Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2012 - Year to Date

Me and David at the American Canyon 15K

Achieving a new level of running each year is a great motivator. Setting sights on longer distances or faster times (or both) provides both incentive to train consistently and motivation to continue living a healthy lifestyle. Having completed a 10K in February of 2011, I signed up for the 2012 American Canyon 15K, held on my 40th birthday (February 11th). Up to this point in my running career, I had mostly run alone, except for a couple of trail runs with a colleague. By posting my runs to Facebook, I had managed to inspire some people to remark that they "felt like they should consider taking up running", but I'm not certain that any of them ever did. One person I am sure my enthusiasm had an effect on was my friend David. Upon hearing about my birthday plans at another friend's wedding, he committed to running the 15K with me, despite not actively running at the time. I assumed it was the champagne talking, and did not think much of it until he messaged me that he had signed up, and was interested in training plans that could get him ready in the 9 weeks until the race. He joined me for a track workout in Grass Valley a couple of times, and battled the usual start-up niggles, but joined me on the starting line and took first place in his age group, finishing within ten minutes of my second place overall. He was hooked, and ready to start upping the ante! I had signed up for the April 8th US Half Marathon 2 in San Francisco, and David eagerly threw his hat into that race as well.

The US Half Marathon course is an out and back which crosses the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco to Sausalito, then turns around and crosses the bridge again on the return trip. I enjoyed this race so much, I am running it again in November. I ran the first half at a leisurely pace, about 9:00/mile. By the time I was coming off the bridge the second time, I felt invincible and had upped my pace to 7:30/mile, finishing in 1:48:51 (8:19/mile). David and I reunited at the finish line, at which point he told me he had found a race he wanted to do at the beginning of autumn, the Bizz Johnson 50K in Susanville. Despite planning to be a third of the way into my marathon training program, I took his challenge, and signed up for my first 50K. I would be running an ultra before I ever started a regular marathon!

After the US Half, I began training for the Gold Country Grand Prix races. I missed the first race, the Daffodil Run 5K/10K, but intend to participate in the remaining ten races of the series. The point totals are based on the ten best races, with the lowest race dropped from the calculation. I focused on the first five races in the series, working on speed, form and leg turnover. The first half of the year paid dividends as I set 5K PR's in two races in a row (the Freedom Run and Bear River). Now I turn my attention to distance running. My marathon training program begins next week and builds slowly to peak at almost 60 miles a week in November. In the interim, I am running the Giant's Half Marathon in September, the Bizz Johnson 50K in October, and the US Half in November. The fall is full of races and long runs; I look forward to bringing them to these pages.

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