A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Year in Review

Happy New Year! I like to save my "year in review" post for just after New Year's Day. I like to think it gives you something to look forward to.

So, on to the festivities!

1. How many miles did you run this year?

1084.31! An increase of 195.16 over 2010 and my first time breaking 1000 miles in a year. I didn't even want to set that as a goal originally because I didn't know if I would do it. I guess running two marathons in one year will get your mileage up.

2. What were your highest/lowest weekly mileage results?

My highest weekly mileage was just over 40 miles. Big thanks to Kim for getting me up that high!

My lowest, of course, were the weeks where I ran zero miles.

3. What was your best mileage month?

Definitely August! With almost 154 miles run it's the best for not only 2011 but for my entire running career! Again, props to Kim since we ran together every weekend in August.

4. What was your longest run?

Distance-wise it was my two marathons.

However, honorable mention goes to the Madison to Chicago Ragnar Relay. Although I only ran 18 miles broken into three chunks, I was up for over 30 hours with less than 2 hours of sleep. I think that has to count as a longest something!

5. How many races did you enter in 2011? What were your best and worst race performances?

I ran 30 races. Yes, 30! That's more than two a month. I may have had a slight problem this year....

With 30 races to choose from, I can't put my finger on just one "best". I PR'ed at several distances several times. As for worst, well, I had a few disappointing races. So here's a quick summary of all my races:

1. S-No-W Fun Run 5 Miler - Not a PR but I felt good and had a fun time with my running group friends.

2. Frosty Footrace 5K - First PR of the season, an age group medal, and an encouraging start to the year.

3. March Madness Half Marathon - The first time I was sure I could break 2 hours in a half marathon given a flatter course and slightly better weather. As in, not running in a thunderstorm.

4. Race That's Good For Life 5K - A disappointing finish for me. I really wanted to PR on my "home course" but starting struggling during the last mile and missed it by 8 seconds.

5. CARA Lakefront 10 Mile - My first time really racing a 10 mile race and I was pleasantly surprised. This was a great race and I felt strong the whole time.

6. Cleveland 10 Miler - Ran this to help my best friend from college finish her longest distance ever. She was visiting last week and looked at my race scrapbook. When she got to this race she commented, "That was fun. I want to do that again some day. Maybe I could push myself harder..." I knew she'd get bitten by the bug eventually.

7 & 8. Illinois 5K & Half Marathon - Running a 5K the night before my goal half marathon? Why not? Then Kim paced me to my first sub-2:00 hour half marathon and I felt strong almost the whole way. A first for me.

9. Wisconsin Half Marathon - AKA The race where I learned that running a half marathon PR and then trying to race another half marathon a week later is maybe not the best idea ever.

10. Chase Corporate Challenge 3.5 Mile - A surprise PR on a freakishly cold day on a frustratingly crowded course.

11. Soldier Field 10 Mile - One of my more disappointing performances. I petered out at the end and couldn't recreate how I felt at the CARA Lakefront 10.

12. Roselle Run for the Roses 5K - A less-than-stellar 5K performance. I blame the weather.

13. Madison to Chicago Ragnar Relay - All three of my runs felt strong...even the one at 4:00 AM. Definitely a highlight of the season.

14. Race Around the World Duathlon - My first duathlon! I exceeded my expectations and turned in what I think is a great performance for someone who never really trained on the bike.

15. Four on the Fourth - A slight PR that is still a testament to how much stronger of a runner I was in 2011.

16. Grand Haven Duathlon - My second duathlon! Not as great of a performance as my first one but I still had a ton of fun.

17. Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 - Another lackluster 10 mile race complete with fording a stream! Sure, I was using it as training run but it still felt rough.

18. Just Book It! 5K - The race where I embraced that running in the summer sucks and adjusted my goals accordingly.

19. River Run for Ryan - Small town race where I win a medal? Okay! Felt pretty good while running, too.

20. Danskin Triathlon Relay - I took a detour from running and did the bike portion of this event. A good time was had by all!

21. DeKalb Corn Classic 10K - I knew I wouldn't PR since it was so warm out, but I got pretty close. I still crashed during the last two miles, though, so it wasn't a smartly-run race on my part.

22. Chicago Half Marathon - Just like last year, a surprise half marathon PR. I felt strong the whole time.

23. Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K - I floated through this racing running a pace that felt like a struggle at the beginning of the year.

24. Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon - Perfect weather, perfect company, perfect day. I had no idea running a marathon could feel this good.

25. PTOS & FAPTO 5K - Random race while traveling for work? Don't mind if I do! I felt pretty beat up at the end but it turns out I ran a decent race.

26. Frank Lloyd Wright Races 10K - Finally! A 10K PR! Still faded during the last mile but a PR is a PR.

27. Sycamore Pumpkin Run 10K - Just a nice run through the countryside. No pressure.

28. Illinois Club XC Invitational - A rather humbling experience but at least I put on a show for my fellow running club members.

29. Lincolnwood Turkey Trot 5K - Generally my favorite race of the season did not disappoint.

30. Las Vegas Marathon - One wild and crazy ride.

6. Do you have a favorite/memorable run from this year?

I think one of my favorite runs this past year was the 18 miles I did with Kim while we were in Iowa. Although, all of my long runs were pretty awesome thanks to Kim.

7. What was the craziest weather or other type of adverse conditions you endured on a run in 2011?

Let's see...

I forded a stream during a 10 mile race.

I ran intervals in below zero temps.

I ran in ice and snow.

I ran in heat and humidity.

And rain. Let's not forget the rain.

The joys of living in the Midwest. You really do get to run in all kinds of weather.

8. What were your goals for 2011? Did you achieve them?

1. Cash in my CrossFit bootcamp Groupon.

I used my CrossFit Groupon in February. I enjoyed it and actually bought another one that I still need to use! I discovered I really like lifting heavy and that I like the social aspect CrossFit adds to strength training.

2. Do at least one duathlon (run-bike-run)

I actually did two! I had fun at both and definitely want to do more in the future.

3. Break 2 hours in a half marathon

Did this twice as well! Both the Illinois Half Marathon and the Chicago Half Marathon had sub-2:00 finishing times.

4. Run another marathon, preferably one in a finishing time that starts with a "4".

Another two-fer! I still can't believe I ran two marathons this year, let alone PR'ed at both of them. And a sub-4:30 marathon? Still in awe at myself.

5. Earn a CARA Participation Award

I think this is main the reason I ran so many races this year. Had to get in my 111 kilometers! The CARA Awards Banquet is in February so I'll get my award then.

I also said I wanted to strength train at least 100 times as well as get out on my bike more often.

I didn't managed 100 strength training sessions. In fact, I didn't even managed my revised goal of 50. In the end I did 44 dedicated strength training sessions so not quite one a week. Some of this was because I got busy with running and some was because I'm still trying to find strength training workouts that don't aggravate my hip issues.

As for my bike, I rode just under 290 miles. That's definitely more than in 2010 so I'd say I accomplished that goal!

So, other than the strength training goal, I think I did pretty well!

9. What are your goals for 2012?

This is a tough question for me right now. If I have hip surgery that will put me out of commission for a good portion of the year. If I don't then that might limit what I can and can't do anyway.

So, really, my fitness goals this year are to stay in as good of shape as possible, not gain any weight (unless it's muscle mass only), and be ready to kick butt at all things as soon as possible. Vague? Kind of. Attainable? I hope so.

Finally, Happy Third Birthday to Eri-thon!

Thanks to all of you who read! I hope you'll stick around for whatever happens in 2012.