This year, next year - 2015/2016 edition

If there's one word to sum up this year in running/racing for me it's exhausted, closely followed by disappointing

Because of a lot of stress in my life along with my son's not-so-awesome sleeping habits (what happened to my super sleeper of a baby???), I feel like I spent most of 2015 in a dense, sleepy fog. Not only were my running (lack of) accomplishments disappointing, but so was everything else because I was too tired (mentally and physically) or when I had a little bit of time, it wasn't enough time in a solid chunk to actually do anything of substance. 

Health-wise (at least where running is concerned), I battled asthma and allergies like I never have before, but now that I know what they're like here in Charleston I can start getting a better grip on managing them. 

My racing year was filled with did not starts (some because I didn't feel like it or I was sick/exhausted and others because the race was canceled), one did not finish, one long race course in a half marathon, a total half marathon disaster (asthma), and a bunch of really mediocre and yes, disappointing race times. Between asthma and exhaustion, most of my races were either a bust or blow up after a failed PR attempt, or a pre-race goal adjustment, knowing I couldn't push for a PR. 

But, don't get me wrong. This year wasn't all terrible, especially if we aren't talking about running. How could it have been? I got to experience so many fun things with my family and little B! And I still did have some fun running events, too. 

Even if it was a disappointing year race-wise, I still had a lot of fun!

Even if it was a disappointing year race-wise, I still had a lot of fun!

Here were a few of this year's highlights:

  • Two half marathon PRs - the first at the Charleston Half, which was also my first post-baby half marathon, and the next at Myrtle Beach in October
  • A 5K PR in February at the Wando Heart & Soles 5K
  • My first stroller race with little B at the Mom's Run in May
  • Running a strong race, even if i wasn't a PR, in my last race of 2015 at the Nexton Cocoa Cup 5K
  • Mileage milestones! I ran my highest ever weekly mileage and have been consistently running between 25-35 miles per week instead of 15-20. I also ran my longest run(s) since 2012.

So maybe that's what this year was about. Base building. Getting my feet back under me. And I do think that my running times are showing consistent improvement, even if it's slower that I'd like it to be, and especially because the last time I ran a race where I wasn't in a sleep-deprived haze or dealing with some ill-effect related to asthma was my 5K PR back in February. Even my most recent half marathon PR happened after several really rough nights.

My tempo runs are faster and my races where I'm not trying to PR but I'm still pushing a little are faster with the same amount of perceived effort. So I am improving. I have to remember that. But all of this stress and exhaustion just kept me from making the larger strides I was hoping to make this year. 

But now 2016 is about getting my head on straight and leaving some of that stress in the past.

My 2016 goals:

  • More yoga and strength workouts - this past fall I had gotten into a really good routine with this. Then I got sick for a month, life got really crazy, and I let it slide. No more. I need to get back to it because I know it makes me a better runner, and I also feel better when I do these workouts. 
  • Get faster at shorter distances - I've been hovering around that 23/24 mark for way too long now. It's time start moving (literally). And right now, I don't feel like I'm really trained to PR in a 5K even if I have it in me (somewhere, maybe?). In 2016, I'm changing that.
  • Half marathon PRs - I'm running three half marathons in 2016 (that I currently know of and I don't know that I'll more in at this point). The first is Disney, which is a completely fun run with a friend. My time will likely be somewhere around 2 1/2 hours and that's fine because the next weekend is my goal race at Charleston. The next half marathon on my schedule is Kiawah, all the way in next December. I think PRs even if they may be small ones, are fairly feasible for both of these races.  

If I had to pick a theme for 2016, it would be Strength + Speed. Since my focus will just be on maintaining the current distances that I've already built up to, I can start adding in harder workouts. And I'll have more chances to hit those 5K PRs since I'm going to try to run at least one 5K a month in 2016, some as goal races and some just for fun or as a training/tempo run. That means, I can hack away at it slowly - start with consistent sub-23:30, then move to sub-23, and so forth. 

My biggest hurdle at this point is a mental one. My confidence is rather shaky right now - although the Cocoa Cup race helped a bit - so my mental game is off. I need to get that back. And also sleep. Let's hope that little B gets a little better with consistent sleeping. We're almost through with teething, so that should help significantly (I hope). 

So, see ya later, 2015. Let's get moving, 2016!