This past year of my running life has been the most enlightening yet. I started out 2016 training for my first 50K, Ironmaster’s Challenge, almost a year ago today. Running was going well until March when an injury behind my knee stopped me in my tracks. A stress reaction. And not the first overuse injury in the middle of a training cycle for me. This time I played it smart and followed all the advice my PT gave me to ensure I would still be at the starting line the last weekend of April. The advice? No running. For at least 4 weeks. Zero miles. What?! I thought I’d go crazy…but 2016, you had a plan for me. You knew just what I needed. Because I was allowed to cycle, I replaced my miles with the bike at the gym. I spent hours trying different modes, all the while not realizing those “hills” I biked were preparing me to run the hills of Ironmaster’s and allowing my knee to heal. Two weeks went by of biking and I became intrigued by the weight machines in front of me. So I started adding lifting to my routine. By the time April had came around, my body was stronger in new ways that five years of running could never have given me. I had developed a love for working my muscles out in new ways, and challenging myself when my true passion, running, had to be put on hold. I followed the return to running plan carefully while still maintaining my new found form of working out and successfully completed my first 50K in April.
I also learned what works for me food wise. What happens when you take running away from a runner who loves to eat? It’s a difficult thing to adjust your calories to meet a lower need when you are used to burning 500-1000 calories per day. I started eating whole foods, cutting out white flour, and minimizing sugar. I watched nutrition videos for ultrarunners while pedaling my life away at the gym. I figured out what works for me nutritionally to keep me running strong and healthy (upon my return) at an optimal weight. I can’t thank you enough, 2016 because without that injury I surely would not have taken the time to figure these things out otherwise.
Finally, here’s to the new running friendships that 2016 has brought me. I may have met you on the trails, in the middle of a race (possibly even while lost😂), at a running club meet up, on social media, at school, or you may even be family….but you all have inspired me and for that I am truly grateful. Having a network of people who just get it is huge.
What an awesome feeling to head into a new year feeling strong and knowing you are surrounded by amazing family, friends, coworkers, and running buddies. Excited to share more miles with you all next year!
Happy New Year, my friends!
Look for a 2017 goal post tomorrow!