Yearly Wrap-Up: 2017

2017. It was a very complicated year. A DNF at the New York City Marathon is going to cast a pretty big shadow over the rest of the year.

I’m not sure where to begin. Well, I guess I can start with my goals.

Goal 1: 1500 miles

I ran 1,645.48 miles. Wow. In my defense, when I set that goal of 1500 miles, I didn’t know if I’d be training for a full marathon in the fall. So I really crushed that goal, and set a new record for most miles run in a single year.

Goal 2: 6 races, with 2 that are 13.1 or greater

Yes, but I did it the hard way.

Here’s the full list, in chronological order, and including the one race where I made it to the starting line, but not the finish.

With my DNF in New York City, I had to scramble and I added the Huntersville Half Marathon for my 6th race and 2nd of 13.1 or greater.

Goal 3: A PR in 3 different races

Nope. I got PRs at the Joe Davis 10K and the Tobacco Road Half, and that’s it. Hey, I got to change my header picture twice, so there’s that.

I had some soft goals, too, but most of them didn’t really work out too well. Here’s what I wrote on January 6:

I really want to add some other exercise. Maybe it will be bicycle (maybe stationary, or maybe I’ll finally buy an actual bicycle). I might try yoga, but I want to do it for exercise. I’m not interested in becoming one with the universe. Maybe I’ll take some swimming lessons? (I can get around a pool without drowning, I just can’t effectively swim from one end to the other.) Or maybe I’ll just get on an elliptical once a week. We’ll see.

I want to eat better and not drink Mountain Dew all the time. I’d really like to start cooking more than just pasta.

I really want to focus on slower easy runs, and faster workout runs. I think I have a tendency to not let my easy runs be truly easy, and it’s not helping me.

Finally, I really want to work more on this blog. I need to set up a proper page for all my race reports. I’d like to do a series of posts, probably one per week, on the basics of running, to hopefully help out any newbies out there get started. I’ve also considered writing one post each week that isn’t necessarily running related, just whatever happens to be on my mind. I also need to do a much better job of promoting this blog. That’s not easy for me, but sometimes I just need to put myself out there, even when I don’t want to.

Foam rolling kinda sorta counts as other exercise. Don’t get me wrong, it’s made a huge difference, I’m just not sure that it’s what I had in mind when I said I wanted other exercise. I did get in some bodyweight exercises from time to time, but I never found consistency.

Eat better, don’t drink Mountain Dew, and cook more than just pasta were pretty much all failures.

Slower easy runs and faster workout runs? Nailed it.

Finally, work more on the blog? Well, I’m writing my 2017 Wrap-Up on March 19. That’s pretty much all you need to know about how well I did working on the blog.

Weight Check: I mentioned this in my Weekly Wrap-Up on December 31, but I started the year at 166.6 pounds, and ended at 166.3 pounds, for a loss of 0.3. Shrug. I know I dropped lower over the course of the year, but November and December are tough months.


There were some actual highlights from this year.

I kicked off the year with a PR at the Joe Davis 10K (after having a race postponed for the first time ever) on January 14.

I redeemed myself at the Tobacco Road Half Marathon on March 19 with a PR and an intact left ankle at the finish.

I hit the 5,000 mile mark for my running career on March 25.

On July 1, I ran in Connecticut for the first time. State #7 that I’ve run in. In chronological order: North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Oregon, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut. (Also, on a non-running related note, I was in Connecticut for a family reunion, and I had a really great time.)

The Trophy Trot 10K on November 23 was an absolutely insane course, and I only missed a PR by 14 seconds, so it was frustrating, but I still ran really well considering everything.


The course was short for the Teal Diva 5K on May 13. It’s very likely the fastest 3 miles I’ve ever run, but it’s not a 5K PR.

On June 17, I discovered that my allegedly waterproof armband was not sweat proof, and I fried my phone. I was able to replace it, but man, that sucked.

Summer in general just really, really, really sucked. And it seemed like it went on forever, with really hot conditions in September and even October.

I ended my year with a run that was supposed to be 12 miles, but because a cold sapped all of my energy, I was only able to get to 4.17 miles. Sadly, I think that was the most fitting way for me to end 2017.

And then there was the New York City Marathon.

In my 2016 wrap-up, I went through some highlights, some lowlights, and then wrote that same sentence, but this year, I’m saying it for a very different reason. For the first time, I didn’t finish a race. And it wasn’t just any race, it was one of the biggest races in the world, in the city where I was born, and it was the culmination of 4 months worth of training. But for some reason, my stomach decided to give me problems that day.

