Running in 2017- I love New Years

I am a total nerd when it comes to New Years.  Not because of the fancy parties and large amounts of alcohol.  Those are great, but realistically staying up until midnight is becoming increasingly difficult.  I love the excitement and the idea of starting fresh. New Years is a great time for reflection and introspection which leads to personal growth and guides my running goals for the following year.

Reflection of 2016

Sometimes we forget how much we have improved. I have been a tad frustrated because I haven’t had much growth or a fancy new PR this fall season.  It’s hard to imagine that this time last year, my 5k PR was over a minute slower, 10k PR over 2.5 minutes slower and my half marathon time was over 5 minutes slower.  From my first 5k in 2015 to my first 5k in 2016 I dropped 2 minutes.  It was the exact same course.  These are all reasons for me to celebrate 2016.

I like looking over training logs, and the comments I wrote for each of the workouts.  It’s easy to forget all of the ups and downs throughout a training cycle.  With a bit of time and space between the training cycles, I can take a more objective look at my training logs to get an idea of what went right and what went wrong.

In 2016, I was very careful to watch my growth each week.  I would look at each week to make sure I balanced out the speed and the distance. I did a much better job keeping my weeks balanced. I overlooked the bigger picture.  I kept growing and maintaining, refusing to back off and allow time for recovery, until my body forced me to take a break.

Personal Records (best) in 2016

5k- 17:56 February 2016 @ Kickoff 5k

10k-37:33 March 2016 @ Great Plains Kansas City

Half Marathon-1:22:50  April 2016@ Rock the Parkway

Didn’t complete a full Marathon in 2016

Looking ahead to 2017…

So now I am looking ahead to 2017 and setting some BIG goals.  I recognize that things don’t always go as planned, so I give myself short term and long term goals. I like to start with my biggest goal and work backwards. Sprinkling in smaller, more attainable goals along the way.

The teacher in me comes out when I am thinking about my goals.  Come on teachers, you know you just love writing SMART goals (sarcasm).  If you not lucky enough to write SMART goals at you employment. SMART stands for; specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time-based.  These are great for setting up your running goals, also.  Just imagine all the fun teachers, “In 2017, the runner will…” (Sarcasm, again)

I have two big goals for myself this year; set a PR at the Boston Marathon, and set a new PR in the half marathon.  I use those two goals, as a foundation, when planing my short term goals. Getting a PR in a 5k and 10k are usually good indicators towards improving my half marathon time.  My short term goals are more about an action plan to support my big goals.

Setting goals is fun, but many New Year’s resolutions stop there.  They don’t have a plan to make sure they succeed.  The goals set are big changes and they try to tackle them all at once.  Instead, I encourage runners to make and think of smaller steps that would help you reach your goals. If you want to start working out, be realistic.  You’re not going to stick with a plan going zero to sixty overnight.  Start with small goals, I will work out 30 minutes a day 3 times a week for the first month.  When you get to the end of the month you will be able to check off one goal.  Making your goals more manageable.

For me, I have set up an action plan to reach my goals.  Here are some of my action plan steps.  This spring, I plan on working with a running coach.  This will help me with one of my weaknesses from 2016, looking at the bigger picture.  Marathon training is hard on the body, so I plan on staying on top of my aches and pains that pop up.  I want to do a better job of foam rolling every day before I begin my run.  I was very good about doing this before hard days but neglected this element on my easy days in 2016.  Toward the end of 2016 I was doing a lot better with getting in an actual warm up and stopping about a mile into most runs for 3-5 minutes and getting in some ballistic stretching.  This helped me so much with those constant overuse injuries that keep popping up. I also have a physical therapist that I love working with, and a massage therapist that magically makes the pain melt away.  I plan to work with them at least once a month.  Another part of my action plan, is setting up my 2017 race calendar to support my two main goals.  Running Boston marathon is a pretty easy schedule, so I will need to find a half marathon that will give me plenty of time to recover and train. I also will consider traveling for a fast, competitive half marathon to give me that extra push.

Those are just a few of my goals, and what I plan to do to reach my goals.  How was your 2016?  Have you started making goals for 2017, if so, what do you plan to do to reach them?

If you like what you have read; please comment, share and subscribe!  Thank you so much!

Check out some of my other blog posts too!

A single step….

RUNspiration: Motivating your run

Slow Down! Running Your Easy Run, Easier.

RUNspiration: Motivating your run

Making the most of the 15 minute rule

You know the feeling. Its 5 am and the alarm is going off.  Time for your morning run, yawn. You may be getting off a long day at work and didn’t get much sleep, the house is a mess and you still need to get your run in today.  UGH! We all have that feeling.  Even the most dedicated runner has that feeling sometimes.

