Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2015: My first year with Rev Running

With 2015 at a close, it's time to look over the year and ponder its lessons. It certainly was an amazing year of running!

In late November of 2014, I joined Revolution Running. I met my new coach, Steve Sellers, and my sub-10 pace group peeps, and we were off!

I joined Kara and Adam Goucher's 2015 in 2015 challenge, knowing I wouldn't make it, but curious to see just how far I could go.

I joined my new running friends at Flatirons Running on Wednesday nights for a 5K fun run followed by beer, pizza, and camaraderie. What used to be a rather tiring Hump Day became a favorite evening and Sam joined me for many of the those runs.

In January of 2014, just a month after running with Rev Run, I PR'd my half marathon time at the tough Prairie Dog Half in Louisville. I knew I had chosen well - this group was working for me!

In February, throughout the brutal 7am dark workouts running "dicey hills," intervals on the track, tempo runs and long Saturday morning runs, I kept consistent. I made many new friends. And I got fitter.

March began the Spring Session, so I was no longer the newbie! The warmth came slowly but oh the sunshine! I needed to wear sunglasses on the early runs now, and our long runs on Saturdays began to really ramp up as everyone dialed it in for Boston and other marathons. I couldn't imagine training through the winter, but I admired my friends. Ted's Bar Mitzvah took over the month and I was glad to have my running to balance my stress. My new running friends took pictures at his rehearsal and others came to his party. My two lives (mom/singer and runner) were beginning to merge. It felt great!

In April, rehearsals for the opera really began to ramp up and I had to actively carve out time for my long runs and nap on the days I didn't get enough sleep. It was a challenging month, but I was getting faster. I was learning to pickup my long runs at the end ... it felt hard, but exciting.

In May I had another breakthrough with my first sub-30 minute 5K at the local Dash 'N Dine series. Sam and I both had PRs at that race and it was then that I realized I was really hooked. Running with a group and with a good coach had officially made me a better runner. I never looked back - I was serious now. I began plotting out the week as soon as it uploaded to Google Calendar and stopped eating as many desserts and wine. I wanted to become the best runner I could be. I knew I had the support I needed!

The annual Bolder Boulder was a treat. I managed to laugh at myself at my time (1:00:02) and was so proud of Sam for his 54 minute BB debut. I had a blast with the running group and found the pleasure in the a group warmup before a major race. Warming up before a race (by a few miles) was new to me.

Summertime was tough to stay consistent with all the travel, but Sam and I managed two runs while traveling. We ran the Galena 4th of July 5K with our cousins (Sam placed 1st in his age group of 16 and under!) and a 5K in DC while visiting Aunt Nancy. It was fun to locate races where we traveled and helped keep us accountable. In general, though, I found summertime challenging. We enjoyed the track series at Potts Field and I ran my fastest mile (7:38). I'm looking forward to crushing that record this summer!

I also did my first overnight run with the group: the Chase the Moon race. What a blast! We had teams and we each ran a 3.5 loop and an 8.5 loop. It was exhausting, terrifying and FUN! It was a really fun way to solidify my identity as a crazy runner. And that's always fun!

I did some course marshaling for local road races and began the slow ramp up for my first real training for Chicago. I'd run it twice before, but this time I had a coach and group and a schedule. I knew I would PR, so I set my goal on a sub 4:30 finish. Runs began to ramp up in August. I had a retreat in Vermont to attend, so I stayed consistent, pushing out a super hilly 18miler before the retreat one day and enjoying shorter runs with my buddies on the other days. A lot of silliness was had in Vermont, but a lot of running too. Good times.

As the runs got longer I experimented with UCANN and Maxim for hydration. Both helped keep me feeling strong and peppy throughout those long slogs. For my longest run, 3 weeks out, I ran 8 miles on the treadmill and then ran the Boulder Backroads Half Marathon. I finished feeling strong and fast and it helped me realize I was ready for Chicago. Some plantar fasciitis began creeping up after that race and I entered the world of the rolling-icing-heating-massaging athlete.

Chicago was a disappointing race for me. My Garmin malfunctioned and told me I was running 8:30 pace, so I kept slowing down. I finished in 4:34:12, a PR but not at all what I had trained to do. I quickly ran another 27-minute 5K on Halloween to convince myself that I still had some life in my legs, and resolved to listen to my coach and run without a watch for a while.

In November I ran the USA Half Marathon Invitational in San Diego, where I PR'd in 2:05:55 (I love sea level). I had no idea what I had run because I didn't use a watch, but I did run with the 2:10 pacer and then picked it up at the end. It was just what I needed and I left the warmth and sunshine of San Diego newly encouraged that I was continuing to improve as a runner.

As the year came to a close, I ran an exciting 26:12 in the Colder Boulder and my first year with Rev Running wrapped up in a fun Xmas party (and a renewed case of plantar fasciitis!) and lots of reflection. 2015 was definitely the year of running for me.

Now, with 2016 on the horizon, I am newly excited. I have lots of races on the calendar for 2016 and lots of PRs to chase with my running buddies. 2016 in 2016 with Adam and Kara is back on the agenda, as is my first attempt at running 2 marathons in a year. Let's see where 2016 takes us!

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