Running Highs and Lows of 2017

I didn’t run a lot of races in 2017, so there won’t be a ton here about races. I’m running a half marathon in all 50 states, for those of you that don’t already know. At this point, I’m running three half marathons a year mainly due to travel expenses and time off work but also because I’ve ran all of the southern states so my options are limited. I of course did run throughout the year, though, only taking time off after races and a bit more during the super hot and humid parts of August.

My first race of 2017 was the Dogtown Half Marathon in Washington, Utah in February. This race was the 39th state in my quest for a half marathon in all 50 states. It was below freezing at the start of the race and the cold air effected my breathing. The course was also much hillier than the elevation map led me to believe. However, my daughter, who ran the 5k, won second place in her age group. This was definitely a running high for me even though I didn’t personally win an AG award, because I was so proud of her. I somehow managed to finish sixth in my AG, and considering how difficult the course was, I was happy with that.

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My second race of the year was the Superhero Half Marathon in Morristown, New Jersey in May, my 40th state. This race was definitely a low point in my racing years. Despite doing my long training runs on a hilly route, the hills on this race course were just too much for me. My finish time was considerably slower than for previous races, and even my age group time was pretty disappointing for me.

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After the Superhero Half, I decided it was time to re-think my entire running plans. I started focusing on my core more, I started working on my glutes to help with Dead Butt Syndrome I felt like I was developing. I bought new shoes that were completely different than any other kind of running shoe I had ever worn. Finally, the hardest and most-intensive thing I did was trying to change my running gait. Initially, this was a running low for me, because just running a few steps was so much harder and my pace was so much slower. I kept working on it, though, and bit by bit it started to come together and get easier. My “new” running gait was more like my “old” running gait, which is how my body is supposed to run. Over the years I had developed a serious imbalance between my left and right legs, resulting in hyperextending my right leg when I landed, and this was definitely not “normal” for me.

When I started training for my third and final half marathon for the year, I put some focused effort into doing tons of hip stretches and hip openers. I continued working on my core and glutes, and I continued working on my gait until it began to feel like it should. I also read  “Runner’s World Your Best Stride” and did some of the exercises and other things mentioned in the book to help with my running gait. Finally after months of working on my right leg, my “new” running gait felt “normal.” It felt more like it used to years ago before this imbalance became so bad that it caused a series of events that led to my abnormal running stride.

For my half marathon in West Virginia, my 41st state, I chose to run the Marshall University Half Marathon in Huntington. This race could have gone badly depending on the weather. Usually in this part of the state, nighttime lows are in the 30’s and rain or even snow is not uncommon. In the days leading up to the race and even the morning of the race, there was a 40% chance of rain at 7 am, which was when the race start was, and a 60% chance of rain at 8 am. Rain and 30’s or even 40’s is not my idea of ideal racing conditions, but by some miracle, it was much warmer than usual for this time of year and the rain held off for the entire morning. I ended up running in overcast skies with temperatures in the low 60’s for most of the race. I know that’s a bit warm for most people, but it was just fine with me.

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The race was very well-organized, the course was flat with only one small hill, and it was pretty scenic for the most part, thanks to the natural beauty of the area. All of the leaves on the trees were at their peak for autumn, so everywhere you looked, you saw bright red, orange, and yellow leaves. There are also rivers around the area and some nice parks that we got to run by so it was a scenic course without hills, which is almost unheard of. The race director of the half I ran in San Juan Island  in Washington even put on their Facebook page “scenic= hills.” The Marshall University Half Marathon proves that’s not always true!

This race in West Virginia reminded me once again why I run half marathons. After my previous two races, I needed a good race to renew my faith in myself. Even though I felt nauseous for the first hour of the race, I had fun and truly enjoyed this race. The finish was truly invigorating and I had runner’s high like I hadn’t felt in some time. I also learned that it is possible to teach an old runner new tricks. Even in my 40’s I was able to change my running gait and successfully run a half marathon that way. I was glad I ended my running year on a high note! Also, my super-speedy 12-year-old daughter finished second in the 19 and under age group for the 5k. And she says she’s not fast!

How was your running year? Any highs or lows you’d care to share?

Happy running!

Donna

 

 

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Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

22 thoughts on “Running Highs and Lows of 2017”

  1. My running year was impressive for me because I ran my first ever marathon this year. That and I also ran a SECOND marathon – except the second one was pretty disappointing. Granted, I didn’t train very well for the second. It was a tough one. My first marathon time was a lot better. I ran with a pace group and that was amazing – the pacer told us stories and fed us with fun facts about the human body and marathons that helped distract from the pain. I had such an excellent time that my second marathon was so disappointing. Hopefully future marathons will be much better!

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    1. That is impressive! Pacers can be great. At my last half marathon the pacer I ran with definitely helped keep me on my goal time! Do you have your next races mapped out or are you just going to wait and see how it goes?

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      1. Right now I’m just waiting it out – I was burned out after my second marathon because I was so disappointed by my time and I also wanted to try some new workouts. I’m hoping to do at least one in 2018. One a year would be ideal, and it’d be great to do what you do – run to travel! What are your running plans for this year?

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        1. Doing racecations are great and I recommend them! Next year I’m headed to Idaho, Alaska, and Arkansas for half marathons. I think I’m looking forward to going to Alaska the most. It should be incredible! Good luck finding a race and I hope it’s a good one!

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  2. I often wondered how runners afforded running the 50 states, it seems you have a formula that is doable. We run a lot in the south, but the races are usually within 5 hr driving distance.

    I’m glad your year ended on a good note!! I’ll be cheering for you in 2018!!

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  3. Well done for 2017. You showed a lot of perseverance!

    I also changed my gait this year, using the “pose method,” which I read about in Men’s Fitness magazine. I definitely noticed a huge difference. My speed increased while simultaneously running became easier. Talk about a nice combination of benefits!

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  4. Great post. I did very few races this year because I was pregnant. I opted not to run the Boston Marathon and then did a half marathon this summer when I was 27 weeks pregnant and then a 5k on Thanksgiving. I’m planning on many more races next year including a possible full marathon.

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  5. I’m glad you ended the year on a good race. 🙂 I PRed in several distances so that was a nice win for me. The year of racing ended on an anti climatic note since the RnR Vegas race felt very rushed to me. I had to cross the finish line and head immediately home since the drive was 5 hours and I had work the next day. Bleh. I’ll be starting the new year with the Dopey Challenge so that’ll be a high…hopefully. 🙂

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