I love to end my year with a bit of reflection in all area’s of life. I strongly believe in looking back at what went well as well as areas to improve upon. With respect to the running portion of my life, overall I would say that 2016 was a great year. It absolutely did not pan out as I had anticipated it would but in some ways, I would say it went even better. They say that expectations are resentments in the making. And while I definitely had some expectations/plans for 2016 that did not come to fruition, I do believe that nonetheless, this year was a success. Read on to find out why.
The year started off with a bang on New Year’s Day. I met up with the Cleveland Chapter of Black Girls Run for an 11 mile run on the Towpath. I strongly believe in starting the New Year off with a long run-I have a superstition that the first run of the year is the predictor for how the rest of the year will go.
On January 3’rd I participated in the annual Menage ‘a Waterfall run in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It is a yearly tradition where you run 17 miles from waterfall to waterfall and boy was it beautiful! And very cold after I fell arm deep into the water….brrr!
In late January I participated in the Buckeye Trail 1/2 marathon. This is a semi fatass race where you could really pick any distance you wanted up to a 50k. I had intended to run 20 but after hours of pounding my feet in the frozen mud (it was 18 degrees!) I finally stopped at the 1/2 marathon point when my sister showed up with Liam and babysitting officially ended!
In February I focused on solidifying my base in preparation to run the Cleveland Marathon in May. I focused on adding in bikram yoga and plenty of core work. My longest run this month was a 14 miler on the roads and trails of the Brecksville Reservation during my local MRTT group’s winter virtual run. Funny story, I got lost on the trails (typical) and was late to the meeting point for the group run. However I ended up getting “found” by my friends and was able to rejoin them for the last few miles.
I really started to ramp my mileage up this month. I continued to do Bikram Yoga and lift freuently this month.
In mid March I participated in the St. Malachi 5 miler. I finished in 44.40 which is not a PR but I had a great time. My friend Alethea even won the costume contest for this race!
April is where my plans for 2016 really fell apart. I injured my back pretty severely and my last run was April 10th. I did go out with a bang though- 20 miles on an indoor track with Leighanna! I’ve shared this before but I was supposed to race a 20 miler that day but with severe pain, I was afraid of getting stranded on the point to point course so I took my run indoors. I didn’t know at the time but this would be my last run until the end of May.
I spent the rest of the month rehabbing my herniated discs in physical therapy. I was restricted from all activity by the middle of the month when the pain became excruciating and everyday activity was a challenge. I was able to walk a little bit which did seem to help alleviate the pain.
I spent the majority of May continuing my rehab for herniated discs in twice weekly physical therapy. I was able to walk as well and on Mother’s Day, I walked a 5k with my husband Chris and son Liam. It was incredibly humbling to participate in this race and finish over 35 minutes slower than one year earlier. This was an emotional day for me as I had signed up for this race with the intent of really racing it.
Despite medically deferring from the Cleveland Marathon, I did go to the race as a spectator and had a fantastic time cheering on so many friends on their way to the finish. I really enjoyed the opportunity to be on the other side and to give some love to the running community that has been so loving to me over the years.
On May 27th I was given the clearance to begin run/walk intervals by my Orthopod and I immediately left her office, went home, changed, headed out to a local trail for 3 very slow miles. I could not have been more thrilled. I was able to run twice more over the coming days for a total of 9 miles for the month.
My first run back
June was a time of careful rebuilding of miles. I slowly and carefully increased my mileage week to week. I continued to run every other day at a very slow pace. Many of these miles were on the trail which afforded me the opportunity to run/walk at a conservative pace while I built my endurance back up.
On June 19, I felt good enough to participate in the Towpath 10 miler-a local race series that follows along on the northernmost section of the trail. It was a personal worse time but I was proud that I was able to complete it.
My longest run for this month was a 12.5 mile run on the Buckeye Trail where I finally felt like maybe I could get back into marathon shape.
July was a great month. I continued to feel good and was able to progressively increase my long runs week over week. My pace continued to improve but overall, I was just happy to be back out training.
I was able to run a 14 miler with Leighanna during her prep for the Burning River 50. It felt so good just to be out and meander my way up the Buckeye Trail for a morning.
At the end of the month, I finished a 16 mile run, 12 of those miles were with the stroller! I can’t thank Amy enough for helping me to get through this run and for watching Liam while I finished the last four miles!
Basically spent the entire month of July here:
The highlight of the month was participating in the Burning River 100 relay-a 100 mile long course with 8 relay legs of various lengths over various terrains. I crewed Leighanna for her 50 miler and later went on the run the last leg of the race. You can read all about my experiences with this race here.
Later in August, Chris who is decidedly not a runner, signed up for a local 5k on a whim. We both showed up for one heck of a hot and hilly course at the Homerun 5k which benefited a local charity. Chris did really well and finished in about 30 minutes. I was the first stroller runner over the finish line and 3rd in my age group. This is the first inkling that some speed is starting to come back to me.
Also, I started this blog!!
Burning River finish
September brought some of my highest mileage runs for this training cycle-I ran a 19 and 21 miler in preparation for the upcoming Columbus and Run with Scissor marathons. I continued to feel fantastic during the peak of training and more and more like the pre injury Sara.
A highlight from this month was my experience with getting lost during a trail run. I hope never to repeat this experience but I am able to laugh about it now. Mostly.
Wow, what a whirlwind of a month!! We traveled to Columbus in mid October for me to race the Columbus Marathon and two weeks later, I again laced up my shoes to tackle the Run with Scissors Marathon. It was a busy few weeks and I grappled with how best to recovery and taper for so many consecutive weeks!
By the end of the month, I was ready for a break!
November brought a much needed month of rest for me. I ran mostly for fun including the Autumn Leaves 5 miler-a cross country style race and the traditional Thanksgiving day Turkey Trot. I focused on increasing my strength via 2-3 x weekly weightlifting
In December, I did a lot of “just for fun” runs. My goal was to maintain 25-30 miles per week which is the place where I feel in shape but not overextended or anywhere close to overtraining. I continued to focus on strength training 2-3 times per week and tried to get in a long run on the trails once per week.
Total: 1334.02! Can’t wait to see what 2017 brings!