Except for that one day in October when it all came together
Looking back at 2015, it would be easy to fall into a trap of thinking it wasn’t a very good running year. I had grand plans for tune-up races and summer marathon training before heading off to Minneapolis in October for the Twin Cities Marathon.
After the Wineglass Marathon in the fall of 2014, my toughest marathon experience, my mileage decreased for the remainder of the year. I ran a 5k in December and still had some decent weekly miles, but I spent much more time on other things than running. My diet was not always that great, which combined with a lower activity level made me start to gain weight. (Nothing dramatic, but it isn’t like I am a streamlined runner to start with)
After the holidays, I wanted to get back in the groove again in preparation for Twin Cities. I stepped up training and signed up for the Ralston Creek Half Marathon in early February and the Phoenix Half Marathon at the end of February. The Ralston Creek Half turned out to be a total grunt. The first 7 miles is uphill, for the most part, and that particular morning it was also into a 30-40 mph headwind! The downhill tailwind at the end was nice, but I didn’t get to enjoy it much after nearly being blown away getting to that point. My reward for that effort was getting a bad cold that knocked me down for a couple of weeks.
In fact, I did not run a step between the Ralston Creek Marathon and three weeks later when I lined up in Mesa, Arizona at the start of the Phoenix Half Marathon. Needless to say, there was no PR that day, and I was damn happy just to finish!
I did not race again until the Colfax Half Marathon in mid-May and the BolderBoulder on Memorial Day, both of which went fine. I still was not where I wanted to be. It was a good start to my summer, though, and served as a marker for where I needed to go from there. After whining about it a bit in a post back in June, I started summer training a week later and set my sights set on the Twin Cities.
I set some training goals for myself back then, and I did a pretty good job of sticking to them. I never wrote about my training after June 1, though, because I often did not have a lot of good things to say. I had a couple early summer runs of 20 miles or more, but I felt like I was slipping back into the same pattern of the previous summer of feeling wilted for a week or so afterwards. And unlike previous years, my weight did not drop as it usually does as my mileage increased, which was a bit of a head scratcher.
As the summer progressed, I never really felt like I was in a solid training groove and often battled my way through training runs. It started messing with my enthusiasm and left me, a few times, contemplating just backing off and doing Twin Cities as a fun run. I was fairly content to get my miles in and do the best I could because I thought my BQ minus 2:27 from Wineglass was going to easily get me into Boston 2016.
…and then a few days before the Twin Cities Marathon, I found out I missed Boston by 1 second.
At the time, I wrote: “I honestly have no idea how my run will go. I am not 100% and had a so-so training cycle.” What I didn’t write down was that I was both ticked off and at peace at the same time, if that makes any sense.
It made sense to me, I guess, and I managed to run my best marathon in Minneapolis-St. Paul that day. A BQ minus 9:50 means Boston 2017 is on. So in spite of all the setbacks and struggles, it all worked out and was a good reminder that good things can happen at any point.
I end 2015 having spent 3 weeks out of my running shoes after getting yet another nasty cold right after Thanksgiving. As I close out a pretty interesting year, I am just starting to get back on my feet and trying like heck to get my wind back.
What about 2016?
Right now, I don’t plan to run another marathon until Boston 2017. That could change, of course, but right now I feel like I am better served addressing the tweaks, strains, wilts, and wobbles that seem to come up more often when I am running higher mileage. Getting back to the basics of fitness and nutrition, while focusing on shorter distances and getting faster will serve me better overall.
I still think about the elusive sub-3:10:00 marathon from time to time. I was close in 2013. In order to pull that off, I think I would have to drop a lot of weight and basically strip down to a flying gas can. (With apologies to “The Hunt for Red October”) Whether or not I can and whether or not I want to are a couple of questions I’ll have to answer then.
In the meantime, I’ll probably sign up to run the Colfax Half in May – and maybe the BolderBoulder on Memorial Day. Between now and then? I’m still thinking about it. 🙂
Wishing all my running friends a very
Happy, Prosperous, and Speedy New Year!