I was going to write that there’s nothing I can say about the race now that I haven’t before, but there is one thing that I don’t think I’ve said. I still have my medal from the 2016 New York City Marathon, and they can’t take that away from me.

New York City may have been (for better or worse) the biggest event of 2017 for me, but I don’t want to end on that. Instead, I’ll mention the other big development in my running: I hired a coach.

She’s been really good, not only providing advice, but encouragement. I don’t need a drill sergeant calling me a maggot and far worse things to motivate me to run. (I’ve got plenty of inner thoughts saying things like that.) No, I need encouragement, and my coach has provided it. I mentioned earlier the whole slow easy runs/fast workouts thing, and I really got better at that this year, thanks in large part to my coach. I got better at running because of her training plan. She put me in a position where it was possible for me to break 5 hours at New York City (if it hadn’t been for my stupid stomach, which certainly wasn’t her fault), and I can’t really ask for more than that.

The year may have not gone the way I hoped, but I can honestly say that I ended the year as a fundamentally better runner than I was at the beginning of the year, and that’s something. (And they still can’t take away my 2016 New York City Marathon medal.)

Weekly Wrap-Up: March 12-18

Some days, like Wednesday, I’m out there running, nothing is going right, and I find myself thinking, “Why the hell do I put myself through this?”

Some days, like Saturday, I’m out there running, and I think, “Oh yeah, that’s why.”

Weight Check: 169.8 pounds, down 1.8 pounds from last week. Finally, I’m back down under 170. I was on call this week, which normally means a lot of Mountain Dew, but switching some of those to low calorie sodas seemed to help.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 4 miles easy 4.01
Wednesday 5 miles easy 5.01
Friday 3 miles easy 3.11
Saturday 5 miles easy 5.02

Total: 17.15 miles

Monday was not a good start to the week. I avoided the rain, although there was some mist, but it was pretty crummy weather. My run wasn’t much better. My legs were still tired from Saturday, and I just couldn’t get going. Also, running in the dark sucks. Stupid time change.

Somehow, Wednesday was even worse. It was cool, but much drier than Monday. My legs weren’t tired or sore, but they just did not want to move at all. I couldn’t even speed up at the end like I normally do. I had no idea what was going on, but it was really frustrating.

Friday was a slight improvement. The weather was really nice, 51 and partly cloudy, and because I was working from home and only running 3.1 miles, I was able to wait until it was light out. My legs felt OK. I tried to take it easy with a 5 miler scheduled for Saturday. I did stop around at around 1.3 miles to tie my shoe, but otherwise, there were no stops or walk breaks. I still wasn’t quite as fast as I’d like, but it wasn’t a terrible run.

I went out Saturday expecting it to be terrible. The 2nd day of all of my recent back-to-back runs were bad. And I was on call for work, so I knew my run could be interrupted at any minute.

And, well, it was much better than I expected.

I did get a little bit of rain, starting around 2.4 miles, then off and on the rest of the way, but it wasn’t too terrible. The temperature was fine, around 47. My legs felt surprisingly OK, even with Friday’s run. I did slow down a little bit during the second half of the run, but it wasn’t too bad, and I did recover at the very end. Also, I didn’t get paged during my run. (Or after. I got really lucky this weekend.) It was nice to be out there with a smile on my face for a change. Like I said at the top, runs like this remind me of why I do this to myself.

This week, I’m going to try to add in strides and see how my legs handle it. (Before Saturday, I would have had very a different opinion.) I’ve also got a 6 miler scheduled for next Saturday, so that should be interesting. And maybe I’ll finally finish my wrap-up for 2017.

Weekly Wrap-Up: March 5-11

I hate losing an hour. I’ll hate it even more when I have to run in the dark this week.

Also, my body still doesn’t want to run two days in a row.

Weight Check: 171.6 pounds, down 0.5 from last week. I was hoping for a bigger loss, but that beats the alternative. I haven’t completely switched over to low calorie soda, and there were a few times when I had full calorie Mountain Dew. I know this week will be difficult, with both the time change and stress from being on call, but hopefully I can manage it with one of the low calorie alternatives.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 4 miles easy 4.01
Wednesday 4 miles easy 4.01
Friday 3 miles easy 3.11
Saturday 5 miles easy 5.01

Total: 16.14 miles

Monday was cold, but unlike the previous few days, there was no wind. My legs still felt kind of tired. I added in a few hills, and 4 miles was my longest run since early January, but I managed to slowly increase my pace throughout the run. I took walk breaks at 0.9, 1.9 and 2.9 miles. I still finished with an average pace that was faster than all my previous runs except the previous Friday, so even though I’m not quite back to where I want to be, I do feel like I’m improving.

