Well, my year of crazy running is coming to a close, and like most of the other runners I know I am creating my racing calendar for next year. In case you too are at this point, I want to invite you to take a look at my previous post on goal setting called “Running Goals." It may give you a few things to think about as you are developing your own goals for next year.
Before I jump ahead to set new goals, though, it is a useful idea to take stock of what occurred this year, what has been accomplished, what the pitfalls were, and to think of where I want the running to go from here.
This past year was my year of experiences. I turned 50 and a key goal was just to make it a memorable year. I decided to do that by indulging my passion for trail running. I discussed these goals in an earlier post “2012: Boned, Bloodied, Burned, and Bruised.” I set out to achieve the belt buckle for running the series of four 50ks, which I did achieve. Along the way, I ended up joining Marathon Maniacs, accruing 10 marathons or ultras for the year, and just generally having a really good time traveling to races, running long distances, appreciating nature, and (with the exception of the Leading Ladies Marathon) not worrying too much about my times. Even though I had some setbacks, such as the DNF at the Martian half marathon or the Disaster at Green Swamp, and a few minor injuries, such as the thing with the IT band and the discovery that I had weak glutes, those things were definitely overshadowed by the fun experiences I had, the people I met and became friends with (you know who you are), the things I learned, and the amazing places I got to visit.
This year was also a success in another way. Writing this blog has been more fun than I could ever have imagined. I have met some really great people because of this, and it has helped me to reach out to other runners more. Many of the new friends I have made this year have come through interactions stemming from the blog. The blog has also given me the opportunity to encourage other runners to write. As a writing teacher, that has been one of the really fun parts of the experience for me. I had some great guest columns on other people’s race experiences and perspectives. In case you missed these, let me give you a quick list:
Special Race Report: Mango Madness by Leslie Miyasato
Guest Race Report: Warrior Dash 2012 by Kathy Battle
Inspirational Stories: Running after a Kidney Transplant by Anna Kaschner
Guest Race Report: Detroit Marathon by Rick Rogacki
If you are trying to decide on races for next year, those reports along with the others on the site (You can use the search function to find these -- just type “race report” in the search box on the top right of the page.) may help you decide.
In looking back at the year, I would have to say that my top three favorite races were the Blues Cruise 50k (Leesport, PA) , Dances with Dirt Gnaw Bone 50k (Gnaw Bone, IN) , and the Leading Ladies Marathon (Spearfish, SD). What they all had in common for me is that I really loved the beauty of the courses, and they all had the small and friendly race feel that I love. I will probably go back to each of those in the future although I am not sure how many of them I will make it to next year.
All in all, I would say the running year 2012 was a success. Where do I go from here? What will goals will I set for 2013? That will have to wait for another post.