Thursday, January 21, 2016

Recap of the 2015 Race Season

2015 was a good year for me. It was also a challenging year. I learned a lot about myself and my capabilities. I hope to take some of that wisdom with me this year and hopefully have an even stronger season. 

The year started off with Run for Regis in late January. I opted to run the trail half marathon. It was below zero degrees at the start, which made for a slow and frigid race for me. While its referred to as a "fun run" I still tried to push myself as hard as I could.  I ended up 5th in the race and 4th in my AG with a not so fantastic time. Steve finished 2nd male. After the race we rewarded ourselves with Winking Lizard food and brews with a group of friends. This was the "fun" part of the race!

A week later (early February) I ran a cross country half marathon in Lakeland, FL called the Holloway Half Marathon. It was maybe 55 degrees at the start so naturally Steve and I raced in shorts and tank. The locals were in tights and long sleeves. This was also a tough race. I started fast and led the race for the first 7 or 8 mile before a couple of women passed me. The last miles I was overheating and fading and I slipped to 4th female but managed 1st in AG. Steve ended up finishing 2nd overall and 1st in his AG. After the race we drove back to Clearwater Beach where we were staying and flew home the next day.

Next up was the Green Jewel 50K in early March. It was my first ultra distance race and it is a road race that starts in Rocky River and travels along the Emerald Necklace finishing in the Brecksville Reservation. It ended up being a snowy, cold and very icy day which made for a slower race than I expected. My friend Jillian ended up winning and my time was good enough for 2nd place female. Steve finished 7th male, 1st in Masters. After the race we headed to Fatheads for some hard earned food and hoppy beer! This was one of my favorite races of the season! 

Then it was the Fools 25K trail race just before April Fools, which was painful. The ground was not snow covered or muddy this year but rather frozen and jagged and icy in spots, which really got into my ankles after 16 miles of running. I was a little faster than the previous year and finished 6th female, 1st in my AG. Naturally we headed to the Winking Lizard after this race with it being in Peninsula.

Then I decided to run the 10 Mile Drop in mid April since I had done the 20 the year before as my last preperation for the Toledo Marathon. This was 2 weeks out or so. I had a decent race finishing 4th female and 1st in AG. My friend Jillian won the race and we headed to the Winking Lizard in Mentor for post race food and beers.

The Toledo Marathon in late April was the first of 4 consecutive marathons I ran last year to qualify for Boston. I had high hopes for Toledo and ended up PR'ing by 5 minutes but still had a ways to go to BQ. My friend Jillian ended up getting her first BQ so that was exciting but I knew I had work to do. Overall I loved this course and would definitely run it again!

A few weeks later it was time to run the Cleveland Marathon. I was lucky enough to be an ambassador for the race last year, which was a lot of fun. I am happy to be on board again this year! It ended up being rainy, hot and humid so I did not have the race I had hoped for here but still managed a decent time for the conditions that day. Steve ended up getting his BQ again for 2016 here. Afterwards a group of us met at the Winking Lizard downtown for post race food and beer. Typical M.O.

A week later for Memorial Day weekend it was time for the Blossomtime Run in Chagrin Falls. We met up at my friend Ginny's house with a group of Cleve Tri Club folks before the race. This is a tough 5.25 mile road race and my legs were pretty trashed but I had an okay day and placed 3rd in my AG. Steve placed 3rd in his AG as well. 

Then it was on to the first multisport race of the season, the Twinsburg duathlon. I did the first run and the dropped out of the race because Steve had flatted and I thought he said he was out. After a miscommunication and learning that he changed his wheel and jumped back in I had lost too much tine and opted to get in a longer run while they finished up the race.

My first triathlon of the season was in June at the Great Western Reserve Olympic tri at West Branch. I would say I was definitely not in tip-top tri shape yet here with the big focus on running and also training for another marathon later in the month so I was pretty excited to finish 6th female and 1st in my AG despite a tough day.

