When this year began, one question I never thought I’d ask myself is, how do I keep wind-driven snow from stinging my eyeballs?* Yet here we are.
Holed up in my new Chicago suburb home, I’m writing this running retrospective 1,750 miles from where I wrote the last one (Scottsdale, Ariz.). I felt every bit of that distance, literally and figuratively, on the morning of the eyeball-stinging snow, considering about this time last year I was enjoying some fairly fantastic runs in the sun (though the temps in the two places were similar!).
I could make more out of the distance between my two homes, but I won’t. Truth is, I’m doing OK in my short time in Chicagoland. And I have running to thank for it. Not long after I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about running streaks, I started a streak for real. Logging at least a mile a day—for 97 days, as of this morning—has been one constant to get me through the turbulence of a cross-country relocation.
Whereas 2014 was perfectly “fine,” 2015 was the best year of my running life. Here are a few reasons why.
Change 1. After years of dedicated work toward half-marathons and full marathons, I trained exclusively for a 5K, in May. Following a speedwork-heavy regimen, I blew away my goal (hello, 21:10 PR!). The delightful byproduct was a base of strength and speed that transformed my running ever since.
Change 2. I joined a running club, RunEatTweetAZ. The people I met on the group runs and online added a social dimension to running that I was missing. My only regret was not being involved longer. (Unless they’re interested in chartering a club in Chicago’s northern suburbs.)
Change 3. I switched training plans. A cross-promotional email from Runkeeper prompted me to try out MyAsics. Initially the program struck me as soft—it wasn’t nearly as intense as my previous plan. But therein lies the beauty! After following three programs (one 5K and two halfs), I had three shattered PRs to show for it. Best of all, the absence of all-out intensity inherent in MyAsics got me to fall in love with running.
So yeah, 2015 offered upticks in almost every facet of my running. Here’s a look at the numbers.
Total miles run (more than double last year)
Miles run in October (most)
Consecutive days with at least a mile run (current streak)
Degrees F of hottest run (several in June–August in Arizona)
Miles run in March (least)
Degrees F of coldest run (Dec. 19 in Illinois)
Average pace per mile (38 seconds faster than last year)
5K races run
States with at least a mile run (Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon)
Race PRs (13.1m, 15K, 4.2m, 5K)
*Seriously, if you know how to keep wind-driven snow from stinging your eyeballs, do tell.