Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Better than Expected: 2015 Year In Review

How is it almost the end of the year already?  This year absolutely FLEW by.  To be honest I'm happy to see the end of this year.  It wasn't awesome, but it wasn't horrible either - It was just kinda "meh".  It wasn't a HECK YEAH kind of year like some of my previous years (2013 in particular) I did get to race a fair bit this year but I never raced at 100%.  There was always some kind of niggle or pain somewhere in my body.  My knees, my hips, my back.  I didn't have many races where I felt really amazing.  I fixed my knee problems only to have some sciatic and SI joint issues crop up.  Those plagued me for the first half of the season.  By August I started to feel better and when I raced Toronto Island, I think that was when I felt as close to 100% as possible.  Ironically, I led that race from start to finish.

I had 3 goals at the start of this season:

1) Break 20 minutes for a 5km.  Didn't happen.  Changing my gait resulted in other weird issues with my SI joint and speedwork became very uncomfortable for me.  So I didn't do it.  I matched my 5km P.R at the Frosty 5km this year and that was without much in the way of any speedwork.  I'm chalking that up to my new running gait.  I was actually using my glutes so I had more power.  It ended up resulting in other issues with my sciatic nerve so speed work fell to the wayside.

2)  Race another 70.3:  G and I made a last minute decision to race Eagleman in June.  We signed up 9 weeks out.  My longest run at that point was 10km so it gave me push to start building my run mileage up.  It was the hardest race I've ever done.  It was so disgustingly hot, it was all about survival.  It was also my first non wetsuit swim, which I made through without freaking out.  I ended up 11th in my AG which I was pleased with given my ad hoc training plan. 

3) Take the 40-44 year old AG title in the Recharge With Milk Series for the 3rd Year in a row:  Nailed it.  I had some tough competition this year with some of the speedier girls that aged up.  My bike became the stronger leg for me vs. my run which was a nice thing to see.  Next year I'm in a brand new AG so I'll have new ladies to chase! 

I ended up doing 11 races this year which is way more than I expected to do.  And given my injury issues, I did quite well so I honestly can't complain about my results.

The somewhat dissatisfying part of this year was that I never really felt "on".  There was almost always something that felt off or not right.  Perhaps not having a coach was also part of the problem.  Normally I'm fairly confident in my abilities but this year every race I went into I took a "we'll see" approach.  That feeling really starts to wear on you after a while and you begin to doubt your abilities.  Taking the time off running after Scotia was exactly what I needed.  In retrospect I probably should have taken more time off and used that time to fix my bike fits.  I do think that has been a major contributor to my knee issues.  I was actually feeling pretty good after Scotia but once I got inside and started riding on the trainer, my knee issues resurfaced.  I've since had a very comprehensive bike fit on my road bike and will do the same on my tri bike in February.  Thankfully my knees no longer hurt off the bike.  A positive that I'm hanging on to right now!

While my running may have taken a bit of a back seat this year, my cycling did not as evidenced by my miles logged on Strava.  I've ridden almost 4700km this year and run only 975km.   I joined Morning  Glory cycling club and worked hard at becoming a better cyclist.  I still have a ways to go but can honestly say I've improved in leaps and bounds compared to last year.  And not just speed wise, but skill and confidence wise as well.  I'm looking forward to another year of chasing those fast guys around High Park.

Got the Yellow Jersey award on my first ride with MGCC

This year was definitely more low key than 2014 (i.e no big crazy trip), but we still did a bit of traveling.  We went to the Dominican in February, Maryland in June, Newfoundland in August and Mont Tremblant in September.  We were out in Newfoundland for a wedding and it was amazing.  Neither G nor I had ever been out to Newfoundland so that was a nice little adventure.

Cape Spear, Newfoundland
Cape Spear, Newfoundland

Whale watching in NFLD

Riding in Mont Tremblant
The best part of this year has to be the growth of my coaching business.   I got my NCCP Triathlon coaching certification in January and I coached my first triathlon client to an AG win in her first 70.3 and then on to the 70.3 world championships.  I had a full roster of runners all year long, many of whom will be continuing with me in 2016 along with some new folks.  I can't wait to see what my crew of athletes can do in 2016.   I am honoured and thankful that people have come to me to help them achieve their goals.

As for my 2016, well, that remains to be seen.  Once again I'm in rehab mode so who knows.  Yes, I have races I've registered for and yes, I have goals but I will leave all of that for another post.

I would be remiss if I didn't give a huge thank you to people that have helped me get through this year and have given me some pretty awesome opportunities.

My rehab crew:  Dr. Kris Sheppard at the Runner's Academy for showing me how to run.  My chiropractor Dr. Peter Lejkowski for making things right, even though it wasn't always pleasant.  My pal and RMT, David Lamy for keeping me limber.

Michelle Clarke and Barb Mitchell (a.k.a The Mizuno Fairy) for giving me the opportunity to be a Run Bird and to do my first ever video.   Being a Run Bird was one of the highlights of my year.  Hanging out with great women and supporting other women in their achievements = so much amazing.

The Mizuno Run Birds at the Toronto Women's 8km

Burnbrae Farms for sponsoring me into two races this year.  One of which I actually won some prize money at!  

My friends and co-workers at Westside.  I work with a fantastic crew of people who are always so supportive of everything I do outside of the studio and for that I am eternally grateful.

A massive thanks to all of YOU who read along and follow me on social media.  I have met so many awesome people because of blogging and social media.  Following your stories is inspiring and encouraging.

And of course, my amazing husband Gary (a.k.a "G").  I have no words to express how lucky I am to have someone so supportive and encouraging.  Someone who believes in me more than I believe in myself.  He is my voice of reason and my rock.  Love you to the moon and back.

That's a wrap for 2015.  Bring on 2016!

How was your year?  Any big plans for 2016?

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