I always like to look back at my 2013 races, and take stock of where I am, and what I accomplished, and where I hope to go next. And I usually take a lot of time to do this, and write a very long post as a result.
But this year, time is scarce, so the recap will be brief.
The year kicked off with what still stands as one of the toughest, and best training cycles I've completed to date. I had a big goal for Boston, and I worked my butt off to get there. A few races worked their way into my training schedule - the Super 5K and the Ocean's Run half - but it was ALL about getting to Boston and getting my 3:30.
Some snowstorms got in the way, and Scott recovering from hernia surgery made scheduling some of my long runs a little difficult, but in the end, I only missed two long runs, and I nailed every other workout on the schedule, and arrived in Hopkinton on April 15 feeling stronger and more confident than I had ever felt going into a race.
I still struggle with the emotions surrounding Boston, and it's sometimes tremendously difficult to put into words what I'm thinking and how I'm feeling, so I'll just post the link to my two blog posts about it from April - here, and here.
And I'll also re-post my absolute favorite race photo ever, taken by my incredibly talented photographer friend who was at Mile 13 of the race, and captured so perfectly the joy that I was feeling for every single step of those 26.2 miles - the joy that I am so looking forward to experiencing again this year.
Boston 2-13 was undoubtedly the most important race I've ever run in my life, and Boston 2014 will be the second most important. Ever since I sent in my 2014 registration, those 26.2 miles have been all I can think about, and every ounce of energy I put into my running goes toward that singular goal.
Post-Boston last year, I needed to run. Instead of taking my usual week off post-marathon, I only took a few days off. Mentally, I needed it. I needed to get out and pound the pavement, and I needed to get out and log the miles with my friends. It wasn't a great idea, and I paid for it with a month of feeling sluggish and unrecovered, but it was what I had to do at the time.
Two weeks after Boston was the State Police 5K - a new favorite of mine, and this was my second year running it. All my friends were there, and even though I had a mild allergic reaction after finishing, it was still a great race. The Nooseneck 18K was a fundraising run for the One Boston fund, so there was no way I wasn't running that, and I suffered through the approximately 11 insanely hilly miles with a couple of friends.
May was my 6th running of the Cox Providence half-marathon. This is where I really felt the full effects of not recovering properly from Boston. I surrendered the fight halfway into the race and slowed dramatically, not caring how fast I ran or how I placed. It wasn't a very fun race, but I finished and I kept my streak going.
June was my first 5K in a long time, and it was a tough one. It was fun because all my friends were there, and I managed to win an age-group award, but I struggled the entire race, and decided right then and there that I pretty much hate 5Ks.
The Blessing in July brought much cooler weather than previous years, allowing me to run a new PR, even though I hadn't really done much actual training at all, so that was a high point of the year.
It was followed by a low point in September, though, at the Back in Track 5K. HATE the 5K. Another tough run, and another 5K finish way, way off my PR.
Luckily I regrouped in October, and finished the year with two great races - my first 10K at the inaugural Ocean Road 10K, where I ran a very respectable 44:09 and won 3rd place in my age group. And the following weekend, with no Garmin, I pulled off a 1:37:56 at the Newport half, winning 3rd in my age group again.
Unfortunately that was the end of my racing for the year, due to the tibial tendonitis that had me sidelined for a good 6 weeks, and that has kept me to very, very, very minimal running through the month of December. I had to skip my planned Seacoast Half in November (but still got to get away with my friends for the weekend, so had a great time anyway), and there was no Jingle Bell run in December.
I certainly haven't finished the year the way I had hoped, and I won't be starting 2014 by diving into my Boston training as planned.
But I am running, and for that I'm grateful.
2013 was by all accounts an extremely memorable year, and 2014 will be the same, as both will be defined by THE race. Boston.
Getting there this year is going to be more of a struggle, and I have a feeling I'm going to have to fight for every mile, but it's a battle well worth fighting. I will do whatever it takes to get to that starting line and to cross that finish line, and I'm so thankful that my friends are going to be there with me.
I wasn't quite as focused on chasing PRs for most of this year, and only had two of them, but I'm ok with that. My heart just wasn't in it for most of this year, and I was happier just going out and running and doing what I could do, without putting too much pressure on myself.
I still had a great year, and learned a lot about myself as a runner, and look forward to taking those lessons with me into the new year.
2013 by the numbers:
1,270 miles run
11 races (a very low number for me)
One 1st place age-group award
One 2nd place age-group award
Three 3rd place age-group awards
One 3:30 marathon.
Here's to many more healthy, strong, hopefully injury-free miles in 2014.