run bike swim

17 Races: a look back at the runs of 2014

December 30, 2014
IMG_2552

If I had to sum up my year in two words: 17 races.

In all, I ran two marathons, three half marathons, a 10k, a five miler, a handful of 5k’s, a trail race and competed in four triathlons (three sprints and one Olympic distance).

Look, I know there’s really nothing worse than listening to someone talk about running–but whatever. I had a great race-year, nay an amazing year… and I am fairly proud of what I accomplished in 2014. I became a better, smarter and faster runner. I present to you a brief recap of my season as an amateur athlete–runs and all.

Race #1 – Hyannis Half Marathon

Hyannis, MA – February 23, 2014

Distance: half marathon
Time: 1:41:52
Pace: 7:42
PR: no
Place: overall 441/2986 – division 56/217

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: yes
Injuries: ankle
Pre-race pain: minimal
Post-race pain: minimal
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: hideous t-shirt, finisher’s medal
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 6.5

Summary: This was my first race of 2014 and only my second half marathon, ever. At the time I was just six weeks away from my first full marathon and just barely healthy enough to run due to an ankle issue. I signed up as motivation to get in some miles in a race-feel environment. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to “race” per se, but mostly just wanted to participate with my fellow contemporaries, Forest Hills Runners.  I started out casually and things felt good, so naturally I picked up the pace and finished a minute over my previous half. This was an encouraging race even though a few weeks later my achilles would start to bother me again thwarting any attempts at racing in Paris.

IMG_2550

post race icing

IMG_2539

forest hills runners

Race #2 – Marathon de Paris

Paris, France – April 6th, 2014

icing for web

post-race ice avec vin rouge

Distance: full marathon
Time: 4:23:34
Pace: 10:03
PR: n/a
Place: overall 24,010/38,674 – division 7,587/10,779

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: ankle problems
Pre-race pain: minimal
Post-race pain: oh yes
Shoe’s stayed tied: mostly
Swag: tech shirt, beautiful finisher’s medal
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 7

Summary: This was my second race of the year and my very first full marathon. I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to participate due to a nagging ankle injury–but I very much wanted, at the very least, to gear up and put in a few miles. I ended up enjoying a leisurely stroll through Paris completing the marathon and earning my gorgeous finisher’s medal. During the race I sang with a band on the side of the course, I took in the sites… I had a massage. All in all, not a bad first marathon even if my time wasn’t what I had planned for. I recommend reading the full race report here.

Race #3 – B.A.A. Distance Medley 5k

Boston, MA – April 19th, 2014

Distance: 5k
Time: 20:55
Pace: 6:43
PR: no
Place: overall 490/8643 – division 41/452

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: lingering ankle problem
Pre-race pain: yep
Post-race pain: yep
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: tech shirt, finisher’s medal (for a 5k!)
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 5

IMG_4680

Summary: This was the first race of the B.A.A. Distance Medley–a year long race series comprised of a 5k, 10k and half-marathon. (Boston Athletic Association organizes and runs the Boston Marathon–this 5k was the start of the Boston Marathon weekend). 8,000+ competitors is a lot for a 5k through the narrow streets of Boston, so I don’t imagine many PR this course. For me, I didn’t feel great during the race as I was still coming off the heels of my first full marathon just a few weeks prior. But overall, it was great weather and good to be back running with my team mates even though I was disappointed with my time.

Race #4 – Cambridge 5k, Freedom Run

Cambridge, MA – June 1st, 2014

Distance: 5k
Time: 20:32
Pace: 6:37
PR: no
Place: overall 48/519 – division 6/80

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: all systems go
Pre-race pain: nope
Post-race pain: nope
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: cool T-shirt, lots of free Downeast cider
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 6.5

Summary: At this time I was still not where I wanted to be, or running as fast as I wanted to be running. But this was a good race and a super nice day for running. This was right around the time I started open water swimming.

