As I stand on the doorstep of a new year, I'm both excited about the possibilities, and terrified by the prospects. Excited about everything that can go right, terrified by the things that can go wrong (like being "downsized" or injured), and yet ready to start on the 2012 journey.
When I started 2011, I was scheduled for a second surgery to remove a very large squamous cell carcinoma from my right side about half-way between my armpit and my waist. In early December of 2010, they had attempted to excise it by cutting about a 5 inch wide patch of the skin cancer out with a somewhat elliptical incision. Just before Christmas, I was told that they failed to get clean margins, and were going to have to try again. In late January, they made the same type of cut, literally "cutting out the scar" along with some extra tissue around it, about 7 inches wide. This time they were successful, but I've proven that I'm now at risk for that type of thing, so will need to see them once a year....and I have a nifty scar that looks like I was in a sword fight (a conversation piece).
In late April it seems that I really noticed the shape I was in, and determined to do something about it, so I started walking and eating right to get back in shape...the rest you can find in my initial post if you're interested.
I feel like I accomplished quite a bit in 2011, by losing over 30 pounds and 7 inches off my waist, running two half-marathons (a distance I had never accomplished before) in under 2 hours each, and even completing a 26.3 mile training run (a non-race marathon) in 4:12:46. My numbers for 2011 from a workout perspective look like this...
So what about 2012..? Well first, I'm really excited even more now about running my first "official" marathon race at the end of February. Now that I have slayed the mental dragon of "can you really run that far without walking", I'm more pumped than ever to complete a marathon race distance. In many ways I feel like that successful training run has freed me from placing quite so much focus on increasing long runs, and will allow me to focus more on trying to just get in some good solid runs much more frequently.
Previously, I was trying to run at least 6 miles at a time, and that seemed to prevent me from running every day (I would have to put a cross-training day between run days). I could sometimes do two in a row, but not often, and have been battling issues with my right IT band for over a month (and before that, an issue with my TFL on my left side). However, I think if I can dial back that distance to 4 miles for most days, that will allow me to string together many more days, get more running in (which I love), and increase my mileage as well probably.
It's not that I intend to avoid long runs between now and the marathon in late February (or even after that...I really like the longer runs even if the really long ones are a bit intimidating), but I feel like they don't need to be my primary focus. At my current age and fitness level, it takes a day or two (sometimes more) to recover from the longer runs, and rushing that recovery just sets me up for injury.
My plan this year is to really focus a lot more on proper stretching, core work (abdominal, and glute work especially), and finding a balance that allows me to run more frequently without injury. The last time I "got into shape" about six years ago (please God..help me to STAY in shape going forward...getting back into shape is just too freaking hard), I pushed too hard, got injured, worked through injury for a while, and then just got tired of always being in pain so I eventually quit working out. I want to be certain that this time, I find a better balance..especially since I'm not getting any younger and I don't bounce back like I used to.
Beyond the marathon in February, I believe I would like to run some other race distances for some variety, and perhaps try a triathlon (or maybe even an ultra like a 50K...but that even sounds a bit crazy to write, much less plan for at this point). Mainly though my sights are on the marathon at this point. That distance has always held a certain mystique with me for some reason, and I want to "own" it...or at least occupy it for a while.
Happy Running Everyone, and bring on 2012.....