Back in the Saddle… I think

Hi Friends –

Until just now, I had not realized that I haven’t written here in over 7 months. I’m shocked and a little disappointed about that. I AM still running – nothing will stop me from that – and I AM still chasing that brass ring of a BQ and I AM still knocking out states on my 50 states quest… (I now have 19) – however, I had to make some changes in my training.

I was tired. So, so, so very tired.

I was having a hard time keeping with training and although I got faster for a while, I was starting to slow down in races (though not in training) and it was something I complained about right after the Tobacco Road marathon last year. I’ve not done a full marathon since – only half marathons (which, by the way, are no small feat, so I’m not at all diminishing them – I just thought that at this point in the year, I’d have a nice shiny BQ, or at least a PR at the 26.2 distance…).

While attempting to train for a spring marathon, I finally broke down and got a FitBit (all my runner friends were getting really fancy runner watches, but none of them had *all* the things I wanted, so I got a FitBit Charge HR to hold me over until the Garmin 235 has been out for a while) and I noticed a trend: my resting heart rate was higher than I expected… Also, my heart rate jumped really fast when I started a run and took foreeeeeeeevvvvvvvvvveeeeeeerrrr to recover. I had lost fitness ūüė¶ How could I have let that happen? I was a Runnah! Running is supposed to make you fitter, thinner, healthier! I ate well (what all the running blogs told me to eat), I followed training plans (which I blabbed about on this very blog for a couple of years), I did speed intervals, hill workouts, and I ran 30, 40, 50 miles a week… and, yet… I was getting unfit… and fat… and slow… and frustrated!!

Apparently, that was too much. I’m over trained (admitting it is half the battle, friends) and probably have been for at least a year, and (like any other injury), I need to take the time to recover. An active recovery (of course), but a recovery all the same.

While attempting the training for that same spring marathon, and complaining about my lack of energy to a friend, she recommended that I read The Big Book of Endurance Training¬†to help me learn a little more about heart rate training. I’ve found, though, it is teaching me a lot more in the process about just being honest with myself about how I feel and how to be healthy and still reach my goals (they can be complimentary).

Although was¬†not completely finished with the book, I immediately started to implement some of the tactics he discussed. My first shock: my resting heart rate was still really high and getting higher. Okay, I thought, maybe it is the FitBit – it can’t be all that accurate¬†–¬†so I bought a chest strap. To my surprise, the FitBit was really all that accurate – they are usually within a couple beats of each other, for what it is worth. It became clear that I needed to change my strategy and try things a different way to see if I can make my goals a reality.

I’ve been following heart rate training¬†for about 3 weeks now and I am starting to feel a little better. I’m starting to have some energy again and I no longer dread run days. For the most part, I’m sleeping better and I have craved sugar a lot less lately. I follow a schedule when I run¬†2 days, take day off, and then run 2 days. I keep my runs to under 45 minutes for now (except for the long that is once a week) and keep my pace so that it is within a range as outlined in the book. My heart rate is still keeping me pretty slow and I can’t say I’m not frustrated about it (especially when I see friends cruising along at 8:00 paces), but I’ve got my eyes on the prize and I really want to get there the right way. I’ve been walking more and actually warming up and cooling down as appropriate, steps I skipped in the past and shouldn’t have. I am getting faster, but I have a long way to go and I need to be patient (to me, friends, that is the toughest part of training…).

I ran my first half marathon last weekend (the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon) with this strategy and came in at 2:00 on the nose – one of my slower half marathons, but the faster end of my target completion time. My heart rate was¬†just a tad over the target rate set by my heart rate monitor (I train at a lower rate) and I didn’t have to refuel or stop once throughout the entire race. I actually felt good throughout and just after – not even sore muscles. I hope to get that post up soon – and of course there are port-a-potty stories involved – haha.

I am running my second Half Marathon since I started heart rate training¬†in NYC next week. My goal is to finish a tad faster than Myrtle Beach (with fewer Potty moments…) Wish me luck ūüôā

Until next time…

Post Recovery: A Plan and a Stubbed Toe

Hi Friends –

I admit that I have been away from this blog for too long. No excuses, really, just focusing on recovering from the marathon and getting (somewhat expensive and overdue) things done that I put off while I was marathon training.

