2015 in review

Happy New Year!

2015 was a phenomenal year in running for me. I ran my first marathon, and scored some pretty big Pros along the way. I’ve become stronger, faster and more confident in my running, and I can see the evidence of that as I reflect on the past 365 days.

Best race experience in 2015: Even though the race itself wasn’t my favorite (and that is one heck of an understatement), I’m going to have to say the WDW Marathon. Other than having to be at the staging area at 4:00 AM and the whole running 26.2 miles thing, this was one of the best-run and best-executed events in which I have participated. The on-course entertainment was plentiful and the crowds were enthusiastic. I loved that there was a huge variety of fluids and fuels on the course, as well as bananas, ice cold towels, and plenty of people with encouraging signs and cheers. Shirts and medals were excellent quality and post-race refreshments were on point. RunDisney does it right.

Best run of 2015: This was probably a tie between the Cupcake Run and the Space Coast Half.

The Cupcake Run was amazing. It was the closest I’ve ever come to a sub-30 5K, and I felt absolutely on fire. There’s just something wonderful about being able to come to very close to a goal and feel fabulous.

Space Coast was a different kind of race. It was hard and grueling and brutal, but it showed me that I can dig deep and push beyond what I thought I could do. The sense of accomplishment was like nothing else.

Best new piece of gear: I didn’t really get much gear in 2015. Other than shoes, the only thing I did was change my red and black Garmin Forerunner 220 to a purple and white Garmin Forerunner 220.

I guess it’s one of those “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” moments.

Best medal of the year: It’s so hard to choose. There are so many great ones and they all have such meaning. The cutest is still probably the Puggerfly for the Virtual Pug Run, but my hardest earned were my Marathon and Space Coast Half medals.

Best piece of running advice received: “Learn to be ok with that run on that day in those conditions.” A lot can happen out on the asphalt. No matter how hard we train or how thoroughly we prepare, things come up and we have to accept that and be able to work through it. It’s very easy to get caught up in the what ifs, but it’s not productive and holds us back.

Total number of miles in 2015: 629.3. That’s 56 miles more than last year. I am pretty sure I can build on that going into 2016 – I won’t be running another marathon, but that also means I won’t be taking quite as much off.

Total number of races: Twenty-one!  I had one full marathon, two virtual runs, two half marathons, one 10 mile, one 15K, one 12K, two 10Ks, one 6K, nine 5Ks and one multi-day challenge. Do I hear 22 for next year?

Total number of shoes: I went a little overboard in this category. I’m going to say eight pairs. I started out in two pair of Mizuno Wave Inspires 10s, which I could not stand, but I was afraid to try anything else. The 11s were a very welcome improvement, and I went through three of those. I decided to branch out, and ended up with a Saucony Guide 8,  as well as a Brooks Adrenaline 15 GTS, as well as a Wave Inspire 12.

Worst running experience: This year, it was probably the Evergreen Pumpkin Run 10 Miler. I love this race, which makes that day even more disappointing, but it just wasn’t my day. From Mr PugRunner hurting his knee, to getting lost, to the heat and humidity to having to stop for a potty break, to the way my body was feeling. It was just all icky and miserable.

Race I probably wouldn’t run again: Maybe the Celebration 5K? Not because of anything wrong with the race itself, but just because it’s so hot and so hard to excel in those conditions.

It was fun as far as having a July race, but I can fill that slot with something else, too.

Race that surprised me: The Wolfson Children’s Challenge Ultra Relay. I was incredibly nervous about participating in a relay – worried about holding others back and how I would compare to everyone else, but honestly, it was so great. Knowing that we were all there as a team for a great cause was so much more important than my concerns, and I loved, not only running it, but cheering on my team members and the other runners.

Run experience you to which you are most looking forward in the New Year: Since I am all about new and great experiences, I have a few.

  • My first trail 5K. Everyone keeps telling me that trail races are so fun, and so it’s time I got over my fear of nature and gave it a shot.

