Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Running Report for 2015

This year (2015), I ran 363 miles and finished in 6 races. It's lot less than those in 2014.  And yet this is the year I finished my first Marathon ! Yeaaaah ! So I blame my lesser mileage to this Marathon, ha. First half year because I was nervous about the upcoming and next half year as a recovery from the Marathon. Talk about excuses. The fact is that, if I had more mileage before Marathon, my performance would have been better. And if I ran after the Marathon (atleast after a few weeks), then my recovery would have been better. Coz mileage is tied to training and workout. Nothing is better than training well and working out.

What I did try this year were strength workouts. I did sessions of Extreme TRX, Kickboxing and bench-press in gym. I loved my sore muscles. It is wonderful while it lasts. As usual, the challenge is to continue it. Everything gets in the way, especially your hardwired brain, which does not pickup a workout clothes as easily as a chakali packet.

My arm & leg muscles felt wonderful after each workout session and for many days after. Running however, totally brightens the mood. Makes me feel I accomplished something. Any health benefits to the muscles were just a side-effect, I did not pay attention to, because they were invisible to the eye.

Races are something which bring the thrill factor to running. Before my first race all I cared about was medals. This year, I don't know where to store those heavy metals ! Now I am happy with the other useful stuff they give out like shirt, bars & good arrangements.

I completed these races in 2015. They are fewer but with rich experiences each. I blogged about them for my own reference. I had signed up for the Women Run The Cities 10 Miler too, as a followup for last year. I was all set for it, but I completely forgot about a wedding that same day in a different city. So I had to dropout.

Weather Name Date Distance 2015 Time
19F Polar Dash 1-Jan-15 15 mile 3:07:21
30F - Hot Securian Winter Run  24-Jan-15 Half Marathon 2:55:57
62F Get in Gear  25-Apr-15 Half Marathon 3:02:14
75F Lake Minnetonka  3-May-15 Half Marathon 2:55:37
45F to 60F Minneapolis Marathon 31-May-15 Marathon (26.2 miles) 6:09:59
57-87F City of Lakes Half  13-Sep-15 Half Marathon 2:53:03

Like last year, I went to watch the 2015 TCM Marathon runners in action. This is the race which started my interest and am always curious about it. I don't signup for it though, as my Summer training and stamina levels are not good enough for a Fall Marathon.

I managed to plot my training runs by month. I look at the graph and try to find a pattern and learn something.

My mileage spiked in Oct because I quit being a snob and blindly went to the gym. There is a usual debate about treadmill vs outside running. Yes the benefits of running outside are tangible. It is also a noticeably different experience. In Jan, when I ran Securian Winter Run 2015 - Half, after solely running on treadmill, wow it blew the wind out of my sail. It was tough to switch. Yet running on treadmill is way better than not running at all. Those gaps in the graph, those are because I was running outside, but the change of seasons or the weather that day itself, scared me to get out. Its struggle to just step out the door in the evenings. We are tired from the rigors of all day and chores of the remaining part of the day are beckoning us. We don't need extra challenge of any unpredictable weather to be added. That is why it helps to keep the gear ready - clothes, shoes, bottles, watch, etc. So we can slip out before any imaginary constraint stops us. Just get it done - is the mantra.

My miles from Jan to May were very very low, which goes against me since I had signed up for a Full Marathon in the end of May. What was I thinking ? My only explanation was that I was nervous. I was sure I would drop off & not show up at the Marathon. Or if I did show up, I would just do a long-run of 20 mile maybe and get out. Gosh what was I thinking ? This is the pure example of not-believing in yourself - but for 5 months !?! Never again please.

No, I won't blame the freezing icy February and rainy wet April for my low mileage. Oh wait, but I did get 48 miles in March ? That was thanks to 3 long runs of 13 mile, 13 mile and 16 miles. Wow, that's extreme. That shows my strengthen. Remind me again, that I don't need such desperate measure. I should stick to a training plan and if there's a gap in my execution, then not be hard on myself.

After feeling low in August, and still not gaining any solid ground in Sep, there was a surge in October. That's because I cleared my mind and stopped being afraid or demotivated by the crispy fall weather, and boldly walked to the apartment Gym :) And I could do it many times to achieve my year record of 53 miles in 14 days. That was was followed by a slump of no run in 30 days in Nov. I was miserable throughout. It was a moving month, so I couldn't do much.

Dark evenings are another detriment. Right from the Sunday when Daylight Saving kicks in, evenings are pitch dark as early as 4pm. And it is so till Winter Solstice around 22-Dec. It makes a big difference, if you are not used to getting out in these cold dark evenings. The first week goes in simply catching up with the sleep. Next few weeks, working up courage all day to really dress up and step out in the evening.

In December, I had moved to a new place. Along with unpacking and settling to a new commute and routine, I was chalking and charting plans for my outside runs - Sidewalks I could use, their distances, looking for winter domes, gathering my winter run clothes and race planning for 2016. All that means very few actual runs.

Anyway something is better than nothing. I promise to stop overthinking, and just dress up and step out of the house. Not overwhelm myself by thinking about what I will do outside. Getting to this auto-mode is the goal. Here's wishing myself All the Best for the New Year of Running.

Its pretty exhausting to read these reflections. But I know, they will come handy when memory fails me and I need guidance.

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