And What a Year It Was – 2013 by the miles and milestones.

It’s a prerequisite in the running blogosphere to write end of year reviews, so here goes! I normally hate on these things and poke fun at them, but I have to be the cliché one this year. 2013 really was something extraordinary, full of ups and downs and totally amazing. I’ve gone chronologically with the recap after scrapping my original plan of listing everything by importance and significance.

I got settled into life in Massachusetts by running a 5 Mile race on the first! Found a fantastic Wednesday night run group (Way up there on the ranking by importance list, btw) Made some excellent new friends. Saw my first professional runners up close in the indoor circuit. I took some time off to prepare for the next marathon cycle. Signed up for my first ultra (promptly bailed on it when the time came though and ran my fastest road marathon yet)

I bought my first race flats. Started training for spring marathon. I met and fell for a wonderful girl. I fell in love with running all over again too as I ran 212 miles in the month. Ran a 20 mile race in ice and sleet on an island and made many trips to NH. Got lost on a long run… ended up running 27 miles that day, oops. Saw the Lumineers for the second time and they were even better!!

Continued a high weekly mileage volume and started the month off with a super-fast 3 mile race, also truly learned the joy of running with someone else, many times over. I did ignore some nagging injuries that should have been dealt with (It wasn’t all fun this year 😦 ) I did finish in 2nd place in a ¼ marathon on a challenging course. I spent a lot of time in prayer and reading the Bible, as well.

How can I even recap April with any proper justice, it certainly deserves a post of its own, I will simply make an attempt. The month started with the welcome warmth of spring and boundless joy on every run. I started making a better work of my recovery sessions and running my ‘easy runs’ at an easier pace and managed my longest training run yet, a 50k training run. April 15th 2013 will not easily be forgotten, nor should it. As evidenced by being the most searched for thing on Google this past year, the whole country took it as a shock, tragedy and horror. I watched the marathon from the halfway point and still vividly remember the events of that day and nearly every detail, I’ll leave that for some other time though. Between sustaining my first 60+ mile weeks I also saw The Milk Carton Kids in April, second time and just as good!

Marathon madness for me! I ran Sugarloaf marathon and came away with a 6th overall and a big shiny new personal best as well as a nifty ceramic plate for taking first in age group! The last few weeks of training were typically underwhelming, but the race went well and I was very happy with the result. Vacationed in Maine and NH and had a blast. The month did end with a mutual breakup… and thus my summer began, full of questions and learning.

This will be the shortest recap as June was indeed the most boring month of the year for me. I started the month with a much needed multi-day hike with some good friends. I selected a fall marathon, chose a new training plan and started training. I did do a lot of reading, running/coaching focused and otherwise. The One Run for Boston came through on a muggy June 30th and was an excellent experience, full of positivity and resilience!

Started the month with injuries and the dreaded visit to a Dr. I only needed a week off  though and was able to rebound fairly quick. Saw the Bosstones! Ran a fast half-marathon on a very hot day and came in 2nd overall! In keeping with the year theme, the half-marathon was a PR, too. I really started using the adaptive running style advocated by Brad Hudson of the Performance Training Group and enjoyed a relaxed but focused training period.

Learned to embrace running in heat, no really, I didn’t hate every single run this summer. I had a good guy’s weekend in Portsmouth with K-West and Shirley Temple, always a highlight. Hit my “older 20’s” officially and instantly felt older. I finally bought a Garmin, life changing! Ran another half-marathon as a spec test for my fall race and came away with a big PR on a course with 2k’ of elevation gain! I finished the month with an epic quest for Heady Topper all over VT. Mmm… Heady Topper…

INJURIES! My first real injury and subsequent recovery time happened in September. Remember that lack of rest and proper recovery I mentioned back in March? No? Well, at any rate, my hip had been a problem off and on all year and it finally flared up so bad that I needed a couple weeks off completely and a few good ART sessions. Got in about a week of easy running again by the end of the month to prep for a now goal-less fall marathon. I learned the joys of proper recovery and back up races, too.

I ran a 2:54:30 marathon in some rain after a week and a half of training coming off injury. Got beat by my friend and still managed 7th place though. All sorts of lessons were learned on that one, most importantly, how to run a marathon just for fun and finishing. I made good memories all month with good running friends and non-running friends. I worked back up to full training, safely. In October I started seriously considering a move out to Oregon and spent lots of time and prayer on the idea, I also decided to book a trip out there. My good friend, Sam came out to Oregon with me and we spent a week at his brother’s house in The Yaak, Montana, too. The trip cemented my interest in moving west and though it hasn’t come to fruition yet, I’m anxiously searching for a job in Bend, OR. I learned the joy of running at higher elevation and with bear spray in my hand when I was out west and saw a million amazing and beautiful things.

