Friday, January 2, 2015

CheapRunnerMike's 2014 Year in Running (and Swimming and Biking)

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

Happy New Year's folks, welcome to 2015!  I figured before we got too immersed in the new year I would take a little bit of time to look back and reflect upon my past year in running…so here goes!

We kicked 2014 with a bang as the 3 Cheap Runners headed down to Walt Disney World in Florida to run Disney Marathon Weekend.  The girls were both running the Half Marathon on Saturday while I took on the Goofy Challenge; the Half on Saturday followed up by the Full Marathon on Sunday.  I ran the Half with Michelle and we finished in a little over 4 hours and placed 20,189 out of 20,245 finishers…oh ya, safe to say we had a LOT of fun out there Open-mouthed smile.  The marathon the next day was fun as well as I wasn't running it to get a good time, just to have a good time.  There were some tough spots out there as the 4-hour half the day before took a toll on me, but I had fun so mission accomplished!

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A week after we got back from Disney I ran another race here in town.  It was the first MEC Race of the year and I signed the kids and myself up for the 5K.  We all ran together and it was FREEZING.  That's right, if you didn't remember, this was the coldest winter in my lifetime…literally.  It was the coldest winter on record here in London since 1977 (I was born in 1978).  We froze but we had fun…we finished near the back of the pack, which was no surprise since Jackson decided just one kilometre into the race that it would be a good idea for him to "run" the race on my shoulders.
Total Miles: 105  Races: 3


Other than marathon weekend, January had been a down month in terms of miles.  I had been in marathon training for Chicago in October and then kept it going through until Disney and my body just needed a break.  February was a really low month mileage-wise as I was enjoying downtime and we also went on holidays down south (though we did manage to get out running quite a few times in Dominican).  I did end up doing one race, the Really Chilly Road Race 10K.  I hadn't been running a lot going into it, but I still managed to run a solid time just over 40 minutes which was good for second in my age group.
Total Miles: 70  Races: 1 (10K - 40:49, 2nd AG)

March was my lowest mileage month of the year with less than 60 on the books.  This was mostly because I was dealing with my only injury of the year (Peroneal Tendonitis) which caused me to take almost two full weeks off.  Just prior to hurting my foot I had run the second MEC Race of the year, a St Patrick's Day race.  I finished in 41:18 and 5th place overall.  Then came the foot injury which took me away from running 100%, though I was able to ride on my bike trainer and get in a lot of swimming…2014 was the year I really learned how to swim!
My first run after hurting my foot was a nice, easy 30K at Around the Bay in Hamilton…you always hear great things about this race, but all three of us shared the same opinion that it was nothing special.  The first 20K of the race were run through industrial areas but the last 10K was really beautiful (and hilly!).  I fought through the 30K that I was completely undertrained for and finished just under my 2:30 goal with a time of 2:26:09.  Though I really didn't like this race, it is one I will probably run again one year…it has "redemption" written all over it!
Total Miles: 58  Races: 2 (10K - 5th OA, 30K - 2:26:09)

Another lower mileage month (the year was really off to a great start, eh?) as I was coming back from injury, but the running season was about to officially kick off with a couple of half marathons.  The first was the Run for Retina Half, which I had run the previous year as my first ever half marathon.  My training still wasn't where I wanted it to be and I struggled to a 1:35:56 finish, somehow good enough for 9th overall but my worst showing ever in a half.  I was disappointed, but I knew it was a realistic reflection of where I was at.  It was a reminder that I couldn't just roll out of bed and expect to run a 1:30 half…results like that actually took work.
I had a chance to make up for the poor showing two weeks later at the Forest City Road Race Half Marathon, the premier race here in London. I went into that race battling a cold, but I had a good strategy and ended up running much better, finishing in 1:31:26 and an age group win.  I was feeling a lot better about my running again, but knew that there was still work to do if I wanted to see improvement.
Total Miles: 65 Races: 2 (HM 9th OA, HM 1st AG)

