Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 Year in Review

Like I do each year, this is a chance to look back and see what worked, didn't work, and where I can find improvement.  From a purely racing standpoint, I didn't have a ton of action going on.  Mostly, that was hampered by my toe injury back in May.  As a result, I spent a fair chunk of the year just getting back into the swing of things.  So that meant fewer races.  No biggie - once I was able to bounce back, I've found myself in the best running shape of my life, so that is something I am looking forward to carrying myself over into 2012.  Because of my injury, this year will be known to me as "The year of the toe".

Let's take a closer look at some of the fun times:

I ushered in the new year by training for the Shamrock Marathon in March.  As a result, my training for purely focused on that race, which I finished with a solid PR, but well out of the realm of where I had been trained to run.  Harsh windy conditions set my time goal back and forced me to run at goal pace until I could no longer go.  That turned out to be about 18-20 miles.  I entered that race with the intent on running sub-3:10 for a BQ time and since I knew I'd have no other shot until the times got bumped down, I had to go for glory, despite the wind.  Well, I proved to myself that I am willing to race a marathon, rather than just survive it.  While I didn't get the time I wanted, I learned a lot about myself and how to effectively train for a marathon.

Shortly after the marathon, we made our annual voyage south to Richmond to participate in the Monument Ave 10k.  Though I knew my legs weren't quite recovered from the marathon, I went out at a hard pace.  After noticing things weren't running properly, I shut down the system and pulled things back to cruise the last 3 miles.  This was the smart decision, as I didn't want to jeopardize my future training by digging too deep of a hole just after the marathon. 

About a month after the marathon, I started kicking training back into high gear with some solid workouts, including my first 5k baseline test since the marathon.  I found out very quickly that my fitness was at near peak levels when I rocked a solo 19:10 5k time trial, which was only 5s off my PR.  At that point, I felt like I was on top of the world and ready to crush sub-19 for the first time.

Then things came crashing down pretty quickly when I was dealt with the news that I had a chip fracture in my big toe.  That meant no running for 6 weeks and having to walk around in das boot.  But fear not, we got another companion to help wipe away my tears during that tough time.  Tucker and I managed to go on some epic walks while trying to burn off some calories to keep my from going insane and/or getting to pudgy during my time off.  Well sure enough, I only gain a lb or two, so at least I have him to thank for that, because solor 3-4 miles walks just aren't much fun at all.

After I took some time to get re-acclimated to running again I finally set my sights on a goal for the Fall.  I decided that I'd make an attempt at a 10k PR.  During that time, I was putting in more miles than most of my marathon training weeks and throwing down some really solid workouts.  I knew a PR was in the works, it was just a matter of how fast I'd run.  Turns out because of some tough scheduling conflicts, I selected a course that wasn't so ideal for fast running.  Despite that, I still PR'd by more than a minute, won my age group, and just narrowly missing my goal of sub-40.  Quite the comeback if you ask me!

And it was around this time that Rebecca and I started celebrating the new changes to our family.  Despite that "minor" situation, we traveled to Philly to see her rock her first 13.1 in style.

This year has been a great success for our running program.  We started with approximately 50 participants willing to brave the cold winter conditions in last Winter's DTP, which increased drastically in the Fall to 150 people, many of whom were training for the Marine Corps Marathon.  This Winter, we've returned a lot of the same core group, but the number has increased from last year to 100 participants.  It makes me so happy to be able to work with such a fun, dedicated group of people who are equally passionate about running as I am.  As we continue to spend more time together, I've developed some great friendships along the way.  Just thinking about their races gets me more jazzed up than anything I do myself.  The motivation to help them achieve their goals gives me the strength to push hard when things get tough.

Year Over Year Comparison

Obviously, with the toe injury taking a big chunk of time out of my running, my miles weren't quite what they could have been.  With 6 weeks in the boot, and another month of running a max of up to 10 minutes, I am pretty excited to see that I was able to maintain a pretty consistent mileage total, with a lot of great, quality workouts.

Here are the stats from the previous years:
2009: 942 miles
2010: 1374 miles
2011: 1230 miles

Add in those missed months and that total would have been a bit over 1500 miles on the year.  While I didn't have a stated goal of 1500 miles, I considered that a very reasonable year over year increase.  Moving forward, I like to be at around 1500 miles.  I don't see too much more of a need to run that many more miles than I already am, so as long as I am somewhat consistent in my training, I think that is a reasonable goal.  Oh and yea, I guess some of my time might be devoted to this so I don't want to set too unrealistic goals.

Looking forward to a happy and healthy 2012!

How about you?

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