It's been a long year. While I wish I could race every weekend, it does lead to fatigue and strains even if not full-blown injury. Having said that, this was my best season yet.
I thought I had nearly plateaued when it came to the 5k. For the St Patrick's 5k, I had expected to PB by a couple of seconds. Instead I finished with 23 seconds to spare. Placing in my age group, I won a beer glass too.
Performance of the season? Either this or the Harvest Half.
One key time barrier I was looking to break since 2009 had been 40 minutes in a 10k. Somehow my PB had been stuck at 41:28 since 2010. Now for the Spring Trio in April. It was pretty warm that day, but along the Bow River pathways and with some quicker guys ahead to pull me along, I outdid myself even more than at St Patrick's the month before.
39:23, 4th overall and 2nd place age group medal.
My enthusiasm got the better of me and I went too hard in training right after the Spring Trio. Compromised training, not enough raw endurance work and probably a need for a different in-race nutrition plan (I sweat a lot) meant 4 stretches on the way to a time quite a bit slower than I am at least theoretically capable of in the Calgary Marathon.
Still, I'm not going to complain about a 9 minute PB, although I have unfinished business with the full marathon.
Another 5k at the Stampede Road Race, and perhaps a slightly underrated performance. 6 weeks post-marathon, hot temperature and the most Mickey Mouse u-turn I've seen and still a 19:46, 2 seconds quicker than last year.
Now I digress. Mud Hero was a beautifully fun day with A-Chang, and kind of a celebration of being fit and healthy. Speaking of A-Chang, I watched her do a local community 800m, flying past the leader on the home straight like a missile.
About this time, I decided to release myself from the fixation with qualifying for Boston. This is not my aim, though the time, 3:10, is still there as a long term target.
I changed my weights routine and took up hot yoga. There's no photo of that, not a pretty sight. Works for me - after marathon in December, my stiff right foot and curled-up toes improved markedly.
The Harvest Half Marathon is the other race in my joint top performances of the season. Having taken it easy for 8 weeks after the Calgary Marathon, I got some good quality training in, with hills, in the build-up. The half marathon is my distance. Odd that this was my only half in 2012, but it's been my favourite race since my first one in 2009. I know the course extremely well, and used it to the full. 73 seconds came off my old PB, which is now 1:26:48, almost 20 minutes up on my first ever half. Perfect weather, and 7th place.
I ran a leg of a trail race a week later, quite an education. Aside from the Harvest Half, best scenery a runner could ask for at the Grizzly Trail Ultra.
December 2 brought the odyssey that was the California International Marathon. The trail race straight after a half had an effect on my training - the hip flexors take a battering from those downhills - basically the same mistake as in April. There's that and it ending up my slowest marathon by 10 minutes.
That doesn't tell the full story behind what may end up being the most memorable race I ever do. Arrival in Sacramento was a day before the race instead of the scheduled 2. Strong winds and very heavy rain on race day on top of all that. Absolutely out of this world.
There's just the ritual of the Resolution Run 5k on New Year's Eve left, and only then is the year over. After 4 weeks of comparative r&r, it's time to see out 2012 in style and with fresh legs.