My Goals for 2015

Putting together my goals for 2015 has been a little difficult for me. While most of 2014 was fantastic in terms of running, recovering from my stress fracture has me a little on edge. It has been 50 days since my last run and it’s a little unnerving not knowing how I’ll feel when I am able to lace up my running shoes once again!

However, I’m very optimistic after yesterday’s visit with my orthopedist. He says my tibia is probably about 95% there. I am currently weaning myself off of the boot and will be completely free of it by Friday! I have been cleared to start PT, and will likely be running again in the next couple of weeks. I feel like it will be Christmas all over again when that day comes!

2015 goalsSo here are my running-related goals for 2015:

  • Get healthy, and stay that way. I have been following doctor’s orders and will continue to do so until I am 100% done with this stress fracture. This injury has been maddening and I can’t wait to be completely healthy again!
  • More strength training and cross training. I made an effort to do more of both in 2014, but next year I want to be even more consistent. This will also help with my first goal.
  • A new half marathon PR. My best was the Shamrock Half in 2011. It was my first half and I came in at 2:03:43. I want to break 2 hours this year. I had hoped to do it at the very same race this March, but obviously this may be in jeopardy since I’m coming off of an injury. I’m not ruling it out though – and if I don’t get my shiny new PR there, I’ll try again somewhere else!
  • Run at least 800 miles. I managed to get in 711 miles in 2014 by November 11, so I think this goal is more than reasonable.
  • ???Complete my first marathon??? This almost happened in 2014 (so frustrating that I came so close!). I’d like to make it happen in 2015, but my injury has me a bit scared to completely commit. But I am about 75% sure that I still want to do this, ha!

I really am proud of how consistent I was in 2014, and the fact that I did up to 20 mile runs this year (you can read my full 2014 recap here). Here’s hoping that 2015 will be even better!

What are your 2015 goals? Did you accomplish all you had hoped in 2014?

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2014 Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler Race Recap

Just because you’re injured doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at a race! The boyfriend and I are in Virginia Beach for Christmas, so we had planned to run the Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler together. Obviously I was knocked out, but at least I could work packet pickup as a J&A Racing Ambassador and cheer on Alex and the other 4,999 participants!

Because this was an evening race run under the holiday lights on the Virginia Beach boardwalk, packet pickup was from 12-4 p.m. at the convention center. Although I couldn’t run, I was able to quickly pick up my packet before heading over to the J&A booth to hold down the fort with fellow ambassadors Krista and Nan. It was great to meet them as well as other ambassadors throughout the day – because of social media I felt like I already knew them! We were very popular since our role was to hand out free koozies, cups, and flyers for upcoming races and help people register onsite. J&A always gives out tons of swag, and it seems people are always surprised that the items are free. I had a great time talking with all of the runners as they stopped by!

Krista, me, and Nan at the booth - photo courtesy: J&A Racing

Krista, me, and Nan at the booth – photo courtesy: J&A Racing

Though there was a long line to get in to packet pickup when it opened, Alex quickly made his way through to get his race number, tech shirt, reusable bag, and santa hat. J&A did a great job of promoting their offer of a free Surf-n-Santa cup to the first 2,000 people in hopes of not having a rush during the last hour before the race – and it worked! There was a steady crowd throughout the day but the volunteers did a great job of getting people in and out.

We headed outside just before the start of the race for a picture of the ambassador and Shamrock training team. My parents and I then hung out next to Alex’s corral until it was time for everyone to take off. There is a costume contest for this race, so we enjoyed seeing all of the holiday outfits, though I’m not sure how some people were able to run in their crazy clothes!

Ambassadors and Shamrock training team at the start line - photo courtesy: J&A Racing

Ambassadors and Shamrock training team at the start line – photo courtesy: J&A Racing

My original plan was to try to drive over to the boardwalk to enjoy the lights and try to see Alex there and then head back to the convention center to watch the runners finish. However, we weren’t sure we would make it back before Alex was done, so we grabbed a spot on the bleachers next to the finish line.

Alex getting into the zone

Alex getting into the zone

 

A sea of festive runners

A sea of festive runners

IMG_0388This races finishes inside the convention center and then spills into one of J&A’s well-known after parties. Once we saw Alex cross, we waited for him to get his post-race snacks, water, finisher’s item (cute gloves), and medal. The medals also have a smaller string attached so you can hang the medal on your Christmas tree – a great idea! The party offered soup and beer to participants, and  spectators could pay for food. We quickly got a couple of beers (Sam Adams sponsored this race) and settled in to listen to the live band and people watch. As always, it was quite a party and I even ran into a friend of mine from high school!

The post-race party in full swing!

