Friday, January 3, 2014

2013, An Epic Year of Crushing Goals

Wow, another year done and what a year it was.  When I started 2013 I had 4 goals in mind that I wanted to accomplish.  Run everyday to keep my running streak going, finish my first 100 mile race, set my half marathon PR and qualify for the Boston Marathon.  In order to qualify for Boston I knew I was going to have to have a monster year.  My current PR for the marathon before the year started was 3:39 and in order for me to qualify for Boston it would take a time of 3:15 which would mean taking off 24 minutes off my marathon PR.  I know, an agressive goal but I was up for the challenge.

Starting off the year I ran the Planet Adventure Winter Night Trail Marathon in January.  It is a trail run done at night with only a headlamp to light the way.  I saw it as a good training run for my 100 mile ultra marathon coming up in April.  The course had snow so I figured it would be a good challenge.  I ran a good race and had a pretty good time running it in 4:28 (see blog post here).

My first goal was fast approaching.  My first 100 mile ultra marathon at the Indiana Trail 100.  I felt I had put in a good 20 weeks of training for it with double run days, back to back long runs but there are only so many things you can prepare for.  A couple days before the race I'm feeling great but the course got 4 inches of rain dumped on it a couple days before and the course was flooded.  Waist high water crossings.  Not only that the temps decided to take a nose dive and were in the 20's.  My approach was to take the hand that was dealt to me and deal with it.  I hadn't trained all this time to quit.  So I never quit and finished my 100 mile ultra in some of the worst course conditions I could have ever imagined.  From that point forward I would use me finishing that race as fuel to myself that if I can finish that race in those conditions I can do anything I set my mind to do.  Just suck it up and do it!!  You can see the blog post on this race here.  GOAL #1 COMPLETE!!

The very next weekend after my 100 mile ultra I signed up to do a 10 mile trail race.  Yes, the following weekend after the 100 I was doing another race.  Well, lets just say I did better than I could have ever imagined and took first place in my age group.  You can see the blog post on this race here.

2 weeks after the 100 and only 1 week after my 10 mile trail race I ran the One America 500 Festival Half Marathon.  I really wasn't expecting much from this race.  Still sore from the last couple weeks but I had signed up for.  I have never DNS or DNF a race and I didn't intend to now either.  The race adrenaline kicked in at that race and just missed a Half Marathon PR by 15 second running a 1:33:45.  You can see the blog post on this race here.

I ran a few smaller races and a couple ultra's until leading up to my next goal race.  The Chicago Half Marathon.  My goal in this race was to break my PR.  The conditions for this race were a lot hotter than I had expected but I was going to go out hard like I had planned and just see what ended up happening.  1 hour and 33 minutes later I had a new PR!!  Another awesome thing in this race was I got to meet a lot of local running bloggers from the Chicago area. You can see the blog post on this race here.  GOAL #2 COMPLETE!!

My next focus race was the Mill Race Marathon in Columbus, IN.  It was the first year for this race.  It didn't go as well as I had hoped but I still took 11 minutes off my marathon PR and ran a 3:28.  Still not a BQ but I had a few marathons left to accomplish my goal for the year.  After this race because of the lack of fuel at the aid stations I decided to take a different approach as to how I fuel in a race.  I really feel this race work me up and helped me finally figure out the marathon and how to crush it!!    You can see the blog post on this race here.

I was looking for a race in October because I didn't have one and wanted a tune up race leading up to the Monumental Marathon which would be my focal race and where I tried to qualify for Boston at.  I found 2 marathons in October.  They were back to back on a Saturday and a Sunday.  I really couldn't decide which one to do so I decided to do them both.  Doing a back to back marathon was on my bucket list to do one day, I just hadn't included it in my 2013 goals.  On Saturday I would be running the Indianapolis Marathon and then on Sunday I would run the Columbus Marathon.  What would happen that weekend would change my running forever.  I had been training hard and had noticed my times coming down considerably over the last couple months.  My goal for the weekend was to finish both marathons and focus on my upcoming marathon and where I would attempt to qualify for Boston at.  The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  The first day at the Indianapolis Marathon it was rainy and cold but my goal was to finish, injury free so I could finish my marathon again tomorrow.  I felt good the whole race and get way into the race not feeling tired.  I cross the line in 3 hours and 14 minutes which gets me my Boston Qualifying time.  Did that just happen?  It did!!  GOAL #3 COMPLETE!!  I was on cloud nine still wondering if that just happened.  I was in lala land all day during my marathon in Columbus the next day and I think that helped me to take some focus off the Columbus Marathon allowing me to complete it in 3:32 with my 3rd fastest marathon time.  Back to back days and I run a BQ and another fast marathon.  You can see blog post of these marathons here.

Moving on to what was to be my focus Boston Qualifying race at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon I approached it with the feeling I have nothing to loose.  I already got my BQ so I would start out hard and see how long I could hold on.  It worked as I once again qualified for Boston with a 3:09 and took another 5 minutes off my PR and 6 minutes under my BQ time.  Not only that but I was able to take 40 minutes off my race time from this exact same race last year. How did that happen?  You can see the blog post of this here.

Final race of the year was the Huff 50k.  The previous year I ran it in 5:33.  With the great improvement I had made leading up to this race I had a goal to crush that time and was hoping to run it in under 5 hours.  I felt good and strong for the race and not only did I beat and crush my 50k PR, I destroyed it finishing in 4:34 and taking off 59 minutes from last years race.  What a way to end the year!!  You can see the blog post of this race here.

My final goal was to run every day and keep my running streak alive.  I accomplished that goal. Not only that Runners World actually did a story on me about my running streak and how I got started as part of the Runners World Holiday Challenge back in November 2011.  That was an amazing experience being in Runners World.  My current running streak is now at 773 days of running at least 1 mile outside every day.  You can see the article from Runners World here.

To sum up 2013:

Miles run were 2607.15 miles (50mile/week average).  A record year by 581 miles.
Finished my first 100 mile ultra marathon
2 BQ's with 3:14 and a 3:09 marathon's within 2 weeks of each other with new marathon PR's.
Took 40 minutes off my marathon time from the previous year.
Set my half marathon PR of 1:33.
Set my 50k PR with a 4:34 taking 59 minutes off my previous 50k PR.
Featured in an article in Runners World.
Maintained my running streak that started on November 23, 2011 and is currently 773 days.
My Facebook page Run Nerds Rock grew from 200 followers at the beginning of the year to now over 8700.

2014 Goals:

Set my 1/2 marathon PR and run a sub 1:30 1/2 marathon at the One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon and place in the top 500 on May 3, 2014.

Finish my 2nd 100 mile ultra marathon on May 24/25 at the Nanny Goat 100 in Riverside, CA.

Set my marathon PR and run a sub 3 hour marathon at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 1, 2014.

Stay healthy and continue my current running streak for the year.

Mrs. Run Nerd also had an epic year setting a new PR in a 5k, running her first ultra marathon and finishing 2 more marathons for a total of 3 marathons/ultra's in 90 days which enabled her to qualify to become a Marathon Maniac.  She also has some great goals for 2014 with one of them running in the Nanny Goat 12 hour to see how many miles she can do in 12 hours.

I couldn't do what I do without the support from my amazing wife Melissa and my family.  She is so  supportive and is always there for me.  Thanks for all your support everyone.  Looking forward to a fun time in 2014!!