I think it's safe to say that 2012 was a CRAZY running year for me. It exceeded all my hopes and dreams. I feel like I'm so much stronger of a runner and it's an incredible feeling for this 39 year old.
Wait...39? When did THAT happen?!?
My main goal for 2012 was to conquer the marathon. I had the thought of a 4:15 marathon, but my training wasn't quite at that level, so a 4:25 seemed like a better goal. I ran a 4:26 in Houston in January, but the best part of all was that I ran a strong negative split during the race. I felt good practically the entire time and I never gave up on myself or let doubts creep in. I won the mental battle and that was so much more significant to me than any arbitrary time goal.
After that race and another great marathon in Austin just five weeks later, I decided that a sub-4:00 marathon was in the cards within the next year. Basically the rest of the year was spent slowly working on my speed and strength. I added in trail running and mountain biking to change things up, and found myself registering for more races than I had ever run in a year. And then somewhere along the way, I found myself becoming a "triathlete-in-training."
I had so much fun!
By the time the year was over, I had set new PR's in every common race distance - 5K in 23:09, 10K in 53:12 (although this race actually served as a training run and I didn't go all out), half marathon in 1:57:32 (I set a new one on 1/13 this year in 1:51:36), and marathon in 4:26:27. Plus, I ran a 1 mile race to see if I could break 7 minutes, and I ran it in 6:38. All in all in 2012, I ran a 1 mile race, 3 5K's, 2 10K's, 2 half marathons, 3 marathons, 1 Trail 30K (which ended up being 20.5 miles), and 1 Trail 10K.
I won my age group twice, got second once, and was top 9% in the San Francisco Half Marathon.
This all coming from a girl who was picked last in sports while in school, who never once was considered athletic.
So yeah, I might be bragging a little.
But dammit, what a freaking awesome year!!!
So what did I do differently that worked?
1. I added a lot more strength training. Towards the end of the year, I hired a personal trainer and he completely changed the way I thought about training by putting me through high intensity circuits that got my heart rate sky high while making me stronger than I thought I could get. And he forced me to do a lot more lower body strength work. I pretty much hated it, but I loved what it did for me. Explosive power, sustainable endurance, a ridiculously strong core.
2. Interval training. From 2 minutes up to 14 minutes, very little rest, threshold pace. Every single week.
3. Hills, hills, hills. I needed serious hill training for San Francisco. I even did it at the height of summer, in 100 degree temps. Every single week.
4. After San Francisco, I began speedwork at the track. Ridiculous speedwork, sometimes for over 2 hours. Every single week.
5. Crosstraining on the bike and at the pool.
6. Trail running for a change of pace and scenery. So much easier on the body, and relaxed...and FUN.
7. Listening to my body when it needed rest. If I knew I was overdoing it, I rested. And I came back stronger the next day.
8. Not being afraid to listen to my coach when he said I could run faster. I stuck next to him, it hurt, and I did it...just like he said I could.
9. Believing my body was stronger than my doubts.
10. Knowing I could go one more mile, one more minute, whatever it took.
You have no idea just how excited I am about what 2013 will bring. I am signed up for several races already and have some pretty lofty goals in mind.
I'm running Austin Marathon next month and am hoping for a PR, but will not race all out like I planned at BCS last month. It's a hilly course, so I have no thoughts of running a 3:59, but I'd like to post a good time regardless. First and foremost, I want to enjoy it with friends.
In March I am running with my team Blood Sweat and BEERS in the Texas Independence Relay for the 4th year in a row. Hands down the best race of the year.
In April I'm planning to run a 10K in sub-50 minutes (well....maybe sub 51...we'll see how awful the course is). And then there will be my first trail race of the year, a 30K that is part of the Rogue Trail Series.
May is the Dam Mile race in Georgetown. The female winner ran a 6:13 this year. I was third at 6:38. I don't see why I can't try to get closer to that 6 minute mark! So we'll see what happens.
June will be a crazy month. My first triathlon. I'm terrified. But I'll also run another 30K trail race, so that will be awesome.
At the end of the year I'm planning on breaking 1:50 in a half marathon at BCS. I'm already registered!
Lastly, one year from now I'm going for that sub-4 hour marathon again...in Houston. That 1:51 I ran at 3M last week qualified me for guaranteed entry into the race, no need for a lottery submission. I missed this race this year and I'm very excited about going back.
Did I already mention how excited I am???