As I close out 2016 with an injury, I must say I couldn’t be happier to say goodbye to 2016 and welcome 2017. It sure has been one hell of a year.
I started the year full of optimism. In 2015, I blew away all my goals, achieving PRs faster than I ever dreamed possible in a number of distances. And then, this year, I managed to miss nearly every one of my goals.
Here’s what they were:
|Sub-3 Marathon||No – 3:16||Run 2,500 miles||No – 1,740|
|Sub-1:25 Half||No – 1:26:07||Break 19:00 in the 5K||No – 19:10|
|PR in the 10K||Yes – 40:01|
The year started out well. I honestly had a great winter/spring marathon training cycle. I PR’d in the half (albeit, with drama since the course was long), running an adjusted 1:26:07, just a minute shy of my goal for the year. I ran a 10K PR at the Scotland Run, just barely missing out on breaking 40 minutes, running a 40:01.
But then the Boston Marathon happened. It was hot, I didn’t adjust my pace accordingly and I crumbled. The race crushed my spirit and I had trouble motivating myself to run again.
When I finally did motivate myself to run again…I got injured. And then I got injured again, and again, ruining any chance at consistent training during the second half of the year.
I took nine days off in July, and then another five days a little later in the month. I then had eight weeks of solid training to run a 4-mile and 10-mile PR in August and September (low-hanging fruit…the new PR paces are both slower than half marathon pace). I shouldn’t have run that 10-mile race though, and after that I took another 10 days off.
I again had another eight weeks of halfway decent training before, again, I found myself injured. In retrospect, I learned it was a calf strain, and that each time I took time off, I didn’t take enough time off, and that with the reintroduction of speedwork, I was again tearing my calf.
By the time January 1, rolls around, I will be 25 days into my current recovery period, bringing my total time off due to injury in 2016 to 49 days. On the bright side, I’ll only have three more days off before I can start the slow rebuilding process again in 2017.
It’s easy to feel disappointing by how the year shook out, but I’m trying to learn from it and stay focused on the positives.
In Boston, I was too focused on my goal and didn’t respect the conditions. This summer and fall, I thought I knew it all and could diagnose myself, and I’ve paid for my hubris. Going forward, I will try to remind myself when conditions aren’t perfect that there will always be other races. And the next time I have any hint of an injury, I won’t try to self-diagnose, and will instead go straight to the doctor.
As for the positives, outside of running, I got engaged this year, and my fiancé and I bought our first house. Those are both great life milestones!
Looking forward, I’m choosing to be optimistic about my recovery now that I’m taking the appropriate amount of time off. I took 86 consecutive days off during the winter of 2014-15 with a stress fracture, and I returned to running stronger than ever before, so I’m holding out hope that I can do that again.
Next year, I plan on running after all the goals I missed this year. I don’t believe that just because this year didn’t work out for me that those goals are out of reach. I just made a number of mistakes and I’m learning from them.
Here’s to a better, healthier and faster 2017!