Race #5 – B.A.A. Distance Medley 10k

Boston, MA – June 22nd, 2014

IMG_5908

Distance: 10k
Time: 42:46
Pace: 6:52
PR: yes (previous 48:32, 2013)
Place: overall 317/6589 – division 26/374

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: yes
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: nope
Post-race pain: nope
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: tech shirt, finisher’s medal
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 7

Summary: I could tell at this race that my running form was starting to concretize and that my endurance was increasing–I PR’d by over 6 minutes from the previous year’s BAA 10k.

Race #6 – Vert Trail Series, Sasquatch Run

Middlesex Fells – Stoneham, MA – July 13th, 2014

IMG_6327

Distance: trail race – 2.2 miles
Time: 14:59
Pace: 6:23
PR: yes (previous 15:32, 2013)
Place: overall 16/931 – division 1st in masters

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: all systems go
Pre-race pain: nope
Post-race pain: nope
Shoe’s stayed tied: nope – there’s even photographic evidence
Swag: cool T-shirt, lots of free beer
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 10

IMG_6325

Summary: This is when I realized the triathlon training and speed work was paying off. The Sasquatch trail race is fierce and steep, albeit short, but I am soooo bragging about this… I finished 16th overall out of 900+ runners mostly in their 20’s and 30’s. I got a sweet ceramic trophy for 1st in masters (Masters is a polite way of saying over 40). This was a huge confidence booster.

Race #7 – Race Menu Summer Series, #3

Cambridge, MA – July 17th, 2014

IMG_6341

team shorty-shorts

Distance: 5k
Time: 18:55
Pace: 6:06
PR: yes (previous 19:42, 2013)
Place: overall 23/268 – division 2/15

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: nope
Post-race pain: nope
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: KIND bars, lots of Zico coconut water
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 9

Summary: So, my previous 5k PR was 19:42. It’s difficult to explain why shaving off even a few seconds of a 5k is so difficult. But it is. When I run a 5k, I want to crush it… for this race I was shooting for a sub-19:30. When I approached the clock at the finish line, I thought it read 19:50. It actually read 18:50. Sub-19?! What?! At this point during the Summer I can really feel my body getting stronger.

Race #8 – Marathon Sports 5 Miler

Weston, MA – July 24th, 2014

Distance: 5 miles
Time: 32:02
Pace: 6:24
PR: yes (previous 37:22, 2013)
Place: overall 85/854 – division 12/123

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: none
Post-race pain: none
Shoe’s stayed tied: I think so
Swag: tech shirt
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 8

I swear I was not flexing for the camera--I had just been stung by a bee!

I swear I was not flexing for the camera–I had just been stung by a bee!

Summary: This is when the PR’s continued to roll… I shaved off a full five minutes from my previous 5 mile PR. This was also a great race due to the fact that something like 30 people from my running club participated. It’s always so much fun to run a race with your friends!

Race #9 – Capital City Triathlon

Concord, NH – July 27th, 2014

waiting for the start

waiting for the start

Distance: sprint triathlon – 1/3 mile swim / 15 mile bike / 5k run
Time: 1:33:41
Pace: swim 13:31 T1 2:20 bike 52:42 T2 1:50 run 23:30
PR: n/a
Place: overall 68/135

Pre-race shits: massive, massive shatting
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: no
Post-race pain: no
Shoe’s stayed tied: I left my shoes triple knotted
Swag: finisher’s medal, lots of bananas
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 7

Summary: My very first triathlon. The distances mentioned above do not sound like much, but for a first-time triathlete… this was a brutal endeavor. Back in 2013 I decided my goal was to complete a triathlon, so I signed up for the Boston Triathlon. Persuaded by my tri-veteran friend Maartje, I was encouraged to give this smaller race a shot as a trial run. (I am so glad I did.) You can read my full race report here. This was a major accomplishment for me for a variety of reasons. For one, I overcame some major open water swim anxiety, but I also feel I became a more well-rounded athlete in the process.

