If you’ve read this blog from the very beginning (unlikely), you might remember that one of the goals I had set for myself this year was to complete 14 races in 2014. I wanted so badly to smash this goal, for so many reasons. After I had surgery in March, I impatiently waited for my body to heal so that I could get back to running. By May, I was back to it, but had lost so much of my fitness during the healing process, it was almost like starting over from the beginning. I ran my first post-surgery race in June, and I was so SLOW! My legs felt like lead and I felt like I could barely move. I stuck with it though, and by October, I was running 5k races faster than ever before! In the process of completing this arbitrary “14 races” goal, I discovered trail racing, got faster, and gained a TON of self-confidence.
By December, I was two races from completing my goal, when Mother Nature intervened to derail me.The week that I was to run my 13th race, brought the biggest storms that Northern California has seen since the late 90s. My street, along with tons of other roads and freeways in the North Bay flooded, my workplace closed for a day due to flooding, and the course for my 13th race was under standing water. This was on Thursday. By Friday (the day before the race was due to go off), I received an email from the race organizer saying that due to flooding, storm damage, and downed trees, the course was un-passable and the race was being rescheduled to the following weekend (the weekend of my 14th race). After searching in vein for a replacement race somewhere in the Bay Area, feeling incredibly disappointed and upset after not finding a replacement, I accepted that I wasn’t going to complete my “14 in 2014” goal. There was really nothing I could do about it other than get over the feelings of failure and disappointment. I was a little heartened to learn, the following week, that the rescheduled race was completely cancelled due to further flooding and course damage that week.
So, all in all, I ran 13 races in 2014. While I’m still a little disappointed that I didn’t get to run #13, I know that I still achieved something pretty amazing! I am incredibly proud of completing so many races, and beyond amazed that my 5k time improved so much over the course of the year. For the most part, I almost never race for time…I’m just not that competitive, but it’s incredibly satisfying to see that for the first time in my life, I ran a 10 minute/mile pace.
I feel like I’ve learned so much in running all of these races. Since I started running, I’ve never LOVED running. This year, I discovered that I didn’t LOVE it because I don’t love road running, BUT I really do LOVE trail running. I really don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out. I mean, I love hiking and backpacking. It makes since that my love of trails would extend to running. Is it more challenging? YES! In many ways, I’m starting over with trail running in terms of speed and endurance, but it is just so much FUN. One of the other important lessons I’ve taken away from this racing year is how much more I should trust in my ability. When I first set this goal, I honestly wondered if I would be able to physically complete so many races. I hate that I even questioned it. I’ve learned to trust in my body’s ability to carry me toward the things that I want to accomplish.
I had originally planned to do a recap post of every race I completed, but I decided that all of that minutiae would be too boring to document. Suffice to say, I had a blast running every single race. Some were tougher than others, either physically or mentally, but I feel like I learned a TON every time I crossed a finish line. Someone jokingly suggested that I run 15 races in 2015, but I can honestly say that I have no desire to ever race so much in a year again. It was exhausting! Though I felt like I became a better runner over the course of the year, I also felt like I lost a lot by not focusing as much on training rather than racing. While I do have a running related goal for 2015 (more on that soon), it definitely won’t involve running so many races!