#RunnersRoundup: Four years of running

By | January 6, 2021

how on earth did that happen?

My first run, January 6, 2017

January 6, 2017 was a cold and rainy day and I dreaded the idea of walking forever on the gym treadmill for steps. On a whim (and without a sports bra), I decided to speed up the pace a little.

January 6, 2021 I set out for four miles, but that turned into 6.1, 1.525 for every year of running because you can always do a little more than you first thought.

In between the two days I have run: one marathon, eight Half Marathons (I think), two 15Ks, 2 ten milers and countless NYRR and NYCRuns weekly races between 5 and 10K.


Linking up with Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Mile by Mile, Runs with Pugs , and Laura Norris Running for the #RunnersRoundup to look at the last four years.

[bctt tweet=”Celebrating four years of running and setting 2021 goals in the #RunnersRoundup” username=”travellingcari”]

thank you for 2020 for making me a morning runner

I never marked my third running anniversary as I was injured and cranky/pissed off, but here are my posts for my first and second anniversaries as well as my third raceversary. Oh how much the world changed right after that post and my race totals are the same a year later. At least no one is looking to anyone for an explanation on why did you stop racing?

Running mileage the last few years

The IT Band injury started 2020 off poorly, mileage wise, and then I essentially took April off when I got tired of running through pain, yet I still ran almost 800 miles last year. I really love #GoTheDist for making those posts so easily findable, and for this fun twitter exchange with former New York Giant Osi Umenyiora last week. It’s crazy to think I’ve run 2,806.36 (like kids’ age, that decimal is important!) miles in the last four years.  I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished and what I know I can continue to.

Who I am:

I can see myself as both a marathoner, and someone who took 12 minutes to run .61 miles that first day. Sometimes I see that person in the same run.  I actually think that’s normal. I’m happy to have found running again as an adult, and grateful for the enjoyment/outlet it provides me. And of course love all of you who it brought into my life.

I am a morning runner. This is new in 2020, but it’s one part of the year I hope I keep because I really love it.

I am a consistent runner. Or maybe I became one, but from July-December my mileage was steady even through weather extremes, and I didn’t let those extremes derail me. OK, maybe two things to keep from 2020!

I am an obsessive tracker. 1,853 consecutive days in MyFitnessPal and a year plus before that until I missed midnight one crazy day. 8-10 years step tracking (more on that below). I’m not sure whether those are good or bad, but they are.

Who I will be:

When I was doing weight watchers and other weight loss initiatives, I focused on mini goals (apparently to such an extent that it’s still big in my tag cloud). It’s way easier to wrap my head around a small goal than a giant one. Also, who knows what 2021 is going to bring? A lot of my 2020 mileage was courtesy of working from home for the bulk of the year. That will change. But I found when looking back at the goal posts that I really enjoyed re-reading them, so here are some mini goals for 2021 and my fifth year of running:

  • keep up the prehab. I truly believe that’s how I stayed pain-free the second half of 2020 with the consistent, higher mileage (for me) months.  The knockoff Theragun was a great purchase, but foam rolling and stretching are wonderful tools too.
  • Increase my strength training. I inherited some dumbbells when a neighbor moved out and I want to do more. Or at least more consistently. I’m beginning to think about the Peloton app for that since I have wifi at home and our insurance reimbursement may even cover it.
  • Start the year on pace for 900 miles. That was originally my hard goal for 2021, but as I mentioned, I have no idea what running will look like once we return to the office. Even if I’m ready to return to the gym to shower at that point, there’s not really a branch close enough to facilitate run commute. So 75 miles/month until we return to the office and then re-evaluate.
  • Find a non-race goal to work toward. I have no idea if I’m running an in-person race in 2021 and don’t tend to treat virtual races as races. But I want to work toward something. What that something is? I don’t know. Maybe it ties in with strength training.
  • Re-evaluate my relationship with the step spreadsheet. This partially happened last year, but I didn’t realize it until late. I think the Fitbit is a great tool to motivate to go that extra bit, but it’s also crazy making. Beat last year, last month. Does it matter? It’s like when I threw the 30m goal out the window early in my running journey.  I’ll still track my steps, and want to be better about going for walks on non running days, but does the step goal matter as much? We’ll see.

GoTheDist 2020

mostly because I want to have it when I look back next year.

  • 4,658,407 steps
  • 2072.49 miles run/walked
  • 790.67 miles run.

How long have you been running?

Do you celebrate your running anniversary?



23 thoughts on “#RunnersRoundup: Four years of running

  1. Liz Dexter

    I am so proud of you for those four years of wonder and achievement and learning, and I’ve loved being every step of the way with you from over here. Esp your marathon journey, and so so SO glad you did that when you did it!

    I don’t know when I started running! I know I did a Flora London 5k some time when I lived in London so we’re taking a couple of decades by now. So no anniversary to celebrate, but when I see the Reykjavik marathon roll around I think of that first mara experience.

    Here’s to many more years running (and hamming it up in photos, of COURSE).

    1. cari Post author

      wonder, achievement and learning. I LOVE that. So very true. And I hope none of those feelings ever fade. It’s funny how we have those special moments and races and with us – your comment on my first race was a book rec in conjunction with congrats. COuld that be any more us? So glad to have you a part of this

  2. Darlene S Cardillo

    Love reading about your journey. I am so happy to have been a part of it – a marathon, several half marathons, a race-cation and many walks, talks and slogs. I can’t wait to have memories – all which have been captured in a photos or ten.