The post-race party in full swing!

I later grilled Alex about his race experience, and he immediately said it was one of the best races he’s ever run. He said it was extraordinarily fun and he really enjoyed both the course and the costumes – he could definitely feel the Christmas spirit. My parents and I also had a great time as spectators.

Getting fancy with the boot

Getting fancy with the boot

As always, J&A pulled off a well-organized, fun event. I only hope I am healthy enough for Shamrock weekend in March to run the half!

How are you staying active during the holidays? What are your favorite holiday traditions?

*I am a J&A Racing Ambassador and did receive free entry into the Surf-n-Santa. Views are my own.

2014 Year in Review

It’s hard to believe that 2014 is coming to a close! I love being able to enjoy the holidays, reflect on the year I’ve had, and think ahead to what I want to focus on in 2015.

My first blog post ever spelled out my running goals for 2014 (you can read that here). This week I wanted to take a look back at how I stacked up against those targets, as well as other accomplishments, before I figure out what I want to work on next year.

  • Goal: run at least 700 miles. I was actually able to log 711 miles before my stress fracture reared its ugly head in early November.
  • Goal: break my half marathon PR. Sadly, this did not happen. But I did get in two solid half marathons, and set new PRs in the 5K (twice!), 10K, and 10 Miler distances. Needless to say, I will once again have my eyes on the half marathon PR next year.atc10miler-103
  • Goal: start a blog. Obviously this happened. It has been fun sharing my adventures and observations with you guys this year, as well as hearing about your experiences! In case you missed them, here are some of this year’s top posts: Marathon Lost, Consider Yourself Judged, Not Your Traditional Princess, and To Marathon or Not to Marathon.
  • I trained for a marathon. And I was almost there! I may not have the finish line or medal, but I am proud of my training. I can now say that my longest run is 20 miles, which is 6.9 miles farther than before. I can honestly say this was my biggest accomplishment for 2014.
  • I ran 10 races. I would have had two more in the books had it not been for my stress fracture. However, I had some really great experiences this year and even learned to like an occasional 5K after not having much interest in them beforehand.
  • I got “friendlier” on the run. This year I made an effort to do more group runs and run with friends. This helped to push me and break up longer runs. I really enjoyed meeting more runners and will continue to do this in 2015.
  • I became a J&A Racing Ambassador. I am a huge fan of this racing company, which is based in Virginia Beach. In addition to getting lots of cool stuff and race entries from J&A, I’ve “met” some really cool people who are fellow ambassadors. This weekend, I’m working the Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler expo, and I’m excited to finally meet some of these people in real life! I’ll also be cheering on the runners, since I can’t do this race myself as originally planned.

Overall, 2014 was probably my most consistent year for running. I’ll be posting my goals for next year soon!

Let’s hear it – what did you accomplish in 2014? Did you meet all of your goals?

The Most Runderful Time of the Year

There are running perks to all seasons, but December is my favorite running month for sure! This of course makes my stress fracture a little more painful, since I won’t be able to get out and enjoy the month. A quick injury update: I was cleared from crutches and put into a boot last Thursday. I cannot tell you how happy I am to be free of the crutches! My doctor wants to see me back in 3 weeks to hopefully start physical therapy and after two weeks of that, I may be able to transition back into running (please let this be true – I’m going insane!). But back to the topic at hand…

Yes, so December is awesome for running. I appreciate the cooler temperatures and extra time off to get those miles in. Most of all, I LOVE being able to look at people’s Christmas lights on the run! There is something wonderful about the warm glow of people’s houses and the decorated trees as you run by them. It turns even the coldest and darkest of mornings into a happy time.

Here are a few festive houses along some of my routes here in Atlanta:

Lighted trees lining the streets

I particularly like that the trees are wearing Santa hats

There’s a lot going on here, but hey, it’s festive!

Along with missing out on my everyday runs this December, I am bummed that I won’t be participating in the Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler when I go home for Christmas in Virginia Beach as I had planned. The course runs through the holiday lights display on the boardwalk – but never fear, I’ll be checking them out as I cheer on other runners!

Virginia Beach boardwalk; photo courtesy of Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler's Facebook page

Virginia Beach boardwalk; photo courtesy of Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler’s Facebook page

Registration is still open, so if you’re going to be in the Hampton Roads area on December 19, I highly recommend this race! Some other draws if you’re kind of a Grinch and don’t enjoy Christmas lights: great swag, beer at the finish line, and a really fun post-race party. Hope to see you out there!

What do you like most about running during the holidays? Do you have any December races that you love?

*I am a J&A Racing Ambassador and did receive free entry into the Surf-n-Santa (though I won’t be able to use it). Views are my own.