Thursday, December 29, 2011

A (Long) Look Back

December 31st of last year I outlined my fitness goals for 2011:
I plan to complete my first sprint and Olympic distance triathlons as well as my first duathlon, marathon and ultra.  As far as time goals go, I want to break 25 in a 5K by June, break 60 in a 10K, and 2:15 in a Half (maybe in New Orleans??).  I don't have a time goal for the tri's, the duathlon, McKay, the marathon or the 50K.  I'm planning on making P90X a staple of my fitness routine, up my running mileage, and bike and swim at least two to three times a week.
While I didn't achieve all of these goals exactly as I planned (no duathlon, no ultra, I didn't break 25 in a 5K by June, I didn't break 60 in a stand alone 10K, and I didn't make P90X a staple of my fitness routine)...I did achieve much more this year than I ever would have believed possible.

I have already given a lot of thought to my hopes, no, my GOALS for 2012 and have a training plan outlined through April (when I'll complete my first Half IronMan!!).  However, before I lay those out for the world to see, I want to take a look back at 2011.

Not the discipline I used to give myself!
The friend who I borrowed a bike from told me she would want it back in the spring.  I decided it was better for me to train on the bike I would be racing on, so in January I bought a road bike!!  I rode that new bike farther than I had ever ridden a bike in my life...TWELVE AND A HALF MILES!!  If you take out the long stop during mile 3 (the group I was ridding with had to show IDs in order to enter a military base), my average speed was about 14 miles per hour.  I had a couple of moments when I got up to 19 or 20, but only because I was going down hill!  I also swam farther than I had ever swam before --all of about 500 yards (and had a TERRIBLE time keeping count!!).  I wrote about being over-trained under-rested, undisciplined, and about how completely stoked I was about starting tri training.
Notice the shirt...

I ran the Mardi Gras Half in February.  As if that weren't memorable enough, I also joined a Hood to Coast relay team, the Dixie Daredevils!  Our fearless captain and I went to see the movie premier in January...one thing led to another and the next thing I know I'm hitting up all my friends (and friends of friends) to get a team together!  We set out to raise $15,000 for American Cancer Society by August in order to guarantee our spot.  (Skipping ahead--YES we did it!!)

March was supposed to be a banner month.  I had been seriously looking forward to my longest run ever...15 miles...the McKay Hollow Madness 25K.  I had been training and mentally psyching myself up to become a Billy Goat and embody last year's winner David O'Keefe...all for naught because, sadly, the race was cancelled due to terrible thunderstorms.  Determined to "earn my shirt" I went out the following Monday and ran the course by myself.  I had a fantastic time.  It actually worked out well because I was able to stop several times and take pictures (something I would have NEVER done in the middle of a race).  Other than the sound of streams flowing everywhere (thanks to all the rain), and the squirrels playing, it was completely quite out there.  Truly my favorite solo run ever.  (Check out the post to see some of the pictures I took that day!)  I will certainly go ahead and sign up for this race again this year--CAN NOT WAIT!

Coaching was a big part of my spring.  I was one of the coaches for both the NOBO (5K) and Next Steps (10K) training programs through Fleet Feet.  I've said it before...and will say it again...I LOVE coaching.  The thing I like most about the training programs is that you aren't just signing up to have running buddies.  You are actually receiving coaching/training/instruction.  I didn't realize how important it is to have someone to help you learn how to run efficiently and properly.  Most people, like me, think you can just go out and run.  The truth is, you can.  However, if you want to run well...if you want to run faster...if you want to run farther...if you want to keep running injury free for a long time...you should learn how to do it correctly.

My goofy pre-tri pose (I lost arm/shoulder muscle when I stopped swimming!)
April marked my debut into the world of triathlon with a 3rd place age group trophy at Frank Maples.  I'm pretty sure this race will be the only reverse tri I'll ever do.  I did not like swimming last, (although it was nice to be completely dry on the bike).  I will certainly do this race again...and "should" be able to knock a good bit off last year's time (although I can't seem to find my overall time anywhere--my watch only got my run and bike time).  Looking at the mistakes I listed on my race recap...it seems as though I got a decent handle on most of them by the end of the year.  ((This is one reason I love to write this end-of-the-year recap...so I can "clearly" see how much I've grown.))

