Weekly Recap

Training Log – 01.28.18

Hey friends!

I am back at it after a little bit of down time post-marathon. I’m gearing up for the Wine 10K in Birmingham on 03.03.18. That only gives me 5 weeks to get ready, but I am hopeful that my marathon fitness will carry me through and that I can just sharpen up my speed some over the next few weeks.

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Here is what my training looked like the week of 01.22.18 – 01.28.18:

Monday – Easy: 8 miles (8:32 pace)

All of my easy runs during the week went down on the treadmill. I couldn’t find the foot pod that I typically wear, so my Garmin data is a tad inaccurate for a couple of the runs. I took the foot pod off of my shoe the morning of my marathon because I didn’t want to carry any extra weight with me on race day (it probably weighs < 1 oz.) and then I misplaced it. Serves me right … silly rabbit.

Tuesday – Quality (Repetition): 2 mi. WU, 10 X 400 w/ 400 recovery, 2 mi. CD

Daniel is gearing up for another tri and so he’s starting to do some brick workouts. Tuesday morning he did a 20 minute bike workout while I did my warm up miles and then we went to the track together for some speed work. Daniel did 800s and I did 400s. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done 400 meter repeats. My splits were 85, 89, 88, 89, 89, 91, 90, 90, 92 and 89. Ideally, I would like to get these down around 85 per lap, but that wasn’t happening yet. Perhaps I need to get my little legs together and go sit and reflect (a quote from CRAM Ram).

Wednesday – Easy: 8 miles (8:22 pace)

Another podcast. Another (inaccurate) treadmill run.

Thursday – Quality (Threshold): 3 mi. WU, 2 X 2 mi. w/ 5 min. recovery, 3 mi. CD

Thursday morning Daniel did another brick workout. He did a 30 minute bike workout while I did my warm up miles and then we hit the track again. We both did 2 X 2 miles. My splits were 12:44 (6:22 avg.) and 12:52 (6:26 avg.). I was very pleased with this one. My goal pace was 6:26, so I was right on track (pun intended).

Friday – Easy: 8 miles (7:39 pace)

Another podcast. Another (more accurate) treadmill run. I found my foot pod!

Saturday – Quality (Threshold): 3 mi. WU, 2 mi. @ threshold, 2 mi. @ marathon, 2 mi. @ threshold, 3 mi. CD

Saturday’s workout was a bit of a doozy. I had some quality miles as the middle 6 miles of a 12 mile run. The pace alternated every two miles from threshold pace, to marathon pace and back to threshold pace (well, that’s how it was supposed to be done anyway). My splits for the workout portion  were 6:27, 6:27, 6:48, 6:50, 6:40 and 6:51. The first four miles were right on pace with what I was supposed to do, but it was really tough to change gears back down to threshold pace after the marathon pace miles. I put some good work in and that’s really all that matters at this point.

Sunday – Easy: 10.8 miles (8:27 pace)

Sunday morning we went down to the Gulf for the Big Beach Half and Full Marathon. Several of my friends ran and I wanted to be there to cheer! Also, Rebecca and I had discussed the possibility of me jumping in and taking over her pacing duties. She paced the 3:40 group for the third year in a row, but she knew that she might not be able to stay on pace this year, as she is still healing up from a rib fracture. She handed her watch and the pacer sign over to me around mile 16 and I took it from there.

It was a little hectic for a little bit because I had on two watches and they never were showing the same pace per mile. Which one was right?! It was making me crazy! I finally decided that I just needed to go with Rebecca’s watch and so I flipped mine over and didn’t look at it anymore. I ended up crossing right at 3:40 (technically just over, but still under 3:41). I thought I was going to finish right at 3:39, but my math was off. It’s hard to run and do math sometimes. Sigh.

Total – 66.7 miles

That’s it for now! See you soon!

Miscellaneous, Thinking Out Loud

#CurrentStatus

Hello, hello!

It’s been just over a week since First Light. I’ve done a few easy runs, but have mostly been in recovery mode. I figured this would be a great chance to catch up with some over some current things!

