Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Running Lowlights

While I did have many running highlights in 2015, I certainly had plenty of struggles, too. Here are some of the year's biggest lowlights:

By far the most miserable heat and humidity I've ever experienced at a race. You know it's going to be a rough day when you're already dripping sweat while just standing and waiting in the starting corrals. 

I was so relieved to see that finish line.
It's a good thing this picture was taken from the knees up so you can't see the puddle of sweat growing around my feet.

My rain-soaked race trend continues.
I got rained on during a number of races this year, but there were two in particular which were exceptionally awful: the Rock N Roll DC Half Marathon and the PAWS Run For Their Lives 8K. 

Of the two, Rock N Roll DC's rain was comparably lighter; however, the temperatures were in the 40s so I was miserably cold the whole morning (including pre- and post-race). I never wrote a recap of the PAWS 8K, but the temps were in the 70s and the race was obviously shorter. However, the PAWS race had rain coming down in buckets and the course was a venerable mud pit. There was one underpass where we were literally up to our shins in muddy water.

Honorable mention: The Fit Foodie 5K got cancelled due to course flooding. This was the first and only race I've ever signed up for that got cancelled on race day due to weather.

Rocking the always-stylish garbage-bag dress before the Rock N Roll DC Half Marathon.

I will not be hitting my annual mileage goal this year.
My target was to run 750 miles for the year. This averages out to 62.5 miles per month. I stayed on target through October. I even logged 10 extra miles during both August and September. For a short while, I had grandiose visions of getting to 800 miles for the year.

Everything came crashing down in November. I did a ton of traveling that month, which drained me of momentum and motivation. After completing the Rock N Roll San Antonio 10K and Half Marathon in early December, I had had it. I haven't run since then and I have no regrets about taking the time off. 

Right now I'm at 711.2 miles for the year. I don't think that number is going to change before year end. Even if it did, I will most certainly not be logging 38.8 miles in the next week.

The road ends here.

My ancient 5K PR still stands.
With the exception of my 5K PR, I've recorded new PRs within the last few years for all "traditional" race distances that I've attempted more than once. Unfortunately, my 5K PR is the only one still standing from well over a decade ago. 

In 2014, I got within shouting distance with some very hard effort. Even so, I got so spooked that I didn't even make an attempt this year. In all of 2015, I only ran one 5K race, the Super Bears Shuffle, which was definitely not a targetable race.

Way to play the avoidance card, eh?

Inclines wreaked more havoc on me than usual (and that's saying something).
I've spoken ad nauseam about how much I hate hills. This year more than ever, I realized the truly awful extent of my hill weakness. Anytime I ran outside of Chicago city limits, I got smacked upside the head.

Most of the offending races had either a few noteworthy hills, or some stretch of general hilliness that eventually leveled out. However, I would earmark the Hub City Half Marathon as my lowest point (no pun intended) because the hills pretty much never stopped. It was the worst hill-beating I've ever experienced at a race.

Your turn! If anyone wants to share any of your running lowlights from 2015, I love hearing your battle stories!

16 comments:

  1. We need to get you stronger so hills don't kill you as much! Although, to be honest, there were some hills in the last few miles of the Caribbean Christmas Half Marathon that made me swear.

    I kind of kept wanted to go for a 5K PR this year, too, but it never happened. I came within seconds of my PR during the 5K portion of my first triathlon but I actually didn't run a single stand-alone 5K, either!

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    1. I've been doing a ton of squats and other lower-body strength training and it doesn't seem to have helped me that much. =( Maybe I have a REALLY long way to go and/or I need to do some hill-specific running training (probably both).

      That is amazing that you came so close to your 5K PR during your triathlon! You KNOW that if you were running a standalone 5K, you totally would have crushed it!!!

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  2. Ha! I remember reading that awesome recap from the Hub city race :) That was a great race pic on the course!
    Hills, I have a love/hate with them. I ran two pretty hilly half this year, although very different. Rolling hills for one, which was tough but at least you can see it is going to end! My last half had a huge climb at the very end, straight up a whole mile and half, ugh.
    You look really fresh in your Chicago half pic! Heat is my nemesis lol
    I won't make my mileage either, maybe next year :)

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    1. Thanks Karen! I'm blown away that you can have any kind of love towards hills. That is way better than I can say for myself! That would be the worst to have a straight-up 1.5 miles at the end of a half marathon. Talk about piling on the final challenges!

      Cheers to both of us having even better 2016s where we can conquer our hills, heat, and mileage goals with gusto!

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  3. Love the pic of the giant rubber duck deflated in the harbor. What a great image for your lowlights post! They should change the name to "Hill City Half Marathon". I also like how you were fine stopping short of your mileage goal. So many people (myself included) shoot for arbitrary numbers. We need to be comfortable with not hitting every goal. Anyway, I wonder where the "The road ends here." picture was taken?!!

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    1. LOL - glad you like the deflated rubber duck picture! It's one of my favorites, too. Rubber duckies are the cutest. YES on "Hill City Half Marathon" but that probably wouldn't bode well for the folks trying to market the race, haha. Good perspective on the comfort of not hitting arbitrary numbers and every single goal! I'm curious where the "road ends here" picture was taken and if it was for real or if it was a photoshopped classic???

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  4. Hey - hitting 700 miles for the year is nothing to be ashamed of! Look at it that way. :-D

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    1. You're right, Natalie! 700 miles is still the most I've ever logged in a year. It's all about progression!

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  5. As your always helpful hubby, I have already proposed an updated training regiment. Six months of intensive hill running in the Burgh !!! You'll be able to take the next step in your already sensational running career and conquer hills...and we will be able to hit Penguin, Steeler, and even Pirate games by the truckload !

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    1. My hubby is always helpful indeed. =) As great as your updated training regiment proposal is, maybe I should start on the bunny hills first instead of Pittsburgh's fear-inducing landslides? After all, you've got to learn to walk before you can crawl. ;-)

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  6. I'm gonna second Adam's training suggestions... the more you train on hills the better they'll be! Seriously though, let's figure out a hill workout we can do?! I've also been adding in lunges and squats with weight training and think that's helping (for the little bit I've been running on hills since).

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    1. You are absolutely right, Lauren! It's both a blessing and a curse that the city of Chicago is so flat. Even the coveted Hero Hill is not THAT bad. Would love to have a partner in crime for some hill workouts. I have plenty of motivational issues throwing any kind of incline into the treadmill. Hill-training with a friend sounds MUCH better!

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  7. I had a pretty good year, if I do say so myself. But my lowlight, and it's a biggie, is that damn PF that won't go away. It flared after Chicago and won't let go no matter what I do. I'm going to have to tackle it after the holidays. I'm really really close to my 2015 goal of 1251 miles (2015 kms) but I'm worried about aggravating it even more. Seems silly to push just to get to a certain number and risk injury...

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    1. Wendy, I think you had a FANTASTIC year. Curses to that crazy PF, though. I experienced a small bout of it a few years ago, and it is one stubborn bugger! I wish you the speediest of recoveries from it when you do tackle it. And I'm with you on being cautious about hitting your mileage goal (which is AMAZING that you're so close, btw) at the risk of aggravating your injury. I say take it very slow and easy, and definitely stop if it hurts!

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  8. Aw, I guess we've got to take the bad with the good, right? I have never run a race in the rain, I guess I've been lucky...so tough to go through but I'm sure you still did a great job! Here's to a better 2016!

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    1. Janelle, you are SO LUCKY to have never run a race in the rain. I am so envious! In the last two years, I think I've run at least 8 races where I got soaked! Cheers to both of us for a better 2016, and for your non-rain streak to continue!!!

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