Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Year of Firsts

2011 was a year of firsts, for sure.

Since I didn't start this blog until September I don't have a blog post with my goals for 2011 and let's be honest here I probably didn't really have very many. I think we made one New Year's resolution and it had nothing to do with running or fitness. If I can't recap my 2011 goals why not recap 2011 instead? I promise it will be fun.

First Dog

Okay, I know this blog focuses primarily on running and fitness but this was an exciting event in our life! On January 30, 2011 (we actually adopted him on January 29th but we had to get stuff ready for him) we brought home Bernie the then Chow-Chow/Bullmastiff mix (yes, then).

Cutie, with a mud mustache

We have actually learned (or deduced) that Bernie is a Chow-Chow/Black Lab mix and might have some Bullmastiff in there, but I doubt it. We prepared for an over-100 pound dog (his crate is HUGE) and now have a perfect 60 pound dog. I just wish he could run with us!

First 5K

When I decided that Mike and I were going to do the Couch-to-5K, which we started on April 12th (I guess Facebook Timeline is good for one thing - I can find my old statuses easier!), I didn't know which 5K we were going to run. I researched local 5Ks and found the Rochester School for the Deaf River Ramble 5K. After training and basically completing C25K we ran our first 5K together on June 4, 2011!

Mike's happy, I'm happy too it's just harder to tell

Even though our time was pretty slow, but not bad for our first 5K, I was really happy that we ran the entire thing together. It is the only race that we crossed the finish line together and to me it makes it that much more special.

First 10K

Even before we finished C25K, I knew we were going to move on to the Bridge-to-10K program. We signed up for our first, and only, 10K - the Ten Ugly Men Festival 10K.

It looks like he is waving, but probably not

So glad that finish line was in sight

Let me just say that this was probably my worst race, ever! I struggled (and walked) so much, mainly because of the heat but also because I was mentally not into it. Mike and I did not run this race together, which I knew was going to happen since we didn't run our second 5K together. I probably would have done better if he had been by my side, but I have worked on my mental toughness since then!

I can't wait until our next 10K because I am going to have a massive PR. I have already unofficially beat it a few times but I want to officially get rid of the 1:11.34 PR in 2012 (stay tuned for my actual goal in my next post).

First Half Marathon

Our half marathon was probably our defining moment this year. After we finished B210K, we started Hal Higdon's Novice Half Marathon training program. In the beginning we didn't know if we wanted to even run a half marathon, but that quickly changed. Our sights were originally set on the Cape Cod Half Marathon but after looking up the directions I didn't think it would be a good idea to run in a Saturday race that was 9 hours away from Rochester.

Enter the Fall Foliage Half Marathon!

The half marathoners!

This race was HILLY! Mike, Mike's mom and I all ran in the race and it was a challenge, but a good one. I would run in the race again and just train on terrain that better resembled the race's terrain.

Even if we don't accomplish anything else, we can confidently say that we are half marathoners!

First Virtual Race

A few weeks ago Mike and I participated in our first virtual race! XLMIC at Taking it On hosted the Jingle Bell Hell Virtual Run and we ran 8.7 miles for it. This was probably my best long distance race, ever! If I had been able to hold the 9:45 minute per mile pace that we ran I would have crushed my 10 mile time and my half marathon time!

Not everything in 2011 was great, although the good times outweighed the bad. Here are the firsts that I wish never happened, but without them I may not be the runner that I am now.

First Injury

Ugh! This was so disappointing. Throughout our entire half marathon training (including our 5 mile and 10 mile race) I felt some pain in my feet. I was able to manage the pain adequately enough to finish the half marathon, but the hills eventually destroyed them.


When I went to the doctor I was thrilled that I didn't have a stress fracture, yet, I was so disappointed that I had to take some time off from running. During that time Mike had to run by himself a few times and he said that it was weird!

Unfortunately, it had to take not one but two injuries for me to really learn to take it easy. Which leads me to my...

First DNF

This may have been even more disappointing than my injury. I had a feeling that this was probably going to happen as Mike and I prepared for the Stockade-athon 15K but I wanted to try to run in the race.

Unfortunately, less than 2 miles into it I knew that I wasn't going to finish the race. After finding Mike's dad I stepped out and got my first DNF (did not finish).

When Mike found out I DNF

I took even more time off from running and I am happy to say that I am now officially recovered. I can't wait to get my official 15K PR to rid myself of the DNF label.

Well there you have it, the ups and downs of 2011! We have trained hard, raced hard and learned a lot of valuable lessons. How will this all come into play for 2012? I guess you will just have to wait and see!

What were your highs and lows for 2011?


  1. I think you did great on your year and glad you started a blog to share about it! I love that you knew where you ups were and how you want to change that! Its funny my year was so similar to yours!

  2. I love all your firsts! You'll have to let me know how you like the Garmin 405. I went with the more basic (and cheap!) 110 and tested it out today and LOVED IT!

    Hope you have a happy NEW YEAR!

  3. You got a Garmin too? haha Probably my favorite Christmas present yet!

    I'm so happy you guys have fallen in love with running. Especially because it means having someone to do races with (although we haven't yet, im looking forward to the one we have on the calender!) :)

    I keep meaning to ask you if you, especially because of your injury, have been fitted in running shoes? When I first started running I was having a lot of problems and injuries, I thought I had good running shoes but apparently not and after being fitted by someone who knew what they were talking about all of those problems disappeared. I figured you probably had especially with all of the research you've done on running but I figured Id ask just in case.

    hope you had a great Christmas and look forward to running with you in the new year!!


  4. Cat - Mike bought me one! We already have one (from his mom) but it's hard to share it during a race haha.

    I went to Fleet Feet while checking out new shoes and the guy there checked everything out. I'm not sure if he did everything that they are supposed to do when you get fitted but he did do quite a bit! He said my Kinvaras were good and I just ordered the Mirages on my own but so far so good!

    I'm looking forward to running with you too!

  5. That is a LOT of firsts! I can't believe you did your first 5K and first Half Marathon in the same year. Go big or go home!

  6. Enthusiasticrunner - Well, technically I ran cross country my freshman year of high school and Mike competed in some 5Ks when he was younger but I think a decade or so long hiatus kind of allows me to say that it was our first 5K!

    I agree with you, in a little less than a year and a half of running hopefully we will run our first marathon! Definitely going big!

  7. awwww I love Bernie :D and this year was my first race as well! YAY!!! aside from the injury it sounds like a great year :D

  8. Great list of firsts! Your dog is so adorable, I just want to hug him! Isn't it amazing to look back and see how far you've come? You should be proud of all that you've accomplished in 2011.

    My highs for the year are definitely some PRs in the 5K, 10K, and half marathon. Completed 3 half marathons which was my goal before running a full. It'll actually be 4 since I'll be doing the Hangover Half on Sunday (not for time, just to get a long run in). :)

    No lows stick out in my mind really. I was a little bummed about the Stockadeathon because I know I could've done better but hey, that's what goals are for!

    And as far as 2012 goes, I really have my heart set on the Ragnar Relay in the Adirondacks! - Kristin

  9. Kristin - I'm glad you had such a great year! I guess the Stockade-athon was a bust this year for both of us.

    The Ragnar Relay in the Adirondacks looks amazing! If it wasn't the same weekend as Wineglass I would totally do it with you! Maybe 2013.