Do you ever go back at old blog posts an re-read what you wrote? I do it occasionally, but not as much as I would like.
This week I feel like I've had a lot of time to think about my running, and races, in 2011. I've pretty much taken the entire week off of running (only logged 13 miles since Sunday) due to being sick and my leg hurting. I'm hoping it is nothing major and just magically goes away on its own.
Last December I wrote a post about some goals I wanted to accomplish in 2011. They were:
1. Run a marathon.
2. Run 2 half marathons, including the Quad Cities Half.
3. PR - in the 10k, ideally the 5k, and half marathon
1. Run a marathon.
Training for a marathon takes a lot of dedication. The marathon is tough, though. You train for months for one day. Things can go great, or they can fall apart. For the most part, I had a wonderful experience. I wouldn't trade the Chicago Marathon this year for anything in the world. I've wanted to run a marathon for the past 4 years. I am glad I got to accomplish that goal in 2011. I'm looking forward to perhaps another or 2 in 2012. We'll see....
2. Run 2 half marathons, including the Quad Cities Half
I ran 3 half marathons (Sam Costa - 1:40:14 in March; Rockford in May - 1:40:43; and Benefit Classic - 1:43:31 in September). I didn't end up running the Quad Cities because of its proximity to the Chicago Marathon. Unfortunately, I got slower with each half.
3. PR in the 10k, ideally in the 5k and half marathon
This was the year where I set a PR in virtually every race distance: 5k, 4 mile, 15k, half marathon and full marathon. Although, 2 - the 4 mile and marathon - were given PRs as I had not competed in any other races those distances before. I also automatically PR'd in my 2 duathlons this year. I think what I am most proud of is not that I set a PR, but by how much it was set. I took 2:20 off my 5k time, 3:37 off my 15k time, and 2:53 off my half marathon PR (previously set in 2009). I didn't end up running any 10ks this year. It is not a distance that I particularly enjoy.
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Last year, I could have never predicted that I would run like this in 2011. I exceeded what I thought I could achieve. If you were to tell me last year that I could run a 5k in 20:12...I would have just smiled at you and thanked you for the compliment, but not have believed it. Belief in oneself is critical in running. Part of my problem with racing is that I don't fully believe I can run at the pace I want to (see: half marathons x3 this year).
What happened when I was told by someone else in September that they believed I could run a 20-minute 5k based on my track workouts? It happened. Someone else believed in me, which transferred to me believing in myself.
What happened when I ran to prove something to someone? I told myself multiple times the pace I was going to run - and ran it, almost to the T.
What happens when I line up for a race and want something, and hope that my training was enough? Self-doubt creeps in. I don't run very well. I don't PR.
Starting to pick up on the pattern?
Going into 2012, I need to believe in myself more. I need to trust my training more.
I don't know what 2012 will bring, but I'm looking forward to another running and racing year with new challenges and races.
Do you know a single factor that dictates your success or failure in races?