    April 1, 2008 was my first run as part of a class. I didn’t run consistently or even in the winter for a few years. Once I decided in 2010 to train for a half marathon, then I feel I became a “real” runner – got a watch, ran in the rain, ran more than a mile on weekdays.

    I am slightly grateful for the pandemic. I have run and walked more miles because I am working from home (in my running clothes at all times.)

    My mileage will decrease when I go back to work but that also means travel (which gives me hotel pts for NYC visits.)

    Let’s hope that 2021 is a year that we are both healthy and ZOOMA Cape Cod becomes a reality.

    1. cari Post author

      I love your definition of becoming a real runner. All so true, and I love all of our adventures. Sometimes the non runs are just as fun as the runs. We need to find another state to run together in each year! .

  3. Lisa @ Mile by Mile

    Congrats on 4 years! You have come so far. I think who we are as runners will change throughout the years, and thats totally normal. Hope this year of running is a great one for you!

    1. cari Post author

      I think so too re: the evolution, and there’s no right or wrong. Thank you!

  4. Kimberly Hatting

    What an amazing journey 🙂 I don’t know the exact date of my first run (back in college, and it doesn’t really count because it was a pathetic attempt at a 5K with no training). But it was early July of 2005 when I got serious. Keep up the great work! It’ll be fun to see how 2021 plays out for running & racing.

    1. cari Post author

      Yep, I have no idea what my true first was in high school indoor track season, but I was always more about the field activities so don’t really count that. Thank you! It has been a fun adventure. Here’s to a solid 2021 for both of us!

  5. Deborah Brooks

    That is cool to look back on your running journey. You sure have accomplished so much in the last 4 years. Having strength training as a goal will help you a lot. I second the Peloton app while it’s free again for 2 months. You will love it 🙂

    1. cari Post author

      Thanks! The main reason I’d resisted was it didn’t seem practical since my signal is rarely on when I’m outside running, but then I was trying to think of some structure for strength training. Didn’t realize there was another trial. That makes for an easy decision

  6. Chocolaterunsjudy

    Go Cari! Happy to run/walk down memory lane with you.

    I seriously have no recollection of the first day I ran/walked. I know it was in TX. I know I started to run, just a little, when we lived in TX. But the first day? No clue.

    Luckily I’m not super obsessives about steps/mileage, although someone might tell you differently as I pace around the house. Often.

    After the last software update, my Garmin is back to upping the ante on steps ever day. I ignore it — because seriously, where does that end? I try not to ignore it when it tells me I haven’t moved in a while (hence the pacing). More movement, less exercise. Love that (from Peloton).

    Here’s to a 2021 filled with pain free, morning runs, Car, as we slow *hopefully* inch back more towards normalcy.

    1. cari Post author

      Yes, yes, I love your wish for 2021, and hopefully also a year where we can at least have a park wave.
      I only wear my Garmin for runs so its step goal is all over. I ignore that and just work toward my Fitbit’s 12K goal, although that’s not really feasible in winter without a commute.
      Major props for running in Texas. Not sure I could navigate that heat

  7. Laura

    You have accomplished so much in four year! That’s awesome how you’ve built your mileage each year.

  8. Jenn

    Happy Run-niversary!

    I am going on 8 years in February. I’m not sure I remember the exact date (I’m terrible with dates), so I normally mark the day of my first 5k (Memorial Day).

    So proud of you and can’t wait to run a race with you one day! It will happen!

    1. cari Post author

      It will absolutely happen and hopefully sooner rather than later.
      My raceversary makes me laugh as it changed months from March to February. I’m glad it was in March the first two as I wasn’t even thinking about a race in February, and I’m not sure I’d have found it the following year. My life wouldn’t be anywhere near as fun without a penguin as my first race

  9. Laurie

    Good for you, Cari! You had an excellent year of running. I like your plan to do prehab and to increase strength training. I think both will make you a better, more injury-free runner. Your goal of 900 miles is realistic, but not too easy. I have been running for 33 years now, racing for 17. Here’s to a healthy, happy, pain-free 2021!

    1. cari Post author

      Thank you! I’m looking forward to a good year too.
      33/17 years, wow.
      I wish I’d have been more interested in running in high school vs. just seeing it as something to do in my off season. I wouldn’t have been able to keep running immediately after graduation (Knee surgery), but I wonder how things would have been different if I’d picked it up again sooner than 37.

  10. Coco

    I’m so glad you became a runner, because otherwise I never would have met you! LOL on why you didn’t mark your 3rd running anniversary. Love your goals for 2021. I think Peloton still has a 2 month free trial going on (it’s usually one month) so sign up now – it’s risk free and they don’t even collect your cc number yet.

    1. cari Post author

      Me too! Running brought so many people into my life, and you’re the one who brought me to the linkup. I love that we both ran cherry blossom the same year but didn’t yet know one another. So glad even in upside down 2020 we managed to see each other twice.
      I think Peloton is going to get me through post-travel quarantine.

  11. Shathiso

    I love the record of your first run! Wow. I’m so proud of that girl because if she was anything like me, it took a lot to get to that point! We’ve been running the same time! I entered some fun races between October and December 2016) but January 2017 was when I made the real commitment to making running a part of my life. It has been quite the journey and so hard to believe what has happened in those four years – like you 8 Half Marathons, no marathon yet (thanks Covid) but several other exciting race challenges.

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