It's been a good year, 2011. At the start of this year, the longest I'd ever run in a race was 13.1 miles. The farthest I had ever run was 15.1 miles, and that was just a couple months before, in November of 2010. This year, I've had at least 40 runs longer than 13 miles, including three marathons, three half-marathons, and dozens of training runs.
Oh, and there was that little race last month, which qualified me to run in another little race 16 months from now.
Let's take a look back, shall we?
During this month I steadily build mileage, culminating in the 19-mile Fellowship of the Idiots run. Total mileage for the month: 232
I continue to build mileage, but also start working on speed. To test myself, I run the UNCC Homecoming 5K and PR with a 21:32. Total mileage: 235, despite the short month.
Despite going on a ski vacation in the middle of the month, I manage to keep the mileage up, completing my longest run to date, a 22-miler. I also run a 10K where I PR and get my first-ever age-group award, and a disappointing half marathon that at least turned out to be a good story. Total mileage: 236
Things start to get real. I run a good 8K and an eventful 5K before flying off to California to get ready to run my first-ever marathon. Total mileage: 217.
Finally! I run my first marathon ever, the stunningly spectacular Big Sur International Marathon. While I don't quite hit the pace I was hoping for, my 3:37 time is quite good for a first-time marathoner on a difficult course. I also run a 10K that is a little short, and start to get ready for yet another marathon. Total mileage: 176.
Just five weeks after running my first marathon, I decide I can run another. My goal: Break 3:30 and qualify for Boston. For some idiotic reason, I choose the Steamboat Marathon, which starts at 8,200 feet and descends to 6,800. It's all downhill, it shouldn't be too hard, right? Wrong. At least the scenery is pretty. The rest of the month is spent licking my wounds. Total mileage: 127.
Time to regroup. I embark on a new plan: Running a flat race, near sea level, and seeing how fast I can go. I bump up the mileage, and run a 5K, where I get another age group award and PR. Total mileage: 240.
Somehow I manage to keep up the mileage while vacationing in Hawaii, including what has to be the steepest route I've ever run. And I run a cool 10K involving four river fords. Total mileage: 242.
I run an epic relay including one of the awesomest descents known to humankind. What a blast! Then I set an insane PR at the Run For Green Half, beating my previous best by more than 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I continue logging big chunks of mileage. Total mileage: 246.
On the spur of the moment, I decide to drive to Tennessee with Todd to run the inaugural Bridges Half Marathon. It turns out to be a good move: I set another half-marathon PR, 1:31:37. This has the additional affect of kindling a new goal in my head: If I can cut just a minute and a half off my time, I qualify for automatic entry into New York. Continuing with speedy efforts, I set another PR and finish third overall in the Mooresville Pumpkin Run 8K, despite running an extra .16 miles. Total mileage: 245.
Finally, I make it! I spend the rest of the month taking it easy. Total mileage: 141.
I had originally planned to take this month easy too, but with the new goal of qualifying for guaranteed entry to New York in Mississippi in early January, I decide to ramp my training back up. I do the best I can with training during a busy travel season. I run a crazy trail race at the spur of the moment. Then on Christmas Eve I run the Mount Mourne Elf 5K with the hope of setting another PR. Unfortunately the entire field takes a wrong turn, and while I am pleased with my overall pace of 6:16, because we all run an extra third of a mile, there is no PR, no sub-20-minute 5K. Total mileage (including 15.5 planned for tomorrow): 242.
Overall, I'm quite happy with my year. There were no major injuries, I set massive PRs at several distances, I completed my first marathon, and I qualified to run Boston. Next year I'm planning to mix things up a bit, trying some "fun" races that won't result in PRs but should offer interesting challenges. With any luck, I'll get to run New York, and then Boston in 2013. I can't wait.
Total mileage for 2011 (again, including tomorrow's planned run): 2,585. Wow.