Looking Back at 2015
As we start a new year today, I wanted to look at my running 2015 year. Lots of things, both good and bad, happened in 2015, but overall, it was one of my best running years. I hope 2016 can be even better.
When 2015 started, I was dealing with some asthma issues, caused by a moldy cabinet in my office. By the start of January, I was feeling much better but still dealing with some coughing from it. I was not running much, though, partly because of that and partly because of laziness. That is why I love to have a coach to push me and force me to run. Because otherwise, I would just take too many rest days, ha.
In February, I became an INKnBURN ambassador. As you know, INB is my favorite athletic apparel brand and have been a client for almost five years. Being an ambassador for the brand is awesome, icing on the cake. So this was my run-related non-racing highlight of the year. :)
By April, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. The migraines for months, the asthma issues when the breathing was OK, all pointed to this for the last months, but I did not want to accept it. My mother has had high BP since age 18. My dad has it too. It was just a matter of time. But for me, it was a failure. They don't exercise, they don't eat right, of course they have high BP. But why me? I do everything right. Why do I have an illness that I equate to unhealthiness? It took me a while to realize that some illnesses and conditions do not reflect on how healthy you are; that genes are sometimes stronger than exercise and nutrition. So, I started my medication and immediately felt much better. I should have done this way before.
My first races went well. Even with the migraines and the high HR that those brought, I was performing better than I had before, almost as fast as before the asthma. By the time the Paris Marathon arrived, I was faster than I was before the asthma. My coach and I had trained for a 4:15 marathon. I did everything correctly, all my MP runs went great, on pace, and even outside in good weather. But no one could have predicted bad weather, an asthma attack, a migraine, and high BP the day of the race. Matching my PR that day (4:34) was a disappointment then. But looking at it now, I am very happy and encouraged that I was able to run that fast after an asthma attack and the BP. That, in and of itself, was a triumph.
After Paris, I started my BP treatment and started feeling better. However, as most runners know, most BP medications do affect performance a bit, so I became a bit slower during the months of May and June, while we played with the medications options. I ran the RnR San Diego Marathon, a hillier race than Paris, with the sole intent of running it without any issues. I ran a 4:46, I think, or around there, but had an awesome and I felt like I was back and ready to train.
The Summer down here was brutal in 2015, even worse than 2014 and 2013, combined. We had purchased a great treadmill (TM) in 2014, and since April gave us the first days in the 100s heat indexes, which extended through November, I spent all my time on the TM. In fact, I am on the TM still today, because it is Summer in South Florida in January, 2016.
Training on the TM is very different than outside. Mostly because the TM brings better weather than outside in Miami, unless it's Winter. Which we have not seen in ages. But I did some TM quality runs for Paris to compare with the outside and trained for San Diego on the TM and knew paces were pretty much the same as outside so I trained for the Chicago Marathon hard. My coach gave me another round of training similar to the Paris Marathon to keep my speed and endurance as they were there. I continued running well and even trained at a faster MP than for Paris. I felt great, but was worried that it wouldn't be the same as outside. My HR on the TM was fine, but every time I risked going outside in the 90s, my HR would rise even higher than any weather adjustment I could do. That's medication for you, but one thing to keep in mind.
The Chicago Marathon had horrible weather, even worse than Paris. By the time I finished, it was 80F. I puked on the course, I could barely run the last 6 miles, I might have even been dizzy at some point and my right side hurt. Finishing in 4:39, a 7 minute course PR, was great. But I felt horrid while running. Something was wrong.
I kept training and running for my next adventure, the RnR Las Vegas Marathon, the one I had an anaphylactic attack on the course due to wind and my dust allergy, the one I wanted to beat. But when the race came up, 50mph wind gusts and all made me run the HM with my husband instead. His training has been going well. He now runs 9:1 intervals and almost PRd in Vegas. But my breathing was bad after the race. After years of allergy shots, I will not die in windy cities, but my asthma and allergies will make my life miserable.
After Las Vegas, the pain on my side was worse and I didn't feel great while running. The coughing was bad so I thought it was that, but it ended up being a rib out of place. Man, when that thing went back into place, the difference in breathing was wonderful. Apparently, I had that even before Chicago, which explains the nausea and other issues. The rib has moved out of place twice after that, so I have to be conscious of that and take care of it whenever it happens.
My last race was the Space Coast Marathon. But since Florida is still stuck in Summer, I knew it would be impossible to run a PR time in this race, so I concentrated on having a great performance, better than Chicago and Paris. By the time I finished SC, the temps were again in the 80s. It was warmer than Chicago, overall, so running a 4:38 with a side stitch for 8 miles and the heat, was great. Although I did not PR in 2015, the four marathons I ran were a good sign that I have improved and that I only need good weather to be able to do so. But it was just not my year.
2015 was definitely better than 2014. I ran 2500 miles for the year and had some great marathon performances. I will continue to train in 2016, but the plan for 2016 is to add more states to the 50 marathons in 50 states quest. Lots of races coming up, starting next week. So, the PRs will be put on the side until after the Summer. Stay tuned!