Our streak of powder skiing weekends finally ended. So in place of the typical weekend ski-stoke update, the timing is good for an update on our running as we look forward to the 2016 season (but keep our fingers crossed for plenty more cold smoke days before we swap out touring boots for racing flats).
Andrea and I both started running for the Saucony Hurricane team in 2011. We are both proud to announce we will be representing Saucony again in 2016. The support and encouragement we have received from Saucony over the years has played in big part in both our accomplishments and the way we have bounced back from setbacks. Just as Saucony is loyal to the sport, we are loyal to the brand and the people (who have become friends) at Saucony. We have developed great relationships with Saucony employees and other athletes over the years and looking forward to keeping that going. Regardless of whether we are "sponsored" by Saucony or not, you wouldn't catch us running in any other brand!
For me (Jake) 2015 was a down year. I didn't race well and I didn't race much after I fell apart (physically and mentally) in the spring. For Andrea, the last several years have been tough - two major surgeries and a seemingly endless recovery process. However, both of us seemed to get our groove back in the fall of 2015 and are really looking forward to seeing what we can do in 2016.
Some forward-looking thoughts on the 2016 campaign from both of us below...
I'm excited about 2016. Winter has been good to us thus far and El Nino is bringing us plenty of snow. My body feels like I went back in time five years - I'm strong, athletic, and running smooth. I'm fit and aerobically strong thanks to the combo of running and uphill skiing. My hunch is that the base I'm building right now is going to pay big dividends on the roads later this year.
2015 was a down year from a running/racing perspective (I've documented that breakdown enough times, and I'm done now), but it was an "up" year on so many other levels (just look at the all the posts on this blog from last year!). I wasn't tearing up the roads like I had in the past, yet Andrea and I had so much fun getting back to our "roots" - exploring and adventuring in the mountains, deserts, etc. My love of the outdoors helped me stay sane, re-focus on what is important in my life, and also re-discovered my love of running (as if it ever went away - I run doubles simply for fun! - but I had still lost a little of the passion). The fact that Saucony has given me another shot on the team in 2016 means a lot to me, and I truly believe I can be back to racing at a high level this year.
My plan right now is to enjoy the winter/spring (ski a lot!), then transition into more focused running and eventually racing as the days get longer and warmer. The combo of running and uphill skiing is the making my body strong and balanced, so I want to keep that going as long as I can. I'd like to run some local races this spring and summer before heading some bigger events during the late summer and fall. Ultimately I want another shot at breaking 2:20 in the marathon* and I'm targeting a few potential races in the October-December range. Its a long year, and there is a lot of time between now and then, so I'm not forcing anything at the moment. I wrote out some 2016 goals on my running log at the beginning of January, but if anything - I'm even more stoked on both skiing AND running/racing than I was a month ago
[*I don't feel like I have ever had a perfect marathon - where everything falls into place the right way. You aren't necessarily guaranteed one of those in a running career, but I want to give myself a few more stabs at it. I've run some very good marathons, but I don't feel like I've come close to my potential. Philly 2011 (in a bit over my head) and Boston 2012 (HOT!) were blowups. CIM 2013 (2:20) was really cold, and at Chicago 2014 (2:21) I was essentially running on one good leg. I had a couple other good performances in local races (UVM 2011; winning TOU 2012 and PHX 2013) but those don't scratch my itch... I want to run a really fast one on a bigger stage... or at least know that I gave it another shot]
The last few years have been really tough on me. After a big breakthrough in 2011-2012, I sustained a major injury in July 2012 that led to surgeries in May 2013 and September 2014. I was in a pretty bad place during this time, dealing with chronic pain that affected me in every aspect of life. Seriously - going for a ½ mile walk was a stretch at time. I would have to wear an ice pack on my abdomen at all times (even to bed at night). As you can imagine, that was not fun. FINALLY about 6 months after the second surgery, I started to feel like I was getting better…that I was getting my life back again. I started (limited) exercising in March 2015 with running and backcountry skiing and have been increasing the volume ever since. Progress has been slow but steady.
Although I want to get back to high mileage running, I have found that variation in exercise is key to my progress. My body is not quite strong enough to run every day. So for the past several months I have been running ~4 days a week, backcountry skiing (or skinning laps at Brighton) ~3 days a week, and strength training ~2 days a week. This schedule is working really well for me and I feel like I am getting consistently stronger (or more tired!). I am planning to maintain this schedule through March and April, then I hope to be able to gradually increase my running volume as the snow melts into summer.
This upcoming summer is going to be crazy with lots of wedding planning and honeymoon-ing through the middle of August. This is when I would like to focus on training and get back into racing. This is all heavily dependent on my progress, but if everything goes well I would like to target a 5k and a half-marathon during the fall. It would be very rewarding to run sub-1:20 for the half marathon and sub-18 for the 5k again. But honestly, the highest priority for me this year is to have fun, enjoy life, and go on lots of adventures. So we’ll just have to see what that entails! :-)
|Our friend Sarah brought this sign to the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon.|
We didn't make it to the trials in 2012... or 2016... but don't count us out for 2020 just yet!