My Running Year in Review: 2015

While my goals for 2016 may be more relaxed than previous years, I still wanted to recap 2015 and what I learned about my running.

Things I Learned

  • First of all, I met two out of my three goals for the year: I ran a sub-2:15 (and then a sub-2:10!) half. And I coached a Couch to 5k group. I did not get in 1000 miles total this year; in fact, I didn’t even run as many miles as 2014. A lot of this has to do with the burn out I suffered after April.
  • I ran my highest mileage month ever in January 2015, coming in at 123 miles. This was pretty amazing and set me up for some good races in the next few months. I was doing speed work and tempo runs pretty much every week. Not only was January my most mileage, it was my fastest month of the year. Let that sink in. I somehow managed not to get injured doing this. I do wonder if the run streak I did towards the end of 2014 somehow helped with the no injury thing.
  • Soon after that month, a bunch of stuff came along that derailed my training: an ice storm, a stomach bug, my wisdom teeth, more snow. Yet, even though my mileage was pretty average for the next few months (58 miles in February, 65 miles in March, and 71 miles in April), I still managed to pull out an awesome PR at my half at the end of April. I attribute this to the great base I built in January because I don’t know how else to explain it. I wasn’t really following a plan or doing speed work or tempo runs anymore. I only did one long run in those three months that wasn’t a race! Maybe racing is the key to unlocking my speed potential…
  • However, racing is also partly what burnt me out. I love racing; it’s my favorite part of running. But having to revolve my schedule around races practically every week was a little exhausting. Normally with long runs, if you want to sleep in, no problem, just go later in the day. Not so when your race starts at 7am. It doesn’t matter what you want to do that day or the night before. I need to learn a better balance.
  • I liked coaching during the summer. But it was very hard to keep up my fitness level while doing it. After running with the group, I pretty much forced myself to go run on my own afterwards. This did not help with the burn out feeling. I lost a lot of fitness and speed during this time. Would I coach again? Sure! But I would like it to be closer to my home and maybe at a pace closer to my own.
  • I hardly cross-trained or strength trained at all this year. I really need to get back into that.
  • My biggest takeaway from 2015? Don’t sign up for a ton of races months in advance. I don’t care how much money I want to save. I just don’t know what my circumstances will be then and it’s really hard for me to admit when I don’t need to be doing a race. Most of my races this year are going to be spur of the moment decisions, I think.

Random Thoughts from my Notes

I keep notes for every run, so I can go back and review what I did or how I felt. I ran 163 runs last year. Out of those, I mentioned the word “rough” 20 times and “tough” 8 times. On the other hand, I mentioned the word “good” 29 times and “decent” 7 times. Three runs were “terrible” but twelve runs were “great”. So for all my complaining, I did tend to talk about my runs more positively to myself!

Favorite Runs of the Year

    finishing the kentucky derby festival minimarathon

  1. By far the best was the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon! It exceeded all of my expectations! I really didn’t think I could run a sub-2:10 half after my lackluster training in February, March, and April, but everything aligned and I DID IT! It was a fantastic race as well! I would love to run this one again.
  2. running around the rhine in cologne

  3. Scenery-wise, my favorite was my seven miler around Cologne. I was feeling good about training for an October half at this point and managed a decent pace as I went up and down and across the bridges over the Rhine River.
  4. I had one really good run with East Nasty in November. I had set my watch up to do intervals but felt so good that I ended up doing one minute fast pick-ups instead of walking! Wish every run could be like that!

