Now that this year is coming to an end, it’s time for me to reflect on my year of running. It was the year I trained smartly to achieve a half marathon PR!
2016 was a successful year of running and racing with a total of seven races – three half marathons, one 15K, two 10Ks, and a one mile race. With expenses and schedules, less than ten races per year seems to be the perfect number I can handle.
In addition to running, I paid more attention to my nutrition because of a ‘pre-diabetic’ scare after a higher than normal A1C test result. Strength training was also key to lower A1C levels, so I made it a habit to include some form of strength a few times a week. These changes affected my running in positive ways that led to achieve my ultimate goal of a personal record in a half marathon.
Like I did the previous year, I am participating in a link-up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC to sum up my running year.
Best Race Experience
San Diego Half Marathon in March. One of my running goals this year was to get a PR in a half-marathon. I wanted to see if I could improve my speed after two kids and eight years since my personal record time. It was at the SD Half where I achieved that goal. I executed my race strategy well by starting out at a reasonable pace and kicked it into high gear at the end. Everything seemed to fall right into place and I had one of the best races.
In support of a friend training for NYC Marathon. I love running with friends. It’s what I look forward to on my weekend long runs. What made it more special this year was helping my friend Yoli train for the NYC Marathon. When she ran the longer runs on her own, I offered to run the last 8 to 12 miles with her. I knew that those last miles are easier when you have company.
Yoli trained relentlessly for this marathon even after she encountered health issues. Fortunately, her health improved just in time for her to line up at the start line of the NYC marathon. Although she didn’t reach her original goals, she swore to smile the entire race no matter how difficult it got towards the end and that was exactly what she did!
Best new piece of running gear
Patagonia Houdini jacket. This was an excellent purchase I made when we visited Seattle. We asked for a military discount and they didn’t offer it, but because we asked we were graciously offered a bigger discount of 40% off. Who could refuse that offer? It’s been my go-to jacket when it’s chilly, breezy and rainy outside. If you want to read my review on it, go to this link.
Best running advice
Tim Noakes’ minimalist approach to training – “Do the least amount of work that will produce the greatest results.” This is especially more important now that I’m older and my body requires longer recovery. By training smartly, I PR’d my spring half marathon with peak mileage of 38 miles, running 4x/week. For my summer half, I further reduced the peak mileage to 30 miles with 3x/week of running and replaced the day of running with HIIT indoor cycling. I came close to another PR but made a few race mistakes.
Most inspirational runner
Ida Keeling, 100 yrs old, who set a world record for the 100m at the Penn Relays. The ability to run in every decade of my life until my last breath is a dream of mine. So to see someone who has lived for a century and run a race is an inspiration I want to live up to. I wrote about her and other inspirational women runners in this post, Strong Women Runners.
Fave pic from a run or race
This photo was taken by my best friend at the San Diego Half Marathon less than a couple miles away from the finish line. I knew I was going to get my PR at this point and felt really good!
Race experience I would repeat in a heartbeat.
A Trail Race! My last race of the year was a trail half and it was a totally different experience that I appreciated. I loved being surrounded by the beauty of nature, the lake and the mountains. The changing terrain made me more mindful of what my body was doing to avoid accidental trips. I felt my muscles engaged in ways more different than if I were running on flat concrete roads. And it made me face my fear of ‘What if I fall and break ….’ scenario.
If I could sum up my year in a couple of words, what would they be?
I still have a few PRs left in me! Now in my 40s, I realize I have to train hard, yet smartly and allow for plenty of recovery to achieve my goals.