Zoomphoto Inc Event Photography

Triathlon season was about to get underway and I had been logging some decent bike rides and swim sessions.  I was also finally getting my running back on track and have to say that the three sport focus was great for me…it really saved my running legs through the spring and summer months and gave them the break they had been craving for so long.  I had my first truly long bike ride of my life, riding from the house up to the cottage (50 miles) and swimming was really taking off as Michelle and I had joined the local Master's club at the Y.  I had been able to up my running mileage a bit as well and they were quality miles…I was starting to feel more like myself again.  On Mother's Day I ran the third MEC Race of the year, a 15K with my Mum (she was getting ready to run her first half marathon!).  I finished with a pretty solid time of 1:04:59 which gave me 3rd overall.
Total Miles: 240 (5 Swim, 125 Bike, 110 Run)  Races: 1 (15K 3rd OA)

Triathlon training was in full swing now with my goal race (Musselman 70.3) coming up in July.  My swimming had really taken off thanks to the weekly Splash n Dash open water swim/5K run put on by one of the local coaches but I was still struggling to find time to get in solid bike rides.  I was feeling confident after taking on my first triathlon of the year though as I placed third in my age group and 25th overall at the Guelph Lake I Olympic Tri, although I later realized that I had cut almost a full kilometre off the run course.  I contacted the race organizers and told them all about it, so they just assessed me a time penalty which dropped me back to 5th AG and 44th overall with a time of 2:20:22.  My swim and bike were great though and I was seeing lots of progress, and the run was really solid too.  I was really getting into the triathlon training and was loving it!
Total Miles: 192 (12 Swim, 70 Bike, 110 Run)  Races: 1 (Oly Tri - 5th AG)

Goal race time!  I completed my first Half Iron race, Musselman 70.3 down in Geneva, NY on July 13.  It was an awesome day (well, it was a wet, muggy, windy, horrible day to be honest…) and it was great having Michelle and the kids there to cheer me on, along with blogger friend Laura who was volunteering at the race.  I fought some huge swells on the swim, brutal winds, rain and even some hail on the bike, and then struggled through the half marathon run at the end and gutted out a time of 5:35:46.
Who needs a break after a Half Ironman?  Not me apparently…I had signed up to race the Bluewater Triathlon, our local race up at the cottage, the following Saturday.  I did the Olympic while Michelle took on the Sprint distance.  The kids even got in on the action and did the kids' races the next day.  The race went well, especially considering the lack of recovery from my 70.3, and I placed 4th in my age group, just getting pipped at the finish line and missing the podium.  It was fine though as I knew I gave it everything I had…my tank was on 'E'.  I was super happy to see the swim and bike improvements I had made too, as I was 8th overall out of the water (2nd AG) and my 40K bike split was the best for my age group (Men 30-39).  Surprisingly it was my run, a 47-minute 10K, that let me down, but like I said I was gassed.  My final time was 2:12:08, but it was a shortened course…still a time to be proud of though!
Total Miles: 230 (5 Swim, 110 Bike, 115 Run)  Races: 2 (70.3 Tri, Oly Tri - 4th AG)

Mike on Bike 2

My first month of the year without a race on the schedule, but I had a renewed focus on the run, specifically on building endurance on the run.  I had really loved doing triathlons but wasn't happy with my running off the bike.  I was tiring out way quicker than I should have been and I had signed up to run a Half Marathon the beginning of September with Chris, with hopes of breaking 1:30.  I got in plenty of decent runs and capped my longest runs at 10 miles.  I was feeling good adding both speed and distance, so I was looking forward to taking on a sub-1:30 half and the Fall running season.
Total Miles: 136  Races: 0

