2015 Running Roundup

December is over today.  This YEAR is over today.  This is hard to believe.  Time to recap December, and the whole year, in running!  You can catch up on the rest of 2015 here: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November.  I set out in 2015 with a few goals related to running.  The first goal, that was updated in May, was to run 950 miles in 2015.  With tonight’s run, I will have 71 miles for December, and I will surpass my goal for 950 miles and end with 965 miles for 2015!

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My other running goals included PRing my 5k and 10k times, with under 30 minutes for the 5k, and under 62 minutes for the 10k, and running a half marathon with minimal walking.  I reached my 5k goal, and ran a PR of 29:29 at the Wild West 5k.  I missed my 10k goal by 1 minute, and ran 1:03:00 at the Plaza 10k, but I did finish the race hand in hand with my best friend Amy, which was a perfect way to PR the 10k!  During the KC Half Marathon, I ran over 10 miles before walking, and my body felt great, but I was dizzy, so I had to walk.  I ended up PRing my half marathon time by over 10 minutes, and only walked a little bit during mile 11.  I was very happy with all three of these races, and many other races (and PRs) in 2015 as well.

Overall, I’m extremely pleased at how my 2015 running year went.  I gained a lot of endurance, speed, and confidence in my running.  Though I had some setbacks with knee and hamstring pain, I am stronger, mentally and physically, than I’ve ever been going into 2016!

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I saw a fun little year end running questionnaire on a friends blog, and thought it would be a fun and different way to recap the year in running! I’d love for you to share your answers in the comments!

Best 2015 race experience – KC Half Marathon – I love this race, and I had a great race, a huge PR, and during the race, I decided to tackle the full marathon distance in 2016!

Best 2015 run – I had so many “best” runs… runs with Mom and Shay in Hays, runs with the Groupies, runs with my best friend Amy, runs in Milwaukee with my sister… so many memorable runs.  Some runs were great because the run was great, some were great because of the company  – one thing I know for sure, none of the runs in 2015 were regretted!

Best new piece of running gear in 2015 – Hoka Clifton shoes! I tried out Hokas about halfway through 2015, and haven’t looked back! I wear my Hokas almost exclusively, and I wear my Altras here and there also.

Best running advice you’ve received in 2015 – “I can do hard things.”

Most inspirational runner in 2015 – My sister, Kristen. She’s so strong and always pushes me to go harder, longer, faster, and stronger than I ever thought.  She runs for her cousin Martilee, who has Rett Syndrome, and is raising awareness and money to help fight Rett Syndrome.  She has focus, positivity, and consistency that I strive for every day.

Favorite race picture of 2015 – This picture was taken at the Plaza 10k, about a half mile after I caught up to Amy, with about 2.5 miles left in the race.  I stayed right behind her, and about .15 from the finish line, I popped up beside her and we ran in together, and crossed the finish line hand in hand!

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Photo courtesy KC Running Co.

Race experience from 2015 you would repeat in a heartbeat – Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas 5k – HUGE fun party from start to finish!  The racecation was lots of fun, but unfortunately the half marathon weather was awful! The 5k though, definitely a fantastic experience!

Sum up 2015 in a couple of words – More than expected!

Here’s to a great 2016!

2016 Running Goals

“There’s something so universal about that sensation, the way running unites our two most primal impulses: fear and pleasure. We run when we’re scared, we run when we’re ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time.”

-Christopher McDougall

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Running Goals for 2016:

1.  Run 1100+ miles. In 2015, my initial goal was to run 1100 miles.  Because of some personal matters in the first half of the year, I revised that goal, and changed my goal to 950 for the year.  With 10 days left in 2015, I should end 2015 with about 970 miles.  I am going to make a goal for 2016 to run 1100+ miles, which averages out to about 92 miles per month.  I’ve had 4 months in 2014 and 2015 with over 100 miles per month, and I’m planning on hopefully 6+ months in 2016 with over 100 miles in each month.

2.  Run at least 1 Trail Race.  Towards the end of 2015, I kind of got burnt out on races.  I had a record 16 races in 2015, and I will definitely run fewer races in 2016.  But, that being said, I want to do a trail race, probably a 10k, 10 miler, or half marathon.  I don’t really want to do a short trail race; I want to do a bit longer race and really get the experience.  There are lots of trail races near Wyandotte County Lake, and also near Clinton Lake, so in the next few months, I’ll try to find one to tackle.

