2017 Race & Mileage Recap!

I actually can’t believe how quickly this year went by. I feel like I blinked in June and now it’s almost January.

2017 brought me a lot of challenges. I learned a lot. I failed. I struggled. I persisted. I earned new PRs. I had fun. This year was really a little bit of everything – high highs and low lows, but that’s life.

This is what 2017 looked like for me in terms of miles and races.

January – 140 miles

My first month of training with Boston 365 and the strongest month of January ever. We were lucky with a mild winter and I was able to do almost all of my runs outside. Having this supportive group was a much more enjoyable way to train through the winter. I built my base for my April marathon and added in a lot of cross training with classes at Studio Three. I started going to yoga at least once a week and found a new love for it. January was for trying new things. Plus I did dry January so I was feeling really good all month. And did I mention new friends?! The strong, fast women I met through Boston 365 turned out to be so much more than running partners. I could go on and on about them, but I have a lot of months to get through. Let’s just say they shaped me into the runner I was this year and I am so so grateful they came into my life when they did.

February – 169.47 miles

Sedona Half Marathon. 1:43:20. 7:53 average pace.

Lots of miles for a 28 day month! I remember how shocked I was to add up this mileage at the end of the month. I had my first race of the year in Sedona, AZ for my birthday weekend. It was so fun to escape to a warmer place and run in altitude for a few days. The race views were incredible. I think I smiled for the entirety of the 13.1 miles. I wasn’t racing to PR, but I was super happy with my time. The course was really, really hilly, but I loved it. If you’re looking for a race in Arizona, this one is definitely worth checking out. It was hard to come back to the reality of cold Chicago, but I knew I had miles to log with my goal April race in mind.

March – 195.81 miles

Get Lucky Half Marathon. 1:38:59. 7:34 average pace.

Highest mileage month I have ever had! I was just short of that 200 mark and I almost added in an extra run to hit it, but I really wasn’t feeling great – so I didn’t. And I ended up straining my Achilles on March 30th. BUT before that happened I hit all my speed workouts, long runs, and had some of the best training runs ever. I loved this month. I ran the Get Lucky Half Marathon in frigid cold with insane winds and was only a few seconds off my PR. I felt good with the higher mileage until about the last week. And that last run where I felt like my Achilles snapped led to a tearful realization that I wouldn’t be having the April I had planned.

April – 56.22 miles

Nashville Rock ‘N Roll Marathon. 3:53:51.

April was marathon month. After 3 of the strongest, toughest training months I had ever had I thought I’d be more than ready to PR at my race, but I started the month with a strained Achilles. I took almost two complete weeks off except for physical therapy. I got laser treatments, I iced constantly, and I saw a massage therapist regularly. I was trying to do anything I could so that I could run my race at the end of the month. It was too heartbreaking for me to think about those months of hard work “going to waste.” I know it was a good learning experience either way, but I still wanted another 26.2 medal after all of it. Luckily, I listened and was patient and got the okay to run my race. I hadn’t run more than 10 miles for about 5 weeks and I was terrified, but I knew I still wanted to try to finish. The race was an absurd 90 degrees in Nashville. I wouldn’t have had my goal race either way – but it actually might have been a good thing because it forced me to take it easy. I ran smart, I made a friend on the course who helped me stay calm, and I focused on the happiness of getting to still run the race. It wasn’t a PR, but I finished and I was able to run without ANY PAIN. I was shocked and elated.

May – 21.20 miles

I finished that April marathon without any pain, but I still wasn’t completely healed. I was advised to get more laser treatments, continue with physical therapy, and take a break from running. I took about 2.5 weeks off and did as I was told. The only runs I did were short and easy. I was serious about getting strong and injury free again. While I didn’t plan on having any months with this low of mileage – I knew I needed it. It was a necessary recovery and reset.

June – 117.25 miles

By June I was ready to train again. I was on the up. I started slow and honestly I was nervous. I was scared of loving marathon training again and having it crush me. April and May were hard. But I knew I had the Chicago Marathon to train for and after being cleared to train again, it was time to try. I ran speed workouts again and joined my friends for long runs. I was smiling more again. I was back to doing what I love.

July – 152.88 miles

Chicago Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon. 1:36:35. 7:22 average pace.

Big Ten 10K. 59:03. 9:31 average pace.

