2014 Recap: What’s next?

Hello, friends. Now that I’ve had a bit of time to let my mind settle down I thought I’d do a little 2014 Year In Review. It’s been almost a month since the marathon and things are pretty much back to normal for me. My body has recovered well and I’m hitting reasonable mileage for what I’m calling the “Off Season”. I’ve had a chance to sit down with Coach Rick and discuss some options for 2015 and what we want to accomplish. So, what happened this year? What was different? What did I learn? Here we go…

The Numbers
I guess what a lot of people are interested in is numbers. Here are mine for this year. New Personal Bests are:

Debut 5k: 18:47 (Eaton’s Downtown Dash)
Debut 8k: 34:13 (Robbie Burns 8k)
10k: 37:59 (Toronto Yonge Street 10k)
Half Marathon: 1:26:31 (Harvest Half)
30k: 2:12:04 (Around The Bay)
Marathon: 3:03:12 (Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon)

There’s no way I can be disappointed with anything this year. Every distance I set out to do I was able to set a personal best and run with a good effort. With that in mind, there are still improvements to be made here and there. This gives me something to shoot for in 2015.

Racing in 2014

Racing in 2014

Recovery
Right after the marathon I wanted to rest. I spent months working hard to get in the kind of shape to throw down a three hour marathon which incidentally was also the best physical shape I’ve ever been in! Right after the marathon I had a couple of treat meals over the next week. Pizza, chocolate cake, fish n’ chips, a big burger… all of the things that I’d normally avoid for the most part during a build. Call it a reverse detox. I think it’s important to treat ones self after achieving a big goal. It makes you appreciate the work put in a little more and helps you relax. You worked hard! Enjoy it. (Talking to myself)

This is the creativity of JP Bedard and Steve Layton, folks...

This is the creativity of JP Bedard and Steve Layton, folks…


As for running, I took a solid week off running completely post-marathon. I think I took about two or three days off physical activity completely which was a little strange but let my mind rest too. I came out of this race with no major injuries. (Bonus!) I went for a massage and chiro appointment the day after the race and that helped wonders. My RMT and Chiropractor had even offered to give me a free hour each if I qualified for Boston! That was extra nice of them. Thanks Ashley and Val at the GoodLife in St. Catherines! 🙂

Once my legs were feeling at least good enough to walk on, I did some light spinning, walking and hiking to substitute for running. It was a nice break from the relentless miles of the summer. After about a week I started easy running. No more than 5-7km for the first few days until I was sure my legs were working the way they were supposed to. Now my legs feel like they’re back to normal. Springy and energetic again, I’m running around 70km/week just as I feel with no structured workouts. I read an article by Pace & Mind Coach Rejean Chiasson about race recovery and found it very helpful. You can check it out here

Lessons
So, what was different about 2014? It was my strongest performing year in running. How’d that happen?! I think I can credit that to being consistent. I remember reading a quote in a magazine from Rob Watson. I don’t have the exact quote but I remember he said that no one workout or trick will get you where you want to be. Your success is the culmination of a number of workouts, experiences and dedicated hours that you’ve put together over months if not years! I could really begin to notice after Around The Bay this year that I started feeling stronger with my runnning. Again, more experience and time on the legs helped attribute to this. As a flight instructor I used to tell students who were finding exercises challenging that no one is perfect right from the word go. This is the same for running. Everything in fact. You’ll get better; but you have to give it some time. In that time there needs to be patience, consistency, and the right attitude. Give your best effort and you’ll find that you are powerful beyond what you ever imagined. This is my new mantra moving forward for more than just running: Patience, Consistency, Power.

New mantra

New mantra

What’s next?
About a week and a half after the marathon, I met Coach Rick to talk about what’s next. Originally going forward I had thought about sticking to shorter distances for a while, focusing on the 5k and half-marathon more. After discussing this with Rick, he thought that I’d probably be able to still reach the goals I was looking for while still maintaining more mileage. I’ve been feeling a lot better than expected post-marathon so I think it’s safe to go for higher mileage again this spring. I orginally wnated to stick to shorter races thinking I’d be tired or sick of high mileage. To be honest, I miss it! I doubt I’ll be running a spring marathon but we’ve decided that Around The Bay would be a good race to key in on. I had a good time running ATB this past year and am super excited to be teaming up with my good buddy Mike Bentley again for it this year. Mike and I have talked a little about the race and possibly going for a sub 2 hour race. That may be a little ambitious at the moment but something to shoot for none the less. After that, Rick and I will likely plan for another fall marathon. That’s not set in stone but that’s what we’ve talked about. Toronto? Chicago? Berlin? I’m happy to take suggestions!

Right now this is what the winter race season looks like:
Boxing Day 10-Miler (Hamilton)
Robbie Burns 8k (Burlington)
Chilly Half-Marathon (Burlington)
Around The Bay (Hamilton)

I’ll start up on a training plan with Rick again at the beginning of December. Until then, I’m enjoying running fairly leisurely and working on strength training at the gym! I’m starting to get the itch to race again… I can’t help it.

How’s everyone else’s recovery from fall races going? Hope you’re feeling good. Drop me a line and let me know!

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