2016 was a very SPECIAL year!
Zoe was born, August 2015, so by the start of 2016, she was 4 going on 5 months old. By this point, I knew my daughter pretty well. And although, she was constantly changing and growing, my confidence as her mother had grown.
It is a weird thing to say, but in the beginning even the most confident woman in the world, feels, life is a little bit out of control when they become a new mom. But eventually, I discovered a new normal, and created a consistent, but flexible routine, that brought order to our busy household. (Side note: This routine and order also allowed me to train for my fourth full marathon.)
Also by the beginning of 2016, my fitness level had finally started to improve. At this early part of the year, I wouldn’t say my fitness was totally back to the way it was before Zoe, but I was feeling a lot stronger, and my runs were more comfortable and enjoyable. I knew by the time Zoe was 6 months old, I would feel confident running with her in the BOB running stroller. I was so excited for that day!!
2016 MADE me a MOTHER RUNNER!!
Before I became a mother, I always admired the BAMRs on the trail. Effortlessly running, all while pushing a stroller and caring for a tiny human. I only hoped that once I had a child, I too would be out there running those stroller miles.
In late February 2016, this dream came true, and I was finally able to include Zoe on my runs. We went out for our first stroller run together, and we both loved it!
I feel so fortunate to be able to work out with my child by my side, instead of having to find a babysitter. It makes it so much easier to just bring her along. I now have two tiny eyes watching every move I make… so making healthy choices is very important, now more than ever. Living this healthy lifestyle is a priority to me, and I am so glad I can include Zoe at such a young age.
However, it wasn’t easy at first, it took some time to adjust to running with the stroller, but I got the hang of it. Again, runs became enjoyable, and I felt strong and confident. Nothing feels better than passing another runner on the trail while pushing a stroller. Plus, Zoe loves being out there, taking in all of the sounds and colors of nature, and the fresh air is great for both of us!
Soon, with Zoe by my side, I began to train for all the races I had lined up for 2016.
In 2016, I ran six races! Each of them, were VERY special.
Race 1 – The Cherry Blossom 10 miler was my first postpartum race. It was so cold and windy that day, and I really didn’t know how I would do. It was more of a test race. I decided not to look at my watch and just run by feel. I ended up surprising myself running it faster then I thought I would, finishing in 1:31:12. (Side note: At the Expo, I met Meb, the Olympic marathoner, Boston Marathon winner, and I discovered Mana Threads a new awesome athletic clothing line.)
Race 2 – The Parkway Classic was my second postpartum race. This was a beautiful run, and again I ran it faster then I though I would. My goal was to finish under 1:30, I reached that goal finishing 1:28:49.
Race 3 – The Navy Half Marathon was my 3rd postpartum race. This was also my first time running this half marathon. I registered a couple of weeks before because it fell in place with my marathon training plan. A lot of other runners I knew used this race as a training run for marathon training. I ended up racing it and I’m so glad I did. I ran it faster, then I thought I could, I finished in 1:53:54, which made this my 3rd half marathon under 2 hours. Woohoo!
The summer heat was making me have some long slow training runs. I was getting worried about running the Marine Corps Marathon. Would I be ready? After running the Navy Half, I felt great! It felt amazing running that fast, and it brought my confidence back. My marathon training was paying off, and I was ready to run with the Marines.
Race 4 – The Marine Corps Marathon was … my fourth full marathon, my fourth MCM, my first full marathon as a mother runner, my first race that I ran a portion with my dad. Overall, this race is my all time favorite, and was the most special I ran this year! I ended up with a new marathon PR, finishing in 4:17:01. I loved this race so much, that I slowed down a bit, just so it wouldn’t end.
The marathon distance is my favorite distance! And once again, this race reminded me of that.
I had so much fun at MCM, that I experienced the marathon blues after, and almost signed up for the Richmond marathon which was two weeks later.
Race 5 – The Operation Turbo 5k was a race that a friend of mine was organizing in order to raise money for her foundation. I signed up a couple of days before hand in order to show my support. I couldn’t remember the last time I raced a 5k.
I was very excited to do it, because it was my first opportunity to race with Zoe. Although, I had done most of my marathon training miles with her, I had yet to race with her.
It was awesome and we placed second for females.
Race 6 – The Alexandria Turkey Trot was by far the most crowded race I ran. It was my second race with Zoe. It was hard to maneuver the stroller around the crowd for the first two miles. But once we got around the crowd, we started to fly. The best part was hearing Zoe laugh, pointing out the doggies and demanding me to run faster, shouting, “Go, Go, Go mama!”
Some other RUNNING highlights!
2016 was a year of connecting with others.
I’ve always been a solo runner, and now because I am a working mom, sometimes it is hard with my schedule to meet up for runs. However, in 2016, I found ways to connect with other runners and other mothers.
*I joined two running team/groups in 2016… I joined Mom’s Run this Town, (MRTT) and Oiselle Volee. Both of these teams were inspiring and motivating in different ways. I didn’t get the chance to run with these groups because of my work schedule. However, I did follow along with them through social media.
Oiselle Volee is a team I run for. I had been wanting to join this team for a while and finally in 2016 I got in. I love what this team stands for… it is all about empowering women.