The Springbank Half kicked off the month and I ran it with Chris as planned.  I ran the first third of the race with him and then dialed up some speed and powered on to break 1:30 with a time of 1:29:16 and a new PR.
The following weekend I had my last triathlon of the year, Lakeside Sprint,our local London race.  I signed up on really short notice and hadn't even been on the bike since my last race and only had a couple of lunchtime pool swims that I got in in the two weeks leading up to the race.  The weather was brutal, as temperatures were in the 40's and it was WET.  My swim was good though as I was 5th in my age group, then I suffered a bit on the bike (everything was numb with the cold and rain), and despite not being able to feel my feet (for real), I threw down a 20:07 5K run to finish strong.  It felt great to end the Tri season with a strong run as I had been disappointed in my running off the bike most of the season.  I beat my goal time and grabbed 5th in my age group.
I had one other race in a busy September, another 15K MEC Race.  My goal was to PR at the 15K distance and I gave it my all out there.  I was running faster than ever at this point and was able to drop a whole minute off of my previous best, which gave me a second place finish of 1:00:48.
Total Miles: 160  Races: 3 (HM 1:29:16, Sprint Tri - 1:15:03, 15K - 2nd OA)

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I kept adding speed and distance to my runs as we turned the page to October even though I didn't really have any more races on my schedule.  I was running better than I ever had in my life and just wanted to see how much I could improve.  October was a new high-mileage month for me, and I also maintained an average pace of 4:11/km (6:42/mile) for the entire month.  On our Thanksgiving Weekend I decided to give myself something to shoot for officially and signed up to run the Disney Marathon in January.  Marathon number 3 was now on the schedule and marathon training was underway!
I did manage to get in a couple of races as well…I ran the Pinery 10K up at the cottage and smashed my PR and took second overall (and $100 cash prize woohoo!) with a time of 37:44.  The following weekend I got in a solid 16-mile long run on Saturday and then backed it up on Sunday morning by running the Halloween Haunting 10K in 38:47, 8th overall and first in my age group…and first place runner in costume!
Total Miles: 217 Races: 2 (10K - 2nd OA, 10K - 1st AG)

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No more races scheduled for 2014, just lots of marathon training.  We had a family trip to Disney World at the beginning of the month which served as a mini running break for me, but I still had a good high mileage month and managed to drop the average pace for the month down to 4:04/km (6:30/mile) and was amazed with what I was able to accomplish.  I realized in November that I was basically following the Hansons Marathon Method already with all of the hard running I was doing, so I decided to just start 'officially' following it.  It felt great to dial in some awesome training paces and get in solid workouts.  Confidence was certainly running high!
Total Miles: 203  Races: 0

The final month of 2014 was my highest mileage month EVER with 275 miles and I still kept pushing the pace with a 4:06/km (6:34/mile) average.  I ran every single day other than Christmas Day itself with nothing shorter than 10K and got in some great long runs as well.  Just an awesome month of training and my expectations are high for Disney on January 11.
Total Miles: 275 Races: 0

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Well if you made it this far, thanks for reading!  I know this was a long post but it always feels good to look back on the year that's past and remember all the good times before turning our heads to the new year ahead.

Hope everyone had a great time for New Year's and hope 2015 has plenty of wonderful things in store for you!


  1. Awesome recap of 2014, Mike! And looks like your running has evolved into a beastly form by the end of the year! Looking forward to some fast times in 2015, good luck for Disney!

  2. that was an absolutely fantastic year for you mike - and of course i can only see things continuing on the upward swing for you! really looking forward to celebrating (at least via the good ol' interweb) many more PBs and AG (maybe overall!) wins!

  3. Kristi@BlogforanAverageRunnerJanuary 4, 2015 at 8:53 PM

    Wow! You have times I could only dream of. I would love to say it is because you are almost a decade younger than me but I think it is safe to say even I had been running 10 years ago I would not be anywhere near those times. Congrats on an amazing year!

  4. Wow! And I have no doubt 2015 for you and Michelle...going to be even better!!

  5. Haha thanks Kristi...I never thought that my paces would be where they are right now, but hard work has paid off

  6. Thanks Chelsea, I sure hope so :) Hope your 2015 (and those 2 ultras on the schedule) is great too!