PRs I set

5kTom King Classic 5k – 28:43
15kHot Chocolate 15k – 1:31:16
HalfKentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon – 2:09:47

Totals and Averages

January: 22 runs, 123.2 miles (5.6 mile average), 21:22:52 (10:24 average pace)
February: 9 runs, 58.3 miles (6.6 mile average), 10:22:02 (10:40 average pace)
March: 16 runs, 65.7 miles (4.1 mile average), 12:03:16 (11:01 average pace)
April: 13 runs, 71.3 miles (5.5 mile average), 12:44:19 (10:43 average pace)
May: 15 runs, 51.3 miles (3.4 mile average), 9:20:55 (10:56 average pace)
June: 17 runs, 34.4 miles (2.0 mile average), 7:06:14 (12:23 average pace)
July: 21 runs, 42.5 miles (2.0 mile average), 8:52:25 (12:32 average pace)
August: 11 runs, 36.3 miles (3.3 mile average), 7:09:54 (11:50 average pace)
September: 10 runs, 32.7 miles (3.3 mile average), 6:10:21 (11:20 average pace)
October: 10 runs, 42.9 miles (4.3 mile average), 8:30:27 (11:53 average pace)
November: 12 runs, 55.4 miles (4.6 mile average), 10:55:39 (11:51 average pace)
December: 7 runs, 18.3 miles (2.6 mile average), 3:22:33 (11:04 average pace)
Overall: 163 runs, 632.2 miles (3.9 mile average), 118:59:56 (11:18 average pace)

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2014: Year Two in Review!

2014 in review

Stats

Number of runs: 209
Total distance ran: 801.4 miles
– on pavement: 647.7 miles
– on treadmill: 129.7 miles
– on trails: 12.3 miles
– on track: 8.8 miles
– on beach: 3.0 miles
Total time ran: 160:43
Total elevation gained: 19,760 ft

January

Total mileage: 53.6 miles
Best week: 15.0 miles
Best mile: 11:21
Best 5 km: 38:42
I started out the year running my first half marathon, the Walt Disney World Half Marathon! I was ill prepared, but I had a lot of fun. After that, I began training for the Country Music Half Marathon in April.

February

Total mileage: 77.8 miles
Best week: 20.5 miles
Best mile: 9:55
Best 5 km: 32:41
Training for the Country Music Half continued, and I continued to get stronger. I ran the Hot Chocolate 15k in the middle of the month in 1:46:48, which estimated I was on track to run the half marathon in a little over 2:30:00.

March

Total mileage: 101.7 miles
Best week: 28.1 miles
Best mile: 9:01
Best 5 km: 31:25
My first 100+ mile month! To put this in perspective, I had only run about 600 miles total (counting both this year and last!) so one sixth of my entire running mileage was done in this month. I ran the Fangtastic 5k mid-month to a new 5k PR of 31:25 and continued training for the Country Music Half.

April

Total mileage: 84.2 miles
Best week: 24.1 miles
Best mile: 10:01
Best 5 km: 32:05
Shoes Purchased: Skechers GoRun3
I started out the month with my first five mile race, where I performed better than my expectations. Half marathon training continued until the end of the month when I ran the Country Music Half Marathon and achieved a 40 minute PR with a time of 2:27:43!

May

Total mileage: 39.2 miles
Best week: 12.2 miles
Best mile: 10:39
Best 5 km: 34:08
Shoes Purchased: Saucony Kinvara 5
May started off relaxing, but soon geared up to train for a sub-30 5k! Unfortunately, my right knee started hurting early in the month, so my training was derailed to take care of it.

June

Total mileage: 46.5 miles
Best week: 13.9 miles
Best mile: 9:39
Best 5 km: 31:44 (treadmill)
This month started off with the Barrel Fest 5 Miler, but I was still having knee issues, so I was happy just to finish! Due to my ongoing injury and events like Bonnaroo, it turned out to be a lower mileage month. I decided to postpone my sub-30 5k training until later in the year.

July

Total mileage: 62.6 miles
Best week: 16.6 miles
Best mile: 9:29
Best 5 km: 31:29 (treadmill)
My knee was feeling better, so my mileage started to go back up this month. The Music City July 4th 5k kicked off July, but it was hot and I was dehydrated, so I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. After some ups and downs in training, I decided to start low heart rate training at the end of the month to start gearing up for next year’s half marathons.

August

Total mileage: 54.8 miles
Best week: 18.9 miles
Best mile: 8:53
Best 5 km: 29:15
After the fantastic sub-30 PR I got at the Smyrna Parks 5k at the beginning of the month, I focused on low heart rate training. No speed work. No tempo runs. Nothing with a heart rate about 148. It didn’t last long, as it drove me crazy to run that slow. It also seemed to really mess with my speed and endurance, which I struggled with at the end of the month.

