I don't usually do those end-of-the-year running/racing recaps that sprout up on blogs this time of year, but I saw one on Miss Zippy's blog that I couldn't resist copying. So without further ado, my year in racing (modified from her original post):
Best race experience: This is hard....I did 5 half marathons, 2 triathlons, my first 10k and a few 5ks this year. All were enjoyable for various reasons...but if I had to choose the BEST race experience it would have to be SuperFrog. This was my first half-Ironman triathlon, and while there were parts of the race where I thought I would drown (the swim), get blown away by wind (the bike) or just collapse and never get up (the run), training for and completing this race was hands-down the proudest (personal) moment of my year. I never thought I would be able to do 70.3 miles, and I did it. A little over 8 hours of swimming, biking, running, and now I can call myself a half-Ironman, a title that no one can ever take away from me.
Best run: Fortunately, I had many great runs, mostly in training. But 2 runs in particular stand out: the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon, where I finally met my goal of running a half marathon in under 2:30, and the Portland Half Marathon, which I ran a week after SuperFrog and was amazed at how well my body held up after just completing 70.3 miles. And both races themselves were very fun and like a big party.
Best bike: I would have to say one of my training rides for SuperFrog. I did 60 miles, which was my longest ride to date, and I was in the zone---clipped in, using my aerobars, fueling right. It made me think (correctly) that maybe I could complete the bike portion of SuperFrog in under 4 hours.
Best swim: One great swim that stands out in my mind was an open water practice in the ocean with my friend Steve in preparation for SuperFrog. I think Andrea and a few other friends were also along with us. It felt so good to finally get the hang of getting through waves (up to that point, all my open water swims had been in the bay). And once through the waves, it was fun to swim in the ocean.
Worst run/bike/swim: I can't think of any awful swims or bike rides (although I can think of plenty of hard ones, especially on the bike!) but I can recall a couple of runs where my sciatic nerve pain and/or plantar fasciitis was so bad that I was in pain the whole time. One run in particular was so horrible that I was limping after and went to Urgent Care the next day to see if it my foot was fractured (it wasn't). After some time off of running, I was fine again, but that was not fun. At all.
Worst injury: I threw my back out in July, leaving me unable to properly train for my half-Ironman for about 3 weeks.
Worst race experience: None! I'm happy to say that each of my races this year was great, all for different reasons (new distance, new PR, new locations, being with friends, etc).
Best new piece of gear: I love my aerobars I got on my bike this summer. It really helped during SuperFrog, which was all flat. I also got a new iPod Shuffle earlier in the year, which I use all the time.
Best piece of running advice you received: This was the year I learned to change my run to strike mid-foot. Another gem of wisdom was about racing: all that matters is finishing. It doesn't matter if you come in first or last...as long as you train and do your best, that's what matters. Run your own race (which applies to life as well).
If you could sum up your (fitness) year in a couple of words, what would they be? Mind blowing. I can't believe I achieved two major goals---running a sub-2:30 half marathon and completing a half-Ironman. And I had made it a goal to run more than I did in 2011 (which had been 600 miles). With one more week left to run, I've already run 635 miles.
What I've learned this year: That I can do anything I set my mind to. Next year I will do the things that scare me: run a trail race, bike 100 miles, and swim 2.4 miles. I know I can do it all because of what I accomplished this year.