Last year I really went crazy with this running thing. As I’ve mentioned before I started running in June 2010 (right after I ran a 5k in May 2010 – I hadn’t run at all for years, but I was fairly fit from cycling). I was mainly running 2 to 3 miles a few times a week until July 2011 with a bit of a step back in October 2010 when I actually reduced my mileage as I started to run in Vibram Fivefingers – since the end of 2010 I have only worn “barefoot” style shoes – I even started wearing Vivobarefoot shoes for work and as general footwear. In July 2011 I started introducing the occasional run up to 5, or maybe even 6, miles. By the end of October 2011 I’d managed a few runs over 8 miles.
Sometime towards the end of January 2012 I started running between 11 and 13 miles every Saturday and this continued into my first race of 2012 – the Miles for Music 20k in March. My original goal was the Unite Rutgers Half Marathon in April, but the March race was a club sponsored run, and I thought it would be a good test for me. I knew I wasn’t really as prepared as I could be – I was finding it difficult in the last few miles whenever I was running over about 9 or 10 miles on any run, let alone in a race, and that’s exactly what happened in the race. It probably didn’t help that my first 5k was over in about 21 minutes, which, considering my fastest 5k race ever at that point was 20:08 or so, was probably a bit too fast (Click here for mapmyrun details).
By the time the half marathon came around I had also run in a (very hilly) 15k race – Indian Trails, but the work I had been doing clearly paid off because I ran much stronger than I expected and didn’t start to fade until mile 11 which really amazed me.
I continued on for much of the year running 2 or 3 races a month (compared to 2 or 3 races a year in my prior years of running) and I was doing well (at least I thought so). However, my race tactic for all of these races (if you can call it a tactic) was to go out fast and then fade dramatically. By June I was starting to feel like I had peaked – it didn’t help that I got sick and late in June and into July didn’t feel as fast as I had been.
I would like to say this set the scene for the remainder of my running year – it was almost the case, but running the Newport Liberty Half Marathon on September 23rd didn’t follow that pattern (I hadn’t originally planned on doing this race, but I’d found myself caught up in the competition of the USATF NBGP and I knew I could get more points by doing this race just because of it’s size). I didn’t use my watch and felt great for the first 5 or 6 miles, then started to fade, and practically limped home (well, not really, but comparatively). (mapmyrun again). It wasn’t until afterwards I really thought about the fact I’d only run over 10 miles about 5 or 6 times since my April Half Marathon, so that’s probably not the best preparation.
For the remainder of the year I had some of my best races – not because they were my fastest (they weren’t), but they were the races I have enjoyed the most – probably because I haven’t been going out too fast and wearing myself out way too early.
2013 is going to be a continuation of that, along with increasing my distances, with the aim of completing the Philadelphia Marathon (and I promise I’m not going to care about the time – well, not too much).
All my race times can be found here: http://runninginnj.wordpress.com/past-races/.