September

Total mileage: 68.3 miles
Best week: 21.2 miles
Best mile: 9:22
Best 5 km: 32:56
The month started with a disappointing race at the Franklin Classic 10k. For most of this month, I was doing the 21 Day Fix program, so I tried to keep my runs a little slower. However, once I got to the beach in Florida for vacation, my feet took off, and I posted some of my speediest times for the entire month. I also got to run barefoot on the beach for the first time!

October

Total mileage: 69.3 miles
Best week: 22.5 miles
Best mile: 9:07
Best 5 km: 30:05
October started with a tweaked ankle. I rested it a week, but soon started on a 33-day running streak to celebrate my birthday. I had two races this month: Go Commando 5k and Halloween Hunt 5 Miler. While no PRs were achieved, both races were a lot of fun!

November

Total mileage: 80.9 miles
Best week: 22.0 miles
Best mile: 8:46
Best 5 km: 29:33
My running streak continued through the first half of November. In the middle of the month, I had a fantastic race at the Hammer Down 10k, where I got a PR of 1:01:49! After that, I began half marathon training for my goal race next March. I hit a bit of a snag at the end of the month, when a sharp pain started in my left foot on a routine 5 miler.

December

Total mileage: 59.7 miles
Best week: 22.2 miles
Best mile: 9:06 (treadmill)
Best 5 km: 31:02 (treadmill)
Due to my foot pain, I skipped out on the 5k I was signed up for at the beginning of the month (my first DNS). After the doctor confirmed there was nothing seriously wrong with my foot, I continued training for my spring half marathons.

2013: My First Year of Running

It’s been an interesting year. Although I started and stopped attempting to run in previous years, I consider 2013 to actually be my first year of running. I started on January 25, 2013.

2013 in review

Disclaimer: I didn’t start using Nike+ till mid-February, so some runs are not represented. Also, Nike+ has a tendency to record a longer distance than Garmin, so totals may not be in agreement with those below.

Stats

Number of runs: 142
Total distance ran: 410.9 miles
– on pavement: 336.2 miles
– on treadmill: 62.6 miles
– on trails: 12.1 miles
Total time ran: 88:48
Total elevation gained: 11,693 ft

January

Total mileage: 9.5 miles
Best week: 4.9 miles
Best mile: 12:36
I started off pretty slow. With my previous failed attempts at Couch to 5k, I wasn’t willing to just jump back into it. So I hopped on a treadmill in my old ratty Adidas sneakers and took off at my own pace. My first couple runs were a little over 2 miles each, averaging over 14 min miles. I tried running out on the pavement for some shorter runs, which I was able to do faster. Mostly, I was just trying to keep my runs around 30 minutes 3-4 times a week.

February

Total mileage: 20.9 miles
Best week: 6.4 miles
Best mile: 12:47
Best 5k: 41:51
Shoes Purchased: Skechers GoRun 2
This month was pretty similar to January, except I started throwing some 5k distance runs in the mix. I bought my first pair of real running shoes! By the end of the month, I could finish 3.1 miles in around 42 minutes.

March

Total mileage: 21.0 miles
Best week: 9.3 miles
Best mile: 12:39
Best 5k: 40:43
I kept my distance about the same in March, but worked on speed, doing things like hill repeats. Around the middle of the month, I achieved a best mile time of 12:39. The Color Run rounded out the end of the month.

April

Total mileage: 45.9 miles
Best week: 13.3 miles
Best mile: 10:26
Best 5k: 39:48
April is when I started to get serious. I had a 5k coming up in May that I wanted to do well in, so it was time for some mileage increases! I started back on week 3 of Couch to 5k. I doubled the distance I ran in March. I managed a best one mile effort of 10:26, and a best 5k effort of 39:48. I was running sometimes three or four days in a row, and I even attempted one six miler. Oh yeah, and I started this blog!

