Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 in Review

My oh MY what a year it was! If I had to pick one word to characterize 2016, it would be "uneven". In all possible ways. In work, in living, in running. And since I haven't blogged much, unless you see or talk to me on a fairly regular basis, you've probably only seen a sliver of all of that. Welcome to the 2016 Review--a look at what uneven running looked like, and how it is leading to a 2017 I'm excited about.

This chart says a lot about my year:

Like I said, uneven. Why? How?

Let's go back to October 2015, when I stopped running all together due to an injury I later learned was a tendon in my left foot. This tendon connected some magical way to the inside of my left knee, causing my left knee to swell, limiting my range of motion. This in turn caused my left hip to get tight. The month+ I took off did little to help, so I had to start running again very, very carefully. And that meant running a total of about 40 miles in January and February of 2016. In early January I found a massage therapist who specialized in sports injuries, and she set me on the path to recovery.

In late February, we decided to uproot our Utah lives and move to Ohio. As my dear running friend Rachel once told me, running performance is sometimes a barometer of personal well-being. And, in March, for the first time in 5 months, I set a running goal of 12 miles per week, and was thrilled to hit it.

Having some success, I increased that weekly goal for April and May. In April I ran some 8:30-ish pace miles and felt euphoric about it. I also ran more miles the last week of April than I had in any week since the previous August. I wrote zero words about it, but by my dim memory, I think May went about the same.

Then we moved. It had been months of work in the making--packing, listing our house, packing more, planning the trip, house hunting in Ohio, coordinating the moving truck, on and on and on. My older son's last day of school was June 3, and on the morning of June 4, we put the last few things in our cars and drove out of Utah. North, into Wyoming, then down into Colorado, stopping in Denver for the night, which involved my older son puking during a power outage and us realizing the shower in our room was broken. Some day I'm going to write that one into a novel. 
Stopping for dinner in Laramie, WY. I was very pleased with myself for navigating this little town based solely on my memory from one previous trip. This is not usually my strong suit!
From there we drove to Manhattan, Kansas (the little apple!) to see and stay with dear friends from grad school. From there, to Columbia, Missouri, to see and stay with The Best Neighbors Ever, from our days in St. Louis.
Being greeted in Columbia, MO

From there, to St. Louis to see old friends, though sadly we didn't have enough time to see them all. From there to Indianapolis for some fun at the Children's Museum. 
Chihuly ceiling at the Indianapolis Children's Museum
From there to Cleveland on June 9, to a house we bought sight unseen. Our truck arrived June 10 and we unloaded it June 11 and started what would be a very long (and still ongoing) process of making the house our own (you can read about my dining room transformation here). Trying to help my parents, while they tried to help us, because they were doing the same thing--setting up their adorable little house a few miles away. And, I want to be honest (if in a limited way) about this--it was a difficult period. Leaving Utah was painful--not because I didn't want to leave (I did), but for a whole variety of reasons that meant starting our lives over in a new place felt like a heavy load to bear.
Everything we owned
Once here, I fell in very quickly with the Cleveland MRTT, a free running group for women. It has been one of the best things I've found in a long time! I felt welcomed and joined them for runs and social events frequently.
After a bike trolley bar crawl
With my friend Shannon for an afternoon of drinking, shopping, eating, and drinking

In early fall I decided I was running well enough to sign up for a half-marathon. MRTT'ers seemed to love Towpath, and it was close by, so I signed up. Loved it. Very flat course through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Read all about that here.

Then, November, and the 37-mile-month. Partly, my race was over. Partly, I traveled to Portland and Pittsburgh at the beginning and end of the month. It's not an excuse. I slept in. I didn't make goals. The mileage was low. It was ok.
Lobby of the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh--well worth the visit if you're ever in the area.
After the low mileage November, which I was feeling kinda bad about, and the need to get some base training in prior to actual training, I decided to aim for about 20 miles/week in December. Then, halfway through I accidentally did one run a few miles longer than planned, and just like that a 100-mile month seemed doable, and I went for it.

Finishing out the year, and a 100-mile month, on NYE with Laurie
And so, the year went, and went unevenly, and involved a tremendous amount of change. I saw old friends and made new ones. Sold one house and got to work renovating another. Started the year largely unable to run, and am finishing it out with a stubbornly tight left hip but feeling strong and getting stronger. 

At year's end, some stats:
Miles ran: 695.
Races completed:  3--Hofbrauhaus 10k, Muddy Paws Trail Race, and Towpath Half
States ran in: 7--Utah, Arizona, California, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland
States visited: 16--Utah, Arizona, California, Ohio, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia

Goals for 2017:

  • Marathon #5!!! Football Hall of Fame Marathon, April 30. Training starts in a week!! I'm not looking to PR this (although it would be welcome), but would like to get sub-4 again. 
  • 1000 miles. I own my low mileage this year and look to the future. 
  • Stay healthy. Because, duh. 
  • Do more yoga and strength training.
  • Settling in and finding our groove.
 Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for Marathon #5 training!!

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