Current activity: We played disc golf last weekend and I had a blast! I’ve played disc golf twice now in the last 10 years, but my skills weren’t too rusty. I was pleasantly surprised! Oddly enough, my disc golf skills mirror my regular golf skills perfectly (good long distance game … terrible short distance game). I want to practice and play again soon. My dad and I used to have a little disc golf “course” set up at home (basically we just threw the thing as far as we could and then tried to hit a tree or something as the “hole”) and it would be really fun to do something like that again.

Current book: I am reading The Rainmaker by John Grisham. I’m really into legal books and shows these days.

Current confession: So, I think I might’ve taught my first class in the wrong room. I feel like showing up to the wrong class is such an embarrassing college student thing to do, but I doubt many teachers have done it. Several students came in asking if this was the finance class and I kept telling them that this was the tax class. “Bless their hearts,” I thought to myself. A couple of minutes before class started the dean (the DEAN!) of the business school came over to my room to ask if I was teaching in this room. Honestly, I still didn’t really think anything of it. After class, one of my students told me that our class was location was listed as being in the computer lab and we were definitely not in a computer lab. Facepalm.

Current drink: Strawberry lemonade Nuun (but I don’t know if that’s as much a current thing as much as an always and forever thing).

Current excitement: I have registered for my next race! I’m going to be running the Wine 10K in Birmingham on March 3. It’s a very competitive race … we’re talking top 10 females last year were all under 38 minutes! Whoa. I’m excited to shift my focus away from the marathon and to some short stuff for a while.

Current fail: I got a new iPhone and I’ve dropped it more times in a month than I dropped my old phone in 3 years. Is it just me or are the new iPhones more slippery?

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Current game: HQ Trivia. So, I don’t actually play this, but I watch Daniel play it and it’s fun.

Current habit: Adding at least 5 minutes of core work every day. Most days I do more, but if not, 5 minutes is better than nothing.

Current indulgence: Hot chocolate. It just hits the spot when it is super chilly out (or in … we’re having some issues with our heat).

Current juxtaposition: Don’t ignore the wisdom …

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Current knowledge: All. the. knowledge.

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Current list: I’ve got a decent little list going of potential 5Ks and 10Ks that I want to do this Spring.

Current mood: Just happy to be alive and along for the ride! I’m channeling my inner Brookser.

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Current need: I need a decent pair of running gloves. I have lots of cheap-o Target ones (which I love), but they don’t do a whole lot for me when it is actually cold out. I legit thought my hands were going to fall off from frostbite one day last week. In my defense, that one day was the COLDEST day of the year I an entitled to whine about the cold at least a little bit (it’s part of my rights as a true Southerner).

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Current obsession: My Goodr sunglasses. You need to get some. They are awesome!

Current procrastination: I am currently procrastinating all productivity, but if you are reading this, that means I have moved on and am no longer procrastinating all the things.

Current quote: This! Look for the good in everything.

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Current rave: I really love my run angel! I know several of you might be interested in this, so I need to do a post all about it. The peace of mind that it gives me if I run alone is really wonderful!

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Current show: The Good Wife! I think it is one of my favorite shows that we’ve watched. Definitely in the top 10.

Current uncertainty: I’m not sure if I am going to be able to coach Girls on the Run this Spring. I really want to, but there is only one school in our area doing a Spring semester and they are practicing on the two days of the week that I have already committed to working. Argh.

Current video: CRAM Ram! Y’all. I could watch this over and over. It makes me belly laugh. I think it is partly just funny because all of our friends have watched it and quote it all the time. I have it saved on my phone so that I can watch it if I ever need a pick me up.

Current want: I REALLY want to get the Tie Dye Brooks Launch!

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Current yogurt: Noosa! It’s the best.

Current zone: Currently living outside my comfort zone in a few areas (especially with teaching) and while it is a bit uncomfortable in the short-term, I am hopeful that it is going to pay off in the long-term.

 Tell me: What is currently going on in your life?