Race #10 – Boston Tri

Boston, MA – August 10th, 2014

Distance: sprint triathlon – 1/2 mile swim / 9 mile bike / 4.4 mile run
Time: 1:20:19
Pace: swim 19:42 T1 2:18 bike 26:36 T2 1:22 run 30:22
PR: n/a
Place: overall 113/578 division 11th

Pre-race shits: moderate shitting
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: no
Post-race pain: no
Shoe’s stayed tied: instituted never-fail tri-laces
Swag: a kind of lame pint glass, free beer
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 8

IMG_4279

Summary: My second triathlon. I started in the legit age-appropriate wave, meaning not in the beginner wave. This was a little more chaotic and intense. I remember going all-out and starting to swim like a maniac and then physically stopping… “chill the fuck out, man,” I said to myself. I then calmly, but more importantly, confidently proceeded to swim a fine half mile in Dorcester Bay. I was initially extremely anxious about this swim, even scoping out the territory a week prior to the swim. I mean, let’s be honest, it’s essentially the Boston harbor. And salt water. But it was fine… in fact, it was great. I look forward to racing this tri in the future.

Race #11 – Cranberryfest Tri

Lakeville, MA – August 24th, 2014

Distance: olympic triathlon (OD) – .9 mile swim / 26.2 mile bike / 10k run
Time: 2:56:50
Pace: swim 35:00 T1 3:06 bike 1:26:36 T2 2:28 run 49:41
PR: n/a
Place: overall 316/600 division 36th

Pre-race shits: surprisingly zero shitting
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: no
Post-race pain: no
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: finisher’s medal, plastic water bottle… bag of crap
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 7

Summary: My third triathlon–and an ambitious distance for this newbie. So… swimming almost a mile in a triathlon is nothing like swimming a mile in any other circumstance. I was able to do it; but it wasn’t pretty. I did appreciate the 2 x 2 swim start–a little less frenetic, but still scary. My T1 time pretty much says it all–I was pretty wasted at the end of the swim; however, all hard work leads to good things.

cranberryfest tri

the look on my face exiting the water pretty much says it all

Race #12 – Pumkinman Triathlon

South Berwick, ME – September 6th, 2014

entering water 2

 

Distance: sprint triathlon – 1/3 mile swim / 15 mile bike / 5k run
Time: 1:21:54 (1:20:33)
Pace: swim 9:32 (hill climb 1:21) T1 2:10 bike 47:03 T2 1:36 run 20:13
PR: yes (1:33:41 2014)
Place: overall 91/476 division 12th

Pre-race shits: some
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: no
Post-race pain: no
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: finisher’s medal, 1 Gluten Free cookie (DO NOT take more than one!)
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 8

Summary: My fourth and last triathlon of the season. This one was so much fun because I felt a little more seasoned–I was much more relaxed. Also, it’s interesting to see the improvement in my times… I think I shaved off 3-4 minutes in each leg of the triathlon, compared to my first sprint, knocking off 13 minutes. I even almost pulled out a sub-20 5k.

Race #13 – Race Menu Summer Series, #6

Cambridge, MA – September 18th, 2014

Distance: 5k
Time: 18:39
Pace: 6:01
PR: yes (previous 18:55, 2014)
Place: overall 18/134 – division 2/9

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: none
Pre-race pain: nope
Post-race pain: nope
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: KIND bars, lots of Zico coconut water
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 10

Summary: This was the highlight of my year. I know everyone thinks of the long game–but for me… I like the speed. Hitting 18:39… it’s like, I almost feel like I’m there… (where ever “there” is/or is supposed to be). I think next season I’ll be getting over the hump. Sub 18?

Race #14 – B.A.A. Half Marathon

Boston, MA – October 12th, 2014

Distance: half marathon
Time: 1:31:46
Pace: 7:00
PR: yes (previous 1:40:27, 2013)
Place: overall 263/6201 – division 20/330

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: yes
Injuries: minor low back issues
Pre-race pain: none
Post-race pain: tiny bit — yeah, just a tiny bit
Shoe’s stayed tied: FUCK NO
Swag: tech shirt, finisher’s medal x2
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 7

crossing the finish line

crossing the finish line

Summary: I wrote a lengthy piece on this race which you can read here. Ultimately, I was shooting for a 6:45 pace to get in a sub 1:30 half. Why? I don’t know. Just because. I felt I could do it… and I know will hit it next year. Between this race and the last, I suffered a minor low back spasm, so the training was limited and it showed I guess. Still, I was able to take off about nine minutes off my best half.

