2,016 was a huge year for me and even as I am writing this blog post, it’s hard to believe everything I accomplished. In 2016, I ran the most kilometers ever, smashed my PBs in multiple distances, ran a race in my hometown, qualified for Boston, finished the NYC Marathon, and met so many new people. To put things in perspective, I made a list of the top ten accomplishments for the year in chronological order.
Half Marathon PB – March
When I started planning my 2016 races, the Chilly Half Marathon was first on the list. There was no strategy behind signing up for this race; instead, I signed up for this race because a few people were talking about it on social media and didn’t have any half marathons planned yet.
Had I started this blog sooner, the race report for the Chilly Half would have been fun to write. This was the cleanest race I ever ran! I felt great the entire time and didn’t slow down once (something I tend to do often at the end of races). I finished in a time of 1:30:44, enough for a 5 minute PB and a huge confidence booster heading into the Spring race season.
30K PB – April
The Around the Bay Race is one of my favorites and this year I ran it for the second time. I was already coming off a runner’s high from the Chilly Half and my plan for this race was to run at my Spring Marathon goal pace. A few weeks prior to this race, I consulted with Coach Brittany from The Runner’s Academy about possibly trying to BQ in the Spring instead of the Fall; this decision came after my success at the Chilly Half Marathon. Once it was confirmed, I set a target pace of 4:30/km and tried to stick to it. This pacing strategy would not only be a test to see if I could hold this pace for 30km, it would also mean I would earn a silver medal at Around the Bay !
|Gold||Under 2 hrs||Under 2:15|
|Silver||2 hrs to 2:15||2:15 to 2:30|
|Bronze||over 2:15||over 2:30|
I held my target pace the entire race and even though I slowed down a bit on the rolling hills (I even walked twice!), I crossed the finish line in under 2:15 to earn a silver medal! My confidence was really soaring with just weeks to go before my Spring Marathon!
Marathon PB – May
The Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon was my third marathon. I finished my first marathon in a time of 3:48:39 and second marathon in a time of 3:33:41. My target time for this race was 3:09:53 which was the time based off a 4:30/km pace. This would be a HUGE PB for me in the marathon distance; however, I was not the same runner I was a year prior. I went out really fast and was well above my pace for most of the race; however, I ran out of steam around the 30km mark and had to battle headwinds and driving rain for the remainder of the way. I ended with a time of 3:13:42 for a 20 minute PB and Boston Qualifying time!
BQ – May
The Goodlife Fitness Marathon was my first attempt at qualifying for the 2017 Boston Marathon. At the time, I was in the 40-44 age bracket and needed to better 3:15:00 to qualify. When I first started The Runner’s Academy clinic, my goal was to qualify for the 2018 Boston Marathon in the Fall. I will be in the 45-49 age category and would need a 3:25 to qualify.
When I qualified for Boston at the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon, I was completely surprised but also realistic about punching my ticket to the big race in 2017. My 3:13:42 finishing time meant I would need to sweat it out as a 1-minute 18-second buffer would likely not make the cut. I ended up missing the cut by 51 seconds, but the fact I was able to run a marathon as fast as I did was something I am very proud of!
Hometown Run – May
One of the highlights of my year was participating in the Airbnb Brooklyn Half. I wasn’t going for PB, but still wanted to do well as this was the first race I was running outside of Ontario and it was taking place in my hometown. Everything about the race was the best I have ever experienced. The energy at the pre-party (it actually felt more like a party than an expo) was electric and the race itself was as awesome as I imagined. Spectators lined the streets the entire course and shouted everyone’s name when they passed. If there is one race I would love to do each year, it’s this one!
Bonus – Shortly after I finished the race, I was right back at the finishing line so my son can participate in his first 1-mile race on the Coney Island Boardwalk. The only time he ever “ran” was when he participated in a 1KM run last year and I think the actual distance was about 400 meters! Pinning the bib on my son’s shirt and watching him head towards his corral was one of the proudest moments of my life! I watched him and his cousin head out when the race started and figured it would take awhile for him to finish. To my surprise, he came speeding back to the finish line 8 minutes later! He ended up running a 5:04/km pace and when he saw me, his first words were, “Daddy, I’m so happy, I can cry!” Yeah, this was by far the highlight of 2016 for me.
10K PB – June
The last time I ran a 10K was the Yonge Street 10K back in April, 2015. The same race was not only moved to June, the course was also moved to the Toronto waterfront. I ran the 2015 Yonge Street 10K in a time of 43:28, so I was due to PB at the Toronto Waterfront 10K. I decided I would stick with the 40-minute pace group and held my own until the very end! I finished with a time of 41:04! I loved the course and the crowds and will likely run this every year.
NYC Marathon – November
The 2016 TCS NYC Marathon was by far the highlight of my year. This race truly is the best in the world and while I am registered for Chicago in 2017 and hope to run Boston in 2018, everything I heard about how NYC is the best in the world was true! Running through neighborhoods I know very well from growing up in Brooklyn made this race very surreal for me. It’s been almost two months since I ran this race and I still think about
Bonus – The entire race experience was made extra special thanks to the generosity of TCS and NYRR. My family and I were treated like a VIPs the entire weekend and felt really lucky the entire time. Interacting with other runners and taking over the NYC Marathon Instagram account was a real treat! I also got to hang out with a bunch of awesome friends I met on Instagram and can’t wait to see them again in Chicago!
Run All The Kilometers!
I’ve posted these numbers a bunch of times on my IG page and in a previous blog post where I discuss hitting the 2,016 kilometers in 2016. To really appreciate how big a year 2016 was, here are the stats again:
- 2013 (Started June 23rd) – 455.1km
- 2014 (IT Band Injury) – 528.9km
- 2015 (Shoulder Injury) – 1,828km
- 2016 (Injury free!) – almost 3,000 kilometers!
Yup, I ran more kilometers this year than all previous years combined. That’s not saying much considered how I started running mid-year in 2013 and injured parts of 2014 and 2015; however, it’s still a huge number! I have one more long run on the last day of the year and will get very close to 3,000 kilometers!
2016 was the first time I got to work with brands. I’m still new to the idea of it, but I really enjoyed supporting brands I use every time I run. Thank you to Nuun Hydration, CEP Compression Socks, SPIbelt, and Saucony Canada for your support throughout the year!
Bonus – New Connections
I could have stopped with the top ten reasons 2016 was an epic year for me, but I had to add one more. I have met and been inspired by so many people this year through my blog, the Toronto running community, and Instagram. I really enjoy the social aspect of running because you hear so many stories from people who are just starting to run and others who have been running for years.
Thank you all for following my journey, providing feedback, cheering me on during my races, and your overall support. I am truly humbled by everything I’ve done and even more so from your support.
2017 starts in just over a day and I don’t intend on letting up on the gas. I have big plans for 2017 and can’t wait to experience them with you!