Doyle's Emerald Necklace

Doyle's Emerald Necklace

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2015 Recap

2015 was a great year for me. It's hard to even do a recap because there were so many highs. The year started off on a high note that just got higher until it crashed and burned by October. But all in all, it was my best year running and racing, and I'm hoping to make my way back up in 2016.
The biggest Series highlights:
2015 Granite State Snowshoe Series women's champion
2015 USATF-NE All-Terrain Series 2nd woman
2015 USATF-NE Mountain Running Series women's champion
2015 Seacoast Series women's champion
GSSS Championship Race at Castle in the Clouds. Photo by Scott Mason
Say what? I'm on a track. ATR Series 5000m torture. Notice Amanda Wright slowly sneaking up on me, only to blow past me in the last 100 meters. Haha. Photo by Scott Mason

Bretton Woods Fell Race. Last race of the USATF-NE Mountain Series. Photo by Gianina Lindsey

York Days 5K. Seacoast Series. Photo by Maine Running Photos

I was really happy I got to complete so many different Series here in New England and to have done so well. I did 4 out of the 7 New England Grand Prix races and still managed a top 20 finish for the women's open category. Someone asked me today how many races I won (1st woman) in 2015. I was shocked to count 19!! And that doesn't count any of the Summer Series races at Whitaker Woods. Way more than I thought. Sweet!

In 2015, I ran a race nearly every weekend up until getting injured, so it's hard to narrow down my top races, but I'll give it a try.

Boston Prep 16-Miler- This race was totally unplanned, and I pretty much went into it blindly with no idea of my fitness level. Probably the hardest road race I ran all year, but I surprised myself by finishing 2nd woman overall in 1:45:45 a 6:36/mi pace. I was shocked. This was THE race that set me up for the year; the moment I knew I was going to do well in 2015. So probably the most significant race of 2015.

Eastern States 20-Miler- Two months after Boston Prep, I ran another surprisingly awesome race, finishing 3rd woman in 2:11:33. I was amazed how I was able to hold such an even pace for 20-miles. Ran exactly my goal and knew I had put everything in place for a sub-3 marathon. I could run evenly, fast and all by feel. Major confidence booster.

Merrimack River Trail Race- I chose this race because it's the race I really gave everything I had. I had been holding an easy 2nd place woman until I veered off course, winding up 6th woman. I ran until I could barely run another step to get back to 3rd. One of my truly best efforts of the year. I couldn't be disappointed with this one. To get back into a good place after the blow of realizing I was off course meant a lot to me. I gave it my all. My CMS teammates and I would end up winning the top women's team for the USATF-NE Trail Race Championship.
Just before going off course. Photo by Michael Quintal
Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race- I love this race and was so happy to finally take the women's win here in a much improved time over the 2 previous years. This was only the second race in the Mountain Series I had ever won, and it meant starting off the Series with a win.
Photo by Scott Mason
Vermont City Marathon- This one is obvious. My first sub-3 marathon in 2:55:48, 4th woman. This race was the culmination of every bit of training and racing I had done in the 5 months prior. Everything just went so right. I never hit a wall. I ran a pretty even pace all by feel and had my mental game on right. This was my #1 goal race, so the high after this one lasted a long time.
Photo by Scott Mason
Whiteface Sky Marathon- Probably the hardest, yet most awesome race I ran all year. The worst weather by far of any race I had ever done. Cold rain, extreme wind. The mud! As much a mental game as a physical one. This was the race that made me feel strong in every aspect. About 19 miles with over 9000ft of elevation gain. 4th woman in 4:59:44. One of the last people to squeeze in under 5 hours. This entire weekend trip with John and one of my old trail friends really made it the best weekend of the year. I'm hoping to go back again in 2016.
Photo by Kendra Farstad
Loon Mountain Race- This makes my top list because it was the first time in 5 times of running it that I felt I had finally figured it out! And I had an awesome race! I ran with my CMS teammate and friend, Regina Loiacano, nearly the whole way which gave me the push I needed to finally beat that mountain, finishing 4th woman in 1:12:13. New (and longer) course for us women, but still my fastest pace ever in the 5 years. Regina, my other CMS teammates and I, once again grabbed the women's team title for the USATF-NE Mountain Championship Race. Fantastic day all around for personal and team goals.

Photo by Scott Mason
 SELT Trailfest 4 and 10 Miler- Very low key event,  but it made my list because it was my first race double ever, and I was first woman in both. The 4-mile race started an hour before the 10, so I had little recovery in between. It was a good way to test my strength to see if I could do well in both. Huge boost in confidence (that would be smashed to pieces a month later haha). The whole atmosphere of this race made it one of my favorites for the year. John ran (and enjoyed!) the kids race. Then it was topped off with local beer from Stoneface and good times with running friends. Sometimes low key, smaller events are the best.
Photo by Carolyn Shreck
Lone Gull 10K- I was looking forward to this race for months and ended up having an awesome race with a huge 10k PR despite the horrid heat and humidity that nearly choked me to death when I stepped out of the car. 12th woman in 38:28. I had looked forward to going back to Gloucester for the first time in over 8 years, and it was the last NE GP race of the year. We had a full team. All of the other runners I had gotten to know over the last year were there. It was just a big day. The final large road race of the year. Running well. I was so happy to have such a good race before the BIG INJURY one week later. It was my final high note. No pics from Lone Gull. The only two are of a group, and I'm way in the back.

So, obviously, the year took an unexpected turn for the worse with my injury. I was out two months from running. I cross-trained, did what I could, but I lost everything I had gained. I also lost my social life. So the two together were a tough loss. I made sure to keep myself in the running world as best I could, but it wasn't the same. That being said, I was able to finish off 2015 back to running. It hasn't been pretty. Most of it has literally been painful. But all I can do is just keep moving forward into 2016. 2015 was an awesome year overall in running and in life. Team changes, trying new things, becoming myself again (Goodbye, Leslie Beckwith) and running well all while being a good mom to John. Cheers to 2015! And on to 2016, my 40th year and a schedule full of racing!




Photo by Scott Mason
BEER OF THE YEAR 2015
Had to pick both, as I lived off of the Shandy all summer. And Fat Alberta was as good as Bob Jackman said it would be.


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