FLM, Race Recap, Relay

Race Recap: First Light Marathon

I’d like to call this race the ultimate dichotomy. It was not my day and it was my day. Confused? Read on …

I should probably start this recap at the start line of the race, but of course, I’d rather back up and start … somewhere else … perhaps at the beginning of the training cycle. If you’ve run a marathon, you know that there is so much more to a marathon than the race itself. This training cycle involved 5 friends (all training for the same race), 9 races, 35 workouts and 1,300 miles. Sharing the journey with friends made this one really special and I honestly think the camaraderie carried us to the finish line.

I started training for this race the first week in September. On paper, the training was a 9 week fundamental phase, a 9 week specific phase and a 1 week taper. In actuality, it probably looked more like a 9 week fundamental phase, a 5 week specific phase (culminating with pacing the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon) and then 5 weeks of chaos. I won’t rehash all of it, but basically I didn’t recover as quickly as I expected to from pacing the marathon, which caused me to miss a couple of key workouts and then I came down with a sickness that caused me to miss a couple of key weeks of training. No bueno.

I debated whether or not to even run the race and was |thisclose| to running the half instead of the full. In fact, I didn’t actually register until the week of the race (one of the many benefits of running a small, local race). Even when I did register, I knew that the chances of me running my “A” goal (< 3:00) were slim. I was oddly at peace with this. Somewhere along the way I realized that my time truly didn’t matter. Of course it feels great to set a goal and crush it, but it also feels great to run happy and without pressure. I went into the race with expectations of having a great day and enjoying myself. That is not to say I wasn’t prepared to work. I was prepared to fight. I knew the marathon would be tough regardless, but it was a challenge that I was ready to tackle.

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The temperature was a little under 30* at the start. I wore two pairs of socks, shorts, a long-sleeve shirt, a singlet, gloves and a toboggan (not a sled :)), oh and my Goodr sunglasses (I love those things!). I feel like I was dressed very appropriately. Part of me really wanted to run in tights, but I’m glad that I didn’t. My legs were definitely numb for the majority of the race, but I’m fairly certain that this was, in fact, a good thing.

My plan was to ease into the pace over the first couple of miles, maintain a smooth, steady pace through mile 11, run based on effort from miles 11 to 20 (the hilly section of the race … theoretically, the effort level should’ve stayed the same during this time, but the pace would naturally slow up the hills and speed up slightly down the hills) and run it home one mile at a time.

Here is what that looked like based on my mile splits:
Easing into it: 7:24, 7:05
Smooth and steady: 6:56, 6:58, 6:58, 6:54, 6:52, 7:07, 7:08, 6:50, 6:59
Effort based: 7:28, 7:24, 7:12, 7:21, 6:56, 7:28, 7:28, 7:57, 7:33
One mile at a time: 7:32, 7:40, 7:46, 8:04, 8:14, 8:21

I started the race with Alex and Young Daniel. We all trained for the < 3:00 goal and we planned to start out together and see where the day took us. We ran the first 3 or 4 miles together, which was great! For < 3:00, you need to maintain 6:50 pace for the entire race. I knew fairly early on that 6:50 wasn’t going to happen. I just couldn’t settle into a smooth rhythm where 6:50 felt comfortable. The way I see it, if your goal pace doesn’t feel comfortable for the first 10 miles of a 26.2 mile race, it’s either going to be a really long day if you try to force it or you can reassess and settle on a more manageable goal.

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I ran the first five miles of the race as part of the Grinder Gals relay team. This was my fifth year running as part of a relay team and so far we are five for five on winning our division. YAS! Having my team out there along the way was so nice! I got to see them every five miles (at 5, 10, 15 and 20) and they cheered for me and encouraged me every time. I handed the relay bracelet off to Lizzie at mile 5 and continued on my merry little way.

At this point, Alex and Young Daniel had pulled away, which was great. I knew that meant that they felt good. I saw Daniel briefly around mile 7 and I told him that I was going to reassess my goal. I didn’t really know what the reassessment was exactly, but I knew that < 3:00 wasn’t going to happen. I took a gel around mile 8. I grabbed a cup of water at the aid station and the water cup was probably 50% liquid and 50% ice. Brr!

