2011 Year in Review

As I’m processing some of my goals for 2012, I have been reflecting more on the ups and downs of this past year.  I already wrote a brief 2011 running summary, but I wanted to document a few overall highlights before jumping into 2012.

1) Completing my first marathon! I’ve been running for years with little interest in training for a full marathon, but the bug finally bit me this past year.  We were living in upstate NY at the time, and I chose the Poconos marathon in May based on the location (two-hour drive) and timing (I wanted a spring marathon before our move this summer).  Unfortunately, this meant my training began in February, but I managed to tough it up through many chilly long weekend runs.  The hard work paid off, and I felt strong throughout the run until the last 2-3 miles.  I was hoping to finish between 3:40 and 4:00, so I was pleased with a finish time of 3:44:56, despite missing a Boston-qualifying time by four minutes! Of course, now the guidelines are even stricter, so I’ll have to work a bit harder next time around if I want to shave that extra time off.  But overall, it was a rewarding and satisfying experience to complete a marathon upright and smiling.

2) Breaking records! I’ve gotten by with very little speed-work in the past, but I enjoyed testing myself a little more this year.  I had never raced a 5k, so completing my first one at the Turkey Trot was an automatic pr (21:47).  My first marathon was another automatic pr, and I also ran my best times in the half marathon and 10k distance.  The half was a pre-marathon training run in April, where I finished in 1:45:50.  The 10k pr (45:43) was just last week in the Home for the Holidays Virtual 10k.  I’m really enjoying pushing myself more in the shorter distances, and have been surprised with some of the paces that feel relatively comfortable.  I’m always inspired to read other stories of breaking records, and many of your reports encouraged me to work on speed the last few months.

3) Blogging buddies!  After following (stalking?!) numerous running blogs, I finally decided to jump in and start blogging this year in order to document my training and recipe experimentation, and to connect with other runners.  I have very few runners in my day-to-day life, so I love finding so many other like-minded bloggers out there who “get it!” Thanks for making it so much fun!

4) Spinning love! Technically, this was the low point of my year, as I battled some shin stress after jumping back into high mileage too soon after my marathon.  I was initially really bummed to take time off, but a sports med doctor thought it was heading toward a stress fracture if I didn’t back off.  Since we had just moved to Texas and August wasn’t exactly ideal running weather, I felt okay about switching to swimming and biking, and came to love the spinning classes at our gym.  I found one instructor in particular who really pushes the class to work hard, and I’ve continued to go twice a week since returning to running this fall.

This is going to be a tough year to beat! I’m still thinking about what goals I’d like to set for 2012, and will post more on that soon.  Any final thoughts on your year as 2011 wraps up?

2011 Running Wrap Up

I love the idea of wrapping up the running year with a quick summary of reflections.  Miss Zippy posted some questions, which I’m copying below with my answers.  I’d love to hear yours, too!

  • Best race experience? Surviving and enjoying my first full marathon in May, at the Poconos Marathon.
  • Best run? Doing the first 13 of a 20-mile training run with friends Scott & Jane and their baby in the stroller through the hills of upstate NY–helped keep my pace and they were great company!
  • Best new piece of gear? Finally got a Garmin before the marathon, and now I’m addicted.  :)
  • Best piece of running advice you received? To back off running this summer before my stress reaction turned into a fracture… not fun,                                        but necessary
  • Most inspirational runner? I loved 30 Something Mother     Runner’s post about Wendy Thomas, who began racing post-kids!
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? Highs and lows, but memorable!

Feel free to play along on your own blog, in the comments here, or on Miss Zippy’s blog.  Okay, we’re off in a few hours to catch our flight and are praying L stays entertained and happy!