  • My first runDisney challenge. While I have done Tour De Pain the last two years, as a multi-day, multi-mileage challenge, nothing quite compares to a runDisney event. I will be doing the Glass Slipper Challenge in February, with one of my local buddies, as well as with two of the incredible women I met at the marathon one year ago. The idea of a 10K followed by a half marathon is a little daunting, but we are going to have so much fun.

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  • The Publix Savannah Women’s Half. I was honored to be selected as an ambassador for this event and can’t wait to run this well-reviewed course in one of my favorite cities on April 2 (you can join me, and if you use the code RUNSWITHPUGS10, you can save $10 off the half marathon registration fee, especially before the price increase on 1/6).

The most important thing I took away from running this year: The community. Oh, the community.

These are just some of the people who make it all worth it. My husband, my son, and these beautiful, strong, supportive friends. I really don’t know what I would do without them.

Most inspirational runner: I can’t choose just one. I don’t know that I will ever be able to.

Of course, I have to share some goals for 2016. I did pretty well on my goals for last year, but I still have some work to do.

  • Get that 2:30 half marathon. I was thisclose in November, and with a little more work, I think I can do it.
  • Continue with my cross training. I have been very consistent with my body circuit classes (averaging about two a week) and the difference has been astounding. I love feeling stronger and seeing the results in my running.
  • Keep pushing for the sub 30 5K in a race situation. It’s been eluding me, but one of these days, I’m going to make it happen.
  • Do more stand up paddle boarding. I love it and need to spend more time out on the water.
  • Think about possibly, maybe, potentially considering a triathlon. It’s something I would love to say that I accomplished, but I still have a lot of apprehensions about it. We will see.
  • Add more races in other states to my list. For some reason, I decided it would be cool to run a race in every state. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do it (I mean, when are we really ever going to go to North Dakota?), but it would be a neat thing to have swirling around in the background. So far, I have raced in Florida, Virginia, and the Bahamas, and I’m hoping to add Georgia in a few months. We will see how it goes.

Today, I’m linking up with Jill at JillConyers.com to share this post! Come on over to read other great fitness-related stories and share your own!

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What made 2015 special for you? Go ahead and link to your own annual recap, share some of your highlights from the year, or post some of your upcoming goals in the comments. I’d love to cheer you on!

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30 Responses to 2015 in review

  1. What a great year of running, Jen! I’m was disappointed to read that the marathon wasn’t your favorite (it is Disney after all!), but then you said that you’re running the Glass Slipper Challenge and that brought a smile to my face. Hopefully you’ll have a better runDisney experience during Princess weekend.
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…January 2016 Monthly GoalsMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      The event itself was great…. It’s just that whole marathon thing that was the problem. 🙂 I do like runDisney and all that goes with them, but marathons are hard!

      You’ve had a great year, yourself! So many new thing son the horizon for you and your family! Have a great 2016!

  2. It’s been fun following you and getting to know you through your blog! You did a lot this year. I hope you’ll reconsider the marathon distance. Those Disney races, IMHO are kind of a cluster…I bet if you ran a different kind of marathon you’d have a better experience! My first marathon scared me off for a couple of years, so I get it…

    Happy New Year!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…2016: Goals, Resolutions, and Intentions #AMRresolutionsMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      To be honest, I kind of need the “cluster” to get through. The entertainment and the people and the stuff gives me a false sense of security. We have tons of local marathons, but I am just not at a point where a “flat, fast out and back” attracts me. I didn’t love the training, nor did I enjoy the anxiety I felt leading up the big day. Maybe when little man is older it will be something I try again. I do love 10Ks and half and everything in between, but for me, the full is just not quite as awesome. I really wanted to love it, but it wasn’t to be. 🙁