Mile 9 was my best mile of the day. All of a sudden, I felt good! I really think it took me 9 miles to warm up. The funny thing is that the hills on the course start at mile 10 and so even though I felt good momentarily, I knew it was going to be brief. I started running based on effort (as planned) and I actually didn’t look at my watch for the remainder of the race. I knew I was doing what I could and the pace didn’t matter.

I saw Daniel again around the half way point of the race. I told him that I was good and that he should go on up and check on the other guys. He could ride up and check on Kenny and Cody, then make his way back to Alex, Young Daniel, me and Sasser. He was all over the place and took some great pictures in the process. He also deserves a special award because if we thought it was cold running, it was twice as cold on the bike. I’m pretty sure his hands were solid blocks of ice at the end of the race.

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Daniel with Young Daniel & Young Daniel’s dad, who jumped in and ran a couple of miles!

As I came through the relay exchange at mile 15, I gained an unexpected running buddy. Bowie paced Kenny for a few miles, but Kenny was crushing it and Bowie decided to drop back and run a few miles with me. I’m pretty sure my 7:20 (ish) miles felt much nicer than Kenny’s 6:20 (ish) miles at that point. Also at mile 15, my relay team caught up to me and Rebecca ran with us for a mile or so as well. You know how sometimes you are running a marathon and you are counting down every. single. mile. the entire way? I’ve been there many times, but yesterday … the miles just flew by (and it wasn’t because I was running fast by any means). I was just happy to be out there and to have friends supporting (and distracting) me.

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Since Rebecca was running her leg of the relay, she went on ahead to make the handoff to Jessica. I took another gel around mile 17. At mile 18, things got real. We came to the toughest hill of the course (half a mile at 7.5% incline). If Bowie hadn’t been there, I’m fairly certain that I would’ve been walking. Somehow I made it up that dang thing and kept on trucking.

Before I knew it, we were already at the next relay exchange at mile 20. Rebecca had just run 5 hard miles and when we came through the exchange, Bowie peeled off and she jumped in to run with me. She yelled back to our team, “Come pick me up in a few miles!” and I jokingly chimed in with, “ME TOO!” I was so ready to be done with the race. If someone had offered me a ride to the finish, I would’ve gladly accepted. The only thing motivating me at this point was that I thought I was winning the race for the females. It gets kind of confusing out there with all of the relay teams, etc. and I never had a bike escort or anyone really confirming for sure that I was in first place, but I thought I was.

Rebecca ended up staying with me for five miles. I can’t thank her enough for that. I can’t say that I was great company at that point, but we’ve run together enough that words aren’t really necessary. Just having her there meant so much. At that point in the race, my focus really was to get through one mile at a time. Every mile got me closer to the finish line and that’s all I cared about. Time meant nothing. Finishing meant everything.

Around mile 24, a girl zoomed by me. She didn’t have a bib on her back (all relay runners are supposed to wear two bibs … one on the front and one on the back so that delirious marathoners can distinguish who is who in the final miles of the race). I looked over at Rebecca and was like, “Is she relay?” We thought she was, but we weren’t sure. There was a brief pause and then Rebecca just went ahead and shouted out to the girl, “Are you relay?!” She hollered back, “Yes!” Whew. Not that I could’ve done anything about it at that point, but it was really nice to know that I didn’t need to do anything about it. Ha.

At mile 25, Rebecca peeled off and I was left with just ONE MILE. Hallelujah! One mile seemed doable. As I came down the finishing stretch, I had to do a double take because there was someone who looked a whole lot like my mom standing on the side of the road. Of course with my delirium, it could’ve really been anyone, but no … it wasn’t just anyone … it was my mom! She drove 3 hours that morning (a marathon of her own) just to see me finish the race. Apparently, she had a “feeling” that I was going to win and a mother’s intuition is ALWAYS right.

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Coming in for a hug ❤

After a brief hug, I crossed the finish line in 3:14:XX (official results aren’t posted yet) as first female! I was so happy! While this isn’t a marathon PR, it is a course PR by 9 minutes and it is the first time I have won the full marathon here. I made my way through the finishing chute and got my medal, a mylar blanket and lots of hugs from friends and family.

