New years is one of my favorite times of the year — it’s in my top 3! — in no small part because it makes me purposefully take stock of what has happened in my life. Obviously, I can (and should) do this all year round, but I think there’s sometimes some sort of calendar magic that comes with some year-end reflection.
All told, I got super lucky with my running in 2015. Going into this year, I was coming hot off the highest mileage I had ever posted in a calendar year — something just shy of 2,620 (easy to remember). I thought that maybe I’d be able to top that this year as I went after a 26.2 PR and my first 50 miler, but right after I ran the 50k in December, I learned I was pregnant, so I quickly put those big mileage and PR plans on hold. Concurrent with the pregnancy announcement were some shitty first trimester annoyances like incessant dizziness, mind-splitting headaches, and the desire to lie horizontally in a cold, dark room, void of any life, with my eyes closed — annoyances that aren’t super conducive to being human, generally speaking, much less to running. Needless to say, though the year began pretty rough in terms of running (and who am I kidding, in terms of feeling like myself), fortunately those shitty annoyances passed, and it seemed like the more pregnant I got, more often than not, the more comfortable running felt. So weird how that worked out.
Suffice it to say that 2015 wasn’t the year for chasing mileage or race PRs; instead, more than anything, it was about running because I wanted to, because I felt like it, and because I enjoyed how it made me feel (pregnant or postpartum). I’ve been doing this stuff long enough now that I don’t expect to PR year after year; it’s just not realistic. Honestly, sometimes running just for the sake of running is pretty damn awesome. 2015 reminded me of that repeatedly.
For the curious ones out there, here’s how each month’s mileage fared. In a few of these months, the mileage includes a few walking miles, but by and large, these numbers are all running. Right, now we’re sitting at over 1,100 for the year. The shakeout:
August: 36.20 – had the baby early in the month
September: 50.76 – had surgery about a month postpartum
October: 123.02 – yet another surgery about a month after the first
I was also lucky to be able to run throughout my pregnancy, virtually up until the day I delivered, and I consider myself stupidly fortunate to have been able to resume running as quickly as I have postpartum. Pregnancy is such a game-changer, and the same goes for postpartum; in fact, NPR even recently wrote a story on how childbirth can be considered a type of “extreme” sport and even likened it to marathon running (of course). You really have no idea what it’s (pregnancy and birth, specifically) going to be like, so you also have no idea of how you’re going to feel in the days, weeks, or months (years?) afterward. That said, I am so happy that my postpartum running has been coming along as smoothly as it has and that my body handled an intervention-less labor and delivery as well as it did.
Throughout the pregnancy, I pregnant-raced in a handful of comped races, thanks to various social media ambassador hats I was wearing, and I enjoyed all of them, especially the races where Big Sis participated. The races included the Race to the Row 408k here in San Jose; the she.is.beautiful baby mama stroller 5k, wherein I pushed A and we won the stroller division; the AAUW Wildflower 5k stroller run again with A, wherein she actually got out and ran parts of the race herself (her first time doing that!); the San Luis Obispo half marathon; the ZOOMA Napa Valley half marathon; the SF marathon’s 5k; and postpartum, the Let’s Go 510 10k up in Berkeley; the Mermaid Series’ Sirena 10 miler in SF; and the Berkeley Half Marathon.
When it comes to this year’s running lowlights, only one thing comes to mind – virtually the entire month of January. The aforementioned first trimester stuff knocked me on my ass for a lot of that month, and even thinking about running was dreadful. I was so relieved when that shitty stage passed! All the races I did pregnant or postpartum were for fun, so it’s hard to say that any of them had any low moments. I’m mildly disappointed that ZOOMA won’t be returning to Napa next year, since I kinda vowed to dominate that race next year after blowing up on it in 2014 and running it pregnant this year (and obviously not racing it), but c’est la vie. Out of my control. I’ll find another race to dominate. 🙂
Really, I think I can say every race I ran this year gave me something to be happy about, some sort of highlight, if you will. Since I didn’t race race anything this year, I genuinely enjoyed myself at each race and walked away from each experience with something that made me happy. I generally don’t purchase races and decide to just run for fun because that can get expensive quickly, but this year, I feel like pregnant-racing gave me tons of opportunities to still be in the thick of the running community, even though I had taken a step back from the racing one (if that makes any sense). It just feels good to be part of something bigger, I guess. The pics from the races in each linked RR speak for themselves; I’m generally just happy to be out there in the first place.
Without a doubt, 2015 has been excellent, and I’m looking forward to 2016. Though I have big goals and plans in mind, I’m also very patient with this process and know that it took me a lot of time to get to where I was pre-pregnancy; with that in mind, I don’t expect to be back where I was anytime soon. At the risk of sounding like a shitty new ager, I don’t believe in comebacks, in a linear process of advancement; I guess you could say that I believe in something more recursive, in a non-linear journey wherein each “bump” or “setback” is just part of the process: an “opportunity,” if you will. It’s how I write, so I guess it makes sense that it’s also how I run.