Saturday, January 2, 2016

Reflecting on the Past

2016 is officially here! The start of the new year always brings excitment for what lies ahead, but first, I want to reflect on the previous year's accomplishments.

2015 had it's ups and downs, but I'm pleased to say that I saw a lot of improvement when it comes to running, so let's take a look at the goals I set at the start of 2015 and see how I did.

Take Days Off. This time last year, I vowed to take one day off every week. Yeah....that didn't always happen, but I didn manage to take more days off during the year than I think I ever have before. Although some months saw me working my usual seven days a week, I did manage to get the occassional day off here and there. I also cut down a bit on my workload, so even when I was workin seven days a week, it wasn't for nearly as long each day.

I often used my days off to take long walks around my neighborhood.
Try New Things. I set a goal to try something new each month, and I feel that I was pretty successful. I tried some new to me workouts (yoga and spinning), tried a bunch of new recipes, ran new distances and different routes, and made some new friends. I really enjoyed challenging myself to break free of my usual routine. By really striving to break out of unhealthy habits and trying new, healthy activities, I've managed to lose a total of 30 lbs this year, which has a huge impact on my overall health.

Yoga. Outside. In downtown Chicago. It was pretty great.
Run More Races. Not to blow my own horn or anything, but I blew this goal out of the water. In 2014, I ran 8 races. In 2015, I ran a total of 15 races (17 races, if you count the two virtual races that I ran). How's that for achieving a goal? I also set numerous PRs in every distance I ran. In fact, I ended up repeatedly setting new PRs throughout the year, beating my previous PR at almost every race. I did feel that I ran a few too many races and was feeling a little overwhelmed in months where I had multiple races back to back, so I in addition to achieving my goal, I learned that there can be too much of a good thing.

Run for the Zoo 5k gave me the first of many new 5k PRs during the year.
Tackle Longer Distances. In 2015, I ran my first 10k, my first 15k, my first 10 miles, and my first half marathon. Mission accomplished! I've discovered a love of distance running that I hope never goes away, and now that I know I can cover greater distances, I've found more peace with my slow pace. I'm not sure if I'll ever go much beyond 13.1 miles (some folks are urging me to do a full marathon), but I'm happy to know that consistent training really does pay off. It was fun testing myself, and my future race schedules won't be full of 5ks anymore.

Achievement unlcoked!
Run with Others. This was one of my most daunting goals for 2015, but it was also one of the most satisfying things to achieve during the year. I tend to be a very solitary person. I don't really go out much and spend most of my free time alone. I do really enjoy running alone (I can go my own pace, I can zone out, I can reflect on my day), and I'm not usually bothered by my solitude. Every no and then, however, I find myself feeling the pangs of loneliness. I really wanted to meet other runners, so I did two things: I started running with Fleet Feet's Chick's Night and I signed up for training with Chicago Endurance Sports. I have to say, it is pretty fantastic knowing other runners. I now see familiar faces at every race. I'm greeted by other runners I know when I'm running along the lake front. I have people to turn to when I have questions or need advice about running, and I have also had people turn to me for advice and answers. I finally feel like part of Chicago's running community.

Me and the awesome ladies I trained with over the summer.
I'm very pleased with my progress in 2015, and I look forward to seeing what I can do in 2016.


  1. Happy New Year! Sounds like you had an amazing year!

    1. Happy New Year! 2015 was pretty great. Here's hoping 2016 keeps up the pace!