It is also nation wide, so I was able to follow most of my fellow Oiselle teammates on instagram. And I was able to meet some birds at races! They had an awesome cheer station at mile 20/21 at MCM. I am hoping in 2017, I will be able to go to more Oiselle runs and events!
I also joined Mom’s Run this Town. Again I only had the chance to meet up with them once, however I followed the MRTT facebook page, and was very active on it. Again I hope to meet up with these ladies more in the upcoming year.
Even though, I was only involved through social media, these groups inspired me and held me accountable.
*I started using a running app in 2016… I also found ways to connect with other runners by using Strava. This running app is awesome. I still wear my Garmin 620, but Strava allows me to follow other runners training, while they follow mine. It also immediately shows me my mile splits! I love Strava and I am so glad I started using it in 2016. Again helps inspire, track, connect, and holds me accountable.
I have a couple of favorites for 2016
*My favorite piece of running gear for 2016… was with out a doubt my BOB REVOLUTION PRO!
This running stroller allows me to take my daughter with me on my runs! It is the reason why I was able to train for the Marine Corps Marathon and set a new marathon PR.
*My favorite race of 2016… was the Marine Corps Marathon.
The marathon is my favorite distance. I trained hard for that race, training in the record breaking heat. All of the hard work paid off and I was happy with a new marathon PR. Plus, I made a very special memory running with my dad.
*My favorite cookbook of 2016 is Run Fast Eat Slow.
I am always trying to find new fun recipes, even more so now that Zoe is eating solid foods.
Also nutrition is huge, especially while training for a marathon. This was my go to cookbook! I love the story behind the book. The authors are inspiring on their own, and each recipe is based on fueling the runner’s body. Every recipe I have made is easy, delicious, and healthy.
*My favorite place I ran this year… was the Green Belt in Boise, Idaho.
In the beginning of October, my husband, daughter, and I took a trip out to Idaho to visit family. I brought all of my running stuff, knowing I had to continue marathon training and find some place to get my long run done.
Turns out I ran almost every day when I was in Boise, even running a 12 miler. I ran on the Green Belt and it was one of the most beautiful refreshing trails. Running in Idaho felt amazing because the cooler temperatures was a great break from the heat wave we were having back east.
(Side note: I also had the opportunity to run in Martha’s Vineyard which is my favorite place to run. It too was refreshing because of the ocean breeze.)
*My favorite training moment… was all of the stroller miles I did with Zoe.
In 2016, stroller running became my thing! I never knew I would love it so much, but I do.
*My favorite things I saw while running, were not necessarily the gorgeous views, but rather when I randomly came across this amazing piece of street art.
After seeing one mural, I started to notice them everywhere. I decided to make it my thing. Instead of always focusing on the mileage, I decided to also embrace city running and try to discover more art.
Then while running in Martha’s Vineyard I randomly came across a huge spider web. I didn’t see any street art because it’s the beach life up there. But after seeing this spider web, I was reminded that nature has its own little artists always creating.
I later saw a spider web on almost every long run. When you are out there running a 15 or 20 miler you are going to see some interesting stuff.
*My favorite Running Podcast is… Another Mother Runner. I couldn’t get enough of these BAMRs.
I never really listened to podcasts in the past. But in early 2016, while taking Zoe on walks, I needed something to listen to. So I came across Another Mother Runner Podcast. These ladies have a couple of books, which I bought and read while I was pregnant with Zoe, but once I found out they had a podcast I was hooked. I tune in every week and I am now a pretty loyal listener.
*My favorite most inspirational runner of 2016 was Shalene Flanagan.
Olympic Marathoner Shalene Flanagan was the most inspirational runner for me. And her moment at the Olympic marathon trials with her bestie Amy Hastings was by far the most inspirational moment.
There were other inspirational runners as well such as Jen Shelton, the Ultra marathoner from the book, Born to Run. On some of my long runs I would listen to the chapter about her over and over again.
Speaking of books, I read a couple of running books and reread Born to Run.
*My favorite new running book I read was… My Year of Running, Dangerously by Tom Foreman.
I also read a Running a Love Story, by Jen A. Miller. Both of these books were inspiring because they were about mid packed runners.
Goodbye 2016, you were great!
So that sums up my Running the Year 2016. For me, 2016 was a year all about my two favorite things: motherhood and running. The highlights were definitely watching my Zoe grow into this incredible, smart toddler. And as for running finishing the Marine Corps Marathon, with a new marathon PR.
I am very proud that I was able to time manage and fit marathon training in, while also being a new mom.
This proves to me, that you don’t have to sacrifice the things you use to do, because you have a child. It is possible and important to continue to do the things you love, while also being Mom.
2016 has been an inspirational year, which built my confidence more than ever before. I became confident and comfortable in my new role as a mother. I regained my fitness and began to run stronger with more confidence and passion.
Ultimately, 2016 was a teacher. The most important thing I have learned is… that I don’t have to travel to an exotic place, or hit a huge life milestone, to have an incredible year. The year doesn’t have to be a huge one… It is the small, everyday, ups and downs that are so beautiful.
And although, running a marathon is a pretty big deal, I ran that marathon in my backyard. My point is … as I watch my daughter grow, she has taught me… you don’t have to go far in search of greatness and growth. This greatness and growth is right in front of your eyes or with in yourself.
Thank you 2016 for making me a BAMR!!
copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily