Saturday, December 8, 2012

Whoa - where did she go?

Well, it seems like I took an extended break from when I started this blog.  Let's see if I can get it moving again.  It's been an interesting year.

As for racing, I completed three half-marathons and one full marathon in 2012.  Since getting ever so close to that sub-2 hour half (2:00:56) last December at the Las Vegas Rock N' Roll Half Marathon, I was hoping to break through that wall in 2012.  This year was full of good intentions, but I never truly hit the training programs correctly and at the right time to get the full benefit of the program.  My April half was cold and rainy, and was in week nine of my full marathon training program, so my speedwork was just starting to begin.  In hindsight, I should have followed a half program - then once that half was over, transitioned into a full program if I truly wanted to hit my goal.  I walked away with roughly a 2:07 and some change.  I'll have to research the exact times and enter it on the side of the blog for record-keeping sake.

Next up was my full, Grandma's Marathon, in Duluth, MN.  Training went well, I hit my miles and was using a time-based training program.  I felt strong and went to the start line feeling good.  Just after the half point, my gut had other ideas and I ended up in almost every porta-potty from mile 14 to mile 23.  My 4:22 goal was within reach before all the tummy troubles, but I ceased any kind of energy gel at all, so between all the visits to the potty, and nothing but water, I ended up finishing with a 5:16.  A time that I will definitely have to improve upon when I decide to tackle that distance again. The picture to the right is my finish at the full.

The one negative side effect I had from marathon training was that my running pace slowed dramatically over what I had been doing in 2011, and I packed on an extra 10 pounds of which I am STILL struggling to shed.  I am hoping that a break from long distance endurance training and an increase in strength-training and shorter distance, faster running with some cross-training thrown in will reassure my body that a) I don't need an extra layer of fat and/or inflammation to sustain my running and b) I'm not going to die! 

I also ran the Maple Leaf Half Marathon in La Crosse, Wisconsin that coincides with Oktoberfest.  I have dear friends in the area since we lived there for 3 years, and I wanted to be able to run an event in that area.  My pace was still slower than I wanted it to be, and I was in the middle of my 18 week half training program using the Run Less, Run Faster approach.  Again, right in the middle where the speed work hadn't really peaked.  When will I learn?  Let's hope in 2013.  Anyways, I finished this one in 2:10 and some change, and hung out for a day or so before heading back up to Duluth for a fundraising dinner I was helping to organize.

The last race of the year was again the Vegas race, and I knew it wasn't going to be pretty.  We went on a 14 day cruise to Hawaii in October, where I was able to cycle a lot on the boat, but my running didn't happen.  I never really recovered from that break, and I braced myself with 3 goals:  1) run like hell and leave it all out there and see if I could gut out the sub-2 with ideal conditions, 2) beat my Grandma's 2011 time of 2:16, my slowest but first half and 3) if the wheels really came off the bus, just finish.  I finished at 2:15 and some change, so I call that a win.  We braved 25-35 mph headwinds on the last 4-5 miles of the race with gusts to 45...even so, I would have still come up short on the sub-2 hour goal.

My plan is to post to the blog at least weekly and share the trials and tribulations of getting my body back to that happy place it was at the end of last year.   Cheers to a healthy and happy Holiday Season!