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Ending on a high note

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Unfortunately I can’t say I ran 2011 injury free. But at least I didn’t have as long an injury as I did in 2008/2009!

What I can say is that I ran a full year and kept improving. I improved my fitness and my speed and I met my mileage goal. This is the first year I actually set a goal and I’m proud to have achieved it! Back in October it looked like I’d easily surpass that goal. Of course the events of Halloween disrupted that flow.

In 2011 I ran nine races, three more than 2010. It would have been 10 if I’d been able to run the Berbee Derby. I liked the idea of having 10, but nine is just fine too. I improved my time in every distance but 5K, and thats just because I didn’t get to a 5K in the fall.

I had two 5Ks, one 8K, two 10Ks, two 10-milers and two half marathons.

My two 5Ks were back to back in February and March. My second was worst than my first. I don’t remember why, but it doesn’t matter. They were fun and they got me back into racing after a winter struggling with the treadmill.

My only PR of the year came in the Crazylegs Classic 8K in April and it was only a PR because it was the third time I’d run an 8K and my first two 8Ks were when I was preganant and when I was coming back from pregnancy. Its OK though, still a PR. If I’d run an 8K in the fall I would have gotten another PR.

I’ve always liked the 10-mile distance. Maybe its just because I’m not fast enough to be competitive in the 5K or 10K. Not that I’m competitive in 10 miles but I guess I just like the longer races. The Syttende Mai 10-miler was two weeks before the Madison half. That race was hard, but I ran better than I expected at the time. My second 10-miler was at Waunafest on July 30. I came less than two minutes from beating my PR! Again I beat my expectations in that race.

The Madison Half Marathon was my main race for the first half of the year. The 2010 race had been my goal half marathon to cap my comeback from pregnancy. It took me a year longer to make it to that half marathon. It was a hard race but it was great too. My 2:38:28 fell a little short of my expectations, but it was still an awesome feeling of accomplishment to make a goal I’d been waiting so long for.

Summer heat really surprised me and I had a hard time running through it. I had a couple halfs over the summer that I’d wanted to run, but ultimately decided against. When the weather started cooling in August, I started getting faster, way faster than I’d expected. It started with coming close to me 10-mile PR on July 30. I had a string of a few weeks where I logged my fastest mile times. I had to really make myself pull back to prevent burnout of injury.

My 10Ks of the year were like my other races. The Freedom Run on July 4 was really hot, and I suppose I was proud and disappointed with my time. But the Zoo Run Run 10K in September came only 50 seconds from my PR!! Other people get disappointed when they get that close and don’t make it, but I was thrilled.

My last race of the year was the ZOOMA Great Lakes Half Marathon. The way I was running I expected to come close to my PR, if not beat it. But the course was way too hilly. I quickly decided to walk the hills, which ended up being a good decision. I didn’t get too close to my PR, but I improved my time by nearly 10 minutes.

Unfortunately I ended the year how I ended it back in 2008. In fact, 2008 and 2011 were eerily similar. In 2008 I started running, ran my half in June, got faster through the fall and then got hurt a month after my second half. This year I basically started running again after a hard winter dealing with the treadmill. I ran my half at the end of May, got faster, ran my second half and then sprained my ankle two weeks later. In both years I’d signed up for the Berbee Derby and got my only DNS races. The Berbee Derby isn’t on the calendar in 2012!

Luckily my sprained ankle, while pretty bad and resulting in a longer layoff, didn’t lead to a year off. I was off running for five and a half weeks. I’ve been getting back to running in December and I’m improving every time. I made it to my goal on Dec. 30. It still counts!

It was a great running year. And 2012 promises to hold more improvements. I’ve upped my running goal and I’m aiming for more speed improvements. I have infinite opportunities to keep getting better. Thats what I love about running. I used to think the whole new year, new goals thing was cheesy. Well, I still think resolutions are cheesy. But I definitely think setting my goals and starting over has merit. My goals post is upcoming!

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Author: Jessica

I am a running working mama. We work hard and play hard and I have a lot to share along the way.

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