“THAT’S A WRAP” ON 2014!

Hi everyone!

...auld lang syne anyone?

…auld lang syne anyone?

I hope you all had a fun-filled Christmas and that Santa gave you mounds of great presents (perhaps some cool running gear or a new GPS watch).

As 2014 draws to a close and Baby New Year prepares to make his grand entrance, we all naturally take a look back… at the good and the not-so-good. The resolutions kept and the ones that fell by the wayside.

But before I finish the final chapter and close the book on 2014 (and start a new one for 2015) I wanted to give a recount of my running year that was.

And it was a doozy.

Here are some of my running “highs” and “lows.”

HIGH- “THE PLAN”

Pick a plan, any plan.

Pick a plan, any plan.

When I originally planned my running schedule for 2014, I decided it was going to be the year to push myself. Really push myself. Like “full tilt boogie” push myself.

Up until 2014, I had never done more than 9 races in a single calendar year. I almost doubled that this year, with an eventual tally of 17 races:

  •  3 Full Marathons
  • 12 Half Marathons
  • 2 10Ks

At one point the number had sky-rocketed to a staggering 22 races scheduled. But in the end, a modicum of sanity intervened in my brain and I decided to drop/defer a few races… lest my legs explode.

LOW- “BEAT BY THE HEAT”

Running a race on the surface of the sun.

Running a race on the surface of the sun.

One goal that had eluded me since I ran my very first full marathon in 2009 was breaking the 5-hour barrier. I decided that to celebrate my 5-year “run-iversary,” I was going to strive to break that mark during my 5th time running the Los Angeles Marathon.

I trained like crazy and was ready to rock.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans on that Sunday in March, as she decide to shine down on us during the race. Really shine down.

Like upper 80s degrees shine down.

Running in the heat has never been my strong suit and it was like racing in a sauna. In the end, I fell short of breaking the barrier, finishing with a 5:13:10. It was still a marathon PR for me, but not the result I was ultimately hoping for.

HIGH- “FINALLY BREAKING THE BARRIER”

Limbo-ing under 5 hours.

Limbo-ing under 5 hours.

Following my disappointment at the LA Marathon, I knew I had another shot at eclipsing the 5-hour mark at the OC Marathon in May.

It was a tough race as I smacked into the wall hard at mile 20. With my pace drastically slowing and fatigue setting in, it looked like the mark was again going to elude my grasp. But I fought through the pain and just kept moving.

At mile 25 I realized that I could still potentially finish in under 5-hours. With feet aching and my side splitting, I put left in front of right and just kept uttering my mantra “My race, my pace” to myself.

I crossed the finish line with a 4:58:16 time and a huge grin on my face.

HIGH- “I’M A MANIAC”

Me be a maniac!

Me be a maniac!

Ever since I joined the Half Fanatics last year, I knew that I wanted to join their sister club, the Marathon Maniacs. But to become a “double agent” I’d have to run 3 full marathons in 90 days. Up until that point I had never done more than 2 full marathons in an entire calendar year, let alone a trio in just three months.

I ran LA in March, OC in May and then finished up the “trifecta of ouch” with the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon in June.

It was a definite milestone for me. I am Marathon Maniac #9416.

I remember Lindy waiting for me at the finish line (she was holding my “I just qualified for the Marathon Maniacs” sign).

Here was this well-dressed & pretty redhead standing there waving at me. And here I come, hobbling along with sweat erupting from every pore in my body and looking like I had just come straight from a round-robin ass-kicking contest. And she still hugged the nastiness that was me. What a wonderful (and brave) lady.

LOW- “&%#$@ HAMSTRING”

knee... hamstring. Same thing, right?It seems that qualifying for the Marathon Maniacs came with an extra unexpected cost. During the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon, I pulled my hamstring around mile 21. I gritted my teeth and ran (as much as I could) through it.

After the race I realized that it was indeed a hamstring pull and I had to take a forced 3-week vacation while it healed. For someone who gets cranky missing a single workout, being sidelined and sedentary for almost a month really really sucked.

HIGH- “NOTCHING ANOTHER PR”

Peachy Keen!

Peachy Keen!

“Running fast” has always been a relative term for this “middle of the pack” plodder, but I’m still thrilled each time I best one of my own PRs. And PRs came fast and furious this year. In fact, during a stretch from November of 2013 through June 2014, I PR’d on 6 out of 7 races.

On July 4th I ran the Peachtree Road Race for the 10th time (I think it was the 10th time) over the last 20 years. It was my very first race ever way back in 1994 and given the heat, humidity and hills, it tends to be a tough trek.

This year I not only ran my fastest Peachtree Road Race in the last two decades, but it also was my fastest 10K ever.

So, I guess I moved a little further up in the middle of the pack.

LOW- “DISNEY DISASTER”

Not the happiest race on earth.

Not the happiest race on earth.

At some point every runner has a bad race. You know that kind of race where, for whatever reason, you just (pardon the profanity) “shit the bed”… figuratively, I hope.

For me, the wheels came off at the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon. I still can’t pinpoint the reason behind my Disney debacle, but I was just off from the beginning and the only good thing I can say about that race was that I finished.

HIGH- “GOING BIG AT COTTONWOOD”

In 2014, I became a running ambassador to the new REVEL Race Series, which I’m thrilled to be part of. In September I ran my first race with them, the Big Cottonwood Half Marathon in Salt Lake City. And it was one of my best racing experiences ever.

Yes. Yes indeed.

Yes. Yes indeed.

Not only did I have a great time hanging with several running friends (old and new); and not only is Big Cottonwood one of the prettiest courses you can imagine, but I also ran my best half marathon ever.

Now one of my other running goals for 2014 (in addition to breaking the 5-hour marathon) was to run a sub 2-hour half marathon. I flirted the whole race with breaking 2-hours, but a nasty blister (courtesy of an ill-fitting orthotic) slowed me in the last few miles and I came in at 2:01:00. And while I would have loved to break 2-hours at Big Cottownood, I had such a great time it was really just a minor setback.

Besides, I’ll be back at Big Cottonwood in 2015 for another go at breaking 2 hours.

HIGH- “BRING ON THE CRAZY”

Geronimo y'all!

Geronimo y’all!

I always say if you’re going to jump off of a cliff, you might as well yell “Geronimo” on the way down.

In other words, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth over doing.

That was my November.

Through a fortuitous/insane bit of scheduling, I found myself preparing to run 3 half marathons in one weekend. More specifically, 3 half marathons in just 33 hours. In two different states.

Now, I had never run half marathons on back-to-back weekends before, let alone attempting to run a trio of them in just over a day (did I mention they were in two different states).

  • 15th (am) REVEL Canyon City Half
  • 16th (am) Avengers SuperHeroes Half
  • 16th (pm) Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half

And while I did train extra hard for the races and had formulated a running strategy with one of my coaches, I really had no idea what to expect.

This was uncharted territory.

Fortunately I had Lindy traveling with me (and keeping me sane) and also support from my running friends, several who were also attempting this rather crazy feat too.

I finished all three races strong and collected the accolades and muscle aches that went with it. I’m not sure how I’ll top this down the road for crazy, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.

IN SUMMARY

That was my 2014. Put simply, my best year of running ever.

And I can’t wait to lace ‘em up and see what 2015 has in store.

Run on!

Coming tomorrow, my New Year’s running resolutions.

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Posted on December 31, 2014, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on “THAT’S A WRAP” ON 2014!.

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