Shortly thereafter, I did a brief interview and I’m fairly certain this is the face I made when he asked me, “So, what’s next?” I’m pretty sure I answered with something very eloquent, along the lines of, “Oh geez. I have absolutely no idea.” Too soon man, too soon.

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I stumbled over to the car to put on all. the. clothes. and then we made our way back over to catch the awards.

I have to brag on my training buddies for a minute … Kenny finished second overall with a 2:48, Cody finished third overall with a 2:49 (a PR!), Alex finished under 3:00 (a PR!), Young Daniel finished in 3:03 (a PR!) and Sasser finished in 3:20 (his first marathon and a BQ!). Our relay team finished first overall in the female open division with a time of 3:08! I’m so proud of every single one of us. Training and racing together was truly a wonderful experience!

A friend pointed out that my time of 3:14 was appropriate because of this verse. I love it so much. Thank you Stacy for pointing this out.

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Perhaps it wasn’t just this race that was the ultimate dichotomy, perhaps it is the marathon itself. It simultaneously humbles you makes you feel like you can conquer the world.

FLM

FLM Sentiments

I just finished up my last mini-workout of the training cycle and I am feeling a little bit nostalgic, thinking back on all of the memories made along the streets of Mobile at the First Light Marathon over the years. I have participated in the First Light Marathon in some form or fashion since 2008! I have SO MANY wonderful memories associated with this race and I am getting really excited about this year’s race.

Here’s what it has looked like so far:
2008: Half marathon 2:00:43
2009: Half marathon 1:41:39
2010: Half marathon 1:42:07
2011: Full marathon 3:24:12 (my first marathon)
2012: Relay! 2:57:17 (female champs and a course record)
2013: Full marathon 3:23:26
2014: Relay! (female champs)
2015: Relay! (female champs)
2016: Relay! 2:54:52 (female champs and a course record)
2017: Half marathon 1:24:44 AND relay 2:50:XX (co-ed champs and a course record)

2018 is still TBD, but I will be running the full and also participating in the relay again (full and half marathon runners are allowed to run leg 1 of the relay). Having my friends (aka my relay team) out there all along the course is going to make for a really fun day! I also have 4 training buddies running the full and I am excited for each one of them. Daniel will also be out along the course on his bike offering emotional support to all of us. Ha.

I have a solid race plan (thanks to my fabulous coach) that includes easing into the pace over the first couple of miles, maintaining a smooth, steady pace through mile 11, running based on effort from miles 11 to 20 (the hilly section of the race … theoretically, the effort level should stay the same during this time, but the pace will naturally slow up the hills and speed up slightly down the hills) and running it home with heart, one mile at a time.

It’s going to hurt at times and it’s going to be uncomfortable at times, but for the entirety of the race, I will be out there doing something that I LOVE with some of my favorite people. It’s going to be a GREAT day!

FLM, Weekly Recap

Taper Training Logs

Hey friends!

It’s RACE WEEK! Like whoa. Also, I just realized that I forgot to actually post my training log here last week. Today will be a two-for-one and I must admit, it might be the two most boring weeks of running that I’ve done in quite some time.

In an attempt to make a long story short, I came down with the flu, bronchitis and laryngitis the week of Christmas. I missed my last three key workouts over the course of about 10 days. Really, if I look at the bigger picture, my training really hasn’t gone *as I expected it to* since the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon in early December. At this point, we’re just gonna go with the idea that I got a head start on my taper.

Since getting sick clearly wasn’t planned (it was just an unexpected thing that popped up that I couldn’t control), it disrupted my typical routine and shook my confidence a bit. Deep down, I know that it didn’t actually negatively impact my fitness as much as I am inclined think it did. Even though the last month hasn’t gone as planned, I still put in a lot of work over the course of the training cycle and I know that I am still strong and fit.