  3. Coco says:

    Wow, you did a LOT of races. And so many cool medals! I had to deal with an un-fun race too – it is an important lesson to learn that we can’t control everything and have to do the best we can.
    Coco recently posted…Favorite Fitness Finds Of 2015My Profile

  4. I’ve loved getting to know you this year and watching your progress. What a great year of running for you! Happy New Year
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t WorkMy Profile

  5. I’m right there with you on the sub-30 5K, though you’re probably a bit closer than I am. My PR is 33 minutes, so I’ve gotta shave 3 minutes off of that. I’m hoping within the next 2 years I’ll be able to get to sub-30. Fingers crossed! 🙂
    Chrissy @ Snacking in Sneakers recently posted…Monthly Meal Plan for January!My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I am so close. My PR is 30:24. I’ve done it in training, but nothing officially recorded. If it helps, I was hovering around 33:00 in 2014. I changed my run/walk intervals, did a little more spadework, and now I range from 30:24-31 and change. You’ve got it!

  6. Happy Happy New Year! You had an amazing year! 21 races! All that bling! You’re a racing rock star!
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…Goals for 2016My Profile

  7. rundisney challenges are so much fun! my first half marathon was part of the dumbo double and i loved it. disney puts on a great race! can’t wait to read your recaps; i want to do princess next year 🙂
    brittney @ corral b recently posted…goals for 2016.My Profile

  8. What a year! Congrats on everything, and Happy New Year!!!
    Stacie Seidman recently posted…2015: A Look BackMy Profile

  9. Bri says:

    You certainly had an epic year of running, well done! All those races look like such a blast 🙂
    Bri recently posted…My one word for 2016My Profile

  10. You had a pretty incredible year if you ask me!! I have never done a RunDisney race, I definitely need to put that on my bucket list!! I’ve really enjoyed following you over the last year, and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2016! Happy New Year!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…My Year of Running 2015My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      It’s been fun! A great combination of enjoyment and hard work. It’s definitely worth trying out a runDisney event – they’re not for everyone, just because of the price, the size and the hoopla, but I have found them to be a great experience. Happy New Year!

  11. jill conyers says:

    You had an awesome running year! I’m looking forward to seeing what you accomplish in 2016.

    I’m hosting a new Friday link up, Fitness Health & Happiness, and would love to have you share your post. I’m going to be really embarrassed if you already did 🙂

    Happy new year Jenn!
    jill conyers recently posted…Fitness Health & HappinessMy Profile

  12. Sharita says:

    What an awesome 2015! I have long had Disney on my list of races to try out and your rave review is pushing me over the top! Also love the shoes pic! I need to step my collection up so I don’t wear my poor shoes down to nothing!

    Have a great 2016!
    Sharita recently posted…How Will You #GetFitLikeThat in 2016?My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Disney puts on a pretty great event. I prefer lots of bells & whistles in my races, so there is plenty of that in the Magic Kingdom. The price is unreasonably high, but I guess you can’t put a limit on pixie dust 🙂

      I have really enjoyed finding new shoes, and I can definitely feel a difference in my running. I recommend at least one pair in a rotation, but two is better 🙂

  13. You had a fantastic year and lots of great plans for next year, way to go! My goal for next year is to LIFT – lift weights, lift other etc. Have a healthy and safe 2016!
    Janice @ Fitness Cheerleader recently posted…My One Word for 2016 (aka Why I’m Not Setting Any Goals)My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      You get ’em! Lifting is awesome! We don’t have any gyms close to me, so heavy lifting isn’t really in my cards until that changes.

      You are going to have a great 2016!

  14. What a heck of a year, congratulations Jenn!
    Anne@candycrazedrun recently posted…It’s Been a WhileMy Profile

  15. You have had a killer year. So freaking happy for you.
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted…2016 goalsMy Profile

  16. Matilda says:

    Gez you have some kick-ass medals.

    21 races, that is seriously impressive.

    And a girl can never have too many shoes.
    Matilda recently posted…CliffhangerMy Profile

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