Today officially kicked off my training for Boston 2015! Ran 7.7 @ easy pace with some teammates this morning with strides after and 8.3 with 5.3 of 400 on/400 off/800 on/400 off fartlek this afternoon at home. Such a beautiful, warm Boxing Day, probably last day of running in the 40’s for awhile, I loved it! Before I get carried away with training, though, it’s time to put a stamp on 2014 and send it on the way.
On Friendship and Training Companions and Teammates
I’ve been so blessed with amazing friends and family my entire life. I truly cannot imagine life without a great support system and people to confide in and challenge me when they see me going astray. From my parents flying up to Boston from Kansas to watch me at Boston, to my new and old teammates alike, to my awesome friends at run group; I truly appreciated the special people in my life this year (And sorry for those times I didn’t show it!) Out of all the great memories Boston and the XC season stand out the most in my mind. At Boston, all three of my sister’s came to watch, from NY, NJ and MA and my parents and many friends lined the course too, at almost every mile. I’ve said it more than a few times, but Boston was a party, seriously one giant celebration from start to finish. I started out the year with the Greater Lowell Road Runners and so many fans and runners from the club lined the route that it sounded like a constant cheer for “Lowell” and “Go Dan”, a truly special experience. Despite that singularity, it was one of the many times this year when I was stunned and humbled by the support and love shown to myself and others running. I got to spend some great time hanging out with friends and family over late Spring and Summer as I was running less. In VT to take my turn at supporting others running, in PA at my cousins wedding and on many a weekend where a long run wasn’t dominating my schedule. In the fall I made the switch from Lowell to the Sisu Project and though smaller in numbers, it was like Boston all over again at every race with the support and cheering. I’m so happy to have gone from one enthusiastic and supportive group of runners to another. Outside of the club and my family I also had many friends to rely on this year both in and outside of running. After a few years of almost every Wednesday together, I highly value the time spent with my run group friends. Quick to put me up for a night or two and ready to have fun at non-running events too, solid friendships for sure. Like I said, I’ve been incredibly blessed with great friends and family and 2014 was a great reminder of that all year long.
A year of trying new things and getting better at old ones! It’s hard to believe that some of the races I enjoyed so much actually happened this year as March seems so long ago, but Stu’s 30k and New Bedford Half Marathon are certainly in that category. They both changed my perception of my own ability in some way. At Stu’s I learned that my goal pace for Boston Marathon was totally feasible and maybe even conservative. At New Bedford I shot for a big PR and went one better for a minute under my goal time. Stu’s was a solo effort that started as a steady effort and ended up being a solid tempo feeling run. New Bedford was a case of getting soft 1/3 of the way through and having a teammate pull up beside me to push me until the end for a great time for both of us. Boston was, well Boston, I’ll simply link to my recap and leave it at that. A hiking injury a few weeks after Boston closed the book on my plans to run Vermont City Marathon on Memorial Day weekend, and consequently rendered me solidly out of shape for the first few races of the summer. But by Late July I had some good miles underfoot and was able to start checking off new personal bests. After getting a new 5 mile best at the Marathon Sports Weston 5-miler, I jumped right into shorter races and the quest to get faster! There were a couple slight detours, USATF-NE 15k in Vermont being the biggest of them; HOT weather and poor fueling combined for a brutal day. Mayor’s Cup 8K was another less than stellar day, despite feeling okay in the race, I realized afterwards that I did not push nearly as hard as I should have. Other than that, every XC and road race in the fall was just extra validation that a season off of marathoning was just what I needed. The final race highlight of the year was XC Club Nationals just a couple weeks ago, without question. One of the best weekends in awhile and one of my better race efforts this year to boot! I forgot all about running Hood to Coast Relay and just had to come back and add this. Another weekend that’s up there with Boston this April and Club Nats. The trip back to Oregon was everything I hoped for and then some, my awesome relay team were a blast and we killed it at the race. Not only did I have some very fun races this fall, I also ran workouts after many of them to work on speed/endurance with tired legs. The workouts combined with no tapering for any races but XC Club Nats, might have left me tired at times, but I can only imagine it leaves me stronger for marathon training.
As I mentioned, my goal this fall was to get faster over shorter races, having hit my goal times in the half and full marathon in the spring. Though at times it didn’t feel like I was getting a lot faster, I was very happy to notice the other day that every PR I have was set in 2014. I might not have broken 34 in a 10k as I so wanted to, but a 34:01 will have to be my mark to beat as I try to skip 33 altogether next year and go right to the 32’s. The same story was true in the 5k where I really wanted to get very close to 16 minutes if not break it. I did only race 5k on very hot and humid days and still managed to get into the 16:30’s multiple times, so once again that mark will be there to beat next summer or fall (or maybe next month when I try my first indoor race, hey, who knows!) Apart from personal time records, I also hit quite a few “PRs” in other areas this year. In mileage, I once again hit a new high number for yearly volume, where I will finish somewhere around 3575 miles. I also hit my first 100 mile week and then repeated it a few times, peaking at 102 a few weeks before Club Nats this fall. A fact that gives me great pride when I consider that the first week of 2014 was my first week of 70+ miles. Through early season core work and smart stretching, dynamics and hill sprints I was able to stay healthy for almost the entire year, except for the one big injury that had nothing to do with running when I fell while hiking. At the beginning of the year I printed out a list of goal times for this year and hit every one except the mile, which I never raced anyway, apart from a relay when I had just resumed training again this summer. I have already picked out my goals for the half and full marathon in 2015 and a plan to get there, and I can’t wait to try and one up 2014’s successes.
The Highlights, The Whole Year
Friends, family, teammates, epic races, big personal bests, traveling to races, meeting so many amazing runners. How can I fully recount one of the most thoroughly enjoyable years of my life, I simply can’t. I’m just ready for 2015 where I get to do it all over again, with bigger goals and new races to run and new friends to make and old ones to grow with.