2014

Life got a little too crazy for awhile there. I’ve fallen behind with writing, when what I really want to do is write. What I’ve been doing? Working, running, being confused, sleeping. I still want to write posts about the Princeton Half Ironman and USATF Club Cross Country Nationals. For now, I’ll do a little post about the year in general.

2014 was the first year since my very first year of serious running, 2006, that I did not get injured (injured meaning out for 4+ weeks straight with no running). I didn’t think about it much until now, but that’s a pretty big deal. I ran PRs in every distance I raced (5:38 mile, 11:24 3k, 19:35 5k, 23:11 XC 6k, 1:29:36 1/2, 3:21:41 marathon), and for the first time since that first year of running eight years ago, I felt like I moved up a “level.” Certain paces and times had meant certain things to me for those eight years, and it was in 2014 when suddenly I felt an improvement again. After an eight-year plateau, I am climbing the next mountain again. Because I spent so much time, essentially my entire running career to date, on that plateau, the climb feels easy. And fun, because it’s fun to have the opportunity to move upwards instead of working hard to stay put.

Many people posted their mileage totals at the end of the year. I honestly don’t really care much about numbers as they relate to quantity; I’d rather run faster and smarter than see how much I can run. It was more about the moments and the turning points that caused me to believe I could do things that previously I didn’t even think of making my goals.

In 2014:

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I trained for my first Boston Marathon through a winter of 5 degree days and tried to make hills my friends.

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I survived the winter and ran a PR at the Boston Marathon. It wasn’t the time I wanted, but it was a great experience.

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I bought my first real road bike and started my summer of training for 70.3 Princeton.

The group pre-race.

The group pre-race.

I ran some shorter races just for fun and ended up with 3k and 5k PRs.

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I finally got on the AG podium at the NJ State Tri.

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I got to the point where weekends weren’t complete without four-hour brick rides/runs starting not long after dawn.

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I learned that beer tastes way better after these four-hour brick workouts. If you can stay awake for it (harder than it sounds).

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I competed in Ironman 70.3 Princeton and placed second in my age group. I learned that I liked long distance triathlons BUT it is very hard for me to manage to not feel nauseous as heck.

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I thought I was burnt out from the half ironman, and life, but then ended up running the best race of my life at the Princeton Half Marathon, finally breaking 90 minutes.

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I was the first overall female winner in a road race for the first time (without any complications that is…) on Thanksgiving.

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I joined Garden State Track Club and was able to compete in my first national XC meet on December 13, running a faster pace for a XC 6k (23:11) than I ever had for a road or track 5k…and a two-minute PR on Lehigh’s course over  my race there in 2010 (breaking 24 minutes for 6k was my ultimate goal in college but I never had the chance to really try).

As it typically goes, I started 2015 being sick again and losing a few days of training (and eating and drinking…) to that. After last year, I’m not sure if I remember how to begin a new year any other way. So, I’m glad I didn’t end up registering for a New Year’s Day race after all, because there would have been no way I could have run it.

So, my year of running in 2014 looks pretty good on paper. I guess having an injury-free year is bound to yield great results, which is really all I have to say about why the year went so well running-wise. That, and the half ironman training. For those of you who don’t think all the extra miles on the bike don’t make you a stronger, faster runner: I will now officially disagree. Obviously as long as you are running and running comes easy to you, cross training will only make you fitter, and being fitter = being faster.

I’m really glad I had success and stability in my training this past year…because as much as I tried, I really found none of that in the rest of my life. It was a crazy ride, and like a TV show (still don’t watch those…am I missing anything good?), most weeks I was left thinking, well, I didn’t see that coming. Luckily, aside from my training, I had a few great friends by my side throughout the entire year. This was the first year in…maybe ever…that I have had more than an individual friend or two stick around in my life geographically, socially, and emotionally to ring in two consecutive new years with me. I met new friends too, and have cried many tears over the changes surrounding old ones. In the end, there were some days when friends were placed right by my side at the very moments others walked away, and I am so grateful for that in 2014.

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