A look back at 2013

Despite saying early in the year that I would not race as much, I seem to have taken part in 23 races this year (if you count the Runner’s World Hat Trick as three races – which, of course, you should if you run a 5k, 10k and half marathon over 2 days), compared to 21 in 2012.

My focus for the year was entirely different because I had decided it would be the year of my first marathon and therefore everything I did was geared to that race (Philadelphia in November), and while my preparation was not perfect, it still lead to a great time. I’m still not sure about doing another, but it will happen, just not in 2014.

Despite the different focus for the year, the extra miles on my long runs had an impact I wasn’t expecting – PRs in 5k – 19:15, 10k – 41:25, and Half Marathon – 1:30:59.

Memorable events for me this year included:

Since Philadelphia, my running has been intermittent at best (as have my blog posts), but I’m hoping that the new year will bring me focus to meet my goals for 2014 – even faster times in the 5k, 10k, and half marathon.

What are your goals for 2014? Did you achieve your 2013 goals?

 

I’d like to say it was deliberate, but…

To round off the year, and equally, in a racing sense, to round off my 30’s I ran The Big Chill on Sunday. This is a great event (apparently the second largest race in NJ after the Spring Lake 5 unless anyone has different information) where the entry fee is a toy donation. Over 8000 registered people and 9000 toys/gifts donated is a fantastic thing.

In previous years I haven’t tried to “race” this one. I tried the first year I did it, but the first mile was spent weaving in and out of people. This year I had put myself down for a fast run (during sign up you get asked whether you want a chip or not – many run it for fun with no official timing and it costs them more to have chips) and I had indicated faster than 20 minutes which was the fastest category you could select. Several friends were trying to talk me out of this because of my marathon recovery, but with it being my last race of 2013 and my last before I turn 40, I wanted to do it relatively fast.

The race seems to have a very strange set up – some people are given different color bibs which allows them into the very front of the race and all others are prevented from being there until the very last minute before the start. There was a lot of confusion from people who wanted to run 17 or 18 minute races but were not in that section, and just as much confusion from people in that section who were going to run 25 minute races. I still haven’t worked out what the criteria is for getting there. If anyone has any insight, it would be appreciated (perhaps a Rutgers affiliation?).

Without boring you, my race summary is as follows: went out to fast, felt my legs weren’t 100% back to peak performance.

Back to the title of this post, it seems fitting that for my last race of 2013 I recorded a time of 20:13.

bigchill

Marathon recovery and racing

Last week I went for my first run since the Philadelphia Marathon – it was a slow run and I was aiming to do at least 3.5 or 4 miles. Apparently my muscles were not ready for that and the tightness in my calf led me to abandon at just 2.7 miles. That was on Monday. I planned to try again on Wednesday, but for one reason or another that run didn’t happen.

Thursday was Thanksgiving, and that meant the Ashenfelter 8k Classic – I had not planned to race it this year, but RVRR was pushing to get the team represented in the last team points race of the year (plus it’s a fun race) so I had signed up.

Given the difficulties I had running on Monday I wasn’t really expecting much, but that all changed when I started running – there’s something about a large crowd at a race that can push you beyond what you would expect. I thought I’d aim for a 7 minute mile pace and see how it went. The first mile was completed in about 6:50 which felt reasonable – the only difficulty was breathing and I suspect that was due to the cold – I don’t recall breathing that hard in a race for a long time. The second mile was similar, still feeling reasonable, so I picked up the pace slightly after that.

ashenfelter

 

My official time was only 2 seconds slower than last year so I felt pretty good about that (only 11 days after Philly) although I seem to recall not feeling too great last year either so perhaps it’s not the best comparison. I had a feeling my legs were not going to be happy after this and I was right. My calf muscles ached more than they had since a few days after the marathon and I had to rethink my exercise plans for the weekend focusing on just stretching in the Bodyflow classes.

I’m hoping to run later today with no problems.