2015 was a rollercoaster year for me.
In January I was still riding the high of running my first marathon in Chicago a couple months before. I felt strong, maybe even invincible. I had signed up for my second marathon which would take place in Ottawa in May. I had maintained a base long run of 15km for the past few months thinking it would be the best way to keep me fit and at the ready to jump into training. I was pumped and ready to go!
Through January and February my training went pretty well. I was training with Ginny and the Running Room marathon clinic. I was still dealing with a sore hamstring that I’d had for months but it wasn’t getting any worse. It was just there.
A couple months into the training Ginny sustained an injury that forced her to take some time off to heal, and eventually to drop out of the marathon and I found myself basically training on my own. Well, at least I would have, had I not been part of the best clinic ever!
In March I ran my first race of the year, Around the Bay 30k, as a training run. I ran it at my LSD pace with Julie. I’d never done that before – run a race as a training run. It was nice to take all pressure off and just go out and enjoy the day. The result of that race was a time on par with my PB for that race which told me that my training was paying off.
My training continued to go wonderfully until the second week of April, when about 25km into a 32km run I tripped on the sidewalk and pulled my already sore hamstring. That seemingly minor trip caused a ripple effect that lasted most of the rest of the year.
I tried to continue on with my training, but with 4 weeks to go until marathon race day, I had to stop running completely for 2 weeks to try and rest my leg and even when I started up again, it was slow and painful. Thankfully, the race was not painful at all, but my lack of training showed when by the halfway mark my legs were done. I finished the race, about 40 minutes slower than my previous marathon, but I finished it. It was a long race, and a very humbling experience for me.
I had a lot of time to think as I went around the course on my own that day, and in the 5 weeks that followed, as I was forced to take some time off to heal my leg, and I realized that after my first marathon, I had gotten it all wrong. I had chosen not to listen to the many experts that came to talk at our clinic, or to the experienced friends in my run clubs. I should have taken more time off after Chicago – more than the 6 days I’d taken off. I should have taken at least 2 weeks off with absolutely no running to allow my body to heal, and then kept it to light running until it was time to start training for my next marathon in January.
So, when I came back from the injury, at the end of June, I decided that the rest of the year would be taking it slow, letting myself recover, and just having fun. No pressure.
I trained through the summer, increasing my distance slowly and running slowly. I didn’t have much choice on the running slowly part. I had lost so much of my strength and cardio through all of this it took a long time to get it back. In fact, I’m still working my way back to where I was. I’m almost there, finally!
I signed up for a bunch of races that I had enjoyed doing or had wanted to do just for fun. The Pride and Remembrance 5k, The B&O Yorkville 5k, The RBC Run for the Kids 15k, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon and ended the year with the Holly Jolly 5k run which was one I had wanted to do since they had begun this run a few years ago and it did not disappoint. It was so much fun! I ran them all for fun, no pressure. At each of the races, I found myself feeling stronger, and my times were getting better.
After the Holly Jolly 5k on November 15th, I had promised myself that I would take the rest of the year to run easy, run less and let myself totally heal. And that’s exactly what I did. I was even able to resist the temptation to run the Tannenbaum 10k when it was put in front of me.
The results of this downtime has been wonderful. I’ve enjoyed the light running that I’ve been doing, I feel rested and my leg is almost always pain-free now.
Even with all the downtime I took, I still managed 139 running workouts including races and 1357 km for the year.
I feel like I’m ready to take on the challenges that 2016 will bring. My plan is to start off with a full training schedule up to the beginning of April while I train for Around the Bay, take a bit of a breather with lighter running through the spring with maybe a 10k in May, and hopefully start training in June for a fall marathon.
New motto for 2016 – Hill? What hill?