It’s strange for me to say this, but I am happy that my 2015 year in running wrapped up on Sunday. It wasn’t a typical year like the past several, meaning I wasn’t running all the races and burning myself out. It was a grand total of 3, yes 3…..I think it’s been years since I could count on one hand how many starting lines I’ve lined up at. This was one of the best years I’ve had for a few reasons, I accomplished the goals that I set and ran happy.
Saturday I headed up to San Mateo, CA to visit with good friends and get ready to run the Whistle Punk 1/2 Marathon on Sunday. The race was hosted by Bay Trailrunners and this was its second year. I chose this race because I wanted to run in a new place and it was perfectly timed after the Toro Park 30K, remember that little race? Here is the recap if you want take a peak! The elevation was going to be challenging (roughly the same as Toro, ~4591 ft of gain), but I knew that the Purisima Redwoods would be amazing to run through and around. Who doesn’t love to run around redwood trees??
This was by far one of, if not my favorite trail races…not that I’ve done many, but it’s going to be hard to beat. The course started down hill except for some rolling hills in the beginning, which felt comfortable and easy. See, all of those training runs at Toro Park and the race there paid off! At the top of the first major climb, in the middle of the course, was a water station. They cheered us in with a cowbell and smiles, while taking pictures. The ladies there were awesome! So happy, friendly and supportive. I had a couple of cups of water, took my S-caps and they waved me on my way. Then it was a descent for a couple of miles, my legs got a break from the 2000 ft of climbing and I took it all in.
The second and last aid station was again filled with encouragement, the best green grapes I’ve had and lots of smiles! If you haven’t volunteered at a race, I highly suggest it. The experience and giving back are worth it and you have no idea what you mean to the runners that you are there to support! The ladies joked around that they wouldn’t be out there running and that we were amazing for doing this. I think they are amazing for giving up their Sunday morning to come out and be there.
The last three miles were all up hill and at this point I knew it was going to be a butt kicker and it was going to sum up my year in running. Along the way I counted the people I passed during the race not because I was faster than they were, but because I ran my race and did my best. My race was the culmination of the rebuilding I did physically, mentally and emotionally during 2015. Coming up the hill to the parking lot and ultimately the finish line, I knew that I had succeeded in all of my goals that day. They were to have fun, enjoy the course, reflect on where I started and how I was ending and to know that I did my best. As I neared the finish line, I saw Chris, aka immortalsrun from Instagram fame and he was ready for a high five! It was great to connect with him in person, he is a great guy and awesome runner! He snapped this action shot of my pink hat during the first couple of miles, see how happy and smiling I was?!
As I was cleaning myself up and getting ready to head back home, I did a changing act in a parking lot. Hopefully I didn’t offend anyone in the process, I tried my best not to! One part of freshening up was testing out new compression socks! I was super excited to get these beauties from Tiux. They are a small start up that cuts out the middle man, bringing high quality compression socks to you at a fair price, $35 a pair and free shipping! To save 10%, use this link: http://tiux.refr.cc/FRZRZSH
My legs were tired when I finished the race, not gonna lie, but after wearing my socks during the 2+ hour drive home, they felt so much better. It was over two hours, because I had to stop at Icing on the Cake to bring the girls some treats back. The socks were a little long for me but they were super comfortable and helped keep my legs happy and blood circulating – this is very important for runners. Did you know that compression socks help get waste out of our muscles post run? I felt the benefits from the gradual compression in the socks so much, that I wore them Monday morning at work, after my pool run. They definitely made a difference in the recovery process! The only compensation I received was the pair of socks.
There are a lot of thank you’s that need to be said, a lot of hugs to be given and appreciation sent far and wide. All of the support I’ve received from Facebook and Instagram has been amazing. It never ceases to amaze me the kindness, motivation and encouragement that I am given from so many. Some I know and others I don’t, but it all touches my heart and helps me tremendously! My family may be far away, but they are always with me when I’m running. They encourage and support my crazy ideas and remind me that I can do anything I set my mind to!
I’ve mentioned The Treadmill before, they are the locally family owned running store in my area. Chris and Janice have cultivated an environment that makes us all feel like winners. They motivate, support, encourage and host fun runs to bring the active community together. Their continued engagement and motivation with us is incredible, THANK YOU for always being here for my pink hat! Your spirit and outlook is contagious and I appreciate all that you do so much!
Thank you goes out to my BRFs (best running friends) and that transcends beyond being running friends, but every day too. These ladies keep me going, pick up my spirits when they are low and listen to me ramble on at 4:30 am or in the pool or over text….THANK YOU Sarah, Sharon and Briana for always being there, I love you ladies!
The biggest thank you goes out to my Coach, Michelle. When I first met her in Starbucks during the Big Sur Marathon weekend in 2013 and chatted, I had no clue that we would start working together a few months later. That relationship quickly turned into an amazing friendship and I am so grateful for her. When we first discussed coaching, a goal that was important to me was to find a balance between running and life, she helped me achieve that. Her coaching plan and outlook has been just what I needed. We got through one of my toughest years as our first together, and the second year we talked about scaling way back and rebuilding. The plan was going to be going back to basics, fundamentals and to find that spark again for me.
Rebuilding turned out to be far more than my running. It was emotional, physical and psychological as well and she stuck by my side through all of it. To say she is priceless is an understatement, she is more than a coach to me and I can’t express enough how much I appreciate all that she has done. We’re gearing up to make 2016 the Year of thepinkhatrunner!!!
Michelle has given me strict orders to have fun this week and no running on the schedule. IF I choose to run, make it easy toward the end of the week, and to do whatever makes me happy. But she did say not to do everything I want to, she knows me so well! I would have classes, hikes, etc scheduled. I’m going to follow her orders to a T, I promise!
Next up is a visit to see my family and celebrate my brother and new sister-in-law. Family time and memories are priceless, I can’t wait!
In 2016 I have one race on my calendar, the Big Sur International Marathon. I’m sure I’ll add a couple of more, but for now that sounds perfect to me!
How do you take a step back and re-assess what your running goals are? Any fun plans for the fall? Do you have a running coach?