On Wednesday, the weather didn’t feel too terrible, even with 100% humidity. I went out too fast, and suffered a bit in the middle miles as a result, but I did recover a little bit on the last mile. While I know that going out too fast on the first mile is almost always a bad idea, this is the first run in a long time where I was physically capable of going out too fast, so in a strange way, that’s progress. (I’ll still try not to go out too fast next time, though.)

Friday, I decided to hit the treadmill, not because I was afraid of going out too fast, but because I figured it would give my legs a break before Saturday’s 5 miler. I stayed at a 5.1 mph (11:46/mi) pace the entire time. My mind didn’t like it very much, but my legs felt fine.

On Saturday, the weather was really nice, upper 40s and partly cloudy. Even with the treadmill on Friday, my legs were still tired. It was pretty tough, and my longest run since before my surgery, but I got through it, and I did manage to speed up a little bit near the end.

So I’m still struggling with back-to-back days, which is disappointing, but hopefully I’ll get used to it again soon.

My 2017 wrap-up is almost done, so I should *fingers crossed* get it posted this coming week. Then I’ll just have to write up my 2018 goals, and monthly wrap-ups for January and February. Sigh.

Oh, and I have another week with Friday and Saturday runs, along with an extra mile mixed in. We’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Wrap-Up: February 26-March 4

I need to get everything set up for fundraising for the New York City Marathon. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t already have too many things to worry about. Whatever I have to go through to run in NYC, it’s worth it.

Lost in all the shuffle, I finally finished my Huntersville Half Marathon recap. What’s funny is that later in the week, I saw that it was the end of February, and I thought, “Hey, I should knock out my February monthly recap.” Then I went looking for my January recap, and realized that I had decided to wait until after I finished my 2017 recap to write it. The backlog never ends. I might finally get caught up by 2022.

No Calorie Soda Update: Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry is vile and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Pepsi Zero Sugar is fairly decent, and I wish Pepsi had based their cherry flavored no calorie soda on it instead of Diet Pepsi. Diet Mountain Dew is OK, I guess. So right now, the two best seem to be Coke Cherry Zero and Pepsi Zero Sugar, with Diet Mountain Dew in third.

Weight Check: 172.1, down 3.2 pounds from last week. Nice. I haven’t completely given up full calorie Mountain Dew, but replacing some of it with various no calorie sodas seems to help. Oh, and I did add a few more miles of running, and that helps, too.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 3 miles easy 3.11
Wednesday 3 miles easy 3.11
Friday 3 miles easy 3.11
Saturday 3 miles easy 3.11

Total: 12.44 miles

Monday was my first 3 miler since my surgery. It had rained overnight, but somehow I missed the rain. Everything was still damp and it was really humid, though. I took 1 minute walk breaks at 0.75, 1.6, and 2.5 miles. My legs didn’t hurt, they were just really tired towards the end, but I was still able to pick up the pace late, and I finished with both my longest distance and fastest pace since surgery.

On Wednesday, it was pretty close to perfect weather for me, 47 and overcast. My legs felt better, still a little tired near the end, but not too terrible, and definitely better than my last few runs. I did take one minute walk breaks at 0.7, 1.6, and 2.5 miles. Overall, I was happy with this run.

Friday was an even better run. It was windy, but otherwise nice weather. I went with just two walk breaks, at 0.9 and 1.9 miles. My legs still felt a little tired at the end, but i was also really pushing the pace at that point.

On Saturday, I ran on back-to-back days for the first time since before my surgery. It was still windy, and it felt colder than Friday, but it wasn’t too bad. My legs were definitely tired for most of the run, but I still managed to speed up near the end. I took one minute walk breaks at 0.9 and 1.9 miles. And while I was definitely slower overall than Friday by more than a minute, I was only 2 seconds slower than Wednesday, when I ran on rested legs. All things considered, I think I did OK.

This week, the mileage goes up a little bit, with a couple of 4 milers, and even a 5(!) miler next Saturday. And maybe this week I can finally finish my 2017 wrap-up.

Charity Case

I didn’t get in to the New York City through the lottery this year. But I did sign up with Team For Kids. I’ll have to raise some money for charity (more on that soon), but I’ll be able to run the race, and that’s the important part.

The last three years, the day of the New York City Marathon Lottery was the day I found out if I’d be running the race. (2015: Nope. 2016 and 2017: Yes.) This year was a little different. I already knew I’d be running, the lottery would determine whether or not I had to raise a bunch of money for charity. After last year, there was no question that I had to run in 2018.

Well, after defying the odds in 2016 and 2017, it didn’t work out in 2018. So I went the charity route instead. Raising money won’t be easy, but I know it’ll be worth it.