Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 Recap

This post has the potential to be a LONG one.... But I will not do that to you, or at least try not to... ;)

2015 is a year in my running life that I acrually want to write about-a welcome change from recent years. Every time I think about what transpired this year I just keep coming back to the theme that I was one of the luckiest girls I know. I by all means don't intend to be arrogant in that statement, because seriously I didn't deserve a lot of the cool things I got to experience and do this past year; some of these experiences were more small personal athletic victories, and others were practically ripped from my bucket list. 

In no particular order, here are the highlights of my year in running in blurbs and pictures..Since racing is just part of my athletic endeavours at this stage, I've included a lot more than just results and training numbers; this year I think I fully embraced my "body of work" or contribution to the sport (at least I tried to leave a contribution). Hope your year was epic in it's own way too!

Epic Trips with some epic training.

Me and Jill of 'Run With Jill'! We had a great run at 7500 ft!
#oiselleteam pre-5k in Leavenworth, WA
  • 2 x Colorado: I got the chance to run at altitude not once, but twice. First round was during downtime before hitting the ski slopes in Keystone, CO. The first run was definitely an experience at 8500+ feet up! Over the summer I got to do something I've been wanting to do since I knew anything about training-I went to Boulder. Running around Boulder's well-known routes was a really cool experience and not quite as weird or scary as the ski trip in February. I crossed running storied Magnolia Rd off the list. At least the task of running it for the first time. 
    Well, hello there Mags....
  • Washington: Two words: Bird Camp. Oiselle pulled out all the stops for a fortunate 100 of us on the team and for four days we toured headquarters in Seattle, climbed mountains to an Alpine lake in Leavenworth, ran together, and bonded with athletes of literally all levels. I still haven't quite gotten over the awesomeness of that trip and miss all the women. 
    Me and LF herself!

Sport Psychology Stuff
Bill Rodgers, Coach Doug Storey, and Me at the Marathon Expo in Houston
  • This one went down while at Bird Camp but deserves its own bullet-Day 2 of camp I was slated to do a talk on goal-setting and the mindsets required with one of my personal heroes, Lauren Fleshman. She was very gracious and we seemed to work well together presenting and I didn't even fangirl too much while I was "working"! Surreal career moment for sure. 
  • Speaking at the Houston Marathon Expo was a cool experience. Meeting Bill Rodgers and Meb  there perhaps was even cooler. 

  • Working (& running) with a NCAA Cross Country team. Back in October, I spent a day with the hardworking and incredibly resilient Dallas Baptist crew. It was really nice of them to let an old lady do a long run with them. Projects like this makes what I do rewarding and enjoyable beyond words. 
  • Joining in with the impressive things going down at Team Green Running. Wanna see some class acts tear up the track? Check them out. 

    Talking Mental Game with some future distance stars.  
  • Personally, I noticed a shift in my own mindset this last year. I gave myself permission to take some risks and try new things and by doing so I started to genuinely believe in myself as an athlete again. This I enter 2016 with a stronger  
General Training
  • Yay mileage! I got to build up and more importantly sustain 50 some odd miles per week. Longest run was 15 miles and I regularly did track and tempo-type work each week. 
  • I probably spent the most time training this year than in the past two combined due to better health this year. 
  • Recovery and the 'little things' was front and center this year, and I think it paid off in being able to handle a fairly heavier load this season. 
  • I also trained my mind and did the things I tell my athletes to do. Journaling and visualization seemed to be difference makers, especially visualizing responding differently to mentally weak areas in races. 
  • This past year I also traded my tri bike for a simple roadie with no regrets. I have respect for triathlon and enjoyed racing them, but running's my true sport love and I promised myself if I was healthy enough I'd give it a go exclusively again. 
All spiked up. After I got over the fear of stabbing myself with them! 
  • Cross Country! I was a total late bloomer running my first XC race at age 32, but was so glad I did. I won my first two open events and am not hooked. Who knew jumping hay bales and running through low water crossings would wake up my racing? 
  • 5k goal time. Getting so much closer but didn't pull it off this year. That's okay beacuse I go into '16 in better shape than going into '15. 
  • Winning 3 small races in a row. Winning isnt everything, and I don't have to win to think I ran well, but after not getting a 1st F 'W' in a long time, it was great for the confidence.
  • Races weren't all unicorns and cotton candy last year but that's running. I had a couple literal "meltdowns" out on courses. Literal because I learned that I can be as mentally tough as I want to be, but I am a heat-vulernable athlete. Blame my mesomorphic frame.
  • I put in a total of 9 races this year-not a ton, but more than in the past. Some were treated more as workouts, some all out-you know, just like a good running season should be! 
Sponsorship Stuff
  • Renewed with Honey Stinger yet again and will run for them again in 2016. If you haven't tried their stuff. You need to. Really do. 
  • Oiselle- The Nest has gotten a lot larger over the past year with the Volee expansion and I signed on in Late Summer 2015 to serve as a Team Leader for Texas. Thank goodness there are two more here in the Lone Star State, otherwise my job would be quite stressful! I started a monthly group run in Houston in November and watch for the Bird prescence at the Houston Marathon-it's gonna be a fun one! 
  • Cryo Wellness Lab-a late addition but an important one. Can't y'all tell I'm a freak for recovery?! ;)  
  • First and foremost, have more fun! I notice a direct and strong correlation when I am genuinely enjoying running with how I perform and recover. The studies on positivity don't lie, people!
  • In a phone conversation with my coach before a cross country race back in August, he called me out for selling my ability short. Luckily I listened and ended up winning the race and re-learned how to be hungry and aggressive. 
  • I can have a good season again and can still handle some miles. 
  • A little spontanaeity and even impractical decisions (i.e. galavanting around Colorado in July) is a good thing.
  • Did I already say I was the luckiest average girl in the world?? 

I still am working on exactly what I want to see in 2016, but I have three now that I can share.
  • 1. Get back under that 20-minute mark in the 5k-this is probably done by making the decision to be tough at mile 2 and finding a good course/weather to do so. 
  • 2. Sustain at least 55 miles per week; 5 up from last cycle for at least 4-6 weeks out of season.
  • 3. Compete in the USA Club Cross Country Championships. My plans fell apart in December to go to San Francisco but I imagine I will be fitter, faster, and more competitive in 2016. Bottom line is I need to #womanup and do what is necessary: continue core work, foam roll in the evenings, and believe in myself-that's where all of this comes from anyhow is belief. 

Thank You's 
  • Heather Stephens and Kristin Metcalf at Oiselle
  • Derrick Raymer and Athletic Republic (new home of my practice, btw!!)
  • Honey Stinger
  • Nina McFarlane at Cryo Wellness Lab
  • Doug Storey of Bayou City Endurance Consulting
  • Ray Arroyo 
It's likely I forgot several of you all, but all of you have been integral to keeping me healthy, getting faster, fueled, and well-dressed! 

Hope everyone else has some memorable moments and lessons from 2015. Now that it's all been written out, on to the next one! 

Stay the course. 

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Congratulations on such an exciting year! These are all fantastic opportunities, and it's not luck- you MADE them happen. You always have such great perspective and I'm really looking forward to seeing you shine in 2016.