Sunday, January 1, 2012

And here comes 2012!

It's a bit odd because my goal event (Nookachamps Half Marathon) is in two weeks so I don't feel like I'm quite to the end of the year.  Still it's always nice to acknowledge the year and those accomplishments and look at what is the next goal and areas to work on.

First I ran 1616 miles for the year and averaged 31 miles per week.  I never set mileage goals for the year and this is just over 150 less than last year's all time high.  I never had any forced downtime because of injury though.  That is my main mileage goal and I achieved it.

I had some nice bike rides during the spring and summer and like usual that cross training fell by the wayside as running intensity increased and the light/warmth of summer left.  I have been very consistent with strength training and I'm pretty happy with the real increases I've seen in that.  I definitely plan to be mindful of not just focusing on running when that is appropriate.  I always like the mix and that keeps running fresh. 

Last year I did not have any standout races and still did not feel done with that marathon demon.  So earlier this year I did finally run one more marathon and felt better about it.  It was still a bit of a slog the last miles but less of a slog than I've had.

I then dropped back the distance and focused on faster running. I finally hit well under 1:50 for a half marathon in June and then ran really strongly at the Ragnar Relay in July.  I also added captain's duties for managing the relay and really enjoyed myself.  I thought to capitalize on the distance training I'd had, add trails and try for my first 50k.  But stress at work precipitated an illness the day before the race.  I finished half the distance and both enjoyed myself and was disappointed.  At that point, I knew I needed to focus on shorter events with the occasional longer road or trail run.  and in the build up to my goal half marathon, I've had some real surprises.  I never expected to run so fast at the hilly 12k two weeks ago.  Hills like that have typically been my undoing in races but for that race, everything finally worked. 

What have I learned this year then?  In training, I need to work a lot harder in that speed and tempo work.  Quite often I cannot hit the intensity I need to hit to really be able to hold the feeling of discomfort in a race.  And I've learned that if I don't monitor and control my form when I'm starting to feel the race, everything can fall apart.  So this year I was able to run quite a few races and practice these lessons.  Between volunteering and getting some comped race entries and having a great and inexpensive monthly race series plus some fantastic trail races in the area, I ran in 20 races!

5 - 5ks all on road
1 - 5 miler on trails
5 - 10ks all on road except 1
1 - 12k on roads - Personal Record (PR) for this distance
1 - 10 miler on roads - PR at this distance
3 - 25ks all on trails (also a PR but those are less meaningful for different trail races)
2 - half marathons with one on roads and one on trails
1 - marathon on roads
1 - 2 day relay

Like I said, I'm not sure what 2012 holds as I'm waiting to see how the upcoming half marathon turns out.  2011 really was a year to regain my confidence and focus on figuring out what works for me.  Those goals were definitely achieved and I am really looking forward to 2012.

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