May was a banner month.  I swam without shorts. I completed the Iron Girl (sprint tri), and was beat by a girl with a broken foot.  I set a new 10K PR at Cotton Row and then paced in the Cotton Row 5K with my NOBO group.  I have to say, it's funny because by that point in time I had run 13.1 straight with no breaks, and 15 miles (with picture breaks), and had completed a longish sprint tri but I felt totally bad to the bone running 10K and 5K races back to back (maybe 10 miles total with the warm up)...even though I missed my goal of running a sub-60 minute 10K by 40 seconds (gun time, 24 seconds actual).  Next year I WILL certainly PR again.  I also started Tri201, which I will forever see as a turning point in my training. 

In June, I started looking for my Pain Garden and found myself completing MUCH tougher workouts than I had ever done in my life (complete with SWEAT).  I became a "real" trail runner (everyone says you have to take a fall as initiation into the club, and well, I just didn't want to be left out!).  I also quickly found out there's no part of pain that should be called a "garden"!  Remember how I told you in January I biked a whopping 12.5 miles??  In June I upped my game quite a bit and in one brick workout I rode 40 quality miles and followed that up with 2 miles fast-for-me (at the time) running!  I took to calling myself a triathlete.

My 27:37 PR in the July 4th Firecracker 5K showed me the value of multi-sport training.  Mid month I completed my third sprint tri-the Wet Dog and once again learned some valuable lessons I believe I'll carry forward into this next season.  The coolest thing, by FAR, that happened in July was the Long Course Training Camp.  If I start talking about just how much I learned that weekend I don't know if I'll be able to stop.  It wasn't that I learned so much about the sport...it was what I learned about myself.  Eric told me I could do it, and that I would leave with more confidence than I could imagine and he was so RIGHT.  This camp is also where I met Doug--one of the most positive, encouraging people I know!

Rocket Man
With August came the culmination of my summer's tri training group with Rocket Man.  I am quite bummed I won't be able to do this race in 2012 (I'll be at Hood to Coast).  It was a fantastic race even though I wasn't just completely THRILLED with my performance (mainly with the run).  I also started the marathon training group through Fleet Feet.  The big non-sports thing that happened in this month...my baby started her senior year in high school.  (Hard to believe this time next year she will be done with her first semester in college!!)

Frantic Frog

I took golf lessons a long time ago; the pro told me it's always important to end on a good stroke...Frantic Frog was me ending tri season in September on a good race!  I finished this race 9/23 in my age group, and was (still am) thrilled with this result! I believe I'll do better next year, but this was pretty darn good in my book!!  I can't forget...I turned 42 in this month as well.  I don't feel 42....
Start of MS 15K

In October I set a new PR at the Monte Sano 15k ((well...it was my first race of that distance, so it was an automatic PR, but still, it wasn't too bad all thing considered).  I also saw a new number on my running log for a single long run (16 miles).

In November, I not only ran Cecil Ashburn, I also tried to RACE the Huntsville Half Marathon, and ran a sub 25 5K while I was Chasing the Turkey.  I say I tried to race the Half, because although I set a new Half PR (1:56:30, an 8:54 pace), I (once again) learned some valuable lessons about racing that distance.  I'm not disappointed with my performance...I mean I cut over 20 minutes off my previous PR...but I'll certainly be glad to have another go at this race next year!  I was THRILLED to meet the goal I set last year to run a sub-25 5K, and can't wait to see what I can accomplish chasing after that dang turkey in 2012 (my husband says he is going to run it as well...I'll have some real incentive to race all out, even with no chance of beating him if we are together at the final stretch).
Chip time 4:23:44

I'm now almost 3 weeks post marathon...but it seriously feels like it was MONTHS ago.  I ran 4 miles today which has been my longest distance since the race.  I haven't been sore or even really tired...I've just been lazy.  Knowing I'm about to jump into HEAVY training next month, I've allowed myself to have some complete down time.  It's been weird because in the past this much time "off" would mean an end to my workouts.  But working out is no longer just something I do...it's part of who I am.  I am an athlete.  I'm not in the front of the pack, but I'm gaining on it little by little.

Next year is bringing with it a lot of very exciting things.  Although I can't wait to tell you all about them...this post is WAY long enough!!  If you're still reading...THANK YOU for holding my hand on this (long) walk down memory lane.  Come again soon for the look ahead!  In the mean time--HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
:D

1 comment:

  1. What a year! Fantastic job! I'm super impressed by all that you achieved.

    ReplyDelete

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