Obligatory 2011 year-in-review stuff
Seeing as how I have only 362 days before 2013 (unless the world ends, that is), I figure I should finally get around to reflecting a bit on 2011. In all measurable (and immeasurable) ways, 2011 was absolutely my best year of running ever. It’s not really even close. I ran more, I ran faster, and I ran further (or is it farther, I can never remember) than I ever have before. I made some awesome new friends through running, and some friendships I already had were strengthened. I saw some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen with my eyes. I discovered I can do so much more than I previously thought capable of. But all the intangible stuff aside, I’m kind of a stats/numbers geek so that’s what I’m going to talk about.
In 2011, I ran a grand total of 3,337 miles. That is a little over 9 miles per day, or about 64 miles per week for the entire year. Obviously the year was not nearly as even as those number would lead one to believe. I started the year not running for over three weeks, my first running coming on January 24th. I battled nagging aches and semi-injuries for most of those first few months, and my only workouts were races. Somehow I still managed to run some decent times and capped the spring with a big 10k PR at the 10k in Rockville and a very satisfying sub-hour run at Broad Street. It was after Broad Street that something in my head just clicked. I had spent the first few months of the year so focused on structuring this perfect running/racing plan and trying to hit workouts and I just kept feeling frustratingly on the edge of disaster. So I sort of gave up and decided to just run. And run I did. For some reason it seems I train my best in the miserable hot summer months. May was the first month I had run over 300 miles in almost a year. June I ran 397 which was a big lifetime high. July followed with 428. And so on. In the six months from May through October, I ran more than the entirety of 2010. And all along I managed to stay reasonably healthy and not feel particularly burned out.
I looked back at some of the goals I stated for myself at the beginning of last year. I didn’t meet all of them, but I came pretty close to most — no sub-5:00 mile (5:06 though, a new PR), no sub-17 5k (but I did run a 16:11 3 mile), no sub-28:30 5 mile (but I did split 28:32 at Pike’s Peek 10k), DID run sub-36 10k (35:29), DID run sub-hour at 10 miles (59:07 at Broad Street).
Of course, at the start of 2011, I thought my ultimate goal would be to run a really fast half marathon in the fall. And while I DID set a new half PR in Virginia Beach in September, by June my goals had clearly shifted to much longer races. 2011 was to be the year of firsts for me. I won my first race. And then my second. And third. And fourth. I won’t pretend that any of those wins were particularly impressive or anything to brag about, but they certainly were cool moments. And any time I can win good beer, I’m happy. Right around the time I ran the Finger Lakes 25k in July, I decided to listen to Ashley finally and run a 50 miler and that became my new goal for the fall. Along the way I ran 46ish miles on my birthday in August. I ran that half marathon PR. I ran that 3 mile PR. I ran a 40 mile trail race that I won despite feeling worse than I have ever felt while running. I smashed my weekly and monthly mileage lifetime highs almost routinely. I had two running streaks of over 60 days. I was running a lot and loving it and doing it reasonably well.
It wasn’t so long ago I did run that 50 miler, Stone Cat, and I did pretty well for a first attempt at racing that distance. I underperformed from what I thought I was capable of but I think I’ve learned a great deal from the experience. The somewhat disappointing end to what I really have to admit to myself was a better fall racing season than it felt like, only serves to fuel a renewed hunger for continuing to bust my ass and improve in 2012. I’ve taken it pretty easy the last few weeks of 2011. Mentally, I needed that. Physically, I DEFINITELY needed it. It’s easy to forget that in 2010, my longest run was 19 miles and my highest volume week was 80. I’ve laid out a pretty ambitious plan for the first half of 2012 and I’ll talk about my goals for the year and all that later today or tomorrow. Suffice it to say here though that while I am overall pretty happy with 2011, and ought to be, to me it just marks the first year that I really took this stuff seriously for the long term. Which means that I expect to be talking about how quaint it was that I thought 2011 was such a good year for me when I write my 2012 review a year from now. Onward and upward!
Til next time, RUN HAPPY everyone!
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