2013 Year in Review

2013TCM

2013… What a year. Every race I ran this year, I PRed. Every marathon was faster than the previous…. So how exactly did I do this?  Let’s recap!

Beginning with Salt Lake City in April I was fresh from a disappointing CIM in which I ran in a Monsoon, Literally. But I got through it and was able to finish with a respectable 3:48.  But I missed my mark, as I was going for 3:45.  So I was determined to get it in April in Salt Lake.  I decided to follow Pfitz 12/55 week marathon plan and told myself no matter what I would get out and run the miles every day it called for it.  Marked up my calendar and put in the work.  During the training I suffered a few setbacks from injuries. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.  Race day, I hit my mark 3:43.. I was happy but I knew I could better. I wasn’t 100% on race day and still had lingering injuries. So after the marathon I analyzed what I did wrong.  One key mistake I made was that I didn’t cross train enough.  On days the plan called for cross training I took the days off, since I was so tired from running all the time.  That ended up being my downfall as my muscles were not strong enough to go through the pain of running 5-6 days a week. Lesson 1 learned.

I took the information I got from SLC and decided to train up hard for my next marathon, I set my goals on Twin Cities in Minnesota. In between race day I had several races I competed in. RTO, a 10k, a 10 miler, and a half marathon. I think all these races were very important to guage my level of fitness to see what times I was capable of.  This was a great decision that I was very happy I made.  We all run differently when we wear a BIB and to get an accurate level of speed I needed a race, not a training run.

First up was the RTO, this was a relay event in which I ran 3 legs with 2 downhill legs. I decided on downhill because I want to push my speed. I needed to get comfortable running faster and sometimes using gravity is the best method.  It worked. I cruised in faster then I have ever run before reaching speeds of 4:45 min miles.

Next up a 10k, I wanted to see what level I was at before starting my 12/55 plan for MN, I should mention I modified the plan a little and did my own version of 16/55.  Anyways, the 10k proved to be a great resource to me. I found out I could push my pace for a longer distance then 3 miles and actually felt good at the end.  Finish time 43:03

Around here, is where I took advice from Honky from the RR forums and picked up a pair of Hokas. Not the thinnest shoe on the market, but after you get used to them they are great to run in. Very easy on my knees and made running FUN for me again.

hoksoneOne_z

Next up was the 10 miler. Only a few months away from the race but I wanted to run this one as it was a perfect in between distance to see how hard I could push.  I also tried not wearing my water belt. Success as I finished 1:12.  This race really hurt me at the time though, I was in a rough training week and my body was not rested. I should of scaled my run back a bit but I didn’t. Lesson here, rest up at least 2 days after a big race.

Last test was a half marathon.  This one was a GREAT practice run. And I treated it as such.  My goal was to go for a new PR, but only by a few. It worked, I kept my pace in check and turned up the gears near the end of race. Best part is that this race had hills and TCM has a monster hill at around mile 21.  This race however, had LARGER and longer hills. My body was conditioned for it and I went up no problem, though I didn’t enjoy it.  Ended up getting a new PR 1:41:19  no complaints.  Glad i scaled back because TCM was only 3 weeks away.

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TCM! Okay, so this race I was prepared for not only did I train correctly by actually lifting on cross train days, but I also worked on speed, hills, and ran some smaller races to get a feel for my overall goal time.  I decided to push it a bit and run for 3:35, my intent was 3:40.  But the pressure was on with Mac and Cook both running the same race. Having my family and friends here really upted the pressure as well. I wanted to race well in front of them! It was also emotional seeing my parents at my race, since they have never gotten to see me run. Race day was beautiful and everything felt great. Got to the hill and easily got over it, though it did slow me down.  Overall time 3:33.  At the end of the marathon I wondered if I could of gone faster as I felt pretty good at the end and never really hit a true “wall”.  The good news is that I still had another marathon to do!

I decided not to tax my body too much after TCM and took a few days off and gently got back in the routine. Eventually starting an 8 week plan that got up to about 70 miles at one point.  I bounced the idea of doing another half and decided I would. I figured I could try pushing my pace and seeing what I was capable of.  It was also very close to where CIM was being held so I could practice the drive, hotel sleep and nutrition pre race.  The half was relatively flat and since I was going for a new PR, my intent was to shoot for under 1:40.  Ended up getting 1:36:58.  Dominated my goal, but I was in pain near the end. My legs were not 100% from the rough training and lack of recovery.  My mistake here was  not taking a day or 2 off BEFORE the race.

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Okay so CIM time. The race report covers it pretty much, but the biggest factor for me is that I wanted to really go big or go home for this race. I thought I had nothing to lose since I ran a PR this year already and made my goal times. So what the hell, let’s go for 3:25.  Ran with ilana and got 3:23:27.  I felt pretty tired at the end and hit a wall around mile 24.  But all in all ran a solid race. I think the only thing I could of done differently was save more energy from high fiving people along the way. The first half of the marathon was a cake-walk, the 2nd half was hard.  Overall I would say I more comfortable with variable terrain and ups and downs then I am flat roads. So I need to work on training on flat surfaces to push my overall fitness. But again I came to the race 100% healthy with no injuries, braces to wear or tape to put on. I was ready to roll.

Every race this year I was healthy, and when it’s all the line being healthy is ultimately the most important thing. Combining strength training, with solid running and massage therapy really helped my body along the way.  I would recommend Pfitz plans to any runner. I would also recommend monthly massage sessions. And if you balk at the price, ask yourself what’s important. One night of food and drinks with friends? Or a new PR?

Also I am reminded of a sign I saw on the course of TCM. Pain is temporary, but internet results last forever! Competition is always a great motivator for when you are struggling, as RR forum user Honky told me… “Just ask yourself what the guy’s in front of you did” when I told everyone about my struggles to get up early. I also competed online via the MotoActv website, and currently am ranked 2nd in most miles for 2013.

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Having mental toughness is very important when it comes to marathon running and I would constantly reinforce myself during races, especially near the end. But honestly the most important thing is having fun.  Do whatever you have to do to make running fun. Sometimes it feels like a chore, but remember you are trying to achieve something amazing, and the feeling of doing it is well worth a few hours of sleep.

Thanks again to my friends, RW forum users, massage therapist, g/f, family, co-workers, and anyone else who helped along the way!

Here’s to 2013 and hopefully an amazing 2014!

Happy Running!

 

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