July was the month I raced again for the first time since April. This was big for me since it was my longest break from racing in about 3 years. And what I didn’t know? I was going to set a half marathon PR after about 6 weeks of training. I had no expectations going into the Chicago Rock ‘N Roll half marathon, but I was running with my amazing friends and I wanted to have fun. It was a hot day, but nothing we couldn’t handle (no Nashville). I stuck with Jenny the whole time and we cruised in to a 1:36:35 – a new PR for me by over two minutes. It was a really good day. And then I ran the Big Ten 10K a week later as an easy run. I was out late the night before and I didn’t feel like racing, so I didn’t. It was just an enjoyable morning. Sometimes those races are just as fun! I had a strong month of mileage despite the heat and I still wasn’t dealing with any injuries, so I was proud.

August – 172.91 miles

Dublin Rock ‘N Roll 5K. 21:58. 7:03 average pace.

Dublin Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon. 1:40:42. 7:41 average pace.

I think August was my favorite month of training in 2017. I loved it because it was more about fitting in miles where I could as a way to explore rather than just logging them to log them. I was abroad for about 10 days of this month, but I still got in a lot of miles. And I ran my first international race!! I did the Dublin Rock ‘N Roll remix challenge: a 5K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. Kyle did the 10K too which was the farthest he had ever run. It was so fun to get to run Ireland together and I couldn’t have picked a better first international race. Exploring on foot is the best. We ran all over Ireland, took in the scenery, met new people, and loved life. It was amazing.

September – 104.57 miles

Grand Rapids Last Chance to BQ Marathon. 3:30:54. 8:03 average pace.

September was the defining month. Was I ready to run another marathon? I knew if I wanted a shot at running Boston in 2018 I needed a slightly faster time and I had to do it in early September. So, I took the leap and signed up for the Grand Rapids Last Chance to BQ last minute. I had the best girls with me who fully supported this crazy idea and came with to cheer me on. I really don’t think I could have run a 3 mile loop over and over again for a full marathon without them. They encouraged me, ran with me, and gave me tough love when I needed it. I didn’t feel great, but I crossed the finish line in 3:30:54. Enough. I did it. This moment was one of my favorite moments of the year. Sometimes when you get crazy ideas, you just have to go for it. I’m so grateful I had the support I did. And I still stayed on track throughout September to run a strong Chicago Marathon.

October – 66.65 miles

Chicago Marathon. 3:28:30. 7:57 average pace.

Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K. 1:12:52. 7:50 average pace.

October was a low mileage month because I took two full weeks off after the Chicago Marathon and I tapered for the first week. Mileage wasn’t the important part of my month. I took all the pressure off myself for the Chicago Marathon since I hit my goal time in September, but it ended up being the best thing I could have done. Since I didn’t feel pressure, I ran strong. I took another 2+ minutes off my personal record. I loved everything about this race day and I felt stronger than I had in September. This race and this month taught me that taking away the pressure can work for me. I then ran the Hot Chocolate 15K at the end of the month for fun too. Two strong races without many other miles in-between, but that’s okay.

November – 71.80 miles

The best thing about November was still being injury free after two strong marathons. I was nervous I would finish Chicago injured again, but I wasn’t. I recovered and eased back into running with more of a focus on strength and cross training. I got a trainer to work on strength. I saw a nutritionist to get blood work done and see how my body was recovering. I was smart – something I hadn’t always been when it came to my training. The miles I did run were just for fun. I didn’t follow a plan, I didn’t race, and I didn’t stress about a lack of running. I needed the off season and I’m glad I ran this month the way I did.

December – 75.80 miles

Final month of the year wrapped up with 75.80 miles today! I’m not running tomorrow, so I can total up my miles now. I definitely did not run as often as I usually do, but that was the point. I went to yoga and cycling more. I took more rest days. I listened to my body and enjoyed another month of low mileage. Sure, I could have run more miles to try and hit my yearly goal of 1400, but in the end I knew it didn’t really matter. I got stronger in a time I really needed to and I feel refreshed. I’m ready to start training again on January 1st and see what 2018 has in store.

1,344.56 total miles for 2017.

This year was huge for my running. I had a new half marathon personal record and new marathon personal records that locked in my spot for Boston 2018 and 2019. I couldn’t ask for more. I struggled with my injury, but I don’t have regrets because of all I learned and how I will treat my training going forward. Running always humbles me, keeps me guessing, and challenges me. I love this sport. I want to keep pushing my limits and seeing how far I can go year after year. Nothing beats this.

If you got to the end of this – thank you. Thank you for your constant support and inspiration! This community is incredible.

For 2018: let’s dream big. Let’s work hard. A lot can happen in a year.

2017 Goals: What Happened

At the end of 2016, I set my goals for the new year. I do this every year, but for 2017 I wrote down one that I’d never written before and still didn’t know if I would really make it happen.

Bet you know what it was.

I wrote down 7 goals last year and I didn’t complete them all. I sort-of completed most, but I’m proud of what I did accomplish. Spoiler: the last one, the big one, the scary one – I get to cross it off.