I went back and forth and back and forth some more as to whether or not I wanted to even do the marathon. If I still felt sick that would’ve been one thing, but at this point I feel confident that I am healthy. My reason for not wanting to run was that I don’t feel confident that I will hit my A goal (of < 3:00). What I really don’t want to do is give up and not go for something due to fear of “failure,” and let’s be real, not meeting my A goal does not mean automatic failure. I can’t predict how I will do on Sunday, but one thing is for sure, I will do my very best that day and that alone will be a success.

Here is what my training looked like the week of 12.25.17 – 12.31.17:

Monday – Easy: 6.25 miles (8:54 pace)
Tuesday – Off
Wednesday – Easy: 8 miles (9:03 pace)
Thursday – Easy: 8 miles (8:45 pace)
Friday – Easy: 7.5 miles (8:15 pace)
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Off

Here is what my training looked like the week of 01.01.18 – 01.07.18:

Monday – Easy: 6 miles (9:14 pace)
Tuesday – Easy: 8 miles (8:01 pace)
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – 10 miles (8:27 pace)
Friday – Tempo: 11 miles (7:16 pace)
Saturday – Easy: 6 miles (8:07 pace)
Sunday – Easy: 5 miles (8:38 pace)

Basically the last two weeks were filled with lots of treadmill miles (except for two runs) and purely easy miles (except for one tempo). I haven’t done a workout on the treadmill in ages and I actually really enjoyed it. I busted out my trusty old iPod and had a good ‘lil time. I did a 2 mile warm up, 8 tempo miles (6:56, 6:49, 6:43, 6:43, 6:43, 6:42, 6:42, 6:34) and a 1 mile cool down. I was thrilled with how that went, although my legs have been incredibly sore ever since. I registered for the marathon before I did my workout Friday morning and nailing that run was a HUGE boost for my confidence going into the race.

All that is left to do now is take it easy and relax! I am embracing the taper MUCH more this time around than I typically have in the past.

Holiday, Miscellaneous

Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone. As we close out 2017 and move into 2018, it seems appropriate to do a little bit of reflecting. Regardless of whether or not you like to set New Year’s resolutions (I typically don’t), we likely come into the new year with some sort of “starting fresh” mentality. Looking back and reflecting on the previous year is great way to gauge your goals and plans for the upcoming year.

Looking back …

One of the perks of blogging is that it is fairly easy to look back and see exactly what went on during the year (assuming that you are fairly consistent with your posting). I managed to get at least one post per week most weeks this year. Two things that I consistently post are race recaps and monthly recaps. What can I say … I just enjoy a good recap.

As I’m sure you have gathered, running is a stable topic that I always have something to share about, so the majority of the time my posts are about running. While I do wish I had more time to write about other topics, that just wasn’t as doable last year. I am hopeful that I will have some time in the not-so-distant future to write more.

I became a Salty Running contributor in 2017 and so I am also posting over there occasionally as well these days. My favorite piece that I got to be a part of this year was #MeToo – Women Runners’ Experiences of Sexual Violence, Assault and Harassment. Check out their site and that piece if you haven’t.

Somewhat along those same lines (as far as the #MeToo piece), I also became an ambassador for run angel. Run angel is a personal safety wearable that emits a loud (120 decibel), high-pitched audible alarm when activated. It pairs with smart phone devices over Bluetooth to send out alerts in the event of an emergency. I first heard about run angel on Lindsey’s podcast and I knew immediately that it was a product and company that I would love to be part of.

If you listened to my episode of the podcast, I mentioned the deer that appeared in the woods the day of the attack and how the deer was in essence, an angel … my sign that everything was going to be okay and that God was with me (He always is). I love that this product is called run angel and when I wear it I remember the words of one of my favorite verses.

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As far as the actual running goes, I ran 3,520 miles this year. I did 24 races (the exact same as 2016 … I didn’t realize that until just now). The races ranged from 1 mile to 50K (31 miles!). The 1 mile and 50K distances are the only two distances that I managed to PR (and to be fair, it was my first 50K, so that one was going to be a PR regardless). I ran one full marathon, five half marathons, one 10 mile race, one 12K, three 10Ks, nine 5Ks, one 2 mile race and two 1 mile races (if you count the milk mile, which apparently I did last year, so just keeping it consistent here).