But, I’m back now, and ready to get started on the next phase of running for me which includes (bum da bum…) another marathon (sigh).

Yeah… that happened.

Before I go into what happened there and what I plan to do about it, let me address the Stubbed Toe part of the title today because I’m pretty annoyed about it. I freely admit that I don’t handle injury or illness well. I assume I can keep on doing what I do, just a bit slower, but I even get frustrated with slower. I strongly dislike having to sit out when I hurt myself, especially when I do something dumb. All that being said: what dumb thing did I do?

My kids have a wooden step stool that, for the most part, stays in the bathroom so they can wash their hands (I don’t think they need it any more, but they still use it and really like it, so I’ve kept it out for them to use). However, now that they are bigger and really want to do some things for themselves (which I wholly encourage), they occasionally move it from the bathroom to the kitchen to reach things in the cabinets. It has now become part of the scenery for me – I usually move it, but sometimes I forget until I need to get something and it is in my way. Last week, I was putting the groceries away – even placing some of the bags on it – and clipped my right pinky toe on the edge of the stool. Daaaaaayyyyymmm. That hurt. The thing of it is: the pain went away and I felt ok until the next morning when I jump out of bed like normal and yelped from the pain. I look down and the toe is swollen and it is black and blue around it… dang. I had rehearsals for a program I’m working on at work and had to dress up for it – only, I couldn’t even fit my foot into my “cute” shoes. After seeking advice from my friends (none of whom are doctors), I decided to tape that bad boy to its neighbor and wear my semi-cute (close toed) shoes all week. That seems to be working and it does feel better.

I tested my toe on Saturday¬†by going for a swim. I didn’t want to try a run and ruin messing up the pledged mileage for Wear Blue Run to Remember Memorial Day Run, so I thought “swimming is less impact – I’ll try that”. Friends, the swim does have a smaller impact on some joints – that is true – but on fingers and toes there is a drag associated with the movements. I was able to overcome that by just swapping strokes every 50 meters. I planned for only 1/2 a mile, but when I got to 1/2 a mile, I felt so good that I just kept going. I ended up with a full mile and appropriately wiped out (…and hongry…). There wasn’t a safe piece of food in my house and I was asleep by around 9… and slept until about 9 the next morning. I even forgot to set the¬†app that records my sleep because I was so tired that¬†night. It was a good sleep, though, and I haven’t slept 12 hours straight since before kids.

Now… back to the marathon… If you read my post about the Rock and Roll Raleigh Marathon, you’ll know that I was happy with my time. I really was… conditionally. By “conditionally”, I mean, I use modifiers like “considering the heat” and “the course was really hilly…” and similar comments. While, yes, these things are factors, when you say them enough, they start to feel like excuses. If you are a runner, you understand what I mean. The thought process associated with this habit is not always a rational one, even for otherwise relatively rational people. I am a mostly rational person: I understand the terrain of the route was exceptionally hilly (I mean, how many times have I griped about that here?), and I get that it was hot… and humid, and sunny – which is draining. Let’s not even mention that it was my *first* marathon, so, despite all my preparation (and I believe I was very well prepared), there is something about the experience of it that makes a difference: actually going past that 22 miler is a huge deal.

All that being said: I also know I can do better. I’m not a perfectionist and I understand my limits, but I don’t think I’ve reached my limit yet. I’ve promised my friends and family that I’d only do 2 more in the short term to chase the Boston Qualifying time – if I don’t get it by the third one (at the moment, the third one I am targeting is the Tobacco Road Full next March if I don’t make BQ time with my next one this fall), I’ll scale back to one a year (because I like the additional mileage of the training) and just do them the best I can… maybe my BQ time will catch up to me in a few years – haha.

I do have a plan, folks. Throughout the last, I dunno, 4 miles or so of the marathon, I kept thinking “I wish I had done more mileage”. Yes, I know I just said I felt well prepared – and I was – but I think with more base miles, I might be able to handle the ‘end-of-race’ break down a little better. I was well prepared for a first marathon, but not as prepared for a marathon at the pace I wanted… not yet. I know those are the toughest miles, but at the pace I kept for the first 17 miles of the race, I didn’t have the stamina to keep it up past that. Again, I have no regrets about my training plan for the first time, but now with a bit of experience in my back pocket, I think I do need to be a little more aggressive with my training – and a *LOT* more disciplined about strength. I know I had it on my training plan each¬†week here, but execution was easy to forget until I got around to updating the blog and realized I only did it once that week when I planned for three times. I’ll put it on my calendar this time so I get reminded to do it and do it while catching up on Doctor Who or maybe Sherlock – I do have the iPad for that purpose, after all.