Race #15 – Newburyport Half Marathon

Boston, MA – October 26th, 2014

Distance: half marathon
Time: 1:36:04
Pace: 7:20
PR: no
Place: overall 141/3033 – division 13th

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: low back issues
Pre-race pain: tiny bit
Post-race pain: fuck tons
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: tech shirt, finisher’s medal, 2 free beers
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 4

nbp 1

Summary: Ohhhhh what was I thinking. So, as I mentioned above, I was looking for that 1:30 half. Why not try again? Dumb. The only (and only) bad part of belonging to a running club is knowing when to say no, but also actually being able to say it. It’s a sheer case of the FOMO’s. (Fear of missing out.) My back was already tight… I was already working on my next full marathon. Why did I think racing back to back half marathons was a good idea? Not only did I exacerbate my back issue, I didn’t come close to 1:30. This race set me back a few weeks just before my full marathon. Lesson learned.

Race #16 – Philadelphia Marathon

Philadelphia, PA – November 23rd, 2014

Distance: marathon
Time: 3:45:44
Pace: 8:36
PR: yes (previous 4:23:24 2014)
Place: overall 2722/10363 – division 305/852

Pre-race shits: you have no idea how much shit one human body can contain
Post-race shits: of course not
Injuries: low back issues
Pre-race pain: not really
Post-race pain: kind of, but not too bad
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: tech shirt, finisher’s medal, pretzel
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 7

Summary: So, no where near a BQ, but hey… I didn’t have to walk any portion of the course and I was mostly ok with sticking to the 3:45 group I started in. Despite the shitty start (pun massively intended) it was a good race. AND what the heck… I ran two marathons in a year.

Race #17 – Cambridge 5k, Yulefest

Cambridge, MA – December 14th, 2014

Distance: 5k
Time: 19:50
Pace: 6:23
PR: no
Place: overall 69/2081 – division 10th

Pre-race shits: no
Post-race shits: no
Injuries: all systems go
Pre-race pain: nope
Post-race pain: nope
Shoe’s stayed tied: yes
Swag: cool hat, lots of free Downeast cider
Scale of 1-10 post-race happiness: 4

Summary: A funny thing happened on the way to the finish line. The lead runners, myself included (not suggesting I’m a lead runner, just that I was included in the group in question), was taken the wrong way down a side street by the cyclist that didn’t know the course. A chorus of echoes, “we’re going the wrong way” channeled down from one runner to the next… and there I was, correcting course. I know it sounds like a small snafu, but… even an extra minute in a 5k is huge. I really wanted to end the year on the same high note from the Summer (and to take home a trophy), but after going the wrong way for so long it wasn’t going to happen. It was kind of deflating. In the grand scheme of things… it’s a 5k with free beer at the finish line. Much like slow-pitch softball, it’s occasionally difficult not to take too seriously–but such is the life of the amateur athlete.

yulefest 1

In summary…

If I had to graph the race year it would make a perfect bell curve. It started out a little rough, ended a little rough–but oh that creamy delicious center. Also, I owe so much to my running group Forest Hills Runners–if anyone made it possible to get where I am today it is this amazing group of people who love running even more than I do.

Also… I am 42. I really only started running races in 2012–a handful of 5k’s. Even in 2013, I would have never dreamed of running marathons or competing in triathlons. I’m super surprised by what I accomplished this year. I don’t know if I’ll top it in 2015, but I hope to maybe plan my race year a little better. A lot of the races I competed in were last minute sign-ups… some went well, others less so. I hope to keep the FOMO’s in check and to stay as healthy as possible.

So what’s the plan Stan?

If you had told me two years ago I would be leading a swim workout I would’ve said, “you clearly, clearly have the wrong person.” But I am doing just that. It’s so cool! Through the winter I am limiting (but not omitting) my outdoor runs and taking the opportunity to get stronger in the water and on the bike.

I really hope to get in some half marathons and maybe another full marathon for 2015. Since I seem to peak in the Summer maybe I need to find a mid-Summer marathon? Iceland? Greenland? Finland? And last, I really want to compete in a half-ironman. That’s 70.3 miles of swimming, cycling and running.

Who’s in?

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply