2011 in Review and Plans for 2012
Well 2011 was an interesting year. I hit part of the Bucket List scoring a sweet 21min PR in the 50K at the World Cup in July. I finished 2nd in a dogfight over the final KMs though. Winning both the 50K and 100K Latvian National Championships was also very cool. I would have never expected two national titles in 1 yr.The 100K PR was long from happening though sadly because of the seriously nasty heat and humidity we had that day. I was the only woman on our team who even finished and we lost a guy too. The race itself had a 40%dropout rate and I learned all about heat sickness and stroke. I had the "joy" of goosebumps all over my body at 92km -never had things got so bad that that happened! Being the stubborn git that I am though I just gutted it out albeit at over 9 min mile pace by that point! I was actually running like a metronome til the late 60sK near 70 when I just started getting sick from the heat. My legs were good but it was definitely too hot. It very much reminded me of Chicago in 2007 when they shut the marathon course. I ran my career worst there and the medics were carting poeople off left and right but in Chicago there were people out there that flat out should not have been. This was the World Championships and after a few hours into the race the medics were carting people off the course much like that day in Chicago! That was scary and I figured better to slow down and get the job done then end up in the hospital.
I recovered fast this time around and put down a marathon and another 50k all within a 7 week stretch! I do not recommend this approach for the faint of heart! Marathon was 4 weeks after the 100k and the 50k was 3 weeks later where I was 4 minutes slower than I was in the summer, but hell, I was no longer as fresh after running the 100. I approached the marathon as an intermediate long run between the 100 and 50k.
November meant rest and then I gradually started moving again 3 weeks ago at the Zelenograd Marathon. I was due for a long run and this and the marathon in St Pete in January are our premier winter marathons. Winning Zelenograd was a nice surprise. It had occurred to me I hadn't won a marathon yet this yeear-scratch that one off the Bucket List. Actually, I did not train seriously for a fast marathon this year. Well I did early spring. It was supposed to be Riga and I pulled out 2 days before, a decision I'm not sure was the best since I may not be able to chase down another marathon PR again. Every marathon I ran this year was just a long training run to prep me for the 50 and 100k My goal was to PR there.
Which brings me to plans for 2012-
I'm focusing on the 100k Worlds in April. Yes, I have to peak a month EARLIER than usual this spring. 2011 saw change and change for the better. I finally did what I needed to do long ago and quit my job in early September after finally finding a way to be self employed again. I was working split shifts for crummy pay and the huge disruption in my sleep schedule was destroying me. I was also turning into a crabby, aggressive bitch because I never got enough sleep. I cannot walk in the door long after I need to be in bed sleeping in order to teach an early class the next day. I have battled insomnia since my teens and I need to get up and go to bed at roughly the same time every day. I'm now back to doing what I did until early 2008 and taking clients from the 2nd half of the day and training during the first. Bottom line is if my work day starts at 8 then it needs to end by 4 ish not the 9 and 10pm I was dealing with at the old job. Sure I had a break in the afternoon but too often I could not even get the necessary nap after my workout just to make it back for the second shift. I had 2-3 occasionally 4 commutes a day averaging an hour one way. Another year of that and I was heading for some health problems. Since rehabilitating my body from that ridiculousness, not only can I train more effectively like I used to back in Alaska, and my times even at the shorter distances have dropped dramatically. The best supplement for recovery isn't glutamine and all that crap, it's good ol' fashioned SLEEP! There is still a reserve left in me but my asinine schedule was ruining it. So I'm going to spend 2012 seeing how far I can tap into that reserve. You only live once and I do not know how many years I'll have the opportunity to compete on the top level. I have my whole life to take a desk job and grow an ass(well we teachers are usually on our feet), but I know I won't be able to do what I do forever.
That said, I've socked some money away for a trip to either Kyrgystan or Kislovodsk for altitude training this March before the 100k. I'm considering investing in an altitude tent too-just not sure how I'd fit the generator into my tiny flat. I'm not sure I could sleep in the tent in the summer though because it gets so damn hot in my room. I need to do some more homework as it is not a cheap investment. It might only be feasible if I get AC and turn it down to freezing cold.
After the Worlds I'll rest then look for some ultras in the fall probably in the US. I have good support from Vitargo and an incentive to do well at US ultras.Those guys rock and I finally found a product that has enough calories I can absorb in long races. Plus, it does not give my picky tummy tummy issues.
Fast marathon???That's the compromise,sadly probably not. I would have to find something in Feb/March in Europe before the 100k and frankly because I'm processing a new work visa, I won't be able to come and go as I please til late Feb early March I suspect. Fall marathon??? Possibly, I'd like to return to Valmiera, but it's not a blazing fast course although I really like that race and it's well organized. I'm not sure Daugavpils will happen this year. I had hoped there would be another 50K again. Riga? I doubt it. Four weeks off the 100, I am unlikely to burn down the barn in a marathon. If I find a fast 50k in the second half of the year, I'd like to chase down another PR.For now, progress in the 100K is priority as is staying healthy and injury free.
Cheers and happy New Year!