my bucket list, but a fire had just been lit beneath me. I registered for Marathon #2 the next week.
Between March and October, I ran in two 5k’s, one 5-miler, two 10-milers (PR’ing in both), a half marathon and a 20-miler. I cut 6 minutes off my half-marathon, shaved a minute off my 10-miler, and fell in love with the DC Road Runners after my 20-miler. All of this was a lead up to Marathon #2, which, after listening to my body, pacing my runs, and focusing on me and not my competition, I PR’d by 30 minutes, clocking a 3:54 in Baltimore.
After a successful final half marathon in December (clocking in at 1:47 and breaking the 1:50 barrier for the first time!) with my new favorite running club (DCRRC), I finished the year with just shy of 1,050 miles – a record in and of itself.
With such a great year, I aim to set my sights high for 2016, but recognizing that me and my body come before any time goals, and as I become a stronger runner, I may not always PR in races. A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body. That being said, here are a few goals for 2016:
Increase my overall mileage: The first, and simplest goal to explain – in 2016, I aim to bag 1,350 miles or 112.5 miles per month. This would be an increase from the 87.5 average I ran in 2015, but do-able bearing no major injuries
Build a stronger sense of community: Since my early running days, everyone has considered me quite a solitary runner. I value my alone time on the trails – running is my sanctuary, my time to decompress, to reconnect, to experience nature and push myself to my own limits. In 2016, I aim to step outside my comfort zone, to meet individuals in the running community that I have admired from afar for quite some time, and to build my confidence in strength and speed through a network of likeminded individuals. I have really been at awe with the DCRRC and will aim to run with the club on their weekend long runs and mid-distance runs.
Run an Ultramarathon: For anyone that hangs around me long enough knows, I have a dream of competing in an ultramarathon, the ultimate goal being a multi-stage race in 2017 or 2018. For this to be a reality, I must register and actually run an ultra first. I have made it my goal in 2015 to run a casual, no pace, no goal 50K early in the year, and based on the performance, consider a 50-miler in mid-summer
Continue my path to success in the Marathon distance: I made amazing strides in the marathon realm in 2015, going from a decent distance runner who favored half marathons and had never run more than 14 miles, to running two marathons and breaking the 4-hour barrier on my second try. In 2016, I aim to build on this confidence and experience, inching my times closer to the coveted Boston Qualifier. Though I’m still a knee shaking 24 minutes away from that goal, through my community, distance, and ultra goals, I believe that by October 2016, I can drop my marathon time down. I have my heart set, but understand that as much as I plan and train and race, everything happens for a reason.
Focus on my internal and external health: I am notoriously hard on myself across nearly all aspects of my life. In 2015 I have begun a journey towards a healthier outlook on running and food, and aim to continue that through 2016. I will nourish my body and mind and soul as much as possible in 2016, focusing on cleaner foods, removing processed foods where possible, and reducing my addiction to sugars. I will try to make my own energy bars and focus on the health of my inside as well as my outside in all aspects possible.