As for the running part: I’m going to use the mileage and schedule from the 3:30 plan on RunKeeper – by the same author of the 3:45 plan I followed last time, but use the pace targets (or hopefully a tad faster) from the 3:45 plan. The 3:30 plan has 5 run days. The weeks I have my boys, my plan is to run all 5 days. The weeks the boys are with their dad, my plan is to swim the extra¬†run day (which is actually between two speed days). ¬†My thinking is that the swim day will provide me with the exertion (possibly a bit more) of the additional run, but be less impact and provide overall body conditioning I can’t get from a pure run. The run schedule should follow a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday schedule giving me only Thursday and Sunday off with the exception of the first week, and about 3 step back weeks (including the taper week). I’ll start the schedule the Monday after my half marathon at Hatfield McCoy (first half) in June (the 16th to be exact) and my target race is the Portland Marathon¬†(yeah, in Oregon… on the other side of the country from me) on October 5. I have 3 opportunities to do a half marathon and knock out a state, provided I have the money for a trip – they are July 19, August 2, and Sept 20. Most likely candidate for a race will be September 20, though, as I’m not exactly excited about the prospect of running a half marathon in the middle of the summer… more to come on the race schedule, though.

Like last time, though, I will log my training here and share it with you because I tend to be better about following through with all my workouts, acknowledging my achievements, and identifying areas for improvement when I write it down.

Between now and June 16, though, I’ll post on my training and my climb back up to 30 mile weeks. Hopefully, starting today with 5 miles. (fingers crossed)

Happy Memorial Day and many, many thank yous to those who have served our country and those who support them.

 

I Did IT!

Happy Veteran’s Day to my Vet Friends!

I will be working on updating blog posts this week, but I wanted to drop a quick line to tell you all that I broke my Half Marathon personal record in Savannah this weekend. You may recall that I was somewhat anxious about it late last week as I took the time to contemplate my new speed level and reflect on the marathon training I’ve undergone so far. Believe me, as I ran past (or was passed by) people in the yellow bibs on Saturday (the full marathoners had yellow bibs), the marathon training rang through my mind.

My new PR time is 1:49:55, which beat my previous PR by 1:18 – so, a huge jump in my mind. My “soft goal” with this race was to get under 1:50:00, with a somewhat more stringent goal of just getting 1:15:12 or better. I actually ran this race without any assistance from my beloved music or stats (I’ll go into more detail about this in my race report) so at most points during the race, I had no idea how fast I was going or how well I was doing. At only 3 points in the race, did I even check the stats. My mind was a total blank, too – I didn’t think about anything other than “I kind of have to pee” at mile 4, “hey! there’s my friend pacing the 3:30 marathoners!” at mile 6, “I need to take my gu” at miles 5.5 and 11, “dang… it’s almost over” at mile 8, and “Hot Damn! I am going to PR this race!!” at mile 12.9 when I could finally see the clock so I could book it in.

Amazingly, I’m not really sore (like I was the last time I broke my PR) and I’m already anxious for another run so I’m going to my run group tonight – it turns out that 3 runs a week is just not enough… and more than 1 day of rest is just too much for me right now.

On a similar note: I am also now officially 1/4 of the way through my 50-states goal. I knocked out 4 states this year. I hope to do the same or similar next year, but most of it will likely have to be crammed in at the end of the year after my Marathon. I’ll keep you all posted on the Race Results and PRs page.

Thank you for letting me share my news. I hope you all have a wonderful day!

2013 Goals

Happy New Year, my friends!¬†I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Celebration!

I woke up this morning excited for the new year and the opportunity to set new goals. I am proud of myself and how I blasted most of my goals for 2012 and I’m really hoping I can continue on this trajectory. Having these goals for 2012 written and¬†publicly¬†announced really helped me stick to them. The only one I didn’t really get to was the biking and tri stuff… I needed a computer before I needed a bike, so I’ll have to wait a bit longer for the bike. I took the tri and biking stuff off the list this year – I don’t have a reasonable expectation for getting to that this year since I’ll probably have some larger expenditures and I want to do more 50-states races this year.

