Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 in Review

3,244 Miles Run
35 Days Off
4 PRs (Mile, 8k, 10k, Marathon)
16 Races
9 Wins
48:  My finishing place at the USA Half Champs

Last year around this time, I started off 2013 without my sole focus on running.  I was in Kauai for my honeymoon with Garrett and was stringing together 45-55 miles per week.  Running took its place in the backseat of my life for the first couple of months as I focused on my new marriage.  I trusted that this would help me string together great races later in the year.  And so I took off 35 days from running this year and yet somehow still managed to have a stellar fall.  Ironically enough, none of those days off were due to an unforeseen injury.  Instead, they were just for my own personal mental (and physical) sanity.  I have found over the years that taking significant down time is extremely effective in shielding me from symptoms of Over Training Syndrome.     While I didn't ever burn out in 2013, I definitely had a couple of disappointing races in the first half of the year: the Capital City Classic 10k and the USA Half Champs, where I came in third to last  in 1:20:xx.  Sandwiched between those two races was a 5k road PR (16:36) within 5 seconds of my college lifetime best.  Go figure.

After the Half Champs, I took six days off and thought about what needed to change.  Duh--I needed a coach!  So I asked Terry Shea to coach me, and (gratefully) he said yes!  I'd met Terry and Carly after the Olympic Trials through Meagan.  I also knew that he coached Sarah Cumming, who is basically my real-world runner idol because she works ~90 hours in NYC and still runs a sub-2:40 marathon.  So, in August Terry started sending me emails on a weekly basis with the workouts outlined with every detail I needed to know.  And then things just started clicking.  I made sure to follow his plan, but he offered options so that if sometimes my body just felt like poop, I could opt for less repeats and not feel as shitty about it mentally afterwards.  Under Terry's tutelage, I achieved a new 8k PR (26:45), a new 10k PR (34:56) and a new marathon PR (2:40:28).  Qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials at the Cal International Marathon was a great way to end the year!

What I realized about this year is that it is absolutely okay to tune your training down a notch and run 20-30 miles less a week than you typically would in a normal marathon training cycle.  My speed shined during those lower mileage months, but when I ramped up the mileage during the marathon, I didn't lose that speed.  Surely, I will continue to tweak training so that workouts don't get stale, but I will definitely continue to adjust my mileage to ensure I can achieve very long term goals.

For the first half of 2014, I plan on focusing on the 10k and half marathon with hopes of improving my PRs in those distances.  Tentatively, I'm planning on running Grandma's Marathon with Laurie, Dalena and maybe Meagan.


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