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!


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!

A Very Important Running Survey

Janae, at Hungry Runner Girl, posted a survey on her blog this morning, so I thought I’d share my answers! Feel free to answer in the comments, or copy/paste to Facebook or your own blog! I’m excited to see your answers!

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1.  Would you rather run along a beach path or on a mountain trail?  —  I think I would prefer to run on a mountain trail.  I love trees and have loved running on the (paved) trails in the KC area, so I think it would be a great next step to run on some real trails, and then another great next step to run on hilly or mountainous trails.  I must say, running on the beach is on my bucket list though!

2.  If you could choose the flavor of gatorade at your next race’s aid stations, what would it be? —  Red.  Red is the best flavor! I guess Red is fruit punch? It kind of tastes fruity, but mostly it tastes like red and sugar.  Blue is my second favorite, followed by purple, then lemon/lime, then orange.

3.  If I gave you a $100 gift card to a running store, what would be the first thing that you would purchase with it?  —  Hmmmmm. With my last $100 gift card to a running store (KC Running Co.), I put it towards a pair of running shoes.  It’d be hard to not spend a free $100 on another pair of shoes, because you can never have enough! A non-shoe purchase would probably be a high visibility vest or to put the money toward a new Garmin.

4.  Do you prefer to follow a training plan or wake up and decide then how far and how fast you want to run?  —  Some of both? I have a general plan I ry to follow, but nothing set in stone.  I loosely follow the half marathon training plan my sister wrote for me, and can change my workouts depending on how I feel, weather/temperature, and non-running commitments.

5.  Would you rather start your run with the uphill and end on the downhill or start your run with the downhill and end with the uphill?  —  Definitely start uphill and end on a downhill!  Starting going up  is always hard, but I take the time to let my pace fall wherever it wants, and not worry about the pace until I’m warmed up and the ground levels off.  By the time my run is finished, all I want to do is be done! I tend to speed up the last quarter to half mile, mostly to just be finished, but it also allows my legs to know what a bit of a kick at the end, for a race, feels like.

6.  When you can’t run, what type of cross-training do you choose to do?  —  I practice yoga once a week.  If I couldn’t run for some reason, I would likely go to yoga twice a week, and try to bike or go to zumba or kick boxing classes for cardio.

7.  What is your preference—>  Out and back, point to point or loop runs?  —  I think my preferences have changed over the years.  I used to love out and back, but the more I run, I think I am leaning toward loops as my favorite.  Loops give me something different to look at and experience through the whole run, and it is nice to have the option of which way I run the loop.  Loops are almost like two different routes!   I have only ran point to points a few times, the logistics of setting up for them is more difficult, but the few times I have done it, I’ve really enjoyed it; they make me feel like I’m really going somewhere!

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8.  If you could recommend ANY running related item to a new runner, it would be a—>  —  The most useful and relatively inexpensive running item I could recommend would be a good pair of socks.  A moisture wicking pair of running socks, like Features, really make your feet comfortable.  No blisters, no hot spots, good circulation.  A great pair of running socks is a must have for a new runner.

9.  Do you ever see any wild animals while out on your runs?  —  I’ve seen deer, muskrats, a possum, horses, cows, hawks, a snake… I’m sure there are more.

10.  Ever gotten lost while out on a run?  —  I’ve gotten lost once! When I moved to KC, I went running near my new neighborhood, and got completely turned around.  I finally used my phone’s map app to find my way back home; I was going the exact wrong way!  I generally pay very good attention to turns and landmarks to find my way back, and haven’t gotten lost since. *knock on wood*

11.  If you could have one meal waiting and ready for you each time you got home from a run for the next 30 days… what would that meal be?  —  I’m really loving this sandwich that tastes just like summer: a croissant with sliced ham and/or turkey, some mayo, lettuce, avocado, sliced apple, and sliced tomato.  It tastes just like summer, it’s cool and refreshing and tasty and amazing.

12.  Capris or shorts… what do you run in most often?  —  Definitely capris.  I hate it when my shorts ride up and my thighs rub together when I run.  HATE it.  Capris fix all of my problems.  And there are such cute patterns these days!

13.  At what mile (or how many minutes) into your run does your body start to feel like it is warming up and ready to go?  —  About the first mile always feels rough.  It takes my hips and lungs about a mile to really feel like they are working like they should be.

14.  What do you do with your key when you run?  The Buddy Pouch! Read my review here, it’s an amazing product, you don’t even feel it on your waistband, and it has never fallen off or caused chafing.

15.  If you could relive any race that you have done in the past, which one what it be?  —  So far, my favorite shorter race has been the Trolley Run.  It was an amazing point to point race, plus I PR’d! My favorite longer race was probably the KC Half Marathon; the crowd support and memories were really great.  I can’t wait to run the KC Half Marathon again this year, and hopefully improve my time!

16.  What type of run is your least favorite type of run?  —  Probably speedwork! I’m not  speedy runner, and I know I must train more with speedwork, because It doe help me increase my speed and my endurance, but it’s HARD! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!  I’m thankful that KCRC has a speed night every week, the Groupies push me out of my comfort zone and encourage improvement!

Photo courtesy of KC Running Co.

Photo courtesy of KC Running Co.

17.  What has been your biggest motivation lately to get out the door to get your run on?  —  Being accountable of my own runs, and reporting to my readers and the Groupies and my family.  Without having to be accountable, I would definitely skip runs more often! I also think a huge motivation is how great I feel once I’m done!

18.  When you go for a run, do you leave right from your front door or do you drive somewhere to start?  —  This is about half and half… when I run with the Groupies, I drive to the KC Running Co. store and we run from there.  If I’m running on my own, I generally walk for a few minutes to let my watch find GPS, and to warm up a tiny bit.

19.  When running in daylight—>  are sunglasses a must or an annoyance?  —  MUST HAVE!  I hate squinting, and must have my sunglasses and usually a visor too.  The visor helps keep the sweat and/or rain off my face, and helps to shade my face, which I really think helps keep me cooler in the hot weather.

20.  When you get tired, what keeps you from quitting?  —  When I’m running by myself, it is: “Make it to the next tree…” “Make it to the next stoplight…” “Make it to the next street corner…”  Or I just think about how good I’ll feel when I’m done, or I allow myself to slow down a little bit to help recover my breath or give my legs a break.  If I’m running with the group, or with a friend, I ask questions so I can focus on what the responses are!

Thanks for this survey, Janae, it was really fun to do!  I can’t wait to read your answers!