Rev3 Williamsburg, also in June which was Challenge Williamsburg has been one of my favorite races the last few years. This year I got a sinus infection a week before the race so it ended up being a last minute call to even race or not. Needless to say it was not my best day. Racing with a sinus infection in 90+ degrees and high humidity was a pretty icky experience. I did not even place in my AG here but just racing was a win that day. And of course seeing my teammates was fun.

The Charlevoix Marathon in late June was a great race. I fell in love with Northwest Michigan. It is gorgeous and the race was perfect. I fell just a little short of my BQ but PR'd by about 4 minutes. Steve raced the half and won his AG so it was a successful race for both of us and we made a fun long weekend out of it.

July was a month full of ironman training and short races. First up we ran the Johnycake Jog 5 Miler where I finally won my AG. The next weekend we ran the Painesville Sunrise 5 miler, which was a hot and hilly race. I ended up placing 3rd female there as well as the Mayfield Wildcat 5K the next weekend. This was all part of my plan to not let the IM training make me slow this season in preparation for Erie!

The month of August started off with my first multisport win at the Greater Cleveland Olympic Triathlon. It actually turned out to be a duathlon with the swim being cancelled but this worked out for me since running and biking are my two strongest events. This was fun and afterwards we headed out for food and drinks with some Cleve Tri Club folks. Next up was the Miller Marut 5K in Concord Township on my birthday which was hot and hilly and I placed 3rd female there. The last race of the month was the inaugural Rock Hall Half Marathon, which I used as my final speedwork leading into Erie. I ended placing 4th in my AG here with some tough competition. 

September was an intense month. First I ran the Erie Marathon and finally got that almighty BQ with a PR time of 3:35:15 - knocking about 7 minutes off my PR time in Charlevoix! Needless to say there was a celebration for Steve and I at Willoughby Brewing afterwards! Two weeks later it was time to race the 70.3 triathlon at the Deer Creek Fall Challenge. This was a tough race in terms of winds on the bike and it was a hot run. I started having some bladder pain about halfway through the run which caused me to slow down and even walk a couple times but I managed a PR time of 5:34 and ended up 2nd female so it was a great day and we celebrated afterwards at Matt the Millers by Polaris in Columbus on our drive home.

October was a tough month as I fought some health issues with my bladder and trying to balance out the final training days for Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 Tri. I was not sure if I would be able to race and/or complete the race so when I got the go ahead from my urologist I was a happy girl. He told me to just go out there and race and we would figure things out after. Steve and I made a vacation out of the race in Wilmington, NC. It was a lot of fun as it is a great town, we had a terrific place on the water and lots of friends there. Despite having to stop a lot to pee and some discomfort I was able to finish in 12:17 a nice PR and just a little short of my 12 hour goal. I was totally smashed for a couple days following the race so it was a tough recovery. I guess that's what I get for racing while sick.

A few weeks of recovery led into some shorter races in November and December to close out the year because it is too boring to sit around! First Twinsburg Turkey Trot 5 miler, which did not go great for me due to some allergy/breathng issues and also probably some lingering fatigue. Still I placed 2nd in my AG and Steve placed overall. Then we both raced the Painesville Turkey Trot 5K to win our AGs again. Then we ran the NERC relay at Westwoods with our Snakebite Racing teammate Mark Erzen and placed 2nd co-ed team after losing by less than a minute to some high school XC kids! Next up a 4th place finish/1st in AG at the Jingle Bell Run 5K at Legacy Village, a 2nd in AG at the Frosty 5 Miler in Hudson on Xmas eve and finally a 5th place female/1st AG place at the Great New Years Eve 5K in Stow. 

That was a busy season and 2016 looks to be the same with maybe a marathon less and no 140.6. Plus I am spacing my big races out more to allow some extra recovery time. I hate resting but I need to work on that because maybe I will race even better if I can learn the art of recovery! 

2016 starts up this weekend with Run for Regis half marathon again. Forecast says 17 degrees, Brrr. Should be painful I am sure!

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