Reviewing last year was pretty fun ;) I guess if I had to categorize this year's running, I'd say it was AWARDING. It was the year I somehow managed to place in my age group more times than ever - and set several new personal records - despite dealing with the disappointment of a marathon DNS and the struggles that go along with being a first time mama.
My goals from last year were:
* Train for and run a marathon --> This did not happen. I lived to tell the tale, and I'm no worse for wear. I was pretty much over this by race day. Moving on.
* Participate in National Ab Month --> Another success! After bashing my abs last year with pregnancy and childbirth, I welcomed them back with a rough month of ab work.
* Continue to add strength training and stretching --> Big success! I added pilates to my list of workouts - and I love it! It's been great for me, not only physically, but socially. It gives me a welcome break from the kiddo, time to chat with friends, and a killer workout too. I'm keeping it! In addition, I did a fair amount of yoga this year as well.
* Run(race) three or more races in 2012 --> My biggest success! I raced FIVE times AND did several virtual races.
Shamrock 8K - 38:35 --> This was a PR for me.
Neighborhood 5K - 24:31 --> Perhaps my most disappointing race of the year, BUT I did place 3rd in my age group.
Strollers in the Front 5K - 25:30 --> A stroller-racing PR for me / third place with stroller / first in my age group.
Bonfield Express 5K - 23:18 --> PR!
Rudolph Ramble 8K - 38:13 --> PR!
As for the virtual races, I realize that they don't count, but it still feels good to place.
Labor Day 5 Miler (Virtual Race) - 41:47 --> Nothing special, but I pushed myself and perhaps set the tone for my fall racing accomplishments.
5K My Way (Virtual Race) - 24:06 --> First place woman and first in my age group. Also won a prize!
Race for Relief 10K (Virtual Run) - 49:55 --> A sub-50 10K, which rarely happens for me. Another run I feel helped me push myself in races.
In sum, it looks like I've switched to shorter distances. My body told me (in no uncertain terms) that it was not digging the long stuff. I listened (after being given an ultimatum) and had one of the best running performance years of my life. Aside from a minor blip following my Shamrock Shuffle fall, I suffered no (running related) injuries this year. That, in and of itself, is a huge accomplishment for me. I'm giving myself another A+ for 2012 ;)
Instead of a month by month review like I did last year, I'm jumping on the blogging bandwagon and filling in the following survey: 2012 Year of Running
Best Race Experience: Since I'm forced to pick, I'm going to go with the Rudolph Ramble 8K. It was a welcome surprise! It was super casual and laid-back, but it also showed me that I'm capable of "fast" and could possibly be "faster." It was the perfect closing race for the year.
Best Run: Obviously, it's hard to pick just one. But I am going to go with the twelve miler on my daughter's first birthday. I remember feeling so happy!
Best new piece of gear: Lululemon shorty shorts. They stay where they are supposed to and make you feel pretty bootilicious on the roads.
Best piece of running advice received: No one dares tell me what to do anymore re: running. I think I figured out on my own that shortening my distances was my ticket to success. However, if you want to claim this advice, feel free. As a mom, I frequently suffer from forgetfulness.
Most inspirational runner: Another toughie. I'm regularly inspired by everyday people. But I'd have to give this one to my friend Kate of Team Stick. She had a hell of a year! I can't even begin to describe the things she's done this year. You would've believe them either. Each and every accomplishment blew my mind. She is not only an incredible athlete, but a terrific friend. I'm not sure she knows how much she inspires me - and I'm also not sure that she knows how much her friendship means to me. Thanks, Kate. Rock on. ♥
Sum up the year in a couple of (few) words: Awarding. Rewarding. Blessed.