Here’s what goals I set and what actually happened:

  • Run 1,400 miles
    • Almost completed.
    • I’ll be a little short on my yearly mileage goal. I’m at roughly 1,320 as of today and I won’t be running ~80 miles in the next 5 days – that’s okay. I wanted to run more miles than last year and I like even numbers so I picked 1400. I obviously wasn’t planning on getting injured and taking two months to recover without much running. Either way, I’ll still end up running more miles than 2016 so I’m considering it a win.
  • Eat more mindfully
    • Half completed?
    • There wasn’t an end goal in mind with this goal. It was about forming better eating habits and it’s something I’ll always be working on. I did better this year. I ate more vegetables. I meal prepped. I tried not to eat junk just because it was there (like Kyle eating chips next to me). I was nowhere near perfect and I still have a lot I can improve on, but I did take steps in the right direction.
  • Strength/cross train 2-3x a week¬†
    • Completed.
    • I was successful in adding in more cross training this year. I almost overdid it – some weeks I probably did. I’m working on finding the right balance, but I did cycle or practice yoga almost every single week this year and I know that was good for me. Practicing yoga more did wonders for me mentally and I want to continue to get to the mat at least once a week in 2018.
  • Add 3 new states to 50 state goal
    • Kind of complete.
    • So, I didn’t add 3 new states. I added 2 new states and a new country. I ran a half marathon in Sedona, AZ in February, a marathon in Nashville, TN in April, and a half marathon in Dublin, Ireland in August. I had no idea I’d complete my first international race in 2017, but I’m so glad I did. It sparked a bug to travel and race even more. I have a lot more states to go, but I’ll aim for 2-3 new ones a year as well as an international race each year. That’s the dream.
  • Stretch and plank every day
    • Did not complete.
    • Every day was an aggressive goal. I was definitely BETTER about stretching and planking this year than I was the year before, but I can still be better. This is another one of those goals that is more about making habits and continuing to improve on them. I was better, but I can always use more stretching and core work in my life. Life gets busy and I sometimes have to hop right in the shower after squeezing in my run and I neglect the stretching – but I’m trying.
  • Take my vitamins
    • Did not complete, but I’m set up for 2018 – that’s progress.
    • So I wrote this down in 2016 without any idea what vitamins I should really be taking. I had a few I thought I should take, but I’ll admit I was great about it in January and then totally let this one fall away. But I wanted to get serious about my nutrition before Boston training, so I saw a nutritionist in October, got tests done, found out what I truly need, and have now been taking 13 pills/supplements a day for four days. I’m set up for a successful, healthier 2018 and I’m determined to stick with this routine and be the strongest version of myself.
  • Run sub 3:32 marathon
    • Crushed it.
    • This goal scared me. I kind of felt like I would never run faster than a 3:33 marathon, but I wanted to try. After running a 3:28:30 at the Chicago Marathon this year I realized I’m capable of a little more than I think. It feels good to have another PR from a summer of hard work. What should I write down for 2018? I’m still thinking. But big goals have to be chased and I’m ready to put in more work. I don’t think I have hit my peak yet.
  • Register for the Boston Marathon¬†
    • Complete.
    • Yes. Yes yes yes yes. I wrote this down not really thinking my 3:33 would be enough to get me in for 2018. I didn’t know if I would have a faster time in me before mid-September, but somewhere in the back of my mind I knew I’d find a way to make this dream happen. If I hadn’t run a last chance to BQ race in early September, I would have had to wait to register for Boston until 2019. I still would have been super proud of this year, but getting to lock in my spot for 2018 was one of the absolute best feelings. Registering for that September race without a full training cycle took guts. I was super anxious and I almost regretted signing up. But I had the best girls with me to support me along the way. I couldn’t have done it without them. One goal I didn’t write down for the year was to “make new friends” or “find supportive women who push me to be better” but this was a bonus. I truly found an amazing support system that I can’t imagine my life without. I’m lucky. They got me to Boston.

A lot happened this year and I wouldn’t exactly call it an amazing year, but in terms of my running it was definitely a success. I didn’t fully complete every goal I set, but I made progress. I learned a lot. I am more in tune with my body, the care I need, and the toughness I can handle. I wouldn’t even take back my injury from this spring because it taught me so much. I would not have come back with my PR in the fall if I didn’t learn from the mistakes I was making. Experiences make us who we are and there is always something to learn. I wouldn’t change any of it really.

I’m ready to work harder, learn more, and push new limits in the new year.

Now I just need to put my 2018 goals to paper.

Keep in mind that if your goals don’t scare you – they aren’t big enough. Sometimes you might just surprise yourself.