The year started off bad. I battled illness and a hamstring injury in the first quarter of the year. For some reason, I was sick more often than I ever had been. I had bronchitis, sinus infections, stomach viruses, and a struggle with depression that lasted most of the year. I slogged through the early months with much inconsistency and very little quality.
Boston was the greatest running experience that I have ever had. My family was so very supportive and excited for me for this event. Though I wasn't physically prepared for this race, it was perhaps the best race I have ever had. I recommend that all serious runners make whatever sacrifices are necessary to qualify and go to Boston. I wrote a two part recap of my Boston experience as well as a description of what went wrong in training.
A Tough Summer
This summer was really hot and humid. Early on, I let the heat along with my personal struggles get me down. I dropped my mileage and increased my quality. My body seemed to really respond to that much better than I expected. When the temps began to drop, so did my times and I was in the best 5k shape of my life by the time Fall arrived. The one reason that the depression did not destroy my fitness is that it zapped my appetite. I wasn't running much, but I wasn't eating much, either. So, I made it through running 40-60% of my normal mileage without gaining any weight. Whew.
A Breakthrough Fall
The quality work through the summer was paying off! I struggled with the decision to race a fall marathon or not. I opted to push that out to early 2012. That allowed me to focus on 5k training, and I had a few breakthrough races in September and October. I broke 18 minutes in the 5k and 40 minutes in the 10k during those months. I was feeling fit, fast, and confident. Also, after making some very difficult changes, my personal struggles were getting smaller in my rear view mirror.
I leveraged this fitness to be a true contributor to our winning Ragnar Relay effort in November. November also saw my longest single run ever as I came in second overall in the Dizzy 50s 40 mile trail run. From there, I launched into training for Albany Marathon on March 3 in Albany, GA. That's where I am now. I leveraged this fitness to run my best 50k ever at Recover From the Holidays 50k.
Highlights of 2011
I set a PR at every distance I raced this year. My 5k, 8k, 5 mile, 10k, and 15k PRs all fell. I did not race (though I paced) a marathon or half marathon. My highlights for 2011 are listed below.
- 17:46 at Spooktacular 5k
- 3 sub 18 5k efforts (Liz Hurley, Spooktacular, and Turkey Trot)
- 58:58 15k at Monte Sano
- Completed a 40 mile run
- 38:01 10k at Rails to Trails 10k
- Pacing the 3:30 group at Rocket City Marathon
- A breakthrough 50k at RFH
I'm looking forward to 2012!