Running in 2011

Over the weekend, I ran my first Half Marathon of the 2011 Season. And by Season, I mean an somewhat arbitrary range of dates to split up my winter races and non-winter races. Training is much more difficult in the winter, so I don't want my winter times bringing down my non-winter times.

Seasons

What I am defining as the 2011 Running Season is basically Last April to Late October. This is just for the Midwest and like-climates though. Warmer climates would make it much easier to train and run all year round, so the "season" would probably just be the entire year.

For me, the season began last weekend with Madison's annual Crazy Legs Classic. It's a 8 kilometer run from Capitol Square, through UW-Madison campus, and ending on Randal Field. It's a really good start for the year, and the entire town really gets into it. Almost 10,000 runners competed this year.

Getting back into Running

I did much better than last year, but I felt incredibly sluggish. Winter makes it nearly impossible for me to train. I can't train outside because it's too cold, and I can't train inside because it's too boring. Before hitting the pavement back in March, I hadn't done any running at all since the Seattle Half Marathon and the Sandbox Indoor Half Marathon.

Getting back into the work out is hard. It was still cold out, so I wasn't getting any positive vibes from the sun. And I felt horrible after each run. I didn't feel like I was getting any benefit from it at all. But there's one thing I've learned from running over the past 2 years. Motivation builds off of itself.

I know that running is beneficial for me, so I had to force myself to get out there and do it. For April, I was outside every other day, and still felt like I wasn't getting any from it, but I kept doing it.

My Crazy Legs time wasn't the greatest (50 minutes), but I did better than last year. Later in the week on Wednesday, the sun was out and shining, and I had an amazing run that day. I was actually starting to feel some of the benefits of running, even though I still felt like crap.

Door County Half Marathon

This past weekend, I ran in the Door County Half Marathon, and going into it, I wasn't feeling very optimistic. I still felt sluggish, and figured I would get a 2:30, or something. But that wasn't the case. I pushed forward, and actually started feeling really good. In the middle of the race, my legs started matching pace with what I was capable of last year. I was flying down hills, and able to build off of specific songs I was listening to. I glided across the finish line and achieved a 2:20:02.

2:20 isn't my best time, but it is much faster than where I was at last year at this time. My 2010 time for Door County was 2:34, and it was the first race where I really pushed myself. I figured I would be around the same time this year, but I feel great that I was able to retain much of the speed I was working towards last year.

Future

Getting a decent time (for me) has given me new motivation to continue to run, and do much better than last year. I have 3 goals this year, but they all lead to the same thing. 1) I want to surpass my high score of 2:13. 2) I want to surpass 2:03, which is the world record for the FULL marathon. and 3) I want to surpass 2 hours. So, even though, they are 3 separate goals, they are really the same goal. I guess "milestones" would be a better way to describe it.

Currently, I'm signed up for 2 more half marathons this year, but I'm sure I'll sign up for more as time goes on.

May 29th // Madison Half Marathon
Aug 20th // Madison Mini-Marathon

Additionally, I signed up for my first FULL marathon, which is Milwaukee's Lakefront Marathon. I was actually planning on signing up last year, but it was completely full by the time I decided to do so. That takes place on October 2nd, so there is plenty of time to train and build up to it.

Run run run!

Also, if you're wondering, I keep track of all my racing times through Google Docs. Here's a public link for that information:
https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?hl=en&hl=en&key=0Ak9hIdYBQ74MdFRZekVmTVJCblFGTEZRaXRuRlN3Smc&output=html




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