Many runners use the 15 minute rule (sometimes called the one mile rule).  If you are struggling for motivation, promise yourself to at least get in 15 minutes (or one mile).  After that point, if you are still struggling you can call it quits.  However, after 15 minutes you feel fine you have hit your groove and you’re ready to tackle your run.  It’s a simple mind trick.

I like to take the 15 minute rule a step further.  I am deliberate in my thoughts as I go on this “15 minute run.”  I think of the people in the running community, who inspire me.  Sure, it’s easy to think of my secret cross town nemesis. I bet SHE isn’t taking it easy today and doesn’t get into running ruts.  It’s too easy to start comparing myself, and too easy to forget that my training is about my goals.  Instead, I think of people I see in the running community everyday, who embody the running community spirit, and give me a positive lift in my own running. These runners can be found in all running communities.  They may go by different names, but the spirit is the same. These are some of my “runspiration.”

  1. The come-back kid

The comeback kid works so hard to continue to run.  Due to reoccurring injuries and bad luck, she understands how lucky she is to be a runner.  She makes me remember. I don’t have to run, I get to. When you see your friend work so hard to do something she loves.  She falls down and gets back up, time and time again.  That is the true runner’s spirit.  We are all hoping when mile 25 of that marathon comes around, the monkey is on your back that we will find one more push.  One more reason to get back up.  To me that inspiration comes from the come-back kid.

  1. The doctors

When I think of people that represent our running community, these two are always at the top of the list. The first ones to agree to meet you at stupid o’clock in the morning with their headlamps on and coffee after.  Hardworking, goal oriented women. They have offered advice to so many runners along the way. They are always one of the first ones to congratulate a fellow runner who has reached their goal.  Most importantly, they enjoy it.  They enjoy getting up and joining the group runs, they enjoy helping others, they enjoy cheering and sharing others success.  I look up to them, I want to impact runners like their spirit has lifted me.


  1. Positively Radiant Friend

My friend is amazing.  She is one of the main reasons I decided to run.  She was training for the Chicago marathon and sharing her journey. My initial thought was, “A marathon? Gross, who is crazy enough to run that far!?”  She kept posting and making it look like such an adventure.  When it finally came race day, I know she was a ball of nerves. She completed her marathon and you could see the excitement all over her face.  The sense of accomplishment was clear to anyone looking at her picture.  Really, my friend inspires me daily. The way she approaches life is awesome.  She has a way of always being so positive and in the moment.  She has a magical way of appreciating the world.  She approaches everything with a quiet confidence that is so peaceful and Zen-like.  She manages this through everything, even when the world seems to turn her life upside down.


There are so many others in our running community that lift me up daily.  Find your motivation.  Get up and get out on your run, because you never know who YOU are inspiring today.  Who motivates you?


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A single step….

“A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”- Lao Tzu’s expression of how great things start from humble beginnings.  That is how I like to imagine every run and race.  One, single step. I have struggled with what awesome, meaningful and engaging information I could pack into my first blog post. In the end, I think it was more important to take a leap of faith, and just begin.

About me (Janell)

I am a mother to a wonderful little girl with the most supportive husband a women could ask for.  I teach middle school science, coach cross-country and track and, of course, I am an avid runner.  I competed in cross country, track and soccer in high school and college.  Like many runners, after college I was a bit burnt out and I wasn’t a strong enough runner to compete at the next level, I sort of fizzled out after graduation.

Fast forwarding 7 years, an emerging teaching career and growing family. I decided to start running again after I had my daughter. I had no idea my world was about to change.  I love running, but more than running, I love the running community.  It’s been over two years and thousands of miles. I am super grateful for the life-long friends I have made and through the support so many have shown me.

Why Blogging?

  • I love the running community, I am excited to find another way to engage with this community
  • I want to remember where I came from. A piece of me wishes I started my blog when I started running.  I may not have any followers, though.  I made a ton of mistakes, and I had to learn the hard way. I am sure I will make plenty more along the way.
  • Advocacy I am not on this journey alone. I have paired up with a wonderful buddy though the web page “I run for Michael” I want to share the stories and advocate for more buddies and runners.  I want to share my buddy’s story.  (Pending Permission)
  • Reviews I want to write reviews and share products that I love. Let’s face it, running cloths, accessories, gadgets and race entries can add up.  I want to share products that work for me.  I already have some items I love and can’t wait to share
  • Race reports I love reading race reports and I feel like a lot can be gained by writing and reading my own as I continue to grow as a runner. I’d love to share to roller coaster ride that goes on inside my, crazy and sometimes unstable, head.
  • Inform I am a student of running and I have become a sponge.  I love to read and learn about all things running and I want to share that with other runners. I look forward to comments and engaging conversations mostly about these topics.
  • Because I love running, and when I am not running, I think about all things running.

I don’t plan on writing to many post like this, all about me.  I plan on topics coming up organically through my running experiences which can lead to my readers getting to know me.

So please, pretty please! Join in discussions, share subscribe and most importantly come back!


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