May

Total mileage: 46.0 miles
Best week: 13.0 miles
Best mile: 10:06
Best 5k: 35:59
Shoes Purchased: Saucony Kinvara 3
I started off the month doing 6.4 miles worth of intervals around Boise, Idaho. On May 12, I bettered my 5k time even further by running 3.1 miles in 36:40. By the time of the Law Enforcement Memorial 5k on May 17, I felt pretty ready. I ended up running it in just over half an hour, which I was elated with. The course was slightly short, but I still count it as my best 5k race time. I also achieved a best mile time of 10:06 during the race. But all was not well. I had slightly hurt my left ankle early in the month, but pushed through it. Now my right calf was starting to ache. On the 27th, I went out on the greenway and ended up limping back to my car.

June

Total mileage: 31.8 miles
Best week: 11.9 miles
Best mile: 11:02
Best 5k: 37:03
The month I “graduated” from Couch to 5k! I did a few easy runs early in the month to not anger my calf muscle, but this month was mostly spent preparing for a 10k in early July. My mock 10k that I ran midway through the month put me at a time of 1:17:44. I felt okay until a couple days later when my left hip starting hurting, and I couldn’t even get through a mile run. I took a week off and saw the doctor, who confirmed that I wasn’t broken and to take it easy until after the 10k, when I should take a month off. I stiffly and gingerly made it through the rest of the month.

July

Total mileage: 9.7 miles
Best week: 9.7 miles
Best mile: 9:44
Best 5k: 34:22
Shoes Purchased: Pearl Izumi Road N2 (for long runs)
I only ran twice in the month of July. A quick 5k run on the 2nd and then the Music City Fourth of July 10k on the 4th. Despite my injuries, I exceeded my expectations for the race. I officially finished in 1:14:37 and even got best 5k (34:22) and 1 mile (9:44) times. The next few days were spent in agony, though it was worth it.

August

Total mileage: 40.5 miles
Best week: 11.6 miles
Best mile: 10:56
Best 5k: 39:16
I started back doing intervals, averaging around 12-13 min miles. By the middle of the month, I ran my first complete mile since getting injured.

September

Total mileage: 45.7 miles
Best week: 12.3 miles
Best mile: 8:48
Best 5k: 33:28
But the best month of my running career so far? Probably September. I started off the month with a marathon relay, in which I, again, bested my mile time with an 8:48 mile (that still stands today). Just a few days later, I managed to run 3.1 miles without walking (a first!) and less than a week after that, I achieved my best 5k time of 33:28! I ran a 5k while on vacation in Seattle and also started half marathon training. Out of all my runs that month, only a couple averaged over a 12 minute mile. I really felt like I was getting better and faster!

October

Total mileage: 45.9 miles
Best week: 13.7 miles
Best mile: 10:15
Best 5k: 35:19
As I continued with half marathon training, it soon became apparent to me that I was getting burnt out. The long runs were zapping my energy for my weekday runs and my weekday runs were wearing me out for my long runs. My times began to become slower and slower. I did manage an awesome 5k at the Go Commando 5k in mid-October, where I did the whole thing without walking (my goal).

November

Total mileage: 35.7 miles
Best week: 16.0 miles
Best mile: 11:32
Best 5k: 38:24
The days were getting colder and shorter. Colder days meant my asthma was acting up more. Shorter days meant more time on the treadmill and less on the pavement. After an 8 mile run on the 9th, I couldn’t walk. Something had happened to my left ankle. Yes, another injury! I took two weeks off to nurse it back to health, but ended up walking The Mo Run, which made my right hip start hurting due to the limping I had to do.

December

Total mileage: 60.2 miles
Best week: 22.8 miles
Best mile: 11:54
Best 5k: 38:33
Shoes Purchased: New Balance WT110 (for trails)
The month started with some 15+ min/mile treadmill runs. So slow. The goal for the month? Just push through the long runs, run/walking at whatever intervals I can to get through the distance so I could still do the half marathon in January. I did my first trail run, which was really a glorified hike. By the end of the month, I was running a 5k in 40 minutes, about where I was at in March.