For 2013, I want to work on my strength overall, my stamina at higher speeds, and swimming. Like in 2012, my plan is to check in with these goals periodically throughout the year, and adjust them as I need to do so. Here’s what I’d like to see happen this year. Nothing crazy, just incrementally better than last year…

  • Half Marathons – in 2012, I did four half marathons. I’d like to do at least 4 from the 41 states I still have left, ideally 5. I have already registered for two that count toward the 50-states goal: one in February in AL (Mercedes Marathon Half) and one in April in MI (Martian Marathon Half). I’m also registered for the second half of the San Francisco Marathon in June. I did the first half of the San Francisco Marathon in 2012, and the friend I did it with registered to do the 2nd half to get the Half it All medal and, since I absolutely loved this race last year, I registered to do the same for 2013. It doesn’t count as one of my 50-states this year, but will be a great experience and I’m looking forward to doing this race again!
  • Other Races – I’d like to continue doing the longer distance races as a whole, and I may add a couple more races this year over what I did last year (only 9 in 2012). A few friends have thrown out the idea of doing a Ragnar Relay in DC in October, so that may take place of one of the Half Marathons. The shortest race distance I did in 2012 was 8k in October, so I may try for at least one 5k to try for a new 5k PR.
  • Running Mileage – In 2012, my recorded mileage was 983 miles, far more than the 775 mile goal I set for 2012. This year, since I’m so close to 1,000 miles now, I’d really like to make that my goal for this year. I had a silent goal of 90 miles a month during 2012, and I surpassed that goal 5 months, one of which was a 100-mile month! Getting to 1,000 miles means an average of a little over 83 miles a month, which is still under that goal of 90-miles a month, so I think I should be able to do it.
  • Average Pace – in 2012 my average pace for all runs (including races of all distances and training runs) amounted to 8:59, shaving a cool 17 seconds off the 9:16 from 2011 and completely blasting the sub 9:15 goal I set for 2012 – a *huge* improvement that I am VERY proud of!! For 2013, I’d like the overall pace for the year to be around 8:55 or less.
  • Overall Duration for Running – in 2012 my overall duration per run was 45:33, most likely due to the faster pace. I would like it to be closer to one hour, though, in 2013. The situation I tend to find myself in, however, is that getting the overall mileage can sometimes depend on splitting runs, so 51:00 might be harder to get for me.
  • Swimming – In 2012, I worked on swimming a lot and got much better at it. For me, swimming improves my running, which improves my swimming, which improves my running – haha. So, the improvement I’ve seen in 2012 has been steep. I don’t expect that level to continue, but I would like to be able to swim 1600m without stopping before the close of the year and, generally speaking, improve my endurance and stamina in the pool. I’m not going to set any pace goals yet as I’m still breaking in to the sport.
  • PRs – I broke my half marathon PR significantly this year (1:51:13 in the Annapolis Half Marathon December 1, 2012). I also broke my 10k PR in the City of Oaks/Old Reliable 10k in November of 2012. In 2013, I’d like to finally break my 5k PR, my 10-mile PR and my 8k PR. I would be very delighted I could also break my 10k and half marathon PRs this year, too (batting eyelashes at the running gods).
  • Weight Training – I’ve been better about this goal, but still not good enough. I’m starting to get into the habit, but I have room for improvement. I’d like to set the goal of establishing the habit so I do it at least 3 times a week and incorporate at least the stretching and core routines I’ve been doing up to this point each time. I’m up to 3 sets of 20 for the crunches, but I’d like the rest of the core exercises, the planks, the push ups and other exercises to be at least that and to make sure that I always do the exercises in pairs so the entire body gets the strength.
  • Mentoring – mentoring got me to this point and I have many, many people to thank for that, but the best way I can think of to repay them is to mentor others. I have someone very special to me that has requested my help in getting him started with running and I plan to get him to finish his first 5k this spring – that is my biggest mentoring goal. Otherwise, I’d like to help and support as many people as I can in their quest to become healthier, recover from injury or illness, and loose weight.
  • This Blog – I got off track with this blog because of work over the summer and I can’t say that won’t happen again. I will make a concerted effort to keep up with it at least for the race reports and quarterly goal check-ins. It doesn’t help that I’m a little anal retentive when it comes to writing… I’m not going to apologize for that or try to “fix” it, so I’ll have to settle with what I think I can manage.