3.  Get into the gym regularly.  A wonderful perk of my new job is a $10 monthly membership to a really nice gym close to home.  With running longer distances in 2016, I need to keep my body happy and healthy, and one way to help with that is going to the gym and working on adding a lifting regimen at least a couple times each week.  I’ll continue to try to go to yoga when I can, and hopefully add some other group classes as well.

4.  Run a half marathon with no walking.  This is something I’ve been working on, and I’m so happy that I made it over 10 miles before walking during the KC Half Marathon in October.  I felt wonderful, but got dizzy.  I’m confident I will improve on my half marathons, and be able to tackle one without walking at all in 2016.

5.  Complete my first full marathon.  This is the most terrifying goal of all, for 2016.  I have committed to completing my first full marathon at the KC Marathon in October 2016, and I’ve officially signed up for the race, so it’s really happening!  I have no kind of time expectations, and fully expect to walk and just get through the race, and I don’t know if I’ll ever do a second  marathon, but it’s a huge bucket list item to do a full marathon.

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KC 13.1 Recap

Grab a chair folks, because this one’s a long one.  Time to recap the KC Half Marathon! Friday, after work, I met Amy at Crown Center to go to the marathon expo.

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After spending a while (and some money) at the expo, we got some groceries and went back to my house.  Mom was driving in, and arrived just in time for spaghetti, wine, and the Royals!  After dinner, I laid out flat Renee and got all my gear out before bed.  Bed came a bit later than I would have liked, but Mom and I stayed up ’til the end of the Royals game and watched them win game 2 of the ALCS.

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Saturday morning was race morning; bright dark and early we dressed and ate a bit, and then headed to Crown Center.  We got there and parked with about an hour before the start, and stayed warm inside Crown Center.

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When it was closer to race time, we used the bathroom one last time, checked our bags, and hopped into the race corral.  Literally, we hopped the fence into the corrals, because everyone was stuffed in like sardines!

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As I was waiting in the corral, I remembered that last year, I started the race (in the dark) without my sunglasses, and by the time I wanted to wear my sunglasses, the cool air paired with my warm body made lots of fog.  So last minute, just before the start, I adjusted my sunglasses on my face.  Race start was at 7:05, and the sun comes up around 7:30, so I figured sooner or later, it would be okay, and then I wouldn’t have to worry about it.  Turns out, this was a perfect plan.  No adjusting my sunglasses later, and no fog problems!  Plus, I am positive I looked like a badass wearing my sunglasses in the dark, running a half marathon.

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

I brought two Gu’s with me, safely tucked away in my Running Buddy, and took the first one around mile 3, which was right at the breathtaking Liberty Memorial part of the course.

This course, by the way, is gorgeous.  This was my second time running the KC Half Marathon, and I love this course.  It’s hard and hilly, and it’s a breathtakingly gorgeous way to run KC.

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

After the Liberty Memorial and Trinity Hill, we wound our way down through Westport, and onto the Plaza.

My outfit for the day included compression capris, a KC Running Co. Groupie tank top, compression arm sleeves, throw away gloves that I never threw, my visor, and a KCRC headband over my ears.  I wore my Hoka Clifton’s, had my Running Buddy Pouch, and my sunglasses that did not fog!

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

We left the Plaza and ran by the JC Nichols Fountain, then ran past the Nelson Atkins Museum.  Mom paused during the run to snap a few pictures, which is why I have awesome course photos!

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Photo courtesy Donna Fleharty.

Photo courtesy Donna Fleharty.

Photo courtesy Donna Fleharty.

Around mile 7.5, the marathoners split off and went further south, and just after their departure, close to mile 8, I took my second Gu.  The half marathoners started running back north, and we were over halfway done!

I was feeling really good at this point.  I hadn’t walked at all, not even through the water stops.  The water stops were about every 2 miles, and were all very well organized.  I’ll pause a moment to thank the volunteers; they were all so amazing.  The course was also lined with spectators, lots of fun signs, and they were full of cheer.  I was very thankful for the great volunteers and spectators, they definitely helped make the run easier!

