When thinking about this past year it seemed to break down into the three clearly distinct segments. The early part of the year was all about fast running…until the middle of the year was injury plagued, and finally the later part of the year was a return to fitness.
If you remember from last year’s post of my upcoming goals, the plan was a fast 5K early summer and then a slow build to a good half marathon in the fall. The year started off great. I had a great late fall (’12) and started the year with a PR in the mile. Followed up by my season debut in the 5K only 4 seconds off my PR, I thought my plans were going to pan out perfectly. I used the late part of the track season to hone my speed. I was ready, goal race was 3 weeks out. I was running one of my final pace specific workouts on the track, when I ran into the worst plantar fasciitis pain I have ever dealt with. I have had some PF issues in the past, but not like this. It popped up out of nowhere, I could barely walk. I hobbled off the track nervous what this would mean for my goal race.
What it did mean? Three weeks of no running. (Technically I ran after a week, but it was 5 minutes before I realized that was a mistake and stopped). I was patient and waited until I was feeling pain free, and then proceeded to very slowly return to running. The first few times out it was 15 minutes, then 20, then 30, then back to somewhat of normal running. Four weeks back I ran a 5K (it was not a great idea) but gave me a good indication of how much fitness I had lost. I ran over 2 minutes slower in that 5K than I did in a race two months prior. I had some serious doubts that I would be able to reach my goal of a fast half marathon in the fall. My goal race pace was 5 seconds faster per mile for a half than I ran for that return 5K. Slowly but sure I got back to work. Continued to build, get my speed and strength back, but most importantly I got consistent. The secret is there is no secret. Just getting the work done on a regular basis.
As I type this I am in the midst of my longest running streak ever. The last day I did not run at least 4 miles was July 1st. That consistency has been key for me to find success this fall. I have been smart about it, I have made sure to take easy days. Let my body recover when it needs it.
Like I said the fall goal was a fast half marathon. I thought early in the year 72 minutes would be possible, after injury it looked like something between 73 and 75 was more realistic. I had plans of being very specific to half marathon training to prep myself. But plans changed a little. Late summer I took over as the head cross country coach at a different school in the district. A change I was very excited about. But it meant much more of my time spent coaching, and with a little guy at home most of my running became training to run a 3 mile race on grass. I ran most of the works with the team, and then would do a longer tempo run on the weekend. That was my half marathon training. Ultimately I was extremely proud of how my fall goal half marathon went. I ran 1:14:14 and won the inaugural Naperville Half Marathon.ays as often as I need, but still have been able to log the miles.
And that would have been my running year…but a late addition to my running year was the USATF Club Nationals. It was an awesome weekend. Getting to hang with some great people, see wonderful Bend, OR, getting to run the toughest race I have ever run, and then partying Picky Style with everyone from the race (including many a pro runner).
Overall of it was a great year. I know having consistent training the last few years has enabled me to continue to improve as a runner. I have been able to PR year after year. I think that the biggest take away from this year however, has been having confidence to come back from a tougher injury where I lost so much of what I had worked for.
The year by the numbers:
Races run: 11
Races won: 6
Miles run: 2,500 and counting (should end the year at about 2,600)
PRs set: 2 (mile: 4:40, half marathon 1:14:14)
I hope 2013 was a great year for you as well. We will see you on the roads in 2014.