Weighing in on everything from avocados to Zimbabwe

Weighing in on everything from avocados to Zimbabwe

My Year of Running: 2015

posted by Leila Z. on ,

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Happy New Year's Eve, all! As part of the stock-taking that inevitably happens this time of the year, I thought I would recap my year of running and racing. I had three running-related goals for 2015 -- to incorporate running into everyday life (i.e., run commuting), to run at least 4 times per week, and to PR in at least one distance. Let's see how I did... 

Number of races I ran: 6. Three 5K, one 10K, one half marathon, and one mile "race" that I put on myself.

Number of states I ran in: 6 states and 2 countries. Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Oklahoma, Washington, and Baja California Sur (in Los Cabos on our honeymoon!).

Miles run: 1,005 miles. This is by far the most I have run over a calendar year, and is no doubt due to being consistent in run commuting, despite an incredibly hectic year. My original goal was to run 800 miles, so I'm pleased to have reached this nice round number!

Best race experience: My amazing husband made my October one-person "invitational mile" into a great experience. Beautiful weather, lots of cowbell, an inspirational pre-meet reading, and a shiny new PR all contributed to my current infatuation with the mile.

Best run: I've had lots of amazing runs this year, happily. One that stands out was a track workout on my birthday, spent in Berkeley while I was at mbira camp. While doing a 2K, 1600, 1200, 800, 400m ladder may not be everyone's cup of tea, I felt delighted and grateful to have the time and capacity to move, push my body, and feel that deep satisfaction on a special day.   

Best new piece of running gear: I'm not much of a gearhead, but I am loving the Oiselle Burke jacket's style, functionality, and reflectivity! I've drooled over its styling since the first iteration that I missed out on. Once I got it, I was worried it was too flimsy, but it has been just right for the coldest Seattle days. I'm also pretty excited about the Xinglet I received for Christmas, but it hasn't arrived on my doorstep quite yet. 

Best running advice you've received this year: Thanks to my somewhat reluctant part-time coach and full-time husband Greg Crowther (only reluctant on the coaching!), I've finally become convinced of the merits of 1) a thorough pre-race warmup and 2) regular speed work. Even more amazingly, I have come to look forward to both. Never should have doubted you, darlin'! :)

Most inspirational runner: I've enjoyed following Kara Goucher's return to fitness this year, especially following a rough spring/summer after coming forward to WADA with information on activities she witnessed while training under Alberto Salazar. I was also thrilled and touched by the vulnerability and Wholeheartedness (borrow a phrase from Brene Brown) of Sarah Robinson's journey back to racing after giving birth to her daughter. I can't wait to follow their respective adventures in 2016, at the Olympic Trials and beyond!

Favorite picture from a run or race this year: I hardly ever run with a phone, and consequently there are few photos of me running, and even fewer that I love. But I think this photo of Garrett Heath that I took at the USATF Club XC National Championship is pretty inspirational, especially when I tell you he ended up running a 29:06 cross-country 10K. NBD; that's just 4:41/mile, folks.

Garrett Heath in (Brooks) Beast mode.
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Consistency and speed. I've been really intentional this year about staying consistent in running, both in terms of mileage and days running. Although I only focused on these "process-oriented" goals in the first half of the year, they allowed me enough of a base to stay healthy through a series of training blocks in the second half of the year, leading to PRs in the mile, 5K, 10K, and half-marathon. It's been a great year!

How was your year in running? How many races did you run, and which one was your favorite?

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