2,850 miles run
420h 20m spent running
264,573 feet climbed
PRs in the 10k, half marathon, marathon, and 50k
2015 was a year of learning experiences for me. I didn’t have as many of those magic “easy” races, the ones where everything just clicks, as I did last year. And while everyone loves those good times, it’s the tough ones that are more valuable: they teach me things and keep me motivated to fight on. So instead of doing a “highlights reel” (of which there were many!) I’m going to give you the top five lessons I learned this year.
1. The people you surround yourself with will get you further than you ever could go on your own.
Between my family, friends, and teammates, this was the year of support. I became more involved with my racing team, The Impalas, and felt the full force of having strong, fast, admirable women supporting me on Tuesday nights at Kezar, suffering through those left turns as one. At races we worked together. Just knowing that other ladies in blue were by my side helped me push just a little harder. Representing the team instead of racing just for myself was powerful. And having my friends and family on the sidelines and at the finish line was so meaningful. They routinely took time away from their lives to listen to me whine and gush about my training (whether they wanted to or not). I got texts and emails of support. And the hugs at the finish line, reminding me that I am indeed a rockstar when I questioned my whole running existance, kept me going. So to everyone, especially Pon who put up with my antics on the daily, thank you for asking and remembering and congratulating and high fiving. I mean it when I say I couldn’t do it without you.
2. The races that almost wreck us are the ones that teach us the most.
The Boston Marathon: it was the first time I ever bonked in a marathon. It was the first time I ever seriously considered dropping. It was the first time I ever cried tears of disappointment after a race. It was a humbling reminder that I won’t hit my goal every time. But I still tried. In complete shit weather with a revolting stomach, I went for it when others decided to back off. And I am proud of that. It took a whole May full of mojo-less, confidence-lacking running to sort it all out, but the end result was a burning desire to work even harder and dig deeper for the next one. My tough races, and there were plenty of them, taught me I have grit. I don’t give up when shit hits the fan. I can literally puke all over the side of the trail and keep going. And life goes on when I don’t do as well as I want. In fact, nobody really cares! I had to make running fun again and stop basing my worth on an arbitrary time goal. Which brings me to my next lesson…
3. It’s the process, not the end result, that really matters.
When I focused too much on one singular outcome, anything less seemed like a failure. But in reality, I successfully built my strength and speed over four solid months of consistent training. The training never stops, but there is always another race. After Boston I had to find a way to remind myself that running was still fun, and I found it on the trails. I let go of paces and times and the internal pressure on myself to perform to a certain standard. It was liberating. I got to pace friends in their ultras and explore new trails and experience sunrises on a mountainside. All without worrying about the outcome of my next race.
4. Work smarter, not harder.
This applies to my work life and running life. Last year I worked a lot trying to build my business: two gym locations, spin classes, online clients, continuing education. The hustle is necessary sometimes, but work/life balance is insanely important. I was on the fast track towards burnout, missing runs and meals and starting to dislike my job. No bueno. And with my training I ran more miles and harder workouts, because there’s generally a direct correlation: work harder = get faster. Or get injured. I got both. So I hired coaches, for both work and running. Now I have a fantastic work schedule that I dictate and a great training plan that has kept me injury-free and PRing for another year. Jack Daniels, one of the greatest running coaches in the world, says that you should find a way to get the maximum possible benefit from the minimum amount of work. Done and done.
5. I run for me.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I had (well, still have) dreams of becoming a sponsored runner. I love running. Eating, breathing, and sleeping all geared towards improving my speed. But 2015 was the year that I was thoroughly humbled. I saw talented local runners get the thing that I want. They won big races and got rewarded. Inside I felt pangs of jealousy. I wanted to be recognized as an influential runner. And let’s be real, I wanted free gear. But eventually it dawned on me: who cares? Seriously. Watching my clients and friends run their first ultra and their fastest 10k post-baby, THAT is what inspires me. Not the people breaking course records. These are the mid-packers that work their butts off for themselves, not for the notoriety. And I lost sight of that in myself. I run because I WANT to and because I can. So 2016 is the year I stay grateful. I run for the satisfaction, the friends, the redwoods, the finish line high fives, the post-long run nap. I run because there’s no other way I’d want to spend an hour or two every day.
And with that, here are my 2016 goals and resolutions:
Run my easy runs easier. I will be wearing a HR monitor for a month or two to ensure my easy runs stay under 155 bpm. I must let the Strava ego go.
Run 3,000 miles for the year. I was 150 miles short in 2015.
Train my dog to run 10+ miles with me on the trails. He is already up to 6! He will also be trained to carry my water and his poop in his fancy new backpack.
Get more social. Organize group runs, reach out to running buddies, have more post-run coffee and brunch dates.
Stay consistent with my training journal. I got lazy! Keeping a training log will help me keep track of what works and what doesn’t.
If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is the physics of vulnerability.