That should do it for 2013. Nothing crazy, but I do have a few bigger goals in there that I’d like to see happen. Good luck to all of you in 2012!

You’ve Outdone Yourself, Kid…

Sometimes, you don’t realize all you have done until someone has dangled it in front of your face, pointing at it… maybe with those flashing, Vegas type of lights and fireworks and noise…

Even then, sometimes, you don’t see it.

I had such an experience this past week. I was preparing for my ninth half marathon in as many states, (race report forthcoming!) and I was discussing my training with like-minded (ok, just as crazy – we all admit that here) folks when it occurred to me that my training was going very well. In fact, better than I thought.

Nov Mileage

Way better.

I looked up my stats for November and I was 1.6 miles short of a 100 mile month. What?!?!

And, yes… to answer the question I know you are all thinking right now… I DID go home and run 1.75 on my treadmill to make it a complete 100 mile month. I had to do it. I’m also happy to report that, because of this 100 mile goal, I also took the time to look up my mileage for the year, and, my friends, my jaw dropped: I’m within 100 of 1,000 for the year (about 85 now, since I have finished my half marathon). My goal, if you recall, was 750. It appears that I surpassed that around September.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time throughout this year, you know that I have set a standing goal to log 90 miles a month. This goal was less about statistics than it was about just getting to the point where 13.1 didn’t hurt quite so much. I added more long runs, and I made sure I went past 13 (completed a handful of 14-mile runs this year, one on a treadmill) to accomplish the goal of not hurting quite so much after 13.1.¬†So far, that strategy seems to be working – for the most part. I recover more quickly than I did last year, and I have more energy for the end of the run than I did last year. The extra mileage has really helped.

However… Since I have set that goal (in January), I have achieved (or exceeded) it only 5 times. The other 6 months fell short. mrrfff. Not good for the ego, really, despite the fact that I came close (within 5) one of those months and almost close (within 9) two other months. Still… it was *not* reaching the goal that bugged me. So, I just assumed that, since I hadn’t reached my goal, that I was farther along than this time last year, but not really all that close to where I wanted to be.

My friends – I was wrong. Very wrong. And I have broken my almost-three-year-old personal record to prove it. Finally. More on that later, though.

I’m writing this post to remind you all not to focus so much on what you *haven’t* done, but, rather, to remember to take the time out to congratulate yourself on what you HAVE done. I am thankful to have the health and ability to achieve these goals this year and I’m grateful for the support of friends and family (even the ones that think I’m crazy for doing this).

I never take those people or things for granted.

2012 Goals Progress: First Half of the Year

Remember how I said that I don’t do resolutions? I am a goal-oriented person and, as with any large set of goals, you should have smaller, incremental goals to help you achieve the bigger ones. And… if you never check up on your goals, periodically, you don’t know where you stand.

So, my friends, this is a post to help me get a grasp on where I am as far as the goals I set for myself at the start of the year…

