At the end of 2015, I wrote my first “Running Year in Review”. When I wrote that blog, I made a wish that 2016 would be an even better year than 2015 for running – and boy, did that wish come true.
This was the opening line of last year’s blog, and it still rings true this year: “This was a big year for me. I ran further than I ever have before. I ran faster than I ever before. I ran races that I never thought I could. I ran after my goals and I crushed them.” I must say that I owe a lot of my accomplishments this year to the amazing running friends that I have met. In the summer of 2015, I joined two running groups on Facebook – one made up of runners from all over the state of Michigan and a local running group. While I did post in both groups, I never really got out there to meet anyone or put myself out there much until early in 2016. So many people have helped me in these groups by inspiring me, motivating me, and cheering me on. I have made friends that I hope will be friends for life. There are too many to name… but there are three in particular that were the biggest influences and most important friends I made this year:
- Staci – we met through my local running group when we went on a training run for the Go the Extra Mile for Covenant Kids race. In that 8 mile training run we realized we had so much in common and very quickly became two peas in a pod! She ran my first half with me, which resulted in a huge PR for her. And then we ran our first 26.2 together. We laughed, we cried, we swore, and we laughed some more. I am so incredibly honored and blessed to have been able to share in that experience with Staci. We both swore it would be our first and our last, but… I must be crazy because I just signed up for my second marathon!
- Matt – he is one of the admins of the Michigan running group that I am a part of. We started chatting on Facebook earlier this year. He was trying to convince me to start training for a marathon and I told him he was nuts. Guess who is laughing now!? Matt ended up running his first marathon in Lansing and I of course ran my first marathon in Detroit. We finally got to meet in person for his birthday and have become close friends in a short amount of time. We’re like brother and sister, or the male/female version of ourselves.
- Paula – she is another admin of the Michigan running Facebook group, and just happens to be Matt’s fiance (and I was SO honored to have been there on the day that Matt proposed to her)! We also began chatting on Facebook to help motivate each other to work on our fitness and eating habits, which somehow ended up with us convincing each other we could run a marathon. We had planned to run our first marathon together as well, but I ended up running the Detroit marathon with Staci for many reasons. Paula and Matt surprised us at the Detroit marathon and helped us run in those last two miles, those very long two miles. Paula ran her first marathon, too, in Grand Rapids, and Matt, Anna and I helped run her in the last two miles, too. In 2017, we will be running the Detroit marathon together. Paula has become a best friend to me – or shall I say, “Sole Sister”!!
So now that you’re all teared up reading about my awesome running friends, let’s talk about those miles! Since 2014 I have done my own challenge that I call “Banking the Miles” – each month I try to run and walk more miles than I did the previous year in that month. This challenge has helped me to improve my running – as every runner will tell you, in order to improve your running, you have to run more! This year for the very first time, I beat my mileage every single month. . I averaged 58.75 miles per month compared to 30 miles per month in 2015! I also hit my highest monthly mileage in August (again!) with 96.27 miles – SO CLOSE TO 100 MILES! My yearly goal was 500 miles and I crushed that goal – I ended 2016 with 705.06 running and walking miles.
- January 2015: 17.48 miles / January 2016: 55.13 miles
- February 2015: 18.09 miles / February 2016: 45.57 miles
- March 2015: 19.08 miles / March 2016: 41.39 miles
- April 2015: 10.51 miles / April 2016: 61.39 miles
- May 2015: 33.52 miles / May 2016: 57.14 miles
- June 2015: 51.10 miles / June 2016: 51.5 miles
- July 2015: 43.91 miles / July 2016: 52.08 miles
- August 2015: 60.8 miles / August 2016: 96.27 miles
- September 2015: 44.29 miles / September 2016: 82.63 miles
- October 2015: 19.15 miles / October 2016: 68.17 miles
- November 2015: 36.98 miles / November 2016: 52.0 miles
- December 2015: 41.59 miles / December 2016: 41.8 miles
- TOTAL 2015: 416 miles / TOTAL 2016: 705.06 miles
For the second year in a row, I ran at least one race every month. Not only did I run a race each month, but I had some serious PRs – I got a PR in every single distance I ran except for The Crim. I finally ran my first half marathon… and then a second… and then somehow was convinced to run a full marathon!
Here’s what I accomplished in 2016:
- My 5k PR was the Silver Bells 5k, which I finished in 32:11, a pace of 10:22/mile.
- My 10k PR was the Mid-Land 10k, which I finished in 1:10:56, a pace of 11:25/mile.
- I ran the Winterlaufe 8k for the second time, getting a PR this year, finishing in 1:01:06, a pace of 12:17/mile. In 2017 I plan to get a sub 60 minute 8k!
- I ran my first half marathon in April (Go the Extra Mile for Covenant Kids), with a time of 2:52:20 – 13:10/mi. I ran my second half marathon in September (Capital City River Run) and ended up with a PR! My time was 2:43:41 – 12:30/mi.
- And best of all, I ran my first marathon! It was tough, but I finished with a time of 6:34:57 – 15:04/mi. In 2017 I will crush this time!
- Overall, I ran 8 5ks, 2 8ks, 3 10ks, a 10 miler, 2 half marathons and a full marathon, for a total of 17 races in 2016! That’s 115.74 miles of races!
So what does 2017 have in store for me? Well, I definitely plan on keeping my streak of running one race every month. I want to beat my mileage every month, or at least definitely beat my mileage for the whole year. I want to hit 100 miles in a month. I’m also signed up for my first triathlon. I want to crush my PRs in every distance – from 5k to 26.2. And I hope to continue to build these amazing relationships with my running friends and run many more races together! I have a feeling that 2017 will be an even better running year than 2016… :)