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Around mile 10, my problems began.  Now, before this race, the most I had run before walking in a half marathon was about 5 miles.  So to get past mile 10 was HUGE for me.  I didn’t walk a single step until mile 10.5.  Physically, I was feeling great.  My paces were on point, my feet, knees, and hips felt ok, fatigued, but ok.  My stomach was great, my water, gatorade, and gu intake was great.

But my head… I got a massive dizzy spell around mile 10, and even with slowing down through the first half of mile 10, I was still dizzy.  By mile 10.5, my steps began to falter and stagger.  I really didn’t want to pass out, so I went over to the right side of the road and slowed to a walk.  I was disappointed that I had to walk, because everything else felt great, but I was also pleased that I didn’t push through when my body was obviously telling me that something was off.

There was another water stop around mile 11, so I decided to walk to the water stop, catch my breath and slow my breathing and heart rate a bit, then grab some gatorade and hit the road again.   Well, water stop came and went, and I started running again just after mile 11.5.  So I walked just over a mile, all at once.

Once I started running again, I had just over a mile and a half until the finish.  This entire mile and a half was spent calculating what my time would be for the finish, and whether or not I would come in under my goal of 2:30.  Had I not walked, I would have been closer to 2:25, but I’m confident that I made the right choice by walking and allowing my dizziness to subside.

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

I came across the line and stopped my watch, and it said 2:30:00.  Like, exactly, 2:30:00.  So did I make it? What would the results ticket say? Did I get under 2:30? I had talked with my sister, when I was in Milwaukee, and told her that I was considering doing a full marathon next fall.  She told me that if I beat my previous half marathon of 2:40:42, and ran anything in the 2:3x:xx, I would have to sign up for the full next fall.

She texted me, minutes after the race, and gave me the news, I came through the line at 2:29:58.  I beat my goal by 2 seconds, and ran the most I’ve ever ran during a half marathon, and felt STRONG!  I later joked with her that since I didn’t run in the 2:3x:xx, I didn’t have to sign up for the marathon, because I ran in the 2:2x:xx.  She didn’t find it funny.  =P

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After I got my heat sheet and my medal and water, I found Amy, and we made our way to the spectators near the finish line to cheer on our friends.  We saw a few KCRC friends come through, and cheered Mom on to her finish.  We ended the day with all of us meeting our goals, Amy PR’d, I PR’d, and Mom met her time goal.  Great finishes for everyone, and lot of smiles after getting our medals.

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Left to Right: Jenn, Mom, John, Amy, and Me.

Left to Right: Jenn, Mom, John, Amy, and Me.

We changed into some dry clothes, and tried to keep warm.  The sun was out, but it was a chilly morning in KC.  We got our results printed out and made our way to the food tents.

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Hamburgers, beer (not for me, ewwww), and chick fil-a made our bellies happy.  After taking some pictures at the banner, we headed hobbled to the car and made our way back to my apartment.

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Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Lots of picture sharing, instagramming, face booking, and calling family from my living room, as well as foam rolling.  Jazzy partook in the Lacrosse ball rolling.  After Amy left, Mom and I showered and I found several spots on my body that had chafed.  That was not really a fun experience in the shower.  Ouch.  Mom found some chafing too, but was smarter than me, and put Aquaphor on before her shower.  Pro Tip: put Aquaphor or vaseline on your chafed areas before showering!

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Later in the afternoon, Mom and I went to Joe’s KC for BBQ, and watched the Royals game.  On our way home after stopping at Scheel’s, we went to Yogurtini, and ate it at home after changing into PJ’s.

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Bed was early on Saturday night.  Sunday morning, we ran a couple miles on the trails with Amy, to shake out our legs, which felt really good.  Then we went to yoga at Lululemon with Maylo to stretch everything out.

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Half marathon #6 is in the books, and it was really and truly a great half marathon.  I enjoyed the entire weekend, the pasta dinner, the race, the relaxing afternoon on Saturday, followed by a great Sunday.  Couldn’t have asked for anything better.

I finished the KC Half Marathon and met two goals in the process: I finished in one piece, and I finished with a PR and under my time goal of 2:30:00.  I wasn’t able to finish without having to walk, but I was very pleased with my performance, and know I can run the whole thing without walking.

I’ve also committed myself to the KC Marathon next fall.  The full marathon!  Read about that decision here.  It’s going to be one heck of a ride!  Congratulations to all my friends who did the KC Half and Full on Saturday, I’m so incredibly proud of everyone!!