The month started with my back-up fall marathon. The course was absolutely brutal and the weather tried to best the course’s hills for brutality. I ran out of gas worse than I ever have at 20 miles and had to grit my way to the end, my pace was all over the place due to the elevation changes. I was able to stay within 2 minutes of my PR and did not lose heart, just realized that my goals were not accurate for the course and based on my fitness level. I took a short break after the race and did some hiking and relaxing. I ran my first indoor track workouts and first track workouts with a group, something I will always look forward to now! Bounced back fast from the marathon and was able to get back to 50 a week for the second half of the month. Finished the month by Turkey Trotting across some icy fields.

Continued to hit 50 a week and finished a strong month of Thursday night track sessions with Greater Lowell Road Runners. I was able to get a huge PR in the 5k after all the track work and strong base building! Kept my eye loosely fixed on my mileage goal for the year that had seemed so out of reach post-injury, but now appeared reachable. On December 16th I started my training for Boston Marathon and consequently kicked off my fundraising for World Vision. I finished the year with a couple 60 mile weeks and no injuries to report. Crushed the mileage goal for the year by 47 miles, 2347! I’ve now gained 800 miles a year since I started running in late 2010!


I’m sure I’ve missed thousands of awesome, terrible and surprising; boring, fun and memorable happenings. This year was just too much to process at times, but so worth it for the lessons learned. As I wind this post down with Norah Jones quietly cooing on the speakers, I start thinking again of all the amazing things that 2014 will bring. I could not be more excited for this year to begin and though I’ve said that every year for a while, it’s still the truth. The west coast beckons, Boston Marathon awaits and many, many miles of running must be covered. BRING IT ON!

Big props in 2013 go out to my friends and family, both new and old; you helped get me through some very tough times and were a big part of all the good times. The shoes of the year were New Balance for racing/speed-work and Mizuno on the easy runs. Garmin came into my life and helped me with mileage and pacing. Chocolate milk and cottage cheese were the go to post run recovery foods until lactose intolerance barged into my body. Chicken was the go to food, usually in burrito or taco casings and I can’t count the number of new IPA’s that were tried. Well, that about wraps up the shout-outs and honorable mentions, so I bid you goodbye and goodnight, 2013.

Training Update

I first started blogging with the intention of posting my training and now that I’m a few posts into my switch over to WordPress, I figure that a training update post is due. Starting with a week ago, my workouts have gone something like this:
Friday the 9th
Fartlek – 8 Miles @ easy pace with 2min @ 10k every 5 min (average pace 6:00/mile in the “on” sections)
Evening run Speed Session – 5k in 18:10 followed by stretching, rolling and working loose.

Saturday the 10th
Recovery day, off to lovely Portsmouth, NH for some fun with friends. The kind of fun that makes running the next day seem impossible.

Sunday the 11th
Hard long run – 2 miles easy (7:00/mile) – 15 miles @ marathon pace +10-20 secs/mile (ended up being right on track somehow with a 6:25/mile pace) – 1.7 miles easy @ (7:30/mile)
Followed with solid stretching and rolling and re-hydrating all afternoon.

Monday the 12th
Easy run – 4 miles (7:13/mile) Legs were very stiff and painful initially, took 3 miles to start feeling good.

Tuesday the 13th
Easy run – 8 miles (6:46/mile) Too fast for an easy run, but sometimes that is how it goes. Legs had started feeling good again.

Wednesday the 14th
First ran in my fresh New Balance 1080 V3’s 5.2 @ 6:52/mile pace. Ran an hour later with run group at Marathon Sports in Wellesley, Ma , another 6.5 miles @ 7:13/mile. The second run was in a demo pair of Newton Energy NR. They felt very different from other Newton’s the five shallower lugs were more to my liking. We ran a mixture of trails and road and they responded well. I would probably not buy them for easy paced running personally, but they might be fun with some more speed, they did feel light on the feet.

Thursday the 15th
My first run ever with GPS! As the second part of my self purchased birthday gift on Wednesday I bought a Garmin Forerunner 10 to go with my new shoes. The run was a 5 miler with hill sprints at maximum effort 4 miles in. I did 10 x 10 sec sprints on a 8-10 grade hill. They felt great, even in the thicker 1080’s.

Friday the 16th
The workout this afternoon was brutal, to put it bluntly. I ran 3 miles easy (7:10/mile) followed by 3 x 10min @ 10k pace with 3 min active recoveries. Finished with another 3 miles @ 7:20/mile. The 10 minute sections were supposed to be run at half marathon effort, but it’s close enough to 10k pace for me that I shot for a little lower and probably ended up somewhere in the middle. The splits were approx: 1st@5:48/mile 2nd@5:45/mile 3rd@5:50/mile

My total distance over the past 8 days was about 72 all said and done. I’ve been keeping close to a 60 mile average over 7 days for the past three and a half weeks now. I am happy to report that I feel less likely to be injured now then I did before the higher volume started. The training methods of Brad Hudson seem to be dead on for me. Still remains to be seen if I will actually be much faster using these tactics, but the most important part right now is building a strong, healthy base. I want to keep improving year to year and I truly subscribe to the longevity method in seeing gains now. It took a couple years of impatient over-training to arrive at this place, but here I am.

Musical inspiration of this post: