Last week I shared some of my running and fitness goals from last year (none of which I achieved) and my hopes for 2016 (we'll see in 12 months). This weekend I had two experiences that perfectly encapsulated both the missed goals and my upcoming hopes.
New Year's Eve was the Fairfax Four Miler, a night race around downtown Fairfax. Love the sweatshirt!
For the race I decided to wear my SportKilt: clergy tartan. Because why not:
I knew it was going to be a fun night before I even got out of the car. They'd given out glow sticks at packet pickup, but mine didn't have a connector to make it into a necklace. Fortunately I rummaged through the detritus in my car and found an old drinking straw:
MacGyver Runner! Let's do this!
As for the race itself, I wasn't particularly fast. I wasn't fast on an absolute scale, and I wasn't fast for me. But I felt great about this race. Before I got injured, I ran faster. But now post injury, I'm running smarter.
Since I've been back to running I've been working hard on run cadence. Many coaches and running experts encourage a faster cadence (close to 180 strides per minute) as a way to avoid overstriding, heel striking, and other form issues that can lead to injury. My cadence pre-injury wasn't great--in fact I'm guessing it contributed to my stress fracture--so I've been intentional about increasing it by about 10 strides per minute.
Here's a bit of a screen shot from my Garmin at Thursday night's race. See all that green? That means I was in an ideal cadence for much of the race--and I wasn't thinking about it. Yay!
I have no idea what the red is.
I wrote last week that my goal is to run races without checking my Garmin, instead running by feel. This was my first experience doing that and I really liked it. My goal was to run easy, which I did, but I was excited to see I maintained a consistent pace throughout. I often go out too fast and flame out midway through.
Part of the reason I took the race easy is because I wanted to have fresh legs for a mile time trial on my birthday. So Saturday morning (in 27 degree temperatures) I met a bunch of other intrepid ladies at a track in Springfield. We shared birthday treats, laughs, fleet miles, and some bleachers afterwards.
This was my first time running a mile time trial with other people around, and with all the excitement and energy I went out way too fast. Like, more than a minute per mile faster than I should. I paid for that in lap three, which is always the one where I want to cry and die.
I finished my mile about 12 seconds slower than a year ago, 26 slower than six months ago. That's better than I feared, though worse than I secretly hoped. But it's a snapshot in time--and it was fun to do it on my birthday.
Most importantly, my leg didn't hurt, at the race or during the mile.
Most MOST importantly, I experienced both the race and the mile surrounded by the most supportive, courageous, badass runner girls you can imagine.
I wish you the best in your own fitness goals--whatever they are.