  • Half MarathonsGoal: finish least 3, ideally 4. I’ve done 2 so far: Hilton Head Half Marathon (SC/Feb/#6) and OneAmerica Mini Marathon (IN/May/#7). I’m currently registered for the Wipro San Fransisco First Half Marathon on July 29, leaving me with enough time to get in at least one more drivable half this year. Currently, I’m looking at October.
  • Other RacesGoal: focus on longer distance races. I have cut back on racing a little this year so I could afford the half marathons – and so I could refocus my training. So far, so good. I’ve only done 5 races so far. Other than the half marathons, I’ve done a 10-miler and two 10ks. I’m in the process of registering for a 10k, an 8k and possibly a 5k in the fall, in addition to my other half.
  • Running MileageGoal: over 775 miles for the year. I’m farther along on this goal than I thought I’d be at this point – which makes me very, very happy. As of 6/30/12, I’m at 509.7, or at a little over 65% of goal. I took the approach that I needed around 90 miles a month to feel adequately prepared. I’m a little short of a 90-mile month average (84.95 per month average), but I can tell the extra runs are really starting to pay off.
  • Average Pace Goal: overall average pace lower than 9:15. I must say, I am mighty proud of this one. So far this year, I’m crushing this at an overall 9:09 average.
  • Overall Duration for RunningGoal: average duration is to be over 51:00 per running activity. I’m a little short on this goal so far: my average duration is hovering around 47:15. That is likely due to the faster runs I’ve had, especially since I’m over on distance and under on pace. Having said that, I could stand to get this one a bit closer to 51:00.
  • Spinning Goal: log 24 spin activities for 2012 – way behind on this one. I’ve been putting much more focus into running and, honestly, if I can only get one activity a day, I will take running.
  • CyclingGoal: buy a bike and try outdoor riding – this one might not happen… there does not seem to be enough budget for a bike *and* a Treadmill.
  • Swimming Goal: log 24 swim activities for the year – also very, very behind on this one. Again, when given a choice between running and swimming, I am always choosing running.
  • TriGoal: finish a tri sprint in the fall – this one may not happen because of the bike situaton
  • PRs – I didn’t add this as a goal, but I should have: I’d like to break my distance PR overall. I did that: three times. I have not hit 14 miles three different times. I’d like to do it at least that many times in the second half of the year.
    I’d like to set PRs for the following race distances:

    • 10-miler (time to beat is 1:29:40-ish) – this did not happen and, unless I can find a fall 10-miler, may not;
    • Half Marathons: break 1:59:00 for all of my half marathons this year – did it for the first, but not the second; there was a heat advisory for the second, so I’m actually pretty happy with my 2:02 time for that one.
    • 5k PR of 24:30 – I have not done a 5k yet and don’t plan to until the fall;
    • 8k PR this year – I have not run one yet and don’t plan to until the fall,
    • 10k PR (51:11) bad timing and hot weather for the two 10ks I’ve done so far; I have another chance in the fall with the Old Reliable.
  • Weight TrainingGoal: log 36 activities for the year . Like the other activities, I have a hard time selecting it over running and just don’t seem to have many opportunities this spring to do more than one a day. I hope that will lighten up a bit now that most of those projects at work are over.
  • YogaGoal: log 48 activities for the year. I have ebbed and flowed (pun kind of intended here) with Yoga. I see the benefit and I do it, but I don’t take classes for it. I’m getting poses off the internet and from friends, but I would like to start doing it with more regularity. I have bought a balance ball and have been working on my planks to strengthen core. But… like all other xt activities: if I can only pick one thing to do in a day, it will usually be running. Having said that: I have used Yoga poses and ab work as a way to not feel as bad about missing runs. I haven’t been logging these, though, so I don’t have a count at the moment.
  • This BlogGoal: post on this blog more often. I did well with this until the spring and started missing training and goal recaps. I’m catch up. I had no idea my spring was going to be so busy, but I’m catching up. My observation is correct, though, about my getting better when I write it down. I have been getting better and I have been thinking about it more when I know I have to write it down to share with you.

That should catch us up on 2012. Still some work to do, but on track for a lot of it. I hope the summer allows me some time to catch up and that all of you are on track with your own goals!

2012 Goals

I don’t do resolutions, so here are my goals for 2012, as they pertain to running and cross-training. I didn’t do this for 2011, though, I had some silent directional goals I worked on and progressed with them.

For 2012, however, I’d like to have some stated goals that I’ll work on specifically. My plan is to check in with these goals periodically throughout the year, and adjust them as I need to do so. Here’s what I’d like to see happen this year. Nothing crazy, just incrementally better than last year…

