Reflecting on 2016, I agree with the general consensus that it was not a great year. When it comes to running, things didn’t go as I’d hoped. I only participated in five races. My previous low for a year was eight races in 2010, which was the year I started racing. This past year I ran one 5K and walked one 5K (due to injury), ran one 8K, one half, and one full marathon. No PRs for me, unless you count the 8K since I’ve never done one before. No triathlons in 2016 either.
The year started off great as I followed the Hansons Marathon Method for the first time to prepare for the Bayshore Marathon at the end of May. I peaked with a total of 244 miles for the month of April and felt extremely strong. Training went as well as I could have hoped and I really enjoyed the plan. When it was 70 degrees and extremely humid to start the marathon, I knew things weren’t going to pan out because I do not do well in the heat. My third marathon was my slowest yet, but I was happy to finish in less than four hours considering the conditions.
I took a couple weeks off then got back to training, with plans to run the Crim 10-mile race in August, the Brooksie Way Half Marathon in September, the Grand Rapids Half Marathon in October, and the Richmond Marathon in November. I didn’t get to do any of them thanks to a metatarsal stress fracture in my left foot, which was diagnosed in mid-August. That pretty much screwed up the rest of the year. I spent five weeks in a walking boot and did not run at all for about nine weeks. I basically started from scratch in mid-October, with a few ups and downs as I gauged what my foot could handle. I ended the year on a strong note, hitting 30 miles per week for the last couple weeks, and just recently reintroduced some speed and tempo runs.
While 2016 was not ideal, I like to approach things with a positive perspective. Although there were a few depressing stretches here and there, I typically try to go with the flow and adapt when things don’t go as planned. I’ve never had a stress fracture before and I viewed it as a learning experience. I’d been dealing with plantar fasciitis in the same foot since the start of the year, so maybe time in the boot was good for that too. It was interesting to walk a 5K rather than run it, something I hadn’t done since I was a kid when I participated in the March of Dimes and a Crop Walk. Doing it in a walking boot made it especially interesting! Since Matt still ran Crim, I got to take the race in as a spectator for a change. It was extremely inspiring and uplifting to watch a race of that size.
Despite the injury, I finished the year with 1,329 miles of running. I’d say that’s respectable enough! I biked 504 miles and also hit the weights quite a bit at the gym.
It’s fun to look back at the year and realize how many highlights there were. Our trip to Colorado in April was definitely a big one. I was fortunate enough to run in Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs during the trip.
Little did we know that we’d get to see two of the USA’s Olympic marathoners at work when we took a tour of the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
I enjoyed having the opportunity to run around one of GM’s test tracks for a unique 5K in May.
Even though the stress fracture kept me from running the Richmond Marathon in November, I’d healed enough to pull off the 8K. Matt and I got to meet both Bart Yasso and Desi Linden during the trip!
My mileage was reduced for the second half of the year between marathon recovery and the injury, so I wasn’t tied down by a training schedule. That made it easier to get back to our habit of going to a lot of concerts, and we saw a ton of great ones last year.
We also made it to Las Vegas for the first time. I’m thankful that I was still able to cover a lot of ground despite being stuck in a walking boot.
When I look back at these highlights, 2016 sure had plenty of redeeming moments. Looking ahead, I’m hopeful that I’ll run my fourth marathon this spring. I had qualified for this year’s Boston marathon, but didn’t sign up this time around. I’m still being cautious as I build my mileage, and I’m not committing to anything too soon. I got burned by that last year when I paid for a bunch of races that I couldn’t run and had to eat the cost. I’m thankful that the Grand Rapids Marathon has a deferral option, so I’m signed up for that half in October.
Right now, I’m targeting the Glass City Marathon in Toledo, OH for my spring marathon. I won’t have to take time off of work because it’s close to home, it’s in April and temperatures should be cool, it offers a flat course, and I enjoyed the half when I ran there in 2015. My mileage isn’t high enough yet to jump into the advanced Hansons training plan, but I might consider using their beginner plan or adjust things to meet somewhere in between. I love how the plan worked for me last year and want to give it another shot. Maybe I can requalify for Boston and actually go in 2018?
Even if I don’t have certain goals set in stone, I have things I’d like to accomplish in 2017. I also know that sometimes it’s best to play it by ear. I need to make sure I stay injury-free and take it from there. Here’s hoping for a solid year with more races and fun adventures!