I really wasn't planning on racing much in 2016. I was tired of dealing with that stupid race anxiety that I can't seem to shake, and felt like I'd be better off just running, not racing, for most of the year. I do love the racecations that our Renegade group takes and wouldn't want to miss out on Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, but for most of the rest of the races, I was fine with being on the sidelines, cheering on my friends as they ran. However, we got a super discount on a race just a couple weeks after Houston, so I signed up for that. Same thing for another race just a month later...and then we heard about the Texadega Nights relay race, so we jumped on that one...and somehow, I ended up running 15 races last year.
Did I experience race anxiety for the unplanned races? Of course I did. At this point, I guess it's just part of my race - bib? check; shoes? check; nerves/upset stomach/wanting to quit? check, check, and check. Even with the anxiety, I still ran the races...I wish it would go away, or at least ease up a bit, but it's not, so I'm working on accepting it and pushing through those feelings during each race that I do.
Except for the year that my ankle was injured, I generally run about 500 miles, which seems like a reasonable amount for me. I've run one half marathon each year for the last few years, and I'm content with that - honestly, my favorite distance to run is about 5 miles. I feel like I accomplished something, yet still have energy remaining for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, you can't train for a half marathon by only running 5 miles, so there are several months where I do have to step it up, and I'm willing to do that in order to get to my goal race (which is the Houston half marathon, in a couple of weeks), but after that, I'm happy to run less.
This year I finished with 488 miles - a little less than last year, but still right around the 500 average mark. That number only includes running miles - I also walked a lot of miles, but I was too lazy to go back and add all of them up. I liked when I was doing some extra walking days on top of my running and I'll have to make that happen again - mostly it involves setting up walking dates with friends, because if you haven't figured it out by now, I'm a social exerciser.
Now that 2016 is over, my superstitious self can safely say that this was a good year in terms of injuries - except for the last day of the year...more on that in the next section. But my hamstrings felt decent most of the time. I also didn't do any hill training - coincidence? Probably not. Generally, when I do hill repeats, my hamstrings start twinging and I feel like I'm on the edge of a full-blown hamstring injury, so I back off. This year, I simply didn't do any hill training except for what I encountered during races or on regular running routes.
My plantar fasciitis was not nearly as acute for a good part of 2016 - I attribute that to calf massage. I have very tight calves, and once I read that tight calves (along with high arches, which I also have) are contributors to PF, I started using my BFF Buffer on my calves for a couple of minutes just about every day. My buffer sits next to the chair where I put on my running shoes, which made getting into using it right before a run an easy habit. I also will randomly stretch my calves during the day; I swear this has really helped with the PF pain. I did try custom orthotics for a while, but they ended up making my knees hurt quite a bit, so I stopped using them, and the knee pain magically went away.
The sidewalk is hard and unyielding, just in case anyone had any doubts. Additionally, the bruises, scrapes, and aches on the left side of my body are proof of that. During our run on Saturday, I caught the crack on an uneven part of the sidewalk with the toe of my shoe and went down. Jeff happened to be running with me and said it looked like I tried to do a roll, which is good - after spending so many months last year dealing with my wrist injury from tripping over Paco, I guess instinctively I didn't want to fall directly onto my outstretched hands again. I don't even know what hit first, but I have bruises just below my knee, on the side of my thigh, the palm of my hand and my knuckles, which all hurt, but the worst pain is coming from my left upper arm/shoulder area, which doesn't appear to be bruised or scraped at all. I must have hit it hard when I landed.
So yeah, I fell while running. I think the last time that happened was when I was running in Maui, about five years ago...I was probably due, but dang, it hurts. I was lucky to be wearing my cheapie pair of Target gloves, as they protected my hands and took the brunt of the fall. The left glove was torn a little and my skin got scraped up, but it would have been worse had I been bare-handed. I can't believe I fell on the last day of 2016, but then again, it was 2016 - 'nuff said.