On my way to tying my marathon PR at Indy.

This year, I strove to define myself as an athlete. Who do I want to be? What do I want to accomplish? Exploring the answers to those questions — albeit certainly not the first time I’ve considered them — made for a robust year.For the past two years, I’ve worked my way back to a much more competitive state both mentally and physically. I think both are equally important — and it’s good when you have them both operating concurrently!

I had both “glows” and “growths,” as we like to say in education, meaning both highs and lows, successes and failures.

Obviously, dropping out of the Derby Marathon was a fail. But it was also a learning experience and it pushed me to work harder the rest of the year. In all, though, I recall many more glow moments than growth moments. Not that I am ignoring the areas that need improvement — but that I’m not letting them dominate my outlook.

 Amongst the glows? A near-miss at setting a new marathon PR in November, a new 5k PR in February and being offered a Hammer Nutrition sponsorship. Also, I crushed my goal of running 2015 miles in 2015, which I believe is my second-highest mileage total for any year since I started running in 2006.

2015 by the numbers

  • Miles run: 2,054 (143 more than last year)
  • Time spent running: 266 hours, 26 minutes
  • Longest run: 26.11 (because I failed to start my watch for a quarter mile at Monumental)
  • Average run distance: 6.71 miles (last year 5.57)
  • Average run time: 52:14 (last year 43:39)
  • Average pace: 7:47 min/mi
  • Races run: 10
  • Races won: 4
  • PRs set: 2

Things that worked:

  • Lots of Hammer Nutrition Recoverite. My love for this product in particular, along with many of their others, is why I applied to be a sponsored athlete.
  • Regular massage (every 3 weeks during marathon training)
  • Strength training and stretching (yoga and Pilates 2-4 hours per week)
  • Running by myself — I was very mentally prepared to run the marathon
  • Waking up really early to run by myself in the dark before work
  • Almond butter and jam on Brownberry bread basically every morning (and lunch)

Things that didn’t:

  • My spring marathon, for many reasons. Going out too fast. Terrible weather. A different training plan.
  • Not doing speedwork. I did more in the spring before my DNF than I did for Indy. Imagine if I could get my act together!

Goal setting and reviewing:

Last year my big goal going into the year was to PR by 5 minutes in the marathon, based soley on McMillan Calculator’s prediction I could based on my half-marathon time. Probably not the best plan.

For 2016:

  • Do what my coach tells me — every bit of it, even the hard stuff. (By the way, I hired a coach! More on that later.)
  • Set a new PR in the marathon/break 3:10 (basically the same goal)
  • Run at least 2,260 miles (10% increase over 2015)
  • Earn my Pilates instructor certification

I’m starting 2016 off with a bang — like, literally, the sound of a starting gun — at the Hangover Classic 10 miler on January 1. Look for a race report tomorrow!