Friday, January 13, 2012

A bit of 2011 review.

So now I know that I'm landing 'correctly' on my feet in my new shoes. After Sunday's run, the balls of my feet were crazy sore and felt beat up. So . . . good to know, I guess? They were fine by the next day, which is also good to know. I had a couple hours on trails that were hard and icy and a couple hours on roads so lots of hard surface running. That was also the longest I've gone in my new shoes, too - I've been a combination of lazy and being careful with the new shoes for the last couple of weeks and haven't done double longs. Enough of that - the shoes aren't going to eat me and no more lazy! Really what the biggest problem usually is is that it's hard for me to do a long run when I'm not at home and so double hard to do two of them. Usually, though, I just end up sitting around for the amount of time it would have taken me to run anyway! That did NOT happen last time, though, and it was a skipped long run weekend that I was okay with since I spent much of the time trekking through the woods. This would be less of a problem if I would just stay home but I still am loving having all my weekends off and adventure calls! Luckily, I have running friends who will go on close-by running adventures with me.

My calves have also been crazy tight this week. Clearly, this is because I was just telling my friend LAST week how my Vibrams and Kinvaras weren't making my calves any tighter than usual . . . Now, I do often have super tight calves going on, so I'm not going to outright blame my greater focus on not-heel-striking, but it probably contributes. How tight, you might ask? Well, so tight it hurts to run and hurts to break to stretch and then hurts more when I release the stretch but it usually relaxes out a few miles in. Time to spend more quality time on Mr. Blue Thing! Well, mine is actually a teal/green but since the one I used in college that made me want one to begin with was blue, they are ALL Mr. Blue Thing to me. Anyway. It's an awesome thing for calf stretching and I need to be using it more often during the day than just after runs. I should possibly bring it to work, now that I think about it.

On to a different train of thought - it's time to look at last year's goals and how they ended up! Maybe what I should do is look at these halfway through the year, too, and see if I'm on track, huh?

1. Stay injury free! Success! Happiness! Yay!
2. Keep that regular weight lifting. Well, this could have been better. But it could have been a lot worse, too. I ended up dropping my gym membership when it became too "out of the way" and more expensive than it was worth. But now I have a weight room that's very accessible and so I'm getting back in the habit.
3. Get a better handle on what my stomach wants/can take during longer races. S-caps proved to be fabulous and went a good ways toward my nausea issues. Though, I continue to go through aid stations and think nothing really looks all that great and I ran Voyageur on pretty much just gels. Which was fine but I imagine much longer than 50 miles and I'll start to get sick of gels (though I went through 12 of them with minimal problems) and my body's going to want something more substantial, too. So it's a constant experiment, right? But I'm definitely on the right track, I just need to force myself to slow down at some aid stations and take a good inventory of what is there and what might look good.
4. Be comfortable with signing up for my first 50 mile and finish said 50. Complete success! I felt confident going in and I loved Voyageur. Most of the time. I'm excited to go back and even if it's disgusting hot/humid again, I think I can still improve on my time now that I know some more about how my body reacts to it.
5. I'll be setting a marathon time goal but not right now. Which was just as well since it didn't happen anyway. But I DID have my fastest Grandma's, for what it's worth. A person can't hit a fast road marathon time without some more road training time, I think. Or, at least, this person can't. Which means lots of road running for me this spring.
6. Race a road 5K so I can chip away at the PR some more - I didn't run a single road 5K last year! Oops. Forgot about that one, I guess. I didn't run a single 5K last year, not even on a trial (unless you count any NMTC runs that were around 5K. Which I don't)! Which apparently makes two years since my last road 5K. Good thing I have one already planned in April, huh?
7. Yet again, log every run! I want a yearly total! Another year, another fail at logging consistently. I have yet another method that I've been using successfully for a bit now, so I have high hopes this year. I'm also keeping track of the mileage on my shoes!

Not a bad year, goal wise. I think last year I promised a race shirt picture and never posted it? I'll do my best to get last year's version up soon - the problem is that my closet is a ridiculous mess right now. Maybe that's motivation to get it cleaned out/all my clothes put away as opposed to hanging out in laundry baskets. Last year seems so long ago! I'll have shirts from running 3 50Ks (I didn't even blog about Wild Duluth!), a 50 mile, and one road marathon along with assorted smaller races. So what's coming in 2012?

The first main race for me this year is the Fargo Marathon. Kelly and I are both going for a 3:30 and Shane will be there going for his BQ time. We're all going to blast our PRs out of the water! Next up is Grandma's, which I plan to not take too seriously. Maybe by NOT having it be my goal race, I can finally have a good time there. I also hope to perhaps be done with Grandma's for a while after this year. So I seem to be starting my year with lots of road, which wasn't entirely intentional. Fargo is the same day as the Superior 50K and the Chippewa 50K is too close to Fargo to risk. I've already signed up for a couple short road races in the spring, too! But, like I said before, my plan is to keep trails in my training, not take Grandma's seriously and look to the second half of the year for my trail races.

I feel a bit silly posting goals for 2012 when I don't pay much attention to them after I post them but here goes some that I know I'll continue to think of:
1. Run at least a 3:30 at Fargo. My BQ time is now 3:35 (rules changed since registration was getting so ridiculous) but I want a 3:30. It's a nice round number. Plus part of that registration change was that people who beat their BQ time by x amount get to register first.
2. Stay injury free!
3. Get heat acclimated at least as well as last year/don't be afraid of the heat. I kind of feel as though I don't have a right to whine about the heat anymore but I know I'll have to work at heat acclimation again.
4. See what kind of mileage my legs can handle and confidently make up my mind by June about my fall running plans and train well for whatever the plans end up to be.
5. Log. Every. Run. I'm using Google Calendar as a log, now. The good thing about this is that it emails me every night to 'remind' me of what to run the next day and that works as a reminder to log my run for the day.

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