I said there would be no humor in this blog entry. If you find any, let me know and I will remove it. Thank you. (This paragraph excluded.)
The first day of the year found me participating in a low-key Charlotte Running Club 5K at McAlpine. I believe there was a contest to see who could most accurately predict their finish time. I predicted 18:50 but ran 30 seconds slower.
The following weekend, Jinnie and I got in a nice 14 mile training run at Uwharrie.
My first marathon of the year was pacing duty for the 3:30 group at the Charleston Marathon; it went well.
Two weeks later, I attempted the Sultan 50K in the South Mountains of NC. It just wasn’t my day. Jinnie turned her ankle, and we both decided to drop out after about 16 miles.
Monthly mileage: 155
This month brought my only race win of the year. I held off frequent competitor Bobby Aswell to win the Alyce Guettler Hunger Run 5K in Rock Hill.
Late in the month I raced in the Mount Mitchell Challenge 40 Miler. This was my longest run to date. It was an amazing race, and I would love to do it again someday. We were fortunate to have ideal NC mountain weather in February, and I didn’t fall on the ice near the summit.
Monthly mileage: 212
The second Saturday of March brought the second annual unofficial Crowders Mountain 50K. About 15 folks showed up to run with the group, though not all went the whole 50K. I bonked 3 times during the last 8 miles, but I finished only slightly slower than in 2010.
Two weeks later, I helped the Charlotte Running Club set the world record in a relay of 100 x 5K. My turn came late at night in a deluge. I was glad to hit my goal of sub-6 minute pace.
Monthly mileage: 165
For the second straight year I ran in Peter Asciutto’s April Fools Day 5K in Albemarle. I claimed 2nd place, but in the obstacle course at the finish line I’m pretty sure I sustained an abdominal injury that bothered me for about 3 months.
On April 18, I ran the Boston Marathon for the second time. My silly goal was sub-3 hours, which I was not trained for. After we got by Wellesley, my race plan went out the window, but I was pleased to bring it in with a solid 3:06:14.
I ran a decent Skyline 5K to close out the month.
Monthly mileage: 144
May 7 was the New River Marathon. Digestive troubles resulted in me quitting halfway through. This was my second DNF of the year. My plan to complete a marathon or ultramarathon in each month appeared to be in jeopardy.
Jinnie had a great day in her first road marathon, finishing in 3:47.
I ran a couple of inconsequential 5Ks, and then I decided to run the May Mountain Marathon (aka Assault on Mount Pisgah), on May 28. It was a great day with the WNC Trailrunners. My plan was back on track!
Monthly mileage: 172
The Roan Adventure Marathon (RAM) is one of my favorite events. It’s actually 29 miles, out and back on the Appalachian Trail with amazing scenery. This year, I actually thought that I might collapse. It was very hot and I didn’t have enough water. I was able to drag myself to the finish with the encouragement of my fellow runners. Still, a great day!
The other highlight of June was the Summer Track competition on Tuesdays at Myers Park High School.
Monthly mileage: 158
I always like to run The Bear, a 5 mile race straight up Grandfather Mountain. But this year I made the weekend more interesting by adding the Grandfather Mountain Marathon, two days later. I achieved my best time so far for the 5 Mile hill climb (next year I’m going under 40 minutes!); and truth be told I was worn out for the Marathon. I ran it progressively, starting slowly and finishing with a flourish. Next year I should post a better time.
The Run For Your Life 4 Miler was a good race for me in July. I also took 2nd place in a trail 5K at Anne Springs Close Greenway.
Monthly mileage: 194
This month’s marathon/ultra was the Laurel Valley 35 Miler. Finish or else! No place to bail out. I started out ridiculously slow, due to not carrying a headlamp for the first dark hour. I ended up running with a veteran of the event who showed me a lot about the course. Next year should be fun out there.
The Blue Points and Greek Festival 5Ks were a disappointment for me this month. I did get out to Kings Mountain National and State Parks in South Carolina for a training run in August, which was fun.
Monthly mileage: 171
This was a busy month. Jinnie, Megan, Bill, and I traveled to West Virginia to race the Charleston 15 Miler. None of us ran as fast as we wanted, but it was a very nice trip.
The next weekend was the Blue Ridge Relay. The Crazy Legs guys were projected to finish in about 25 hours. Well, for the first time, the Crazy Legs team went under 24 hours! It was pretty epic. We were battling the clock from the starting line; it was very rewarding to barely reach our goal time. Everyone laid it all on the line.
The following Saturday I raced a 10K in the morning and a 5K in the afternoon.
On September 24, I achieved my highest running mileage ever in a single day, running 41 miles during the Hinson Lake 24 Hour race in Rockingham. Someday I do intend to stay for the entire race and go for big mileage at a 24 hour race. This was a great event.
Monthly mileage: 163
The LungStrong 15K was intended as a test for the upcoming Ridge To Bridge Marathon. I figured if I could finish in under an hour at the 15K, I had a shot at sub-3 hours for the marathon. And so I ran 59:55.
So all I had to do now was run that marathon. Result: 2:59:15, mission accomplished. But my wife outdid me, as Jinnie took 21 minutes off her previous best, and qualified for the Boston Marathon. Great day!
Monthly mileage: 142
This was a very sad month. My father was in the hospital for several days and underwent major surgery. He appeared to come through it well, and was released the day before the Thunder Road Marathon, so I went ahead and paced the 3:30 group in my hometown.
My father then had complications from surgery and died within a week. This was the most difficult personal struggle of my life. I appreciate my friends and family who helped me through it.
Monthly mileage: 55
I won an entry into a local 5K and was pleased with my time. I realized that if I ran a couple extra races, I could participate in a total of 52 for the year (in 52 weeks). After adding a couple more 5Ks, I have one more race to run. It’s a marathon on the last day of the year. I hope to complete my 12th marathon/ultra to close out 2011.
Monthly mileage: likely to end up around 140
My total mileage for the year will fall short of 2,000 miles. Last year I ran 2,010 miles, so that’s a little downturn.
I would say that I am in basically the same running shape that I was at this time last year. Next year, I hope to be fitter.
I wish I had run more with the WNC Trailrunners in 2011; and a couple more races out Albemarle way. In 2012 I don’t plan to run as many Run For Your Life races in Charlotte; I am feeling burned out on their Grand Prix Series. It is a very good series, but I think I need to mix things up in 2012.
Several times during this year, it seemed that I was always recovering or preparing for that month’s marathon or ultra. But now I feel that I have adapted to this regimen. So far, I have marathons or ultras planned in January, February, and March of 2012. I guess I’ll keep it up….
Out of 52 races, how many am I proud of, or satisfied with? That’s a good question. I’ll say that I’m happy with all 12 marathons/ultras, assuming I finish the last one. I feel that finishing any of them is somewhat of an accomplishment. I’m glad I can say that I’m a sub-3 hour marathoner again. I’m happy with the one 5K that I won. I’m happy with the World Record 5K Relay. The Bear 5 Miler was a good effort. The Blue Ridge Relay and the 15K were races in which I feel I ran my best, on that particular day.
Countless other 5Ks and track races do not stick out as particularly good. I enjoyed racing each of them, but there were no personal bests, and no real breakthroughs.
That's all I have.
See ya next year.