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The 2017 Gardner bling. Freshly organized and hot off the Christmas tree!

This time last year I mentioned that my goals for 2017 were to get a 5K and half marathon PR (basically I wanted all.the.PRs) and I also said that I had my eye on the one mile and two mile state records for my age. I came 2 seconds shy of a half marathon PR at First Light and I actually did come away with those age group records, so all in all, not too shabby I guess.

Aside from the actual racing, I also really enjoyed pacing a few races this year. I (informally) paced my friend, Jill, to a shiny half marathon PR in April, I paced two of my precious Girls on the Run gals to 5K PRs in October and I paced some random strangers during an (almost) marathon in December. I enjoyed every step of the way (up until the steps that were missing from the marathon).

Getting involved with Girls on the Run was definitely one of the highlights of the year. I still intend to do a proper post about the things that I learned from this experience.

If you missed out on any part of the year and are really bored, here are my monthly recaps!

January Recap
February Recap
March Recap
April Recap
May Recap
June Recap
July Recap
August Recap
September Recap
October Recap
November Recap
December Recap

There are also a few non-running related highlights from 2017. Arguably, the most notable would be that we bought a house! We found a house that we love in an area that we loved even more.

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We took a trip to Colorado, which was ahh-mazing. In fact, I tried several time to convince Daniel that we should sell the above-referenced house (and all of our belongings) and move to Colorado. He supports me in just about every way possible, but he did NOT support me in that decision. Sad.

Daniel completed his first half ironman!

Brooks turned six! He enjoyed lots of fetching, swimming, trotting and even did some “surfing” in 2017. There were also plenty of treats and belly rubs to go around and he most definitely rocked his Halloween costume (in my somewhat biased opinion).

We celebrated our 7th anniversary by getting each other the same card (I would say what are the odds, but puppies were involved, so I think the odds were extremely high).

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A few other favorites from the year …

Looking ahead …

As far as 2018 is concerned, the year will definitely start off with a couple of big events. One being the marathon that I have tirelessly trained for over the last 10?, 20?, 30? weeks. It seriously seems like I’ve been training for this race for about a year, but I know that isn’t really the case. Marathon training definitely requires A LOT of physical, mental and emotional energy. Thankfully, I have shared the training experience with some wonderful friends and training buddies and that has made the entire process much more enjoyable.

As far as running goals, obviously the marathon is on my brain right now. After recovering from the marathon, I think I will likely bring my focus back to some shorter stuff (like halfs) in the Spring and then maybe do a summer of speed again (with a one mile, two mile and 5K focus).

The other big event is the beginning of the Spring semester and my first official classes as a college professor. I am a tad anxious about that, just because it is a total career change and I basically have zero experience teaching. I am hopeful that it will be a good experience and that I can tap into my pre-existing knowledge of the subject matter and talk for 3 hours consecutively about taxes each week.

A few general goals come to mind. One is that I would like to read more this year, both for fun and for learning purposes. I’m not going to attach a quantifiable goals to this per say (such as one book per month). I just want challenge myself a bit mentally and I want to continue learning.

I would also like to write more this year. Again, no quantifiable goal here (such as 5 posts per month). I actually wrote over 75 posts here in 2017 and I also wrote a few on Salty Running as well. I would’ve thought that it was closer to 50, so that’s kind of surprising. I guess my goal would be to venture outside of my “safe” zone of training recaps and race reports. I will obviously continue to write them, just because I enjoy writing them and having them to look back on. I want to challenge myself to throw in a few posts about non-running related topics.

So far I’ve got reading and writing goals, so I guess I need an arithmetic goal now. Ha. I guess I will have to figure out this grading rubric sooner rather than later, so perhaps that is my current arithmetic goal. There we go, 2018 will be the year of reading, writing and arithmetic (with hopefully some running thrown in here and there :)).

That’s it for today. I hope you all have a safe, happy, wonderful new year! Talk to you soon!