  • Half Marathons – in 2011, I did three half marathons. I’d like to do at least 3, ideally 4. I have already registered for two – one in February (Hilton Head Half Marathon) and one in May (OneAmerican Mini Marathon) so the second half of the year is wide open. I may look for doing one fly-distance (like NoCal, OR, WA in August) and maybe one longer drive where I have family, such as MD or NJ in the late fall. Outside of the OneAmerica race, I’m focusing on smaller races this year, after the debacle in Las Vegas in December of 2011.
  • Other Races – I’d like to start doing longer distance races as a whole. I am registered for one 10-mile race (Tarheel 10-miler) at the end of April of 2012, and I’m thinking of registering for an 8k in March; if scheduling works out (and I can find them!) I’d like to do three 10k races this year, replacing one of my 5k races with a 10k and one of them with an 8k. If I can find an early fall 10-miler, I’d like to replace one of the 5k races with a 10-miler, too, which would leave me three 5k races, two 8k races, three 10k races, two 10-mile races and 3 to 4 half marathons. Get on that RDs in the Raleigh-Durham area – haha.
  • Running Mileage – In 2011, my recorded mileage was 737 miles. I’d like to record over 775 for 2012. That should be achievable if I am able to get in 4 half marathons and the longer races… and record every run.
  • Average Pace – in 2011 my average pace for all runs (including races of all distances and training runs) amounted to 9:16, which I’m actually pretty proud of. However, in the spirit of always improving, I’d like to lower that so my goal in 2012 is to have overall pace for all 775 miles be lower than 9:15.
  • Overall Duration for Running – in 2011 my overall duration per run was 50:37 – pretty good. I’d like to get that closer to an hour, so my 2012 goal for duration is to be over 51:00 per activity.
  • Spinning – I’d like to increase the number of spinning activities. In 2011, my total number of logged spinning activities was 21. I’d like to make that 24 for 2012 – that’s two a month. I should be able to do that. I was happy with my duration for 2011 of 1:05, so I’d like to make my goal for 2012 be at least 1:05 for each spin; I’d also like my goal for each ride to amount to 100 RPM or about 25 miles per ride (pedal count).
  • Cycling – I’d like to buy a bike and try outdoor riding this year
  • Swimming – In 2011, I just got started with swimming, so I have some room for improvement here. I’d like to set a goal of 24 activities for the year – or 2 a month (2011, I had 17), and I’d like to focus my time in the water on getting more efficient with swimming and lowering my stroke count. I am starting off with stroke counts over 30 for 25 meters and I think that is way too high. According to some of my runner friends, it should be closer to 18-20 for a 25m short length, so my goal is to, by year end, have an average stroke count in the neighborhood of 20-24 per 25m. Ancillary to that goal (or maybe as a direct result of making that goal) I’d like to also be able to swim 100m without stopping before June so I can feel more comfortable about an open water 500m swim by the fall.
  • Tri – I’d like to do a tri sprint in the fall.
  • PRs – I’d like to PR my 10-miler this year (time to beat is 1:29:40-ish) and I’d like to break 1:59:00 for all of my half marathons this year (not a PR, but approaching it and faster than all of the last 4 races I’ve done). I’d also like to break my 5k PR of 24:30 this year, even if it is by one second and I’d like to break the 8k PR this year (40:50-ish, I think), as well as my 10k PR (51:11) which I believe is also achievable.
  • Weight Training – I’ve been bad about weight training and it is becoming clear to me that I need it. I’m looking into several classes at my gym, including pilates, core training and a free-weights class called strictly strength. I’m paying for it, I should use it. Therefore, my goal is 36 activities for the year – that’s 3 a month or once a week. That should be achievable.
  • Yoga – I’ve talked about this a lot because I know I need to do it… I have a mental block with yoga, though… I think it is because I’m overwhelmed with all the different types and figuring out the right one for runners and doing it the right way… blah, blah, blah… I think I need a class because I don’t want to do it wrong, but most of the classes at my gym happen during the work day or conflict with the handful of weight training classes or precious time getting cross-training or runs in… so, I may need to adjust my schedule and do more running at lunch and buy a dvd so I can do yoga at home. Either way, I need to do it. There. I said it. I mainly think this will help me with my number one goal: avoid an injury. So, my goal is going to be 48 activities for the year, that’s 4 a month, which is roughly once a week (with rounding) so I think that’s also achievable.
  • This Blog – I tend to improve more when I write stuff down, so I’m going to have to be more disciplined (and efficient) at keeping up with this blog. My plan is to write at least one entry every week summarizing my training for the week, write a post for each race, and once every 3 months, updating on my goal progress. I think that’s achievable since I don’t even have a race at all until February. That gives me time to finally catch up on all my race reports for 2011.

That should do it for 2012. Nothing crazy, but I do have a few bigger goals in there that I’d like to see happen. Good luck to all of you in 2012!