Friday, 23 December 2011

2011 in review

There's still the Resolution Run to do on New Year's Eve at 6pm. While it has a start/ finish line with a clock, there's no official timing, and although I call it a "race", it's kind of a stand-alone event.

I might post my 2012 plan in January, although I put it together a couple of weeks ago to stop my motivation from flagging.

Before I forget though, and as it's the season for end of year lists and reviews, here's mine.

"The One That Got Away", St. Patrick's 10k, March: Don't move house a week before a race. I also could have done with calibrating my garmin - it's not a GPS, it uses a footpod - so I was going slower than I thought. To be honest I probably couldn't have improved my 10k PB that day anyway. It was what I had been looking forward to while I was lifting boxes, painting, etc. I did this in 42:12, so my PB is still 41:28. Of the distances I attempted this year, it is the only one that I didn't get a PB in - this 2010 PB will be history in 2012.

"90 minute barrier smashed", Calgary Half Marathon, May: Having re-jigged my training after the St Patrick's disappointment, I had a more structured plan when it came to speed work, and a carb loading strategy from a book I'd read. The 90 minute barrier in the half marathon had been my holy grail ever since my first half - and indeed first race - exactly 2 years before when I came home in 1:46. Everything went right, so the race in that sense was "undramatic", and I crossed the line over a minute under the 90, believing afterwards that I could've gone even quicker. It was a dream come true, and I also loved the sound of "62nd out of 2,965".

I started my blog shortly after that race. I had mostly wanted to keep a log of race reports. I quickly wrote-up my main races to date. It's another way in which my running has evolved this year.

"Sub-20 minute 5k!", Stampede Road Race, July: What a gut-busting distance that is. Leaving the startline confusion to one side, I managed - just - to get under 20 minutes in a 5k. Last year I went way to fast and burned out halfway round, coming home in 20:15. This time I managed 19:48, getting 4th in my age group, so no medal, but happy to achieve my goal. It finished on a track - 1st time ever for that too.

"Irene & The Hamstring". My 6th half marathon and the first time I had failed to get a PB. I went to Quebec City for this one, and I missed it by 4 minutes. The beginnings of Hurricane Irene and having to stop to stretch my hamstring both led to disappointment. I wasn't unhappy for long - I understood what had gone wrong on that day. What's more baffling than that is when things go right, it's hard to understand why...
...which is what made the Harvest Half Marathon just 5 weeks later all the more worth savouring. I was expecting at best to squeek inside my PB, but ended up knocking off 55 seconds. My favourite race of the year on balance, a beautiful day all-round.
It's also the second time I used a "headcam", for want of a better term. In the first picture at the top, next to me is a lady with a Go-Pro camera. I went for a way cheaper and lighter option. Once again, it's another way in which my running has changed, wanting to capture every second.

The biggest surprise of all perhaps was 3 weeks after that. I entered a 5-miler as a reward to myself for getting a new job, knowing too that my 34 min+ PB for the distance was slow and beatable. What stunned me was that I came home in 31:02, at a faster pace than my 5k PB. That 10k PB will soon be gone mwah ha-ha!
I also volunteered for the first time ever, and it was good to give back. Next year ought to be great!
Merry Xmas, I'll be going for my first run ever on Xmas day!

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