Well......2011 was a very up and down year for me.
Goals for 2011
1) Run the Lynchburg Ultra Series
2) Run 1,200 miles
3) Break 4hrs 30min in a 50k, probably Bluescruise
How'd I do? Pretty well I think. My hope to break 1,200 miles for the year was realized in September. With 3 months to go I began to start thinking I could make it to 1,600 or 1,700 miles by the end of the year but that didn't happen. I started the year in pretty good shape but with pain in my right knee. The pain was pretty bad but I had already signed up for 3 spring races and couldn't bail on them just yet. I ran Holiday Lake. I was pretty sick for this race and hadn't run in almost 10 days leading up to the race because I was on the couch. Didn't break 5hrs but was happy because I was able to pass 40 people over the second half of the race to finish strong. Terrapin Mountain was about a month after that. This was my first "real" race given that it covered 30+ miles and over 6,000ft of elevation. I loved this race. The views were amazing and I surprised myself by finishing in the top 25. That was a great feeling but all along my knee just kept getting worse and worse. For my 3rd spring race, Promise Land, I was in trouble. My training leading up to this race was nonexistent. I could only run every 4 or 5 days because of my knee and I was not ready for this one. I finished it though but was significantly behind runners I had beaten at Terrapin Mountain. Oh well.
So the first half of my running schedule was out of the way. Now I had to recover and start planning for the fall races. To do so meant fixing my knee. I started icing every day and doing rehab. This didn't do much at first but slowly my knee recovered. I'd have to seriously admit that the biggest adjustment I made in my training was taking stretching seriously. I started stretching for almost 30 minutes a day and magically about 85% of the knee pain went away in less that 24hrs. Gradually my weekly miles increased.
This led to the best running of the year for me. Over the course of 3 months, July, August, and September, I ran just under 600 miles! I was in great shape. I had never put together that many miles in such a short time. I felt fresh and ready to go for the fall! However this momentum would quickly turn. About 2 weeks before Bluescruise I woke up with pain on the bottom of both my feet. NO!!! This immediately ruined my training. I knew that to heal I would have to take time off. However I couldn't take time off until I ran Bluescruise and Mountain Masochist.
Bluescruise was awesome! Ran a 4:30 50k and finished in 8th. I missed my goal of breaking 4:30 but still this was the best race of my short running career so far. However the pain in my feet did not go away. I ignored it and thought I could train through it until MMTR. Not such a bad plan but then about a week after Bluecruise both of my hips began to scream at me every time I tried to run. So now I had a problem. Both feet and both hips in serious pain, need to rest them, but have a 50 miler in just 3 weeks. I decided to cut down my miles and do what I call binge training. This meant that instead of running often and short distances I would run once or twice a week but significant distances. This was the worst training month of the year. Pain every day at work, at soccer practice, and every run. OH well. "It will all be worth it when I finish MMTR."
MMTR was awesome as well. Painful for sure (pain in hips started around mile 3 and never went away). However I finished and was incredibly happy with that. This meant that I had completed LUS. Finished in the top 10 actually! I had planned on the race being painful and requiring a significant amount of recovery time but wasn't sure how bad it would actually be.
It has now been almost 2 months since MMTR and I do not think I've seen hardly any improvement in either my feet or my hips. I haven't seen a doctor yet but that may be the next step. Since MMTR I have only run about 20 miles. That's 20 miles in almost 60days! It's horrible. I have been patient but that's running out. 3 more days of 2011 and it looks like 2012 will start with recovery again. BLEH! Overall though the year was great for me. I realized how much it really takes to become a good runner and I can't wait to start training hard again so I can continue to improve. It's amazing how much you can improve in just one year when you put your mind to it. I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. I need to get back on the trails ASAP. I miss them, and the time spent on them with friends.