2014 was an interesting year for me, running-wise. Rather than get all long-winded about it (after all, I am still on vacation), I thought it would be easier to just break it down by category:
No brainer: It was qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I set my goal to BQ last fall, but wasn’t sure by the middle of my training cycle leading up to the Newport Marathon whether I would be able to even attempt a qualifying time. I went for it and I succeeded, thanks to excellent coaching (and pacing) by Kris. Even if I didn’t get into the 2015 Boston Marathon (argh… the life of a squeaker!) , snagging that qualifying time ranks as my best running accomplishment of 2014.
That would have to be the hip flexor injury that befell me in late June and kept me from running for several weeks. (And which continues to bother me off and on, but can we please not talk about that?) Not to belabor the obvious, but injuries suck. During my darker moments of being injured (usually at the point where I’m going to physical therapy and not running), I began to wonder if and when I’ll ever be able for resume running. It was fairly bleak.
Despite the great PR I managed to get at Newport, my best race this year was the Seattle Half Marathon. I’m kind of surprised to write this, but it’s true. I had more fun running the Seattle Half than I have had running a race in a long time. Why? Well, to begin with, there was zero pressure. I didn’t care about my time. I hadn’t been running much in the weeks leading up to the race, and I knew I needed to take it easy. I followed that plan and managed to have a grand ol’ time running in freezing weather with my BRF, Aimee.
My worst race was probably the Newport Marathon. I know, strange. The end result was wonderful but the rest of it–and by that I mean the race itself–just sucked. There was nothing wrong with the event itself–it’s well-organized and has a scenic and fast course. It was just me. I had placed all this pressure on myself to try to qualify for Boston and I felt off pretty much the entire time.
That smile on my face is a lie.
Except for one brief episode when my friend Heidi Prancercised for me, I didn’t enjoy myself. I don’t want to experience races like this one again. Yes, I want to PR, and yes, I want to get another BQ, but I want to enjoy races, too.
Most Valuable Lesson:
The most valuable lesson I learned this year was that I need to strengthen my glutes in order to avoid injury. My kinetic chain is dysfunctional and it all stems from my weak glutes–my glute medius, to be specific. That dysfunctional chain is what causes injury after injury for me. In 2013, I injured my IT band. At that time, my PT told me I needed to continue to do my hip strengthening exercises even after I stopped therapy. Did I? No. And what happened in 2014? My hip flexor became a problem. So, in 2014, I learned the hard way that I had to strengthen my glutes to mitigate the risk of injury. I just have to do it.
What was your greatest running accomplishment this year? Your favorite race? The most valuable running lesson you learned?