Wrapping up 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, I am reflecting on what my goals were I set this time last year and how I measured up to them as well as working on what I would like to achieve in 2015. When setting my goals I focus on 3 factors, fitness, financial, and personal goals I want to achieve. For my fitness goals I decided to take on Dirt in Your Skirts “14 in 14” challenge which is where I set out 14 goals/races I wanted to take on in my fitness journey over the course of the year. The 14 goals are as follows:

1. 2015 is game time69 in 69 (workout for 69 consecutive days straight with only active rest days)
2. Complete my first trail race
3. Complete my first Relay Race
4. Complete another half marathon and improve my time
5. Do a fun run in the dark
6. Run 100 miles in 30 days
7. Rugged Maniac
8. Mudderella
9. Spartan Sprint
10. Spartan Super
11. Spartan Beast
12. Finish a Spartan Race in the top 20 of my age group
13. Run both a 5K and a 10K distance in the same weekend
14. Perform 6 consecutive strict pull ups

So how did I measure up to these goals?

1. The 69 in 69 challenge was a rough one as rest is a very important part of the recovery process and it became quite hard to maintain focus towards the end, but I was able to complete this with the help and support of others. My active rest days would consist of 20 minutes of cardio only or yoga to help give the body a break from the more rigorous workouts I would put it through.
2. On April 5, 2014 I did Muddy, which was not only my first trail race but also my first quarter marathon. This race was nothing like I expected as it was more like a Spartan Race with none of the traditional obstacles. There were less than 40 people on that course, no water stations, and it was cold and many parts of the ground were snow covered and that is not easy to run on in sneakers.
3. On August 2, 2014 I participated in my first relay race, River to the Sea. This race spanned 92 miles that began in Milford, NJ and ended in Manasquan, NJ. Our team, the Turtle Stampede, was initially made up of 7 members, however, due to an injury the day before the race, our team was taken down to only 6 members to cover that 92 miles. By the end of that day, I would have run 3 legs of the race that totaled 16.8 miles instead of my planned 2 legs that would have totaled only 14 miles.
4. My second half marathon was the Superhero Half that took place on May 18, 2014. When I started this race I felt really good. Much better than my first half. I felt confident that this would be the race I would improve my time on over the Trenton Half last year. The course was great and I really enjoyed it, but when I crossed that finish line I realized that my time was almost exactly the same. Definitely not the time I had anticipated, both because I wanted to do better and because I actually felt great running this race. So on October 25, 2014 I decided to run the NJ Haunted Half Marathon and try one more time to achieve this goal. Not only did I improve my time by a little, I set a goal for that race to finish in less than 2 hours and 10 minutes and came in under that time as well setting a new personal record and beating my Trenton Half time by 8 minutes.
5. On September 5, 2014 I headed to Brooklyn, NY to do my very first night run, the Electric Run. This was a 5K that had glow sticks, music, neon, inflatables, and was a lot of fun, except for the long drive which was about 5 hours round trip for only a 30-40 minute experience.
6. Before my relay race, I needed to make sure I kept my mileage up so what better time than during that training to do 100 miles in 30 days. I had it set to end on the actual date of my relay race (assuming I would run the planned 14 miles) so I actually ended up running 102.8 miles in 30 days.
7. I ran Rugged Maniac in 2013 just over a week of having surgery so I struggled a bit on the course and was in a lot of pain. In 2014 I took on that course with a stronger, healthier body and it was a lot of fun! The obstacles were great, the course was fun, and the overall experience was really wonderful!
8. In 2013 I did the Dirty Girl Mud Run, which was an all-female event that was only about the distance of a 5K. It was fun, but I wanted to try another all-female race that was more challenging so I decided to create a team and we did the Mudderella on May 10, 2014. What a great group of women to do this race with and it was a lot of fun. For some, this was their very first mud run and I thoroughly enjoyed helping them through the course. It was set on the same course in Englishtown that I have done Tough Mudder and Rugged Maniac on and had some similar obstacles and the real barbed wire was replaced with just regular wire.
9. The Spartan Sprint on June 7, 2014 took place in Tuxedo, NY and this was the first race that I decided to not hang back with the team, but to run my race and see what I could do. As I stood at the starting line with many of my teammates, I struggled with running ahead, but I need to do this for me. Early on I failed the monkey bars when my arm slipped off of the bar and injured my arm, which to this date has not properly healed. Not losing focus on what I wanted to achieve, I pushed through and ended up placing 14th in my age group that day and also completed obstacles such as the traverse wall, rope climb, and 8 foot wall all on my own for the very first time.
10. On September 6, the day after the Electric Run, I ran the Spartan Super in Vernon, NJ. Going into this race I was tired from the long drive to Brooklyn the day before and hurt my back earlier in the week so I had to take it easy. I took this opportunity to really help my teammates. For many this was their first Super and some even their first Spartan race. A little over half way in, there was a storm brewing and fearing we would be grounded and not able to finish the course, a group of us that were Beast bound a few weeks later took off and really pushed to finish this race.
11. On September 20, 2014 I took on the ‘Beast of the East’ in Killington, VT for the 3rd consecutive year. This race was also the Spartan World Championship Race that was televised on NBC Sports. This race I really enjoyed and while it was the hardest race I have ever done to date, it was one of the most wonderful experiences as I went into this race to enjoy what it had to offer. From the obstacles to trails to the camaraderie this race was amazing and with the completion of this race, I earned my 3rd Spartan Race Trifecta.
12. Over the past few years I realized that since courses vary, it is so hard to try to “beat” your time or to set a time goal to finish by, so this year I decided to change how I view my progress and wanted to rank top 20 in my age group for one of the 3 Spartan races I did in 2014 and I did just that at the Spartan Sprint in Tuxedo.
13. By doing the Electric Run (5K) & Spartan Super (8+ miles) on September 5th & 6th and then the NJ Haunted Half (13.1) & The Medical Needs Foundation 5K on October 25th and 26th I was able to achieve the goal of running both a 5K and a 10K distance in the same weekend not just once, but twice!
14. Unfortunately, due to an injury of my right arm that occurred at the Spartan Sprint I was unable to achieve the goal to perform 6 strict consecutive pull ups. As of December 30th I have been unable to do more than 4 pull ups without terrible pain. I have tried resting, icing, heat, creams, and it will start to feel better and then the slightest movement will set off the pain again. While I am not happy that I was not able to meet this goal, last year at this time when I did not have this injury I was only able to do a max of 3 strict unassisted pull ups so just improving my number from last year is satisfying.

For a full description of many of these races above, please check out my blog posts about them in the “my adventures” section. Some are separate posts, such as “My First Trail Race” and others are compiled events, such as “Putting My Endurance to the Test” or “I am not a runner…”

In regards to my financial goals and personal goals, I did reach many of these as well and will continue to focus on them in 2015. Just to name a few, during 2014 I started this blog to share my stories and knowledge, I became a Mary Kay independent beauty consultant, I paid off 2 more credit cards and am closer to becoming debt free, and have done some really rewarding projects in the community, such as collecting food donations and volunteering at a local food pantry and helped build homes for Habitat for Humanity. Looking ahead to 2015, I have set some pretty big goals for myself and am very excited, and even a bit nervous, for the challenges that lie ahead. Bus as I always say…”if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!”

Have a safe and Happy New Year and thank you for supporting me and reading about my crazy adventures on my blog. I look forward to sharing more with you in 2015!

1 comment

  1. Ben January 5, 2015 at 10:11 am Reply

    Melissa, my name is Ben with Rugged Maniac and I just stumbled across your blog post. Thanks for being part of a great 2014! Stay Rugged!

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