(A fitness-related blog with a goals post? WHAAAA? I realized the other day that Running Cliche would have been an awesome name for this blog.)
I’ve been running since 2008, but 2011 was the first year I’d even toy with calling myself a runner. I started the year coming back from injury with my second half-marathon and a PR at Kaiser in February, discovered the joy of shorter races with a Palo Alto 8K in March, trotted through Bay to Breakers in neon-blue footless tights in May, set a 10K PR at Lake Merritt in August, and finished half-marathons every six weeks from late August through early December.
I ran all over the Bay Area and in Seattle, Miami, Portland, Midland (MI), Barcelona, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Munich, Oslo, and Berlin. On January 1, 2011, I set a goal of 450 miles for myself, and I finished the year closer to 650 (between my Nike+ and my memory of what Nike+ left out, I’m somewhere around 635 for the year) — 200 miles more than I’ve ever run in a calendar year before. And for the first time, I made it through a running year without significant time off due to injury; perhaps that’s because my injuries were ones I was cleared to run through, but regardless, I discovered a physical therapy routine and a training strategy that I hope will keep me healthy through 2012 and beyond.
In 2011, I felt — for truly the first time in my life — that I have athletic potential left to reach. And in 2012, I’m ready to start reaching.
Here are a few things I’m hoping to hit along the way.
1. Start and finish my first marathon healthy
This is the big goal for the year and the one that scares me most. September 30 is a long time from now, and I’m an injury-prone runner with a history of making it till about August before falling apart. Having all my precarious eggs in one race basket (METAPHOR!) freaks me out. But I’m going into 2012 with a better base than I’ve ever had, a good strength-training and physical therapy routine, and some time to experiment with running and cross-training schedules during and after triathlon training in the spring. My experiences in 2011 taught me that being proactive — and just plain active — helps me heal faster, and I’ve got a good team in my corner that believes in that philosophy. I won’t be officially training for this marathon till June, but in my mind, I’ve been training since the day I registered.
2. Race once a month
I train better than I race, practically 100% of the time. But I’ve raced relatively rarely, and I’ve only gone to the line with a “go kill it” mindset twice (one of which worked — my 10K PR — and one of which clearly didn’t). I want to get into the habit of showing up to a race to race it, to learn to use my watch for good instead of evil, and to never make the same mistake twice.
3. Run 750 miles
This is part of a bigger goal — I hope to run 3500 miles between ages 30 and 35. This would set a good pace.
4. Get over my fear of the bike
To me, this means: being able to ride in a bike lane on a street with traffic; being able to consider clipping in by April; riding across the Golden Gate Bridge; learning to pick up speed downhill rather than ride the brakes the whole time; and feeling comfortable steadying myself with one hand to signal or eat.
5. Learn how to prioritize
My original version of this list was silly-long, filled with goals both big and small in every sport I’ve ever dabbled in. And then I took a step back and was like, Whoa, Kimra, this looks like a disaster in the making. For someone who hated all exercise until 2003, I sure have a lot of things that I love doing now, and I want to do all of them, all of the time — and I have the exercise-related Groupons to prove it. This year looks like it will unfold in phases — a running phase, a goofing-around-at-Crunch phase, a triathlon phase, another long running phase — and I want to use other activities in a way that makes sense for each of those times, not in a way that’s foolish and overwhelming.
6. Make yoga a regular part of my life again
Yoga always makes sense and is never foolish or overwhelming. I know this to be true, and I still skip it. 2012: More yoga than any year since 2009, mark my words.
7. Figure out nutrition
I will never be a “food-is-fuel” eater (I’m a “food-is-delicious-and-I-love-cheese” eater), but I could, uh, eat smarter. I think my birthday gift to myself will be a trip to the very-much-not-covered-by-insurance nutritionist at my doctors’ office.
Race Time Goals
8. Run a sub-2:00 half-marathon
Um, duh. I’m one cocktail away from officially signing up to try again in February.
9. Run a sub-54:00 10K
I actually like the 10K distance, and my PR is currently the fastest pace I’ve ever run in a race. And I finished that race knowing I could do better.
10. Race a 5K
I have never raced a 5K. I have actually never even run an official 5K. I may do this in March or later in the year, and I have no time goal in mind other than “run explodey hard.”
11. Finish a 10-miler under 1:30
I’ve got a 10-miler on my radar for January and it would be a good gut-check before Kaiser. I also just really like running 10 miles, so I have a sense I might also like racing 10 miles.
12. Run a mile — any mile — that starts with a 7
Supposedly my Nike+ mile record is 7:51, and I have definitely a) not run a mile that fast with a properly calibrated Nike+ and b) done it more than once even with an uncalibrated Nike+. I can hold a 7:xx pace for an 800 and low-8s for a 1200, so I’m close, but I haven’t put it all together yet. At least once in 2012, I will.