10 Accomplishments from a Year Full of Racing
2014 was a year of big (some would argue crazy) goals for me. “Big” is a relative term. Everyone has their own innate understanding of what the term means to them.
For me, it meant finding ways to step well outside of my comfort zone by pushing my legs (and by extension, the rest of me) much further than I ever thought possible. That isn’t to say that the boxes which I did manage to check on my list were easy, nor that there weren’t lots of doubts and questions along the way. I’d be lying if I tried to convince you otherwise. But it was all worth it, often in ways which I could have never truly understood before this year.
How it All Started
It was about a year ago (after getting through an obstacle/mud run, a trail 5K, and a turkey day 5K) that the seeds of what would become a fully-baked desire to run a marathon first appeared. Once the thoughts became serious enough to say them out loud to someone else, I turned to my former college cross country runner sister.
In her quest to be as supportive as anyone could possibly expect of a sibling, she sent me a link to sign up for the Twin Cities in Motion Ultra Summit Challenge. Lacking any long distance racing experience of my own, her logic made as much sense to me as anything else I had seen – build from a distance I was already comfortable with (a 5K) to a 10 mile race, then on to a half marathon before the final goal race.
The timing of each distance appealed to me. They offered a chance to simultaneously savor each accomplishment along the way while also having adequate time to build to the next milestone.
My Longest Run Ever
Ultimately, I underestimated how quickly the the 10 mile race would come up – and how hard it would be to get motivated to accomplish what I thought was adequate preparation for making the seemingly impossible leap from 3 miles to 10.
After much mental back and forth, I ended up forgoing the 10 mile for the 5K offered on the same day, and used that deviation from my plan as the driving force to double down on my dedication to my end goal (and it didn’t hurt that running started to sound more and more palatable as the weather started to finally seem more conducive).
After some reflecting on the past year, I am pretty sure that I won’t repeat the Ultra Summit Challenge. Not because I didn’t enjoy it (I really did!), or because I didn’t like the distance progression – but because while I don’t have the particulars quite figured out yet, in general I know that my goals for this year are more focused on competing than completing.
My 2014 goals were about stepping outside of my comfort zone and pushing myself all the way to completing a marathon. Along the way, I checked a few other boxes as well:
- Get back to having running as a regular part of my life (I created a running plan based on my goals and research, even using regular challenges – like last Spring’s Runner’s World Running Streak – to help keep me motivated)
- Take my “adult” 5K PR from 2013 (30:07) and get it under 20:00 (I missed this one by a little bit, finishing the year with a PR of 20:24)
- Race as many different distances as possible (I covered 5K, 7K, 5mi, 10K, half marathon, marathon, and my three Ragnar legs on the road; and 5K, 4mi, and 5mi on the trail)
- Place first in my age group (I ended up doing this at three different 5Ks, and medaled in my age group – second or third – at a few others)
- Win a race (I ended up winning two different small 5Ks)
- Run two races in one weekend (I managed to do this a few times, including doubling up in one day – running a 10K and what was a 5K PR at the time)
- Be competitive in a race series (I finished in the top 20 after the four races of the Salomon Autumn Trail Series)
- Complete a long-distance relay (I joined a team and completed Ragnar Great River)
- Complete a half marathon (I ran two, taking a lot of the lessons from the first one and getting the chance to apply them to the second – cutting my time by almost 10 minutes)
- Complete a marathon under 4 hours (I finished the TC Marathon in 3:51:29)
Now it’s time for me to zero in on where I think that I can continue to improve, and what I want to accomplish next. For me, the Ultra Summit Challenge was a great way to build the confidence to finish my first marathon…but now I don’t question if I can do it anymore.
I will structure my 2015 race plan around building towards a specific marathon time goal (along with other running-related goals).
What did you Accomplish in 2014?
What are your audacious goals for 